The End of a Trilogy

The Syphon Filter trilogy would wrap up with its 3rd title in 3 years, which again took less than 18 months to release from the previous title.  Gabe, Lian, and crewmate Lawrence Mujari were now under investigation from Congress and the Secretary of State, Vince Hadden, in regards to their past relationship with The Agency and its ties with the Syphon Filter virus.  Hadden takes the opportunity to try and pin the terrorist attacks that had been experienced throughout the past months on the two agents who were the only ones left alive during the battles, while the game sends the player through past scenarios to paint the pictures of Gabe and Lian more vividly, while finding the source of The Agency and the end to the Syphon Filter virus once and for all.

While it’s critically the lowest rated entry of the trilogy, the storytelling and pacing is at it’s finest.  Through flashback scenarios, each character is fleshed out accordingly, filling plot holes and questions that mustered through the first two titles and wraps the trilogy in a nice bow, with a small cliffhanger to give the now Bend Studio developers an opportunity to continue the story.  The gunplay was still Syphon Filter’s most solid piece, but had remained largely unchanged over the three games.  Syphon Filter 3 did include multiplayer, but was mostly copied from Syphon Filter 2, which wafted a familiar smell that stunk up the sequel for consumers and critics alike.

But even if the gameplay was something you could bypass, the release window for Syphon Filter 3 spelled death before it even released.  When Syphon Filter 3 was released on November 6th, 2001, the PlayStation was on its eventual decline.  The Playstation 2 was in full force, putting out shooters such as Red Faction and Oni and heavyweights like Twisted Metal: Black and Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec; not to mention the slew of next generation consoles combating Sony’s newest system, there was little push to deliver on a Playstation title.

Syphon Filter 3 was originally set to release on September 25th, 2001, but the September 11th attacks in New York City followed by the Anthrax attacks in three cities a week after caused Sony to postpone the release while it scrambled to adjust the promotional and marketing campaign for an action title that had a plot where the United States government was in cahoots with international terrorists to acquire a world-altering viral weapon.  The stars aligned in the worst way for the final title with it selling a mere 520,000 units, a third of the 2nd title’s total sales, effectively killing momentum going into its next title that would release on the Playstation 2 three years later.

The Syphon Filter franchise released three more titles: the multiplayer-focused standalone, Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain, that stands as one of the more divided titles of Syphon Filter’s catalogue; and two PSP titles, Dark Mirror and Logan’s Shadow, that transitioned to a cover-based shooting style but the exclusivity to the PSP kept the titles under the radar and their sales terribly low.  Logan’s Shadow was the last title to release in 2007, and while the older titles have been made available digitally and the PSP titles were eventually ported to the Playstation 2, nothing but the winds of rumor have filled Gabriel Logan’s future for the past 13 years.

SIE Bend Studio returned to consoles with its new IP, Days Gone, that was released in 2019.  Eagle-eyed players noticed some familiar names within the lore of the new game that showed that the world of Syphon Filter was not lost among its developers.  With another Days Gone more than certainly in development by SIE Bend Studio, journalists and websites started to bring the question to the surface: is there any chance SIE Bend returns to The Agency and brings Gabe Logan and company back under the gun after all these years to save the world from bio-terrorism?

“…Never say never!” wrote SIE Bend writer and director John Garvin in early 2019, but he as well as fellow senior lead and game director Jeff Ross have since left SIE Bend as of mid-2019 and December 2020 respectively.

For now we can only hope that when duty calls again for Gabriel Logan, we will see John and Jeff back in the mix in some substance to help guide this beloved franchise into the hearts of grizzled vets and green newcomers alike.  Until then, check your gear and get ready: we’ve got bombs to disarm, terrorists to taser, and an international conspiracy to thwart.

For old time’s sake.

Credit to FoxHand on YouTube for the screenshots and VGChartz for the sales data.