The rumours around a SOCOM PS5 game are persistent but what do we actually know about the old PlayStation shooter’s potential return? It used to be a huge series for Sony, offering a tough online challenge for people who wanted a realistic multiplayer experience with no respawns and an authentic military leaning. But, after 10 games across PS2 and PS3, there’s not been a shot fired since 2011’s SOCOM 4 US Navy SEALs.
Over the last year or so however there have been rumours that a new SOCOM is on the way and it might be a PS5 launch title. Part of that comes from Tidux, a known leaker who’s previously successfully predicted PS4 details, as well as Titanfall and Fallout 4 announcements, so he seems to have some insider knowledge. He’s not only suggested he had info that Sony was trying to bring SOCOM back as long ago as 2017, but doubled down on it years later, saying in 2019 that Guerrilla Games is on the case:
Yeah, Guerrilla Games second team is supposed to be developing MP Socom game. #PS5 https://t.co/3rQPGtSCmcNovember 14, 2019
So far, so rumoury. However, some hires at Guerrilla are fueling speculation that it could well be working on SOCOM. Most notably, two years ago Rainbow Six Siege director Simon Larouche joined the studio, as well as Siege designer Chris Lee who also [CRASH ZOOM] 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.
Basically it’s perfect timing for a SOCOM PS5 return, so let's look into why exactly:
It’s the best time to bring beloved franchises back
If things like God of War and the Resident Evil 2 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
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 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
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 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.