In late 2002, SP released the first installment in what was to become their most iconic franchise, as well as their first Sony-exclusive game, Sly Cooper and the Thevius Raccoonus (or Sly Raccoon in Australia and Europe).
Taking place in a world inhabited by anthropomorphic animals, the game’s plot revolves around the titular Sly Cooper, a young raccoon who is the leader of a trio of criminals known as the Cooper Gang, who embarks on a journey that spans across the globe to recover his family’s sacred book. Unfortunately, once again there isn’t a whole lot of information about the development. However, like Rocket I was still able to find some very interesting tidbits. One of the most vital elements of the game is its’ visual aesthetic; to help bring the environments and characters to life in a vivid fashion while also managing to keep the distinct graphical form of a PS2 game, the folks at SP utilized a specific form of cel-shading known as “toon-shading”, a term that was aptly coined by Mr. Flemming. In addition to this, the soundtrack also has a wide range of influences, most notably that of famed animation composers such as Henry Mancini, Carl Stalling, and Yoko Kanno. Sly’s cane was also originally meant to have other forms such as a hose, but this ended up being scrapped. The Japanese version of the game has also been noted for its’ vastly different animated cutscenes, in comparison to the more comic-book-esque cutscenes in the other versions. When the game was released, it was met with a rather positive reception, with most of the praise going to the visuals and the stealth-centric gameplay. Although the game didn’t manage to impress in terms of sales, it eventually managed to gain an audience, granting it a 2003 re-release under the “Greatest Hits” label, as well as three sequels (one of which not developed by SP), a cancelled spin-off, and a film adaptation that is either on hold or also cancelled, as we have barely heard anything about the latter since its’ announcement in 2014.
To be continued…
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