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Sony Shuttering Zipper Interactive

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#1 Muhammad Farrukh

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 05:47

The dev behind SOCOM, MAG and Unit 13 is apparently being closed.

According to a rumor currently running on Kotaku, Sony-owned developer Zipper Interactive is being shut down.

Zipper Interactive was founded in 1995, and created games solely for Microsoft Windows until 2002. It was in that year that Zipper made a name for itself with its PlayStation 2-exclusive SOCOM: US Navy SEALs. In 2006, after a slew of SOCOM games on PS2 and PSP, Sony purchased the company and brought it into its first-party family.

Kotaku's rumor notes that the studio "is in the process of being shut down," and that while Sony "declined to comment on the matter" to them, they've "heard chatter for several days that Zipper was in the process of being hit with layoffs and a project cancellation. The scope of the layoffs appears to indicate a studio shutdown."

Such news, if true, isn't surprising given the performance of Zipper's recent releases. MAG, Zipper's 2010 PS3 release, had a loyal following but didn't sell exceptionally well. The next year, the studio released SOCOM 4 for PS3 right when the PlayStation Network went offline due to a hacker attack, proving to be hugely problematic for the sales of the online-centric game. Unit 13, the studio's most recent offering, is a PlayStation Vita-exclusive that we gave a 7.5.

We've reached out to Sony for official comment and were told that they "don't comment on rumors or speculation."

IGN




#2 Kvally

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 18:07

Bummer if true. SOCOM 4 and MAG were their best titles ever. I hope the rumor doesn't come true.

#3 BoredBozirini

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 23:34

Good riddance, after the hot turd that SOCOM 4 was, they needed to be scrapped. They last great game was SOCOM II.

#4 +LingeringSoul

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 15:22

Bummer if true. SOCOM 4 and MAG were their best titles ever. I hope the rumor doesn't come true.


Yeah, I actually didn't mind SOCOM 4 at all. To a certain extent, I think that it was a victim of some really awful luck - it was a game predominately known for its multiplayer and it came out right when that infamous case of PSN downtime was occurring. The hardcore SOCOM community's lukewarm reaction didn't really help matters either.

One more tactical shooter franchise dead and gone, unfortunately :(.

#5 vetDirtyLarry

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 15:39

Yeah, this news sucks if true. MAG, damn good game, Socom 4, way better than people are giving it credit for, and most recently Unit 13, which takes the Socom experience and puts it on the Vita in missions that range from 5 minutes long to 30 minutes long, perfect for a handheld, and it is the game I have wound up playing the most behind my Vita with Raymans a very close second. Make no mistake about it though, Unit 13 is nowhere near as complex as a Socom for example, they definitely dumbed it down quite a bit.

So maybe tactical shooters just do not have any place any more in this Call Of Duty / Battlefield era that we are now in. Think I may talk about this possibility on the upcoming podcast now that I type it out.

#6 +Audioboxer

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 19:16

Yeah, this news sucks if true. MAG, damn good game, Socom 4, way better than people are giving it credit for, and most recently Unit 13, which takes the Socom experience and puts it on the Vita in missions that range from 5 minutes long to 30 minutes long, perfect for a handheld, and it is the game I have wound up playing the most behind my Vita with Raymans a very close second. Make no mistake about it though, Unit 13 is nowhere near as complex as a Socom for example, they definitely dumbed it down quite a bit.

So maybe tactical shooters just do not have any place any more in this Call Of Duty / Battlefield era that we are now in. Think I may talk about this possibility on the upcoming podcast now that I type it out.


I think they do have a place it's just very hard to market them - Or in this case, I think Sony struggle a lot this generation as if something shooting related isn't on the Xbox I believe it's not going to get looked upon as favourably - The 360 did cement it's early life as the shooter console. That, and to another extent a lot of Sony's marketing has been less aggressive, and less attractive than the 360s.

This would be a bad closure even if only on the basis of it's a genre on consoles basically getting obliterated if Zipper cease to exist - Who else makes tactical shooters?

Or maybe I'm just completely wrong and tactical shooters will simply not sell on consoles as all your friends will only be playing COD/BF.

#7 neoadorable

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 04:24

Sad news...SOCOM 4 was a good game, and Zipper contributed much to gaming. At this rate, a lot of the good people of the industry will no longer be around to make games. Guess it's a normal process, but damn getting old sucks!

#8 BoredBozirini

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 00:23

Confirmed: http://www.gamespot....ts-down-6369262

#9 OP Muhammad Farrukh

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 04:43

Confirmed: Sony Closes Zipper Interactive

The dev behind SOCOM, MAG and Unit 13 has been shuttered.


Original Story

According to a rumor currently running on Kotaku, Sony-owned developer Zipper Interactive is being shut down.

Zipper Interactive was founded in 1995, and created games solely for Microsoft Windows until 2002. It was in that year that Zipper made a name for itself with its PlayStation 2-exclusive SOCOM: US Navy SEALs. In 2006, after a slew of SOCOM games on PS2 and PSP, Sony purchased the company and brought it into its first-party family.

Kotaku's rumor notes that the studio "is in the process of being shut down," and that while Sony "declined to comment on the matter" to them, they've "heard chatter for several days that Zipper was in the process of being hit with layoffs and a project cancellation. The scope of the layoffs appears to indicate a studio shutdown."

Such news, if true, isn't surprising given the performance of Zipper's recent releases. MAG, Zipper's 2010 PS3 release, had a loyal following but didn't sell exceptionally well. The next year, the studio released SOCOM 4 for PS3 right when the PlayStation Network went offline due to a hacker attack, proving to be hugely problematic for the sales of the online-centric game. Unit 13, the studio's most recent offering, is a PlayStation Vita-exclusive that we gave a 7.5.

We've reached out to Sony for official comment and were told that they "don't comment on rumors or speculation."


Update: Last week, rumors were swirling that Zipper Interactive, the Sony-owned studio behind SOCOM, MAG and Unit 13, has been shut down.

Today, Sony released a statement to IGN confirming Zipper Interactive has indeed been shuttered. The statement reads as follows:

"Sony Computer Entertainment can confirm the closure of Zipper Interactive, a Seattle-based internal game development studio that has been part of the global development operation of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios (SCE WWS). The closure is a result of a normal cycle of resource re-alignment within SCE WWS. Zipper has complete all work associated with its most recent project, Unit 13 for PlayStation Vita. Zipper titles MAG, SOCOM 4 and Unit 13 will continue to be supported, including the new Daily Challenges in Unit 13."

Our best wishes go out to all who were affected by the closure.

Our original story from Friday, March 23rd appears below...

#10 +LingeringSoul

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 15:52

So maybe tactical shooters just do not have any place any more in this Call Of Duty / Battlefield era that we are now in. Think I may talk about this possibility on the upcoming podcast now that I type it out.


This would be a bad closure even if only on the basis of it's a genre on consoles basically getting obliterated if Zipper cease to exist - Who else makes tactical shooters?


A little late with this reply, but this is precisely how I feel right now. Even when SOCOM 4 was supposedly streamlined to bring in more mainstream audiences (much to the chagrin of the hardcore SOCOM crowd), it was still a hell of a lot more tactical than almost anything that you can find in a modern shooter right now. Even on the PC, which has historically been known as the bastion of tactical shooters, the selection of games and the player base don't seem to be as large as they used to be (I'm cautiously optimistic for CS:GO, but even that's not tactical in the same way as something like Rogue Spear). I can't help but look at Zipper's closure as one more nail in the coffin of one of my favourite multiplayer genres :(.

#11 vetDirtyLarry

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 23:41

A little late with this reply, but this is precisely how I feel right now. Even when SOCOM 4 was supposedly streamlined to bring in more mainstream audiences (much to the chagrin of the hardcore SOCOM crowd), it was still a hell of a lot more tactical than almost anything that you can find in a modern shooter right now. Even on the PC, which has historically been known as the bastion of tactical shooters, the selection of games and the player base don't seem to be as large as they used to be (I'm cautiously optimistic for CS:GO, but even that's not tactical in the same way as something like Rogue Spear). I can't help but look at Zipper's closure as one more nail in the coffin of one of my favourite multiplayer genres :(.

I think it unfortunately comes down to the fact that developers just do not view the overall "target audience" as having enough patience to enjoy tactical shooters, and that is the sad truth. Just take COD MP, which FTR while I do not play it myself, I think it is done well, just not my cup of tea. But it is very much like a Michael Bay action movie. Get a kill, and a loud quick sound comes "flying" in, indicating that kill. Basically there is a lot visually going on. This is what game developers think the people want these days, well at least the majority of the people. So it is getting harder and harder for a publisher to back tactical shooters. So yeah I unfortunately do think this is a sign as to what's to come. There are a few tactical ops games, or at least that is what they are labeling themselves, coming out for the PC soon, in fact I tried to check out Tactical Intervention during it's closed beta but never could, but even reading about that, where it has car rides and attack dogs, it sounds like it is trying to be a me too game, instead of sticking to the true tactical stuff. Maybe not though, so I am going to check it out.

#12 BoredBozirini

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 00:34

SOCOM 4 was an utter failure, it was all that could go wrong with SOCOM. I wouldn't even blame the PSN outage, even though that hurt greatly. The quality of the game was just not there. People were disappointed with SOCOM: Confrontation, and were expecting SOCOM 4 to be SOCOM 2 with much better graphics.

Instead we were treated to a Frankenstein monster of COD with a horrendous third person camera and **** maps. And I know this was not the fault of the developers, but the studio's head insistence in taking the franchise in a more casually appealing direction. But then again, if they can't hold their base, the wouldn't even get the casual gamers.

I hope the good developers from Zipper start their own studio and do a SOCOM clone that is true to its roots. If they do that, I will give them all my money.

#13 +LingeringSoul

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 13:58

I think it unfortunately comes down to the fact that developers just do not view the overall "target audience" as having enough patience to enjoy tactical shooters, and that is the sad truth. Just take COD MP, which FTR while I do not play it myself, I think it is done well, just not my cup of tea. But it is very much like a Michael Bay action movie. Get a kill, and a loud quick sound comes "flying" in, indicating that kill. Basically there is a lot visually going on. This is what game developers think the people want these days, well at least the majority of the people. So it is getting harder and harder for a publisher to back tactical shooters. So yeah I unfortunately do think this is a sign as to what's to come. There are a few tactical ops games, or at least that is what they are labeling themselves, coming out for the PC soon, in fact I tried to check out Tactical Intervention during it's closed beta but never could, but even reading about that, where it has car rides and attack dogs, it sounds like it is trying to be a me too game, instead of sticking to the true tactical stuff. Maybe not though, so I am going to check it out.


Yeah, I think you're right. I'm in the same boat regarding shooters like CoD - I can respect them from afar as great games, but I've been hoping for another tactical shooter along the lines of something like Rogue Spear or Raven Shield. Sometimes I wonder if the demand for a game of that type is really as low as publishers think it is. So many shooters strive for CoD-style gameplay, but they ultimately get forgotten about in a heap of indistinguishable multiplayer modes (Medal of Honor, Homefront, and even Resistance 3 to an extent). Sometimes I think that a tactical shooter would have a chance to succeed and thrive in this market just out of the virtue of being something different, though perhaps that's just the overly optimistic side of me :laugh: .