SOCOM HD Is Sony’s Best Move
SOCOM fans have been scouring the internet this past year looking for any signs of life regarding the future of the SOCOM franchise. All kinds of rumors have been floating around the past 6 months and there has been an assortment of emotions surrounding each one. After all of the rumors have transpired, I personally feel there is only one road Sony should embark on with it’s next SOCOM release. But first, let’s revisit those recent rumors, shall we?
Our antennas were up when Slant Six Games started interacting with the fanbase on Twitter and Facebook a couple of months back. The speculation train and rumors of a “Confrontation 2″ started to emerge in daily discussions, and amateur “SOCOM analysts” began to question if that would be Sony’s next move with the SOCOM franchise. Several questioned if that would even be a wise choice in the first place after a very rough launch on the first attempt. Aside from the hackers plaguing the Confrontation servers with jailbreak, it still stands as the strongest SOCOM on the PS3 from most of the fanbase’s viewpoint. After all of the hype, Slant 6 made a press release recently stating that they were, in fact, not working on a SOCOM title and the trail ran cold.
Slant 6 Press Release
The next phase we encountered was an “oldie” that never quite stuck on the radar when it was originally introduced on SOCOM.com, but soon re-emerged in the height of speculation about SOCOM’s future. An old listing on Amazon posted by Sony several years ago detailed an obscure reference to a “SOCOM Trilogy”. The main reason this source raised a high level of doubt was the fact that the listing had the PS2 as the release platform. Some wondered if this was an old project that never came to be that Amazon failed to remove from their database, or if there was simply a typo in the platform description. Regardless of the discrepancies, the fact that this Amazon listing even exists is very interesting in itself.
Amazon SOCOM Trilogy Listing
The next addition to the SOCOM “Scoobie-Doo Mystery Adventure” came from Sony themselves. Shuhei Yoshida, SCE President, was quoted saying that “SOCOM is not done”, and even referenced the PS2 SOCOMs during the discussion. Although a bit cryptic, it did counter the famous phrase some SOCOM critics have coined recently touting that “SOCOM Is Dead”. After watching the PS2 & PSP SOCOM servers shut down last month right after the 10 year anniversary of the franchise, and seeing Zipper Interactive’s studio come to an end in April, it was no surprise that some felt this was true. Shuhei sparked some new hope that SOCOM fans should keep their chins up, but how long we would have to wait was the question no one had an answer to.
The final catalyst in the SOCOM soap opera came from Sony yet again. Sony Associate Product Marketing Manager Cristian Cardona, who is also labeled with their Software Marketing team, took the time to answer a question from one of the SOCOM fans on the PlayStation Blog in regards to the chances of a “SOCOM HD”. Cardona simply replied, “I couldn’t tell you, even if I knew. We will have more to add to this line, though. That’s all I can say =)”
SOCOM HD Hint By Cristian Cardona
It appears that the fanbase will be able to enjoy a new SOCOM title sometime in the future, but the question everyone seems to be asking is, “what kind of SOCOM?”. An obvious answer would include a next-gen platform title, but Sony has yet to announce when the “PS4″ will actually launch. After analyzing all of the puzzle pieces on rumors, and being actively involved with the SOCOM fanbase here at TheRealSOCOM.com for 3 years, and spending even more time as a poster & avid reader at SOCOM.com prior, I think the solution is pretty clear.
Sony’s next step with the SOCOM franchise should be a SOCOM 1/2 HD remake. Although I think both could easily be ported under one roof in a single release, SOCOM 2 HD could act as a strong stand alone as well. Not to mention that S2 HD is the MOST requested game on the entire PlayStation.Blog.Share website.
SOCOM 2 HD PlayStation.Blog.Share
SOCOM 1 HD PlayStation.Blog.Share
The fans have watched this series make numerous changes to it’s identity. SOCOM 3 & Combined Assault steered the franchise into a different direction and splintered some of the fans and their clans when it came to elite 8v8 teams. 16v16 became a new focus, and the maps from those titles hindered the 8v8 close-quarters-combat type of arenas. Most were “sectioned-off” portions of the 16v16 maps, rather than unique 8v8 centerpieces. About half of the fanbase lost interest shortly after SOCOM 3′s launch, and the sales were roughly half of the original. SOCOM Confrontation carried the torch on the 16v16 options and pitted the focus on smaller “large” maps without vehicles. The kicker was that it also added an array of new features like a sprint button, knife kills, over-the-shoulder view, it divided clans once again with factions that were weapon sensitive, and included weapon specialization systems which lead to over-powered weapons and unbalanced gameplay. A couple of years later, SOCOM 4 was announced and completely attempted to change the face of SOCOM all-together.
SOCOM needs to find it’s identity once again. The first two editions shattered online records for all consoles in it’s prime, and the sales were very strong even by today’s standards. (S1: 3.65M – S2: 2.94M) The longtime fans have been waiving their money in the air at Sony for several years now wanting those favorites to return. The number one reason the online numbers sloped off in the first place on the original two, was directly attributed to being plagued by hackers. Every shooter sees glitchers & rank ups, but hackers were drawn to the SOCOM franchise with the ability to punch holes into the coding of the game and bypass Sony’s DNAS. In fact, every single SOCOM to date, including the PS2, PSP, and even Confrontation on the PS3 (jailbreak save files), have allowed cheaters to completely take over the servers. This fanbase is very weary from it’s controversial history and have become a little jaded with unfulfilled expectations. If Sony is keen on the situation, they could easily justify an HD remake like we have seen with so many other exclusives like Jak & Daxter, Ico & The Shadow of the Colosus, and the more recent Killzone HD Collection. (not to mentioned all of the other multi-platform collections that have popped up this past year)
A “SOCOM HD” could potentially renew the longtime fanbase’s confidence in Sony with their favorite franchise. It could re-establish those infamous clan legacies that competed for all those years. It could also directly prime Sony’s SOCOM consumers for a full-fledged sequel on their next-gen console. Every year since 2005, the SOCOM fans have be very outspoken with Sony about their nostalgia. SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs introduced multiplayer to the PlayStation world with the network adapter in 2002, and it is disappointing to not even see Sony acknowledge the 10 Year Anniversary of it’s release last August.
Looking at the future of the SOCOM fanbase, I personally believe that moving forward with a SOCOM HD in the near future would be the most sound business decision made with the SOCOM franchise since 2003. If this franchise can get back on the right track, it could open up all types of possibilities for the series. Not only for the fans, but for Sony and future developers as well.
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