Garrett, the protagonist of the Thief series, has been absent for a while. So when it came time to come up with a new spin on the character for the upcoming Thief, narrative director Stephen Gallagher wanted to flesh out the character with some more personal motivations instead of just a particularly big score. Minor spoilers follow.
"We weren't thinking, 'Oh, what's the biggest job he could do?" Gallagher told Polygon. "The thing is, we need a little bit more than that to try and connect with this guy because, you know, we're trying to be imperfect with this guy who doesn't want to be seen and hides in darkness. [He] kind of inspired himself as basic premise: We took his personality and [figured out] what he can't handle."
So instead, Garrett's story has an element of mentor-protege to it. Feeling a heavy sense of loss, he resolves never to kill again. He finds a pickpocket named Erin, and takes him under his wing, right up until the point that he realizes she's not only good at killing, but seems to enjoy it. He dismisses her, but years later they meet up again at a heist during which he steals her grappling hook. An ugly accident kills her and leaves him blacked out, and when he wakes up the city has grown corrupt.
"To try and define Garrett as the master thief, it doesn't do him a disservice, but it gives you very little to hold on to," Gallagher said. "Garrett's been challenging himself as a master thief for many years; the bigger the job, the harder the challenge. I think the biggest challenge for him is by taking [Erin's hook] that day, it's put him in a very strange position. It's put him onto a track he's never been used to before, it's new territory for him. Loss is an interesting emotional hook for players to follow."