Pc Games

What Thief has in common with submarine combat, and other tales from iconic but short-lived developer Looking Glass Studios


The cover of issue 379 of PC Gamer, featuring the game Space Marine 2.

(Image credit: Future)

This article first appeared in PC Gamer magazine issue 379 in January 2023, as part of our DNA Tracing series, where every month we delve into the lineages behind iconic games and studios.  

The term ‘looking glass’ readily brings to mind warped fantasy worlds: Alice in Wonderland, twisted smiles and a sense of not quite knowing what you’re getting into. As a company splash screen, it felt a fitting intro to Thief—with its Tweedledum guards and servants of the Trickster, minions of chaos and nature who communicated in a kind of rhyming babyspeak (“Call the dark! Call the black! Bringsie forth I call it back!”). Thief’s first level certainly takes you down a rabbit hole of sorts: first into the sewers, to surface within the grounds of a manor, then down a well, to finally emerge among the rat poison and beer barrels of Lord Bafford’s basement. 

Yet take a look at the logo of Looking Glass Studios from the time, and you’ll see a telescopic eyeglass—the same strange steampunk device fitted into the right socket of Thief protagonist Garrett, after his own orb was plucked out in some primordial Trickster ritual. And that particular ‘looking glass’ came about thanks to cutscene writer Terri Brosius. 

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