After the successful port of the Sly Trilogy, Sanzaru Games were given the go ahead by Sony and Sucker Punch to make the next proper sequel to the franchise, almost eight years since the last game released on the PS2. Whilst this game was originally meant for the PSP, Sony asked Sanzaru games to instead make it for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, in a situation that was similar to how Ico released on the PS2 instead of the PS1.
The story in Sly Cooper 4: Thieves in Time, as suggested by the title, is based around time travel, a super villain has invented a time machine and is traveling back through time to erase the "Thievius Raccoonus" and essentially wipe out the Cooper clan. Sly's buddy Bentley figured out what has been happening and secretly invented his own time-traveling device. He decides to get the gang back together to help rectify the wrong-doings, although he has his own motives as well.
From the outset this story has some similarities to the "Back to the Future" movies, with fading history and old relatives, but features the classic Sly Cooper heists we know and love. The set up usually involves a brilliantly animated 2D motion comic, reminiscent of the past Sly Cooper titles. You are then thrown into a lush new environment which you must traverse to get the lay of the land, snap some reconnaissance photos, and get a plan to take on the main enemy of that level.
The first goal in all the new time zones is to reunite Sly with his ancestor, and from there on further missions are unlocked. So now you not only have the three main characters Sly, Bentley and Murray to select, but also the Cooper ancestor who has a special ability of his/her own that allows them to access places none of the other characters can. On top of all of this, there even new costumes you can wear that give you abilities to blend in with the guards or protect you from certain weapons or projectiles, as well as a few other perks. The addition of this extra character adds a bit more of a dynamic twist to the game, but each character has their own missions to complete in each area as always