The original Thief: The Dark Project was a masterpiece of stealth gaming. The recent reboot did a reasonable job of recapturing that magic, but for Thief veterans, it wasn't a patch on the original.
It falls to, of all things, BioShock Infinite's new DLC to have another shot at the whole "first-person immersive sim stealth game" thing, then. It seems that Episode 2 of the "Burial at Sea" story DLC will incorporate a "1998 Mode" specifically inspired by Thief: The Dark Project -- just look at that artwork! -- in which Elizabeth must make it through the narrative using only non-lethal tools.
The new mode comes about as a direct response to two things, according to Ken Levine: Episode 2's increased focus on stealth mechanics, and the fact that Levine and his team had notices people were starting to self-impose non-lethal playthroughs. "Given the fan reception of 1999 Mode, we thought it would be cool to give them another way to play Burial at Sea that challenged their mastery of stealth tools," he said.
The new mode is also a reference to BioShock Infinite's own "1999 Mode," which was originally intended to be a drastic revamp of Infinite's mechanics more in keeping with older shooters from the late '90s and early '00s. It eventually became little more than an extra-hard mode with no navigation arrow, which was a bit of a shame, but its heart was in the right place, at least. It sounds as if 1998 Mode, if it lives up to its promise, meanwhile, will provide a more authentically old-school experience for those who find themselves disappointed by the increased linearity and hand-holding of modern games.
Burial at Sea Episode 2 is out on March 25.