Sony may have closed Zipper Interactive earlier this year, but the now defunct studio’s flagship SOCOM series may live on. A major franchise for the PS2 generation, SOCOM for some reason failed to capture the PS3 audience and in turn was presumed to be killed in action once Sony shuttered Zipper. Despite gamers and those within the industry assuming the worse, we could see SOCOM return at some point to provide more special op goodness.
The news of SOCOM’s removal from the KIA list comes from Shuhei Yoshida, the top dog of SCE Worldwide Studios. Far from being a complete company man that tows the line through issuing predictable answers, Shu revealed to OPM UK that the SOCOM series isn’t exactly dead for now. “It’s not done. We never retire any franchise. Sometimes it's good to have a fresh look at the franchises we have,” said Shu in the OPM UK interview.
Ok, so Shu’s comments concerning SOCOM may not translate to a new title being in development right now, but it could be possible that the series will continue in the coming years. It’s just nice to hear that Sony hasn’t entirely cast the series aside considering that the SOCOM series failed to make a dent in the PS3 market and replicate the success it once had. I doubt we’ll see a SOCOM entry arrive on the PS Vita considering how that console is struggling and Zipper Interactive’s Unit 13 flopped, but perhaps we’ll see a next-gen SOCOM arrive on the next PlayStation console.
I won’t get too ahead of myself as it’s not good to get too excited about next-gen talk at this time, but it would make sense for Sony to leave SOCOM on the bench for a bit only to bring it in completely fresh for a new generation. The only problem with that scenario is who the hell is going to develop SOCOM games moving forward?
The closure of Zipper Interactive was a pretty major thing to do considering the studio was doing pre-lim work for Sony’s next console as revealed by several portfolios. Trimming Zipper down would’ve been one thing but entirely shuttering it did seem odd as it effectively meant SOCOM would have to start from square 1 if it was ever resurrected. Sony is in no short supply of talented studios, though it could prove difficult to find one that can do SOCOM justice and not provide an experience that gamers are immediately annoyed with, essentially replicating what happened with SOCOM: Confrontation.
At this point it could be at least three years or more before we see SOCOM again, but I hope Sony doesn’t let the franchise lay low too long as we could use a return to the tactical action genre amidst all the trigger happy gamers currently on the market.