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How a new SOCOM PS5 game could restore the series to its former glory

SOCOM 5 PS5
(Image credit: Zipper Interactive)

Could a SOCOM PS5 game really happen? The return of this iconic franchise has long been rumored, with fans eager to jump back into its exciting mix of tactical third-person movement and brutally unforgiving combat. With Sony making a strong push in the live service multiplayer arena, and with the renewed popularity of survival-leaning military shooters, there's never been a better time for SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs to make a return. And if that doesn't work, there's always the potential for a SOCOM PSVR 2 game, given that PS5 is about to go big on PSVR 2 in the coming years.

It's been a long time coming too. One reason fans are so eager to see a SOCOM PS5 game is that it's been 11 years since the release of Zipper Interactive's SOCOM 4. There's nothing quite like this series on console, and the series legendary to PlayStation owners who were willing to go through the hassle of getting their PS2's online back in the day. So, let's look at the SOCOM 5 PS5 rumors and dig into why we think the series should return to action in 2022.

SOCOM PS5 rumors

SOCOM 4

(Image credit: Zipper Interactive)
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It's been over a decade since the last SOCOM game landed in our hands, and the rumor mill hasn't stopped churning since. Back in 2019, insiders suggested that Killzone developer Guerrilla Games was working on a multiplayer-focused SOCOM revival, although we haven't heard anything about the project since. 

So, could Guerrilla have a second team making a SOCOM PS5 game, alongside the work completed on Horizon Forbidden West? It's difficult to say, however two years ago Rainbow Six Siege (opens in new tab) director Simon Larouche joined the studio, as well as Siege designer Chris Lee who also worked on SOCOM. Rainbow Six Siege and SOCOM share a lot of DNA as stern online team shooters with no respawns. So, while it’s not a confirmation, it’s hard to imagine PlayStation using that expertise to make a game that didn’t have a whiff of its old franchise around it. 

Sony has recently shifted its focus internally. While the company is known for building cinematic third-person action adventure games, it has been noted that the PlayStation Studios group wants to get 11 live services multiplayer games out on PS5 in the next three years – with two set to release in 2022

SOCOM would be a perfect candidate for Sony's renewed interest in multiplayer, here's why:

SOCOM's return is long overdue

SOCOM 4

(Image credit: Zipper Interactive)

If things like God of War (opens in new tab) and the Resident Evil 2 (opens in new tab) remake have taught us anything it’s that gamers love a familiar face. Publishers love them too because the existing brand awareness makes it a lot less riskier than trying to win people over with a new name. It’s a game that’s been away a while but never fails to see rumours or its return answered with interest and excitement - there’s a clear demand and PlayStation would be stupid not to think about cashing in on it.  

SOCOM was a multiplayer game ahead of its time

SOCOM

(Image credit: Sony)

While the original SOCOM games had basic single-player missions, it was really all about the multiplayer. Even though when it originally arrived on PS2 in 2002 it landed on a console that didn’t even have an internet connection - you had to buy a separate Network Adaptor to be able to plug into a dial-up modem. Even so, it collected a legion of fans that still want a return and has stockpiled buzz over the years that would make a comeback a welcome return.

Games as a service shooters are a perfect home for a new SOCOM

SOCOM

(Image credit: Sony)

SOCOM was one of those games that was held back by its campaign. It was okay, but the real draw has always been the testing multiplayer. Trouble is for most of SOCOM’s life, online-only games weren’t really a thing on console. Now, however, the market has shifted - games like Rainbow Six Siege or Overwatch, along with Fortnite and all the other battle royales have created a big online-only business that would be perfect to focus SOCOM on what it does best. 

Rainbow Six Siege proves there’s a market for tough team-based shooters

SOCOM

(Image credit: Sony)

For a long time console multiplayer tended to always be team deathmatches fueled by occasional objectives and endless respawns. The success of Siege, however, has shown you can make a ruthless, ‘dead means dead’ shooter that is both a critical and commercial success. Rainbow Six’s take is basically a spiritual successor to SOCOM as well with its more ‘realistic’ take on military action and gunplay, the odd outlandish gadget and character notwithstanding. 

The esports industry would lap it up 

SOCOM

(Image credit: Sony)

SOCOM is all about tension and last-second clutches. It’s a series with a traditionally rock bottom time to kill where, in many games, the first and only gunshot you’d hear would be the one that sent you back to the lobby to spectate the rest of the match. Games could last a few explosive seconds, or draw out into agonising minutes as teams whittled away each others’ numbers until only a few survivors remained - the last few players creeping cautiously around corners and jumping at the slightest noise. It’s perfect entertainment. 

Leon Hurley
Leon Hurley

I'm currently GamesRadar's Senior Guides Co-ordinator, which means I've had a hand in producing or writing all of the guide and tips content on the site. I also write reviews, previews and features, and do video. Previously I worked for Kotaku, and the Official PlayStation Magazine and website. I'm a big fan of open world games, horror, and narrative adventures. 

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