Everyone knows and respects the name Metal Gear Solid . But there's another name that played a significant role in the evolution and popularity of the stealth/action genre.
It's Syphon Filter , which did indeed labor under the shadow of the legendary MGS back in the original PlayStation days when both franchises first started to toy around with the idea of stealth. Some called SF "the poor man's MGS," which it really wasn't. It was just different, and still innovative – and even revolutionary – in a number of ways.
The latest revisited classic over at the PlayStation Blog is Syphon Filter , which definitely deserves a look back. Sony Bend creative director John Garvin spoke about how the game came to be and its lasting legacy. Here's one of the more interesting comments:
"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."
Additionally, Garvin said the element of which he is most proud was the story aspect of Syphon Filter . He said it bothered him that people would say, "Who cares? It's just a game!" So they set about trying to make a realistic and emotional story arc, one that would make you care about the characters. It reminds one of Telltale's comments , doesn't it? Anyway, while it probably wouldn't stand up well over time (3D action games from that period didn't age well), Syphon Filter was still a breakthrough series at the time. Remember and appreciate!