Sly Cooper Cameo Confirmed in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. Could Sly's Character Design Be Hiding A Secret?
While to many the cameo/easter egg is refreshing as its the first time that our favorite raccoon has made an appearance in a new game in over 8 years, to others, its just another all-too-familiar reminder that the series seems to be relegated only to nostalgic gaming references of yesteryear.
However, there may be a glimmer of hope yet, if you'll allow me to cook up one of my inFamous (pun intended) conspiracy theories. As @nocontextsly pointed out on Twitter, "Sly's model looks like a modified version of his Sly 3 model (with two leg pouches). Bentley and the van look identical to the original models." My first thought was that they opted to clean up Sly's model a bit to fit a modern game, and then ran out of time and left Bentley's un-altered. However, there is potentially another, more positive explanation.
This exact model of Sly has not been used in anything previously. Yes, it's a cleaned up version of the Sly 3 character model. But that cane is WHACK. It doesn't match the Sly 3 model or the Sly 4 model. AND the shaft of the cane isn't its typical brown – the entire cane is yellow. Two leg-packs – while crazy – has never been seen before. Also, if you look closely at Sly's left-hand glove, you can see yellow stitching that has never appeared in past models. (Check out the IGN article to see the screenshots in HD)
It seems possible that somebody (not naming any specific studios) could be working on a Sly Cooper reboot or a new installment, and this is the new, in-progress Sly Cooper model, but they haven't gotten to revamping Bentley or the Cooper Van. A LOT of people complained about Sanzaru's interpretations of the character models, so it seems entirely plausible that a new studio could be backtracking to the golden era of the series.
Obviously this is all conjecture and I could be stretching what few details we have, but its always a possibility, even if its wishful thinking. What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @SlyCooperNet
Opinions amongst fans are divided. Many are now jaded about new Sly Cooper content being perpetually teased (Sly 5, the movie, the animated series, etc.) but never coming to fruition. As longtime Fan Network contributor @tabreezsiddique tweeted "I doubt it's anything to think a whole lot about considering how many teases we've had over the years, I hope I'm proven wrong but I'm not seeing it here."
The last Sly installment, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, was released a shocking 8 years ago in 2013. Shortly after Insomniac's tweet, Sucker Punch Productions quote-tweeted, asking "Where are you taking him!? SLY, JUMP AND PRESS THE CIRCLE BUTTON TO GET OUT OF THERE!"
Insomniac has posted several similar Tweets featuring characters from other iconic Sony franchises as well. Later in the evening, Insomniac revealed that a weapon featured in the new game - dubbed the "RYNO 8" - has the ability to "drop objects from other dimensions into ours." Since interdimensional travel is a central plot device in the upcoming Ratchet game, it could make sense that Ratchet and Clank aren't the only characters breaking free of their realities, and could point to encounters with staples from other games like Sly.
Prior to this Tweet, the announcement of the Sly Cooper Funko Pop figure last Friday (6/4/21) seemed totally random – they've had literal years to release something like this before but never have. It doesn't make sense to debut the item now that Sly hasn't really been relevant since 2013. However, making an appearance in an upcoming game could have been the impetus for the product getting green-lit. Furthermore, as Fan Network follower @HM815222 pointed out, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and the Funko Pop figure are both set to be released on the same day: June 11th.
That said, the Funko Pop figure is clearly based on the Sly model from the first game, "Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus" (Sly is wearing a backpack, no legpack, and the promo logo is from Sly 1). In contrast, the screenshot posted by Insomniac is from the Sly 3 "Flight of Fancy" episode (as Twitter user @smokeshadow74 pointed out). This could suggest that there is no connection between the Funko drop and the Insomniac teaser, but it does seem rather coincidental, and this is just a minor detail to nitpick.
Update #1: At 7:43PM EST, @THEKevinMiller (Sly Cooper's longtime voice actor) quote-tweeted Insomniac's original tweet, posing the question "Did Ratchet scribble this down in the Thievius Raccoonus?" While Kevin Miller could be responding to this news for the first time like the rest of us, some suspect that this is confirmation that the actor is somehow involved with whatever Insomniac is hinting at. Furthermore, on June 4th, in response to the Funko Pop announcement, Miller tweeted "It’s happening!!!" While this could easily just be in reference to the figure, it feels like a statement hinting that this is only the start of much more to come.
Update #3: At 9:34 PM EST, @THEKevinMiller tweeted "Everyone, let me share cause we seem to go through this every year. If SONY is planning a surprise return of Sly Cooper they have yet to involve me! I understand the hope that Sly will swing his cane again but any conspiracy that includes me is wishful thinking. I say with love!" putting to bed any theories that he may have some involvement with whatever may or may not be brewing in the world of Sly Cooper.
Update #2: Later in the evening, Sly fans like @TheSafeHousePS5 @SpyroRichard and @Shrev64 began to notice that #SlyCooper was trending on Twitter gaming - a surprising phenomenon in an era when Sly Cooper has all but disappeared from mainstream public discourse.
To stay up-to-date with any further developments relating to this story, be sure to follow us @SlyCooperNet on Twitter
This worked for a while, but then site traffic EXPLODED as news about Sly 4 slowly leaked onto the scene. It was impossible to keep up with adding everyones membership profiles to the site manually, so I had to find an alternative. Other fan websites were using a service called Freewebs for their entire website which had membership functionality baked into it. Unfortunately, I couldn't switch this site from Weebly to Freewebs. So, I decided to create a separate site with Freewebs to handle membership and simply embed that site as an iFrame on the members page on the real website. The service has accrued almost 300 members since then, which is still crazy to me.
Update 6/8/21: A link to the members service can be found here for those who need it as I've removed it from the navigation: https://slycoopernethideout.webs.com/
Unfortunately, Freewebs is not a very good service, and I've anticipated its demise for a while. The company just announced that they will be ending their hosting service by June 30th as the result of a buyout by Vistaprint. There are ways I could preserve the members site by migrating the data to a Vistaprint account, but the reality is that it isn't worth the trouble. Over the years, technology has changed, and the members thing couldn't be embedded on the main site the way it used to be, so it's just been linking out from the navigation here, causing confusion among users. Also, as the Sly fan scene has waned due to a drought of any official releases since 2013, there has been very little activity on the members site. It's time for that chapter of the Sly Cooper Fan Network to come to an end.
If there is anything on the members site you wish to backup, save, and make copies of, I suggest you do this sooner rather than later. The members service will shut down on June 30th, 2021. This will be permanent.
Right now is a perfect time to give a shout-out to Tabreez. Tabreez was the very first person to leave a comment in the discussion panel of the site, and the first fan to create a members profile back when I was adding them manually. He's even stuck around for all these years, and I think he follows me on Twitter lol. The fact that anyone was interested in the site made all of the hard work worth it and was very inspirational for me back then. So Tabreez, if you're reading this, thanks for everything.
The closure of Freewebs, while it won't severely hurt this website, is definitely a blow to the Sly Cooper fan website community. A vast majority of fan websites, like Cooper Capers and The Vault, were all created with the service. Any site left up will probably disappear after June. Freewebs has been wiping inactive sites from their service for years, and the Sly Cooper Fan Network was, at one point, diligent in saving, archiving, and re-uploading anything worth saving from these sites, as well as making archived links available on the Links page. So, in theory, hopefully not much will be lost.
As for the future of The Sly Cooper Fan Network – as I said, we aren't going anywhere. I made a commitment back in 2011 that I wouldn't disappear and the site wouldn't fall apart into obscurity. I intend to hold true to that promise. The Sly Cooper culture needs to be preserved, and I believe we are the final torch-bearer of the early fan scene before wikis, sub-Reddits, Discord servers, Aminos, and whathaveyou.
Due to my turbulent life situation and a lack of anything official in the world of Sly Cooper in over seven years, there have been long periods of inactivity. I expect those to persist. However, the site will continue to be live, I'll still be kicking around, and updates will come one day. I want to eventually do an overhaul of everything here, but that will be a massive undertaking, and things in my personal life and professional design career are just too time-consuming to allow me to focus on the Fan Network. That said, if anyone has any suggestions for how things should and could be improved around here, I'm all-ears.
In the meantime, if you'd like to keep up with me personally, you can find me @tyfrisbee on Twitter, @tyfrisbee on Instagram and on my personal site at tylerfrisbeedesign.com
Thank you for the support and the memories. Here's to the future.
Since the link SlyCooper.com only redirected to a sub-domain of Sony's Playstation website, the site going offline does not mean that they failed to renew the web address; it most likely means that Sony intentionally unpublished the Sly Cooper website. Could this mean that they are abandoning Sly Cooper? Could this mean that they took the website down to perform updates and renovations on it to promote an upcoming game? Could this simply mean nothing at all? It is entirely possible that the site was taken down to free up server space. There wasn't much content on the official website, and it hadn't been updated since 2014 anyway. It does seem strange that Sucker Punch still own the website address SlyCooper.com. It's possible that they've always retained ownership since 2002. However, I remember looking up the website on WhoIs in the past and I thought I remembered seeing it under different ownership... but I have a terrible memory and could be mistaken. (SEE EDIT BELOW). Of course Sucker Punch announced just last week that they have been busy working on a new game, Ghost of Tsushima, which is a total departure from the Sly Cooper and inFamous series. This all probably means nothing, just figured it was worth reporting to see what you guys thought - let us know in the comments!
EDIT (3:45 pm EST): Upon digging deeper, I've discovered some other curious information. Both SlyCooper.com and SuckerPunch.com are registered to the same person: Michael Becker. According to his LinkedIn profile, Michael Becker has only been working as an IT Administrator at Sucker Punch since February 2015. So there HAVE been changes to the ownership/registration status of the website since Thieves in Time was released (though this could simply be because the domain was renewed - I dunno). I do wonder why Sucker Punch are the ones renewing and retaining ownership of the Sly Cooper domain, and not Sony (who, correct me if I'm wrong, presumably holds the IP for the Sly Cooper Series?). Of course any company wouldn't want an important domain - even for a retired product - to fall into somebody else's hands. It just confuses me as to why Sony isn't handling it since Sucker Punch is done with the series. This also seems weird because, once the animated series is released, won't the companies involved with that venture want to use SlyCooper.com for promotional purposes? I'll have to do more research to see who the website was registered to in the past, and if it ever changed hands from Sucker Punch Productions before this more recent update in registrant information.