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The Rarest PlayStation Game Isn't What You'd Expect

The PlayStation brand has gone through quite a transformation over the years, leaving behind some of its darkest days and releasing some truly beloved gaming classics and more than a few hidden gems. Of course, there have been times when PlayStation has had to make quick adjustments that were out of its control. In the case of 2001's Syphon Filter 3, a national tragedy led to the delay of the game and the creation of quite possibly the rarest PS One title.


As explained by video game retailer Phoenix Games, Syphon Filter 3 had a bit of a rocky path to its release in stores. The game was originally slated for release on Sept. 25, 2001. However, the tragic terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 led to the game being delayed. According to Phoenix Games, "in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks and the ensuing Anthrax scare, Sony felt that certain artwork aspects of the game were inappropriate and could be deemed offensive."

What was the problem with the original cover art?

In order to deliver a packaging for Syphon Filter 3 that was a bit more palatable for 2001 audiences, the cover art and the back of the box were both significantly redesigned. The original design for the Syphon Filter 3 cover features the lead characters surrounded by a green-colored gas, leaping into action in front of an American flag. The back of the box originally featured the text, "Wanted – Deadly force authorized," along with references to a terrorist plot. 


The final version of the box released to retail stores removed the flag and the intense text from the back cover. The gas was also removed, presumably to remove any resemblance to a biological attack. The game was finally released with the altered artwork in November 2001.

However, prior to the recall, a small number of units featuring the original cover art apparently made it into the hands of customers. As a result, the so-called "9/11 American Flag Cover" version of Syphon Filter 3 has become a rare collector's item. Depending on their condition, copies have been known to sell for anywhere between $500-$1,000.