Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is a stealth-action, platforming video game developed by Sanzaru Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It was released on February 5, 2013 in North America, and on March 27, 2013 in Europe for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. It is the fourth video game entry in the Sly Cooper series.
Set right after the events of Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, Thieves in Time continues the adventures of the Cooper Gang. Bentley, the current keeper of the Thievius Raccoonus, notices that the pages of the book are disappearing. He must get the gang back together in order to travel through time and stop whoever is threatening the existence of the Cooper legacy.
Sly Cooper was enjoying his relationship with Inspector Carmelita Fox, a relationship they were able to begin by Sly feigning amnesia, when Bentley showed up. Bentley explained to Sly that the pages of the Thievius Raccoonus were disappearing and that Penelope had also suddenly vanished at the same time. Bentley was looking to re-form the Cooper Gang so that they could stop whomever was altering history.
Sly soon met up with Bentley and Murray at their old hideout, where Bentley introduced both of them to the Time Machine. With this device integrated into the Cooper Van, the gang would be able to travel back in time and fix the past. Their first stop was Feudal Japan, but because the Time Machine required an item from that era, they would need to pull a heist to get the item in question. Their target was a nearby museum owned by a seemingly respectable art mogul, a museum that Sly had been keeping tabs on already.
The Cooper Gang arrived at the museum and after shutting down the security guarding the item of interest—a Japanese samurai dagger—which Sly stole. Just as he was about to flee with Bentley and Murray, Carmelita caught him in the act. Carmelita, angry at Sly's deception, attempted to arrest him, however, Sly escaped the museum with the gang and used the dagger to activate the Time Machine and travel to Feudal Japan.
Upon arriving to Japan, the Cooper Gang found out that Rioichi Cooper was in prison and his sushi house closed down. Sly promptly broke Rioichi out with the help of his Samurai Costume. Back at the hideout, Rioichi explained that the source of trouble in Japan was a military strategist named El Jefe. While working to break El Jefe's grip on Japan, the gang assisted Rioichi in reclaiming his sushi house.
Soon, the Cooper Gang broke into El Jefe's stronghold, where El Jefe stole Rioichi Cooper's cane, and Sly confronted him atop the giant statue he built of himself. After a confrontation, Sly successfully defeated El Jefe, but before he could retrieve Rioichi's cane, he was ambushed by gas-masked rats who swipe the cane and retreat back into a huge blimp, where Sly gets a glimpse of the person responsible for the events taking place. One of the rats accidentally dropped a sheriff's badge in his haste, which Sly took to use for the Time Machine.
The Cooper Gang contacted Dimitri, who they had left the Thievius Raccoonus with, for an update on the book. Dimitri informed them that "Tennessee Kid" Cooper was in trouble. Using the sheriff's badge, the gang traveled back to Cotton Mouth Bluff, Tennessee's stomping grounds. They soon found out that Tennessee was jailed by the town's sheriff, Toothpick. Bentley concluded that the only way they could break Tennessee out was from the inside, so Sly got himself thrown into jail. Using his inmate uniform, Sly successfully freed himself and Tennessee from the prison.
Tennessee told them that he was planning a world-class bank robbery, but was arrested by Toothpick, who had taken the gold for himself. The Cooper Gang helped Tennessee get his cane back and soon found out that Carmelita was captured by Toothpick, though how she got there was unknown. Tennessee rescued Carmelita and as the rest of the gang arrived at the scene in the van, they were put under arrest by Toothpick. Tennessee and Carmelita broke Sly, Bentley and Murray out, but were unable to free the van, which left them stranded in that time period until they could get it back.
At the hideout, Carmelita told the Gang that after they had escaped the museum, she looked around and found a collection of stolen treasure. Unloading them was Cyrille Le Paradox, the billionaire art collector. He had sent her to Cotton Mouth Bluff, where she was subsequently captured by Toothpick. It was then that they realized who was behind it all.
Bentley learned that Toothpick planned on moving his stolen gold from the mines onto his special train, which was being supercharged by the Cooper Van. To retrieve both the gold and the van, the gang would need to catch the train while it was in motion. By diverting the train's path, Sly and Tennessee were able to raid the train, where Murray got his van back and Toothpick managed to steal Tennessee's cane. Sly confronted Toothpick and defeated him, but again the cane was taken away. Sly was forced to make his escape off the train as it was headed for a ravine. Unfortunately, the van's breaks were out and they soon plummeted off the cliff. As they did, Bentley grabbed Murray's Australian fossil necklace and inserted it into the time machine.
The Cooper Gang and Carmelita landed in an unknown location in an unknown time period that was, by the looks of it, prehistoric. The crash landing had damaged the time machine, with the core components scattered throughout the area. After pinpointing the location of the parts, Sly encountered an out-of-place grizzly bear painting a picture. Sly sneaked into his lair and to his surprise, came across his prehistoric ancestor: a caveman Cooper who Sly dubbed as "Bob".
Back at the hideout, "Bob" revealed the identity of the grizzly bear to be someone named Grizz, who had imprisoned him and stolen his cane. Sly eavesdropped on Grizz to get the entry codes and schematics for his operation, but was unsuccessful. To Sly's surprise and pleasure, Carmelita showed up, as she revealed she had the information already. The Cooper Gang then raided Grizz's base. Although things did not go exactly as planned, Murray confronted Grizz and defeated him.
The Gang contacted Dimitri who pointed them to their next target: Medieval England. They used Grizz's crown to travel back to the year 1301. When they arrived, they learned that Sir Galleth Cooper had been reduced from a gallant knight to a jester performing in a circus. The Gang also still had no information on Penelope's whereabouts, which worried Bentley the most. Sly made his way into the big top where he found his ancestor. Once they had arrived at the hideout, Galleth told the rest of the Gang about the Black Knight, who had captured Galleth when the latter attempted to invade the former's castle. Sly stole back Galleth's cane, which had been taken when Galleth was captured.
It came as a shock to the Cooper Gang, worst of all to Bentley, when they discovered the identity of the Black Knight was in fact the missing Penelope. Bentley tucked away inside his shell, overcome with despair about his own girlfriend's betrayal. Sly and Murray were unable to get him to come out, and Sly vowed that Penelope would pay for her treachery and for breaking Bentley's heart.
Sly, Carmelita, Murray, and Galleth were forced to come up with a plan of attack as Bentley was in no condition to plan anything at the moment. After breaking into the castle, Galleth rushed forth to fight the Black Knight, only to get tossed aside and his cane taken away. Penelope separated Sly from the rest of the Gang, as she transformed into her giant Black Knight mech. Sly managed to disarm the mech using his bow and arrows, but then got trapped under the wreckage. Before Penelope was able to finish him off, he was saved by Bentley. After Bentley defeated Penelope in his own mech-suit, they traveled to Ancient Arabia using an ancient coin Carmelita had taken from the museum. While on the trip, Sly contemplated that Bentley had finally matured into his own self. He thought about Clockwerk and his crippled legs, and about Penelope and his broken heart, but each and every time he came out on top. His trust and pride in Bentley reached an all-time high at this point.
The Cooper Gang arrived in Ancient Arabia, where they discovered an aged Salim al-Kupar, who was in a slump just before he was about to retire being a thief. They found out his three fellow thief partners were captured by Ms. Decibel, a British elephant with the powers to hypnotize people to commit crimes for her, so they worked to free Salim's fellow thieves. Sly eavesdropped on Ms. Decibel and Le Paradox, gathering information about the mysterious door in the lamp shop as well as the documents Miss Decibel forged, which would proclaim a royal ancestry for Le Paradox. To Carmelita's displeasure, and Sly's delight, Carmelita was instructed to dress up as a belly dancer in order to distract the guards at the door while Sly and the rest try to force it open. What they found was a huge docking station for Le Paradox's time machine blimp. Sly was then forced into a battle with the cacophonous Ms Decibel. After a brief battle, Sly emerged victorious, but it was short-lived as Le Paradox revealed that he was in possession of Salim's cane and holding Carmelita hostage before disappearing to the present.
Upon arriving back to the present-day, the Cooper Gang found that Le Paradox was now in control, having proclaimed his fake royal ancestry. While Sly gain entrance to Le Paradox's blimp, Bentley and Murray brought all the Coopers they had visited to the present day, so they could retrieve their canes and stop Le Paradox. Sly made it into the blimp, attempting to save Carmelita, only for Le Paradox to capture him.
Le Paradox explained his motives to Sly and Carmelita, and showed them the time vortex he was going to throw them in, where they would be forever. Just as he was about to do so, "Tennessee Kid" Cooper shot the glass container Sly and Carmelita were trapped in. Sly then faced off against Le Paradox. He easily defeated Le Paradox, but failed to get off the blimp, since his only parachute was stolen by Le Paradox through deceit. But the skunk didn't get far; he got face-planted by a jetliner and fell from the sky into the sea, clinging for dear life to wreckage from his destroyed blimp.
With Le Paradox defeated and arrested, both time and the Thievius Raccoonus were back to normal. At first, Bentley, Murray and Carmelita all waited, assuming Sly would show up. However, as weeks passed, they had to accept the fact that he was not coming back. In spite of this, they each continued to search for Sly, believing that he was still out there. It is revealed that Sly is alive, but has somehow ended up in Ancient Egypt.
There are five episodes in Thieves in Time, as well as a prologue and epilogue.
- P. "Prologue"
- 1. "Turning Japanese"
- 2. "Go West Young Raccoon"
- 3. "Clan of the Cave Raccoon"
- 4. "Of Mice and Mechs"
- 5. "40 Thieves"
- E. "Epilogue"
- Cooper Gang
Clue Bottles make their re-appearance in this game; however, the rewards in the safes apply to all characters, not just Sly. Treasures also returned from Sly 2, and they are displayed on a new treasure wall in the safe house. Collecting all of them unlocks arcade machines in the safe house.
Sly Masks are a brand new collectible. It is a Cooper insignia spinning and jumping. There are sixty total masks to be found in the entire game, and certain intervals of masks unlocks cosmetic changes to the game, such as costumes or paragliders.
The safehouse has some new features from the previous games' safehouses, which include:
- Treasure Wall – A display of every treasure the player has found and brought back to the safehouse unharmed and in time.
- Costume Gallery – A display of every costume the player has gained so far, as well as the option to wear it in whatever episode the player is currently in.
- Table Tennis – A mini-game that two people can play together.
- Arcade Machine – A mini-game that two people can play together. It features the hacking mini-games.
Due to the environments in this game being larger than those in its predecessors, a compass and mini-map have been added. Pressing (or the rear touch pad on the PlayStation Vita) will make the compass appear for a short while (as well as waypoints). When activated, it will be surround the character's feet, pointing the player to the next mission, objective, or area of interest. It also works with the 3D environments, as it is able to point out whether the next objective is below or above the player's current location. The mini-map can be turned on and off via the pause menu.
Disguises from Sly 3 have also returned, but they now have more features. Each of these new Costumes have one or two special abilities. The costumes that are included are:
- Samurai Costume (Feudal, Japan) – Fireproof and comes with a shield ideal for deflecting projectiles, as well as prevents guards in Japan from noticing and attacking you.
- Jailbird Costume (Cotton Mouth Bluff) – This costume is a simple black and white striped prison outfit, with a massive ball and chain attached to an ankle bracer. The ball is heavy enough to smash through weak walls and move massive objects with incredible forward momentum. Sly can also stand on top of, and roll around on the ball to move safely over hazards like a floor-mounted electric security-grid field.
- Sabertooth Costume (Gungathal Valley) – This costume is a simple sabertooth tiger skin that makes Sly's movements slower, but also allows him to crawl in front of guards without them noticing you as well as making a leap across super-long distances and, by using said ability, allows Sly perform a one-hit kill on guards.
- Archer Costume (Medieval England) – Allows Sly to fire arrows (whenever a bucket of arrows is next to him) that will allow him to create a rope line for him to walk across.
- Thief Costume (Ancient Arabia) – Comes with a powerful scimitar, as well as an hourglass staff that can be used to slow down time.
Unlike the previous games in the Sly Cooper series, Thieves in Time was developed by Sanzaru Games rather than by Sucker Punch Productions. Sanzaru was first interested in continuing the series after Sucker Punch had moved on to the inFAMOUS series. In late 2008, Sanzaru worked out the prototype of what would eventually evolve into Thieves in Time and presented it to Sony Computer Entertainment. Sony was impressed, but before it would hand over the development duties of Sly Cooper, they tasked Sanzaru with bringing the original three games to the PlayStation 3. Sanzaru began working on the compilation, named The Sly Collection, and after its completion received the green-light to develop the fourth installment in the series.
Thieves in Time represents a return to the series after an eight-year hiatus following the release of Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves. Several hints of the series' revival were previously included in both inFAMOUS games by Sucker Punch. In addition to other nods to the series, both games featured marquees that included the title "Sly 4." A teaser trailer included in the The Sly Collection, released in late 2010, showed a short scene from what was supposed to be "Sly 4," implying that a new game was soon to be announced. Thieves in Time was formally announced for PlayStation 3 during Sony's presentation at the 2011 E3 convention on June 6, 2011. A PlayStation Vita version was revealed on May 18, 2012 during the GTTV television show.
Throughout the rest of 2011 and early 2012, Sanzaru continued to reveal different images and videos of gameplay, including that of Rioichi Cooper and Sir Galleth Cooper.
From April 20, 2012 to May 20, 2012, Sanzaru ran a competition where fans could design a Treasure that they thought Sly would collect in Thieves in Time. From there, Sanzaru selected ten of these Treasures to appear in the game (two from the United States and eight from other places around the world). These Treasures appeared in the top-left corner of the Treasure Wall. There were 24 worldwide winners and 7 United States winners (but only the ten selected were to be for in-game use).
At Gamescom 2012, Sony Computer Entertainment announced the new Cross Buy program. Through this program, one could purchase the PS3 version of a game and receive the PlayStation Vita version free of charge through a code redeemable at the PS Vita's PlayStation Store, with Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time among the games supporting the program. A new trailer was also seen at Gamescom 2012, introducing Salim al-Kupar as another confirmed ancestor and sending news that the release date had been pushed back to early 2013. Sony later clarified the release date to be in February 2013, stating that they didn't want Thieves in Time to release at the same time as all of the other games coming out in the fall of 2012; putting it in February would give it more prominence during the game's vital opening week with fewer big-name titles releasing at the same time.
On September 21, 2012, two days before the series' tenth birthday, Sony announced the release date of Thieves in Time to be February 5, 2013 in North America and March 27, 2013 in Europe. Those who pre-ordered the game would receive a costume for Murray and two paraglider skins for Sly earlier than those who didn't. A playable demo of the game was included with the North American release of the Ratchet & Clank Collection, and a second demo was released on January 29, 2013 for all users in North America.
A Horseshoe Mode was in development that would act as a new game plus for the player. The player would die after a single hit unless a Lucky Charm (or horseshoe) was collected, as a reference to Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus. However, it was cut due to time restraints.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time has received generally positive reviews with most praising the quality of gameplay and voice acting. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation Vita version 75.80% and 75/100 and the PlayStation 3 version 74.80% and 75/100 as of April 2013.)
Game Informer gave the game a 9/10 rating and GameTrailers an 8/10 rating. IGN rated the game an 8.0/10, concluding that despite the "ridiculous load times, occasionally frustrating gameplay and some bizarre, archaic motion controls," Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is "a worthy game to add to your library" as it "hearkens back to a different time in gaming while modernizing the experience for a new generation." Lucas Sullivan from GamesRadar gave the game 4.5/5 score, pointing out that the game has "stellar presentation" and "excellent level design", but suffers from "lengthy (but infrequent) load times" and a "cliffhanger ending".
The creators of Sly Cooper at Sucker Punch Productions have expressed approval as well, stating on their Twitter account that they had "no problem handing over the Sly reigns to Sanzaru. Hope all enjoy it as much as we did."
The soundtrack for Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time was composed by Peter McConnell, Michael Bricker and Jonathan Mayer along with his band Infected Scorpion. It was released on February 5, 2013 and contains 55 songs.
- All of the characters (except Bentley) have the same brownish eye color.
- Slytunkhamen Cooper along with Egypt, were originally planned to be included, but were scrapped due to the time frame of the game's release, but the secret ending did happen to have Sly stranded in Ancient Egypt. This is possibly a callback to the idea.
- There were three different boss characters that were originally planned to appear in this game: a scholarly elephant, a high society monitor lizard, and a technologically gifted mole. The former two were merged into Miss Decibel, while the mole was abandoned in favor of Penelope.
- It is possible that if Miss Decibel was created but the mole wasn't abandoned, the latter could have been the main villain for the cut Ancient Egypt episode.
- Thieves in Time is the only game in the series that does not include a paranormal level or villain. Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus had Haiti, Sly 2: Band of Thieves had Prague and Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves had the General Tsao's black magic and The Mask of Dark Earth.
- So far, there has been no official confirmed Japanese release of Thieves in Time.
- This is the first game in the franchise to not be developed by Sucker Punch Productions.
- This is the second game in the series to feature more than one female antagonist, the first being Sly 2: Band of Thieves.
- Strangely, this is additionally the second game where Bentley defeats a boss, the first also being Sly 2.
- The final boss of the game Cyrille Le Paradox, is the only final boss in the series that is not beaten with the help of Carmelita Fox, making it the first in the series that Sly beats the major villain by himself.
- In the Paris prologue, during Bentley's segment, a chalkboard in the control room outlines Le Paradox's plan and mentions if Clockwerk is part of his scheme.
- Originally, Bob was meant to be afraid of Bentley's gadgets, but instead was made to enjoy them.
- This is the first game to allow free roam with Carmelita. She was only playable during missions for the first three games.
- Unlike Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, not all of the disguises of Thieves in Time fool the guards, but they do come with their own abilities.
- Throughout the game, Sanzaru's logo can be seen.
- In Infamous: Second Son, the main character's ringtone is the Thieves in Time menu theme.
- This game has more dubs than previous games, such as Russian, Turkish, Czech, Greek, Latin American Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.
- In gameplay, when characters speak while being controlled, their mouths never move.
- It is unknown how Carmelita was able to take the prisoners back into the current time (except for Toothpick, due to the fast getaway right after Boss Battle), as she is seen imprisoning Penelope after her defeat in Of Mice and Mechs.
- Thieves in Time has the longest introduction level in the series.
- Thieves in Time is the first title in which Sly, Bentley and Murray receive new voice clips for attacking and taking damage, as opposed to reusing them from Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus (for the former) and Sly 2: Band of Thieves (for the latter two).
- This is the only game in the series where the actor David Scully does not provide the voice for any character at all.
- Scully had previously provided Dimitri's voice in Sly 2 and 3, but Dimitri never spoke during Thieves in Time. Scully did, however, voice Dimitri in one of the game's teaser trailers.
- Despite being the fourth game, the game's title lacks a "4", and the reason for this is unknown.