The entire series has been developed by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, with the exception of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, which is being developed by Sanzaru Games.
The world of Sly Cooper is a version of the real world that is populated by anthropomorphic animals, with film noir and comic book motifs. In addition, the world of Sly Cooper is filled with super-science and magic. The focus of the story is Sly Cooper, a young adult raccoon and the latest descendant in a line of master thieves who pass down their expert techniques from generation to generation using the Thievius Raccoonus, a book which contains all the Cooper Family's secrets and tricks. While the Cooper family has accumulated a massive amount of wealth through their thieving ways, Sly places greater value on his friendship with his partners, Bentley and Murray, and his flirting and teasing relationship with Inspector Carmelita Fox.
Sly Cooper is the protagonist of the series. He is a young male adult raccoon that is part of a long line of master thieves. Early in his life, he witnessed the death of his parents when the Fiendish Five stole his family's Thievius Raccoonus. He was forced into an orphanage, where he met his best friends, Bentley and Murray. With them, he forms his gang of thieves, the Cooper Gang. He is the nimblest and cleverest of the gang, so he is sent out the most on missions. He is therefore the most played character. He uses a hooked cane as a multi-purpose tool. Sly has the most jobs to do.
Bentley is the brains of Sly's gang. He is a turtle that is skilled with electronics, computers, and gadgets, and generally helps with reconnaissance and mission-planning while Sly's out in the field. He is a classic nerd. Later on, he breaks his legs in the jaws of Clock-la, so he is forced to live in a wheelchair, which he handily equips with gadgets.
Murray is the muscle of the Gang and Sly's wheelman, in charge of driving the Cooper Gang's van to various locations. As a large pink hippopotamus, he is amazingly strong but somewhat dim-witted. He often ventures to the field on missions requiring such strength.
Carmelita Fox, a member of Interpol, is Sly's nemesis. She is a vixen who has her mind set on capturing Sly, but also demonstrates some romantic feelings for him, which Sly often uses to escape capture at the last minute.
Common gameplay elements
The games are primarily a Third-person shooter/third person platform game. The player controls Sly or one of his companions through many missions of several levels, relying mostly on stealth to avoid encounters and alarms while collecting treasures or other items. Sly is very agile, and is able to use many of the features of the architecture for stealth, indicated to the player by a blue glow, explained in-game as a visible manifestation of Sly's "thief senses." For example, Sly can perch on the top of sharp points, sneak along a narrow ledge, or use his cane to swing from hooks. Sly also uses his cane to defeat foes, although it makes noise that may attract other foes. He prefers to use sneak attacks when possible, due to his little endurance. Due to his heritage, Sly has a number of special moves that he learns through the games that can also increase his stealth or speed, or allow him to eliminate foes silently. The player also may play as Bentley with his gadgets, or Murray with his strength, and many minor companions in the third game. There are also mini-games scattered throughout the gameplay.
Each game is broken into a series of heists, and to accomplish the heist, Sly and his gang must complete several sub-missions. In the first game, each sub-mission was located on a level accessible from the main heist level, while the second and third games used an nonlinear, open world approach to have various missions located around the same large level. There is typically a boss fight at the end of each heist as the conclusion to the mission.
Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus
Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus (also known as Sly Raccoon in European countries) was released in 2002 for the PlayStation 2. Sly must recover his family's Thievius Raccoonus, a book listing all the special thieving skills his family has collected over several centuries, which was stolen by a rival gang, the Fiendish Five, led by Clockwerk, a mechanical owl-manifestation of evil. Meanwhile, Sly and his gang must keep ahead of Interpol Inspector Carmelita Fox, who promises to one day capture Sly and put him away for his crimes.
Sly 2: Band of Thieves
Sly 2: Band of Thieves was released in 2004 for the PlayStation 2 platform. In this game, a series of mechanical parts of the shattered Clockwerk have been stolen by the Klaww Gang. Together, they could be used to revive the defeated Clockwerk; separately, they each have super functions. While Sly and his gang follow these leads, they are pursued by Carmelita and her partner, Constable Neyla, who are after both the Cooper Gang and the Klaww Gang.
Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves
Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves was released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2 platform. Sly has learned of the Cooper Vault, a gigantic store of the wealth his family's accumulated over the years. He must find a way, however, to defeat Dr. M, who has taken over the island where it is located to try to break into it. Sly must regroup his old gang and recruit new members in order to succeed at reclaiming his family's history, all while still on the run from Carmelita.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time will be released in 2012 for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita platforms. Bentley, keeper of the Thievius Raccoonus, notices that pages are beginning to dissappear. He creates a time machine so the gang can go back in time and stop the insidious plot to erase the Cooper history.
Sly Cooper and other characters from the games were also featured in two comic books published in 2004 and 2005 by GamePro Magazine and DC Comics to promote the release of Sly 2: Band of Thieves and Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, respectively. Both books are used to transition the story from one game to the next.
The Sly Collection
At E3 2010, " The Sly Cooper Collection" was announced for a Fall 2010 release. It is a collection of all three Sly Cooper games on a single Blu-Ray disc (however, they are remastered graphically) ported to the PS3. It has been remastered to be compatible with HD and 3D; This 3D feature was available in Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, but it was built into the game, while the 3D effect from the Sly Collection requires a 3D ready television. The Sly Collection is compatible with the PlayStation Move, and hosts PlayStation Network trophies.