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Sony’s Sly Cooper Franchise Deserves to Have a Comeback

Cover art to Sucker Punch Productions' Sly 2: Band of Thieves.

Picture: Sucker Punch Productions/PlayStation Studios

Earlier in the summertime, PlayStation developer Sucker Punch revealed that regardless of months of rumors saying in any other case, nobody—not themselves or one other developer—have been engaged on a comply with up to both the Sly Cooper or Notorious franchises. With the studio now targeted on what’s almost definitely a Ghost of Tsushima sequel, the 2 franchises that helped it set up a presence as a high tier PlayStation developer are on ice, and can possible stay that approach for an additional couple of years. And whereas usually such information would in the end be disappointingly unsurprising, this stings only a little bit greater than typical as a result of the Sly franchise is now 20 years previous.

Sly Cooper & the Thievius Raccoonus launched on the PlayStation 2 on September 23, 2002. The titular Sly Cooper hails from a household of grasp thieves and, with the assistance of his crew—Bentley, a mind turtle and Murray, the hippo wheelman—travels around the globe to recuperate the pages of his household’s titular tome from the gang who killed his dad and left him an orphan. Like most video games again then starring an animal protagonist, Sly was a platformer; every of the sport’s 5 hub zones contained ranges the place a key awaited on the finish that may be used to get Sly to battle the zone’s boss and recuperate a web page from his household e book. These pages would then result in a brand new mechanic to boost his thief repertoire.

Regardless of evaluations praising it as a strong platformer, the sport didn’t promote terribly nicely at first, however finally bought sufficient copies to affix PlayStation’s “Biggest Hits” lineup. With that success got here two sequels, each of which bought and reviewed equally nicely sufficient: 2004’s Band of Thieves made Bentley and Murray fully playable characters (swapped out by way of a safehouse in every location) with their very own missions because the trio pulled off a sequence of heists throughout the gloe. Honor Amongst Thieves, the trilogy nearer that launched in 2005, had the trio broaden their gang to achieve the vault of the Cooper lineage, although these characters might solely be performed for a handful of missions in particular circumstances.

Image for article titled Sly Cooper is 20 Years Old, and I Want Better for Him

Picture: Sucker Punch Productions/PlayStation Studios

The largest concern the Sly franchise ended up having was that it was regularly overshadowed by its brothers in arms, Insomniac Video games’ Ratchet & Clank and Naughty Canine’s Jak & Daxter. Regardless of the three franchises being lumped in collectively on account of their shared standing of starting as commonplace platformers, Sly was mainly the outlier of the trinity, not helped by Jak and Ratchet being geared in the direction of barely older audiences. At the same time as their protagonists have been respectively a mute (at first) elf with a chatty weasel on his shoulder and a cat with a speaking backpack, these franchises’ give attention to weapons, some raunchy humor, and a Teen score have been extra engaging in comparison with the E for Everybody adventures of a raccoon who does crimes with a turtle and a hippo.

But while the Sly Cooper franchise didn’t have the edge of its peers, it made up for this in style. It was the way the games fully embraced being a cartoon by calling each location an “episode,” complete with a splashy card and title like you were watching a cartoon after you got home from school. Along with cel-shaded cutscenes that gave a brief rundown on the villain, who was usually some average person that decided to turn to crime out of pure spite, it was the little things like comic book sound effects popping up as enemies were defeated or how footsteps would be accentuated by guitar plucks when sneaking up behind guards or along rooftops. Even as stealth and crime games have remained fairly in favor in the industry, there isn’t anything like Sly Cooper out there right now.

After Honor Among Thieves wrapped a bow on the trilogy, things got…weird for the franchise. Sucker Punch entered the PlayStation 3 era with its superhero saga Infamous, and the question of if the studio would ever return to Sly was answered once and never came up again. In 2013, Sanzaru Games brought the series back with Thieves in Time, which was…fine, from what I remember, but I certainly didn’t play it as much as I did those earlier games. The following year saw a trailer for a CG film adaptation from Rainmaker and Blockade Leisure that actually nonetheless appears to be like fairly good. (Besides Murray, one thing about his proportions and face really feel off.) Sadly, it was a film that slowly fell aside earlier than finally being cancelled, thanks partly to the field workplace failure of Rainmaker’s Ratchet & Clank movie.

Image for article titled Sly Cooper is 20 Years Old, and I Want Better for Him

Picture: Rainmaker Leisure/Blockade Leisure

So the place does that depart the franchise now? On a sport entrance, presently iced, as beforehand acknowledged; however there’ve been rumblings in recent years a few TV present in manufacturing from PlayStation Studios. Given how onerous Sony’s attempting to get their video games to small and silver screens—they’re doing a Gravity Rush film, of all issues, after shutting down the studio that created that sequence—it wouldn’t be out of the query, nor would it not be fully unwelcome, given how Sly has tv mainly encoded into its DNA. However as a lot as I’d look ahead to that, I believe I’d relatively a brand new Sly sport first. Like how Rift Apart served as a reminder of what made Ratchet & Clank so particular, it could really feel unsuitable to deliver again the Cooper Gang with out giving them one other probability to steal gamers’ hearts by a brand new sport.

You may play the Sly video games by way of streaming should you’ve bought the Premium tier of PlayStation Plus.

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