Nobody will truly know what went down in the months, weeks, and days before the closure of SOCOM and MAG developer Zipper Interactive, but one ex-Zipper employee is giving fans a look behind the curtain and detailing just what went wrong with SOCOM 4‘s development. While some will say that the end product wasn’t nearly as good as previous games in the series, most notably SOCOM 2, it wasn’t as simple as that.
This ex-Zipper employee, who wishes to remain nameless, says in a letter written to The Real Socom, that part of the problem was the collaboration between Zipper and Sony (Zipper Interactive, like Naughty Dog or Sucker Punch, inevitably answered to Sony when it came to decision-making). That relationship led to, as the employee puts it, “too many chiefs and not enough Indians.”
The project went through too many Creative Directors and Art Directors, many of whom, at the outset, had some genuine enthusiasm for the project and some great ideas. Couple that with an unwillingness to deliver the type of experience Sony was interested in — one that more closely resembled elements from Killzone or Uncharted — and a recipe for disaster was brewing long before any of the game’s really meaty content was fleshed out.
One thing the employee wants gamers to know is that the Lead Designer on the game, Travis Steiner, was not to blame for SOCOM 4‘s shortcomings. Steiner was equally enthusiastic, and had some good ideas, but a person can only take hearing “no” for so long. And, for those die-hard SOCOM fans out there who were wondering why Zipper didn’t just release an HD version of any of the previous SOCOMs, (much like has been done with Tony Hawk or Jak and Daxter), the employee finished his letter with this:
If you think SONY is going to listen to the SOCOM community who has already given SONY quite a bit of money, you are mistaken. SONY has moved on (Notice Zipper is gone). They no longer wish to compete with CoD, since CoD already helps sell PS3 units. Look at Hockey, 989 Sports used to make Hockey games, but they stopped, why? They could not touch the competition, so no longer wished to try.
While it isn’t the full story, this brief look behind the curtain should help gamers and SOCOM fans alike to understand just what transpired in the years leading up to SOCOM 4‘s release. Some might say that the PSN outage was largely to blame for the game’s failure, while others say it was the lack of quality in the finished product. Either way, the franchise and the developer that created it are no more because of poor sales.
How do you feel about the SOCOM franchise after having taken a peek behind the curtain? Do you think we will ever see a franchise that captures the same segment of gamers that SOCOM did?
Source: The Real Socom