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Throwback Thursday: Sly Cooper

Staggered breath. Silent steps towards the unexpected. Your arrival is confidential, no one suspecting you prowling from up above. From stealth to a stampede, you attack, a sudden surprise to the enemy. Petrified by shock leaves little time to brace for what’s to come. The way they crumble beneath you makes them seem more like hostages instead of enemies.

Some of our earliest memories of stealth in video games came to us from Sly Cooper. Sly Cooper’s stealth innovated classical combat structures while also adding in new elements of surprise. The franchise continues to grow after each title is released, and is even prompted to hit the big screen in 2016.

Sly Cooper may not have had the standard sidekick like Daxter to Jak or Clank to Ratchet, but his clan of thieves introduces a new aspect to common conventions of help our main characters are accustom to. Bentley the box turtle and Murray the hippo aid Sly in his missions through different attributes that make his job a little less challenging. Through customized gear, brute force, and a set of wheels to escape with, the team gives Sly the slight advantage he needs.

Twelve years have already passed since the rowdy racoon was unveiled to us in Sly Cooper and Thievious Raccoonus. Released on the PS2, Sly was a fresh start for franchise characters for Sony. Video games that attempt to incorporate cartoonish characters, while still trying to maintain a level of difficulty to attract an older audience, usually fail. Making these ambitiously adorable characters can be a gamble, but Sony came away with a sweep for Sly. Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to tap into the same luck since, with attempts out there like Knack. They follow along similar lines, but Knack doesn’t wield the same charisma to draw both crowds the way Sly Cooper is able to flourish with.  

Rumors are always circulating on which game franchise is going to hit the big screen or made into a television series. Bioshock movies are always referenced for potentially happening; reintroduction to Sonic through the Sonic Boom TV series, and recently Halo has been confirmed for having an official TV series. Although Sly Cooper will become one of the pioneers to bring the energy from video games onto the movie screen. Cycling through theaters can be challenging because with movies there is only one chance to grab the audience’s attention, not an ‘oh next week could be better.’

But Sly Cooper has several reasons to why it could be successful in the box office. For an audience just getting to know Sly and the gang, there are cartoon features that make each one unique and adorable. As for a more mature audience, the heists and schemes can draw in more sophisticated viewers, while entertaining through the humor that the characters have already developed. Of course the fans of Sly Cooper will also help to generate excitement.

If Sly Cooper manages a successful run in the box office, it could promote other franchises to hit the big screen. Ratchet & Clank is already making its trek there, and Jak & Daxter are another Sony franchise that has similar potential to Sly Cooper to integrate both a chaotically fun experience for kids and adventures that stimulate an older audience. Sony could lead to inspiring other developers to tap into the movie market with their champions, like Nintendo. As long as Sly Cooper can generate a following outside the gaming community, other developers will follow suit with their characters.

It’s been years since I bundled myself up in blankets and played Sly Cooper, as if it was my religion, in my pajamas. Now, that same franchise is stretching the boundaries of what video games can achieve. Video games have recently have been adding cinematic touches, so to have one of my classic character favorites receive the full Hollywood treatment is long overdue and well deserved.

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Author: Zack Rupp View all posts by

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