Sly 2: Band of Thieves announced

Sony announces a follow-up to its stealthy platformer, Sly Cooper.

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Sony has officially unveiled a sequel to the 2002 game Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus. The sequel, Sly 2: Band of Thieves, has already been in development for 18 months at Sucker Punch, the Seattle-based developer that produced the original game. It's currently scheduled for release this fall.

We've got the first official trailer for Sly 2. Click the "stream" option for a closer look. Taking place two years after the first game, Sly 2 will once again put you in control of the raccoon named Sly Cooper, but Sly won't be the only playable character. As the situation requires it, you'll also take control of the rest of Sly's gang. Bentley is your crew's demolitions expert, so he can blast away some obstacles. Bentley's not much of a fighter, though, so he'll rely on a tranquilizing dart gun to dispatch foes. Murray's your driver, and he's also your muscle. Murray will be able to throw things--such as the other characters--over walls and other things that get in your way. He'll be sporting a crazy Mexican wrestling getup, so expect him to have some pretty wild-looking fighting moves. New moves for Sly will be built into the game, as well. Sly will begin the game with the full move set you had at the end of the first game, and he'll also have the ability to crawl through vents as well as the ability to pick pockets.

Sly 2's story puts more of a focus on being a thief. The game is broken up into episodes, and each episode will culminate in a heist. You'll also have to contend with a secret gang known as CLAW. The leader of the gang is a lounge lizard named Dimitri, an art school dropout who has turned to a life of crime to punish people with bad style. Demitri's rackets revolve around forgery and counterfeiting.

On the gameplay side of things, the different characters will work together to achieve objectives. You'll switch from character to character as situations change. One sequence we were shown has you moving the two new characters through an area to reach a plaza. Once they're in position, control switches to Sly, who must pick the pocket of a nearby guard to get a key. You then meet up with Murray and Bentley and pass the key off. Control then switches again as you take Murray and Bentley out to get a truck. Achieving this objective switches perspective back to Sly, who picks up the action right from the moment when you passed off the key.

You'll encounter a lot of guards, who take the form of large rats this time around. Guards will be tougher than they were in the first game. They'll react to sound, meaning you'll have to be a little stealthier in your approach. The game's environments are being designed to give you a lot of viable routes and options to choose from in accomplishing your tasks.

All of this adds up to a game that is said to be at least twice as long as the original Sly Cooper. Sly 2: Band of Thieves will hit the PlayStation 2 this fall. Until then, be sure to watch the new trailer linked below, and take a look at the new screenshots in the gallery, linked to the right.

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