I really like Days Gone. I wouldn’t say I was particularly excited for the apocalyptic open worlder, but somehow it’s become one of my favourites of the year. I can accept that it’s a flawed title that’s not doing anything especially special, but occasionally a bang average game comes along that appeals to me more than a so-called blockbuster. Objectively I know Deacon St. John’s inaugural adventure has plenty of issues, but I’ve really enjoyed it. Sue me.
I don’t want a sequel, however. While the early sales numbers suggest that we may be seeing the origins of a brand new series here, I think there’s a gap in the market that Bend Studio could fill if it returned to its roots. I’m talking about Syphon Filter, of course – a franchise that’s always hovered around the periphery of the mainstream gaming landscape, perhaps never quite scoring the commercial and critical respect that it deserves.
But here’s the thing: there’s nothing quite like Syphon Filter on any console anymore. Konami will probably attempt to flog another Metal Gear Solid at some point in the future, but it’s never going to be the same without Hideo Kojima at the helm. Meanwhile, despite strong speculation to the contrary, it’s hard for me to imagine that Ubisoft will be bringing Sam Fisher out of retirement in the near-future with Splinter Cell.
There is Hitman, which scratches a similar kind of itch, and is actually the kind of game that I think a new Syphon Filter should be based upon. But other than that, the James Bond license appears to have been abandoned, and the only other stealth games on the PS4 are the Dishonored titles – great games, but also very different in style, tone, and setting. I want to be an elite agent, moving through contemporary real-world locations, using a wide spectrum of tools to achieve my objectives.
The thing is, I actually think Days Gone could prove a great precursor for a new Syphon Filter game. The stealth gameplay is simplistic, but it’s very enjoyable, and I think it’s something that could be worked upon. Another thing I like about the apocalyptic outing is how dynamic it is – missions are designed in such a way that they can be approached from an array of different angles, and I think this kind of sandbox gameplay would suit Gabe Logan et al extremely well.
I’m picturing a game similar to Hitman, with a half-dozen environments from all around the globe. Bend Studio has really stepped up its story-telling in recent years, and there’s no reason there can’t be a strong narrative tying these levels together, but I want sandboxes that I can explore and mission objectives that can be completed in a multitude of different ways. Give me a bunch of gadgets, and let me determine how I want to approach each task.
The thing that makes Hitman so successful is how replayable it is. The objectives may not change, but your approach will. I think this is the kind of thing that would suit Syphon Filter to a tee. Imagine a mission where you have to hack a laptop hidden in a hotel room. One approach may be to enter the hotel from the front and try to sneak past any prying eyes; another may be to infiltrate the roof, abseil down, and climb in through the window. Very fun.
I don’t want to get too “amateur game designer” in this article, although if Bend Studio would like a consultant then I’m happy to help. The point I want to make is that I think Syphon Filter is the type of franchise ripe for resurrection because there’s nothing else quite like it. Somewhere along the way we got obsessed with the military and Dads saving the world, but what about agents and super-spies? I just want to be an everyday guy armed to the teeth with expensive gizmos again.
Would you like to see Syphon Filter make a return? Do you miss the days of gadget-filled spy titles? Slip into the comments section below and let us know.