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The Original Syphon Filter “Came Close To Being Canceled Several Times”

October 25, 2012 Written by Jason Dunning

The original Syphon Filter came out for the PlayStation One in 1999 and it gave Sony’s first console a stellar tactical shooting experience. Recently, the PlayStation Blog caught up with John Carver, currently the Creative Director at Bend Studio (Uncharted: Golden Abyss), to learn about certain aspects of how the game came to be.

When asked about whether or not Syphon Filter was in some way a response to Metal Gear Solid, he had this to say:

Metal Gear Solid actually had nothing to do with the genesis of Syphon Filter. We had been in development for quite a while before we had even heard of it. The idea originally came from a producer at Sony’s (then) 989 Studios who had written a one page synopsis that he called “Syphon Filter” which had zero meaning, i.e. there was no plot, no character, and no story, just an idea for settings, mechanics and gameplay. From the beginning it was to be a “stealth action” game (in the days before there was such a genre) that focused heavily on weapons, gadgets and stealth. Our goal was to make the player feel like a super spy. Our lead designer back then was pretty heavily influenced by Nintendo’s GoldenEye, which was probably the closest you could come to finding a game like Syphon in those days.

As for the actual development, John went onto note some of the hardships that came with creating a big game like Syphon Filter:

The first Syphon Filter went through a few rough patches and came close to being canceled several times as we missed deadlines, revamped mechanics, swapped levels around, changed the story, and generally tried to figure out what the heck we were doing. Our producer at 989, Connie Booth, and her boss Kelly Flock, were great though showing great faith in this new “spy genre” game. Our team ended up working in crunch mode for about a year as we tried to get the game up to everyone’s standards.

Thankfully, the game did come out and the Syphon Filter franchise went on to be extremely popular during the PS1 days. Unfortunately though, the series began to slow down during the PS2 and PSP era, leading to us not seeing a new game in the series since 2007.

Syphon Filter 4 was rumored to be announced earlier this year, but nothing was made official. About the only good news on the Syphon Filter front is that you can play the games on your PlayStation Vita.

How happy would you be if Sony brought back the franchise? Let us know in the comments below.

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