Sony And Bend Studio Need To Bring Back Syphon Filter, Not Some Vain Live Service

The long-buried stealth action IP needs to return as a "single-player" game.

Story Highlights

  • It’s been years since Bend Studio’s Syphon Filter was seen around; the creative IP deserves better.
  • The exciting stealth action with a magnificent enemy AI, Syphon Filter was a blind step that paid off.
  • However, Sony would rather have Bend Studio work on a live service than pursue single-player games.

Video Games have though become a lot more photorealistic now, they lost something important along the way. Games now are all about DLCs, microtransactions, necessary stuff locked behind paywalls, and the increasing frequency of unfinished and messy launches. Indeed, games are mechanically and visually a lot more appealing now, but nasty stuff like this makes me miss those pixel-looking and polygonal graphic times.

At least, we got complete games filled to the brim with quality content, and extra secret stuff you unlocked by playing, not paying. They were backward and clunky, sure, but they were dedicated and creative projects that pioneered the gaming of today. Today, I’ve got the perfect example of this for you: Syphon Filter.

YouTube video

Syphon Filter — The Rocky Origins

For my readers who are not aware of this game, let me give you a little rundown. Syphon Filter is a long-lost Sony IP and was a third-person stealth action game, kind of in the shoes of the Metal Gear series, albeit with a little more action focus. You follow special agents Gabe Logan and Lian Xing, who are tasked with several covert operations.

Syphon Filter. I really enjoyed the three games on the PlayStation back in the day.
byu/Veddermandenis inpsx

The original Syphon Filter is a living, breathing proof of the extreme hard work and dedication that made it a reality. Why’s that? One day, 989 Studio thought “Let’s make a game, and we’ll call it Syphon Filter.” That’s it. No sketch, direction, or approach in mind, just a name. Thus, creating the full game from just a name was a very tall order. A “stealth action super-spy” game, they had no idea how to proceed.

do you remember ‘syphon filter’?
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The only inspiration for the game was the iconic Goldeneye 007 game and the Metal Gear series. On top of that, the developer Eidetic (current Bend Studio) had zero experience in games like this or even third-person games in general, so they toiled hard for even the most basic of the stuff.

Metal Gear series was a key inspiration for Syphon Filter
Metal Gear series was a key inspiration for Syphon Filter

Thus, it was a blind step the team put its all into, and that dedication surely bore fruit.

Syphon Filter Is Too Good To Be Abandoned

Now it’s time for my fanboying, so bear with me. Syphon Filter was released for the original PlayStation and was immediately crowned a one-of-a-kind jewel and received universal acclaim. Though it took inspiration from the Metal Gear series, the game was fairly distinct and sported a unique identity.

Metal Gear got all the glory but what about Syphon Filter?
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The story progression was solid, but still couldn’t hold a candle to the superb gameplay you couldn’t help but fall in love with. Syphon Filter was all about using your versatile arsenal, especially the gadgets characteristic of a “super spy” game. It gave you over 30 unique weapons and gadgets to experiment with, as you approached a level in any way you wished to.

Syphon Filter's intricate gameplay was ahead of its time
Syphon Filter’s intricate gameplay was ahead of its time

Syphon Filter’s greatest achievement was the enemy AI. I was blown away when I played it for the first time and saw enemies adapting to my play style. They reacted to my actions in a surprisingly realistic fashion and altered their tactics, adding a ton of replayability. This brilliant game though spawned many sequels, the original Syphon Filter is irreplaceable for me, and my favourite of the bunch

However, anything less than perfect was apparently not acceptable, and when Syphon Filter 3 and Logan’s Shadow were met with a mixed reception, the series was just packed up and locked away.

The Live Service Obsession Is Driving Me Crazy

What makes me especially mad is that not only did Sony abandon Syphon Filter, but is now doing the exact opposite of it, as if to rub salt in the wounds. That opposite is nothing other than a live service, a concept I’ve come to despise more than anything in video games.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the developer behind Syphon Filter is Bend Studio, a company you might know better as the one responsible for Days Gone. From one creative single player to another, Days Gone was a good change of pace, but now, the next game from Bend Studio is going to be a live service. Not Syphon Filter, Not Days Gone, but a ridiculous live service to further Sony’s GaaS obsession.

What happened to the Syphon Filter Bend Studio was supposedly going to do instead of Days Gone 2? Are you telling me it dropped both a new Days Gone and Syphon Filter just to create another live service, despite how much Suicide Squad suffered for moving away from single-player not too long ago? 

This is what happens with live services
This is what happens with live services

Sony Needs To Mend Some Of These Strategies

There are a lot of things wrong with the current Sony, but the most critical problem has to be the growing obsession with the GaaS concept. Sony either goes for big-budget AAA games with extreme economic strain and lengthy development cycles or just furthers the live service agenda which is pleasing no one.

“live service games”
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The recent Suicide Squad failure needs to be a wake-up call for everyone, not just WB. At this point, Sony needs more AA projects and smaller games to fill the gaps of the prolonged AAA development, and creative projects from its past instead of live services, like Syphon Filter for example.

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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming and has been an avid consumer of many different genres for over a decade. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months || Education: Bachelors in Chemistry.

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