The long-awaited fourth installment in the Thief series has been officially announced, with a press release and a cover feature in GameInformer leading the media charge.

Simply titled Thief, the game is in development by Square Enix subsidiary Eidos Montreal, the studio behind the successful Deus Ex reboot Deus Ex: Human Revolution, as well as the multiplayer component of this year’s Tomb Raider – another well-received reboot.

The new game will invariably draw comparisons with last year’s steampunk stealth-action hit Dishonored, which was itself strongly influenced by the original Thief series. Like Dishonored, the new game will be set in a city that is “is broiling with social tension as it is ravaged by a plague and lorded over by a political tyrant”, and will offer “many possible paths through each of the game’s levels.”

The similarities are not universal, however. According to the game’s director, Nicolas Cantin, Dishonored was “more action-oriented” than the new Thief, and instead of seeking revenge, players will guide protagonist Garrett on thieving quests, armed with series staples such as the bow and arrow. A mechanic known as “Focus” will combine a few of the supernatural abilities enjoyed by Dishonored’s hero, giving Garrett an enhanced ability to pickpocket, escape from guards, and identify usable objects and surfaces.

Thanks to the GameInformer spread and Russian website GamesManiac, a selection of screenshots has also appeared online, showing a gritty Victorian-esque world that looks more gothic than steampunk – though Garret is still armed with a gadget or three:

Thief Screen 1

Thief Screen 2

Thief Screen 3

Thief Screen 4

Thief is due for release in 2014, on next-gen consoles as well as PC. You can follow developments on Thief4.com, and – naturally – here on Pure Sophistry!

Sources: PC Gamer and Eurogamer