Posted March 5, 2014 by Amy in Books

The Art of Thief (Book) Review


“From out of the smoke and shadows of a sick city comes Garrett, master thief.”

Titan Books delivers a picturesque look at the highly anticipated next-gen title, Thief. Set to coincide with Thief’s release on PS4, XboxOne, and PC, The Art of Thief gives readers a unique look inside the making of the game. From the evolution of the game’s titular thief Garrett, to the workings of the city he lives and works in, this is truly a comprehensive look at the Thief universe.

The book begins with a brief introduction by Nicolas Cantin, game & art director for Thief. As he explains, the book itself is a look inside the process of creating the game. While final art is a book part of the book, readers also get to see the concept art , speed paintings, and storyboards that led up to the final product, complete with anecdotes and explanations from the creative minds that brought us the game.

The Art of Thief is divided into four chapters, each of which gives us a comprehensive look at the things that make the game. The first chapter focuses solely on the main character, Garrett, beginning with a two page centerfold type image that is accompanied by a rundown of the different influences used to create the final product. From the original Thief games, to Sweeney Todd, to Storm Shadow, Garrett is a mixture of a number of iconic characters, and this chapter gives you enough back story to truly appreciate how complex he is. From his unique eye, to his nimble fingers, to his heavily researched costume and weapons, Garrett is more than meets the eye.

The second chapter of the book focuses on the other characters, beginning with Garrett’s young protege Erin. As Thief is a game that focuses heavily on story, the creators were incredibly thorough in their attention to detail on characters big and small. You’ll find character studies on the civilians, background stories on the architect and his wife, and loads of information on characters and scenes that you won’t find anywhere else, all accompanied by comments from the artists.

Chapter 3 pays homage to Loot, Puzzles, and Props – an important part of a game about a thief. The game’s creators paid special attention to creating a variety of stealable goods to hide in every crevice of the game, giving players plenty of incentive to thoroughly explore every nook and cranny. Garrett will have to work for a lot of it though, and the complex puzzles that hide treasures get a spotlight in this chapter as well. There is also a nice explanation of the use of art within the art of the game, as game artists were given the chance to do some more traditional artwork to grace the walls of Northcrest Manor.

The final chapter focuses on The City itself. Like many Victorian cities, there is a definite separation of classes going on – both literally and figuratively. The various districts of the city are both described and pictured within the pages of Chapter 4, ending with an authentic looking map of how it all lays out. The gloomy pictures of decrepit buildings set amidst a smoggy gray sky really set the tone for the game – and the behind the scenes tidbits on how it all came to be are only icing on the cake.

The Art of Thief is a full color, hardcover book that gives readers a comprehensive look inside the Thief universe. With tons of high quality artwork – both concept and final – pictured in the book, it’s a joy to look at from an artistic standpoint, but the accompanying facts and anecdotes on all that went into making the game really give you a behind the scenes look at Thief.


U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)