What’s Next for Sly Cooper?
Sly Cooper was one of the three popular platforming franchises on the PS2, the other two being Ratchet and Clank, and Jak and Daxter.
The Developers, like the other two, have gone on to bigger and better things on the PS3, but can we expect anything for the future?
Sly Cooper came in a trilogy, as most good things do. Rendered in “Toon-shading”, the first game, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus followed the eponymous, anthropomorphic Sly and his two friends Murray, a pink Hippo and Bentley, a Turtle. Together, they sought to take down the Fiendish Five, a group who killed Sly’s father and stole his family’s book, the Thievius Raccoonus.
Using a cane as an all purpose weapon and swinging device, Sly battles his way through the each of the Five’s lairs, collecting and unlocking new powers along the way. He also uses ‘thief senses’ indicated by blue sparkles, which allow him to perform special moves, like walking on narrow objects (ropes, wires etc.), balancing on points and shimmying along ledges.
Stealth was also an important factor of gameplay, Sly could be defeated with one hit, so sneaking through levels was very important. The music was also used an intuitive system, becoming faster and louder when Sly was discovered and helping to indicate when things were quieter again.
Sly was also followed by interpol agent and love interest, Carmalita. Carmalita, who wants to be the agent to capture Sly, usually turns up at the wrong moment for Sly and his gang, but occasionally they use her to their gains, tempting her with other villains and distracting her.
The second game saw the return of Clockwerk, the main antagonist of the first game. A large cyborg owl, a malicious gang was collecting and assembling the parts and it was up to Sly and his gang, who knew the real threat Clockwerk posed, to stop them.
New features in this game included a health bar, instead of the one hit kill in the last game, pickpocketing, as well as hubs in each area which acted as safehouses providing missions and upgrades as well as a save point.
An interesting feature was the utilisation of the USB microphone, which registered sounds made and incorporated them into gameplay by attracting guards. This could be used as a distraction, but it also added another layer of immersion to gameplay as the player had to keep quiet when playing. This is something not yet seen on the PS3.
The third and final game, Sly 3, followed Sly as he attempted to defeat the evil Doctor M, who had taken over the Cooper Vault in an attempt to break in and steal the riches that lay within.
This game introduced 3D sections, playable with the glasses that came with the game. 3D was optional, but it was incorporated into the game in an interesting and innovative way, often using depth as an extra layer of gameplay rather than just showing it off.
Multiplayer was also included and featured playable characters from the games.
Sucker Punch, the developers of the Sly series, didn’t say or do much from that point, until they announced inFamous for the PS3.
This popular game allowed you to play as Cole, who gains electrical superpowers through what appears to be a freak accident.
Facets of gameplay present in inFamous were similar to those in Sly, like running on wires and balancing on points, which suggest that Sucker Punch could be planning to utilise this engine for a possible PS3 Sly game, which is also suggested with subtle hints. For example, on a cinema sign in the game, there is a listing for Sly Cooper 4.
It seems like Sucker Punch are planning for a Sly game, even though no announcement has yet been made. Where would it start off though?
A cliffhanger at the end of Sly 3 *spoiler alert* was that Sly was living with Carmalita, Sly’s love interest, feigning amnesia. Would the next story follow an new story arc, or be a “one last heist”?
Personally, I think the format would work well on the PS3. The part free-roaming, part mission-based action-stealth gameplay would be a welcome change to the sandbox games, not to mention the cartoonish, animated graphics would look absolutely stunning in HD.
If the first three games proved anything, its that Sucker Punch consistently delivered fun, diverse games with style and lasting appeal. If there’s one thing we need, its more anthropomorphic cartoon characters in this realism based world and after inFamous, Sucker Punch showed they could still produce fantastic and extremely playable games.
Personally, the idea of an anthropomorphic Raccoon that goes around stealing stuff with style is something that hasn’t been utilised to its maximum appeal, and still has a lot to give. Will Sucker Punch give it to us? Who knows. But I’ll bet Cole does. Git.
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