Starfield. BioShock. Dishonored. Some of the greatest PC games of the last two decades owe their inspiration to the Thief series. Originally developed by Looking Glass Studios, of System Shock and Ultima fame, the third Thief, Deadly Shadows, would move to Ion Storm Austin, shortly after it shipped another stone-cold classic, the first Deus Ex. The team that helped build Thief 3 would eventually work on some of the most-beloved games of the modern era, including Skyrim, BioShock, and Starfield. Renowned for its superlative Shalebridge Cradle level, Thief Deadly Shadows is now all yours for less than $1.
Thief Deadly Shadows, also known as Thief 3, is one of those inflection points in gaming history. A combination of FPS and stealth games, its credits read like a who’s who of some of the most legendary designers of recent years. Emil Pagliarulo, who helped create Thief 2, was originally hired for the sequel. Jordan Thomas, who created the wonderful Fort Frolic section of BioShock, and directed BioShock 2, co-designed the epochal Cradle. Randy Smith, who worked on the entire Thief series, was the game’s director, and of course Ion Storm Austin was overseen by Warren Spector, who worked on the Ultima series and directed Deus Ex. One of the best PC games ever, you owe it to yourself to play – or re-play – Thief Deadly Shadows.
Dark, rich, and atmospheric, the DNA for some of the most renowned immersive sims flows through Thief 3. The Shalebridge Cradle in particular, which Ion Storm Austin intended as the scariest videogame level ever made, reeks of Dishonored, Alien Isolation, and even IO’s Hitman. In the same way that Doom and Half-Life forged the model for modern shooters, Thief 3 helped define the work of Arkane, Bethesda, and many more. And now it’s all yours for just $0.95 / £0.79.
So, if you’ve settled your business in Starfield, pining for a new Deus Ex, or miss your time in Dunwall and Dishonored, Thief 3 is the perfect piece of gaming history. Just don’t play Shalebridge Cradle with the lights off.