Thief II
Image: Looking Glass Studios

By now you've probably already heard about the leak that has sent shockwaves across the gaming community and sparked debate in all corners of the internet.

No, we're not talking about the Grand Theft Auto VI leak, but the early prototype of the stealth-adventure Thief II: The Metal Age which has somehow managed to find its way onto the website Hidden Palace (as spotted by Twitter user Skacky).The prototype dated November 4th, 1999 shows a build of the game from four months prior to its release, and as Skacky notes, there are a ton of interesting differences worth highlighting.

The first of these is the quote at the beginning of the game. In the retail version, we get a few lines from the Chronicle of the Metal Age, while here we get some text attributed to The Law of Machine. This whole section, like many of the other cutscenes in the prototype, is also pretty unfinished too, reusing audio cues and music from the original Thief.

As for the levels, they're in various stages of completion. As Skacky notes, the automap feature is missing, and a couple of System Shock 2 assets like turrets and droids act as stand-ins for those yet to be implemented in missions like the First City Bank and Trust. Some of the levels also have simplified textures and geometry, as well as a couple of areas that were cut from the retail version of the game completely.

We recommend checking out Skacky's thread for a full, exhaustive breakdown. It's a fascinating glimpse at how much a game can come together in its final months, which many players may not be aware of.

What are your favorite memories of playing Thief II? Comment and let us know!

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