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Giant expansion for a ‘90s PC gaming classic wins mod of the year

ModDB's Mod of the Year is Thief: The Black Parade, a colossal mod for a 25 year old stealth game. And it absolutely deserves it.

A hooded, skeletal beaing in front of a glowing symbol.

Mod repository ModDB has unveiled 2023’s Mod of the Year and it’s Thief: The Black Parade, the colossal expansion for ’90s sneak-em-up Thief: The Dark Project. If you’ve not tackled this amazing add-on, it needs to be next on your list.

The best thing about modding is that even if a developer has moved on from their creation, there may be fans willing to stick around and breathe new life into it. That’s what’s happened with Thief: The Black Parade, a huge new expansion for 1998 stealth game Thief: The Dark Project.

And now, ModDB has crowned it their Mod of the Year, rightly so given how perfectly Thief: The Black Parade captures and expands upon the original. Seven years in the making, this free mod casts you as Hume, a former convict who returns to Thief’s darkened city and decides to go completely straight.

I’m kidding, of course. This being a Thief game, he’s right back to stealing, which kicks off ten missions worth of guard-blackjacking, treasure-pilfering sneakery. What’s especially impressive is that it begins with you wandering around a convincing (if gloomy) city area, something that not even Thief 3 really pulled off.

Though this a team effort, it likely helped that the project’s director is a current Arkane Lyon level designer. The team behind this free mod describes it as a “A love letter to Thief: The Dark Project”, and they’re not wrong.

A gloomy city street, with a tall stone building with light coming out of the window.

There’s a big nostalgia factor, definitely, but, so far, it’s a superb stealth outing in its own right. With new voice acting, a proper story and Thief-style monochrome cutscenes, it could almost be an official expansion. Heck, it’s free but as a long-time Thief fan I’d happily pay for this.

Other mods in the running for ModDB’s Mod of the Year included Half-Life 2: Episode Two mod Entropy : Zero – Uprising, which is second place. And in 7th place, there’s Equestria at War, a Hearts of Iron IV mod which turns it into My Little Pony.

You’ll need Thief: Gold to play The Black Parade but it’s currently a ridiculous $1 on Steam. Then, download The Black Parade from ModDB, which also details how to install the mod. If you’ve the slightest interest in stealth you won’t regret it.

If you want to know just why the original game is so important, here’s a Thief: The Dark Project retrospective. If you’d prefer some spellcasting and swordplay with your sneakery, these are the best RPGs.

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