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A retroactive continuity, commonly abbreviated to a retcon, is new information which imposes a different interpretation on previously depicted events. In relation to the Syphon Filter games, a retcon is a scenario in which the storyline of a new game explains or changes an event from a previous one, or attaches a new importance to it.

Retcons are typically used in Syphon Filter to facilitate a dramatic plot shift or account for an inconsistency. Some retcons add information to fill in missing background details, while others instead contradict previously established information, allowing the accommodation of prequels/sequels or acknowledgement of real world developments.

This article briefly outlines the retcons introduced in each game, contrasted with the story elements from previous games to which it adds or alters. The most direct sources are given in parentheses, with abbreviated titles indicating all mandatory presentation of information in that game, including radio dialogue. Appended titles pertain to information not immediately disclosed to the player, such as optional radio dialogue ("radio"), user manuals ("manual"), or supplementary details from websites ("web") and other promotional material.

Syphon Filter

Original information Retcon
Erich Rhoemer was firmly established to be a German (as seen from the game manual) In The Omega Strain's Zeus Files, Rhoemer is declared to be from Chechnya. (The evidence of this is the first Conspiracy document in Mujari's mission, Samaschki, Chechnya: Ivankov's Home.)
Jonathan Phagan is shot in the head, apparently fatally, when escaping from Rhoemer's catacombs, with the game heavily implying if not outright confirming he was killed. (Ending cutscene of Stronghold Catacombs) Phagan, it transpires in Syphon FIlter 2, was merely rendered unconscious and in a coma due to being brain-dead, and his clinical death truly occurs during the escape from MacKenzie Air Force Base. (Mid-mission cutscene of MacKenzie Airbase Interior)

Syphon Filter 2

Original information Retcon
Jonathan Phagan is shot in the head, apparently fatally, when escaping from Rhoemer's catacombs, with the game heavily implying if not outright confirming he was killed. (Ending cutscene of Stronghold Catacombs) Phagan, it transpires in Syphon FIlter 2, was merely rendered unconscious and in a coma due to being brain-dead, and his clinical death truly occurs during the escape from MacKenzie Air Force Base. (Mid-mission cutscene of MacKenzie Airbase Interior)
Teresa Lipan is shot and assumed killed during the escape from New York City, with the developers heavily implying once again if not outright confirming she was killed. Although the protagonists visit her demarcated gave at the end of this game (and the beginning of the third instalment) and despite Vince Hadden himself evincing significant surprise that she was resurrected, she again appears alive and well. (She is shot in the ending cutscene of Finale in Syphon Filter 2, but is alive and well in the beginning cutscene of Paradise Ridge in Syphon Filter 3) Lipan was equipped with body armour that was strong enough to stop a hail of 9X19mm Parabellum rounds. Furthermore, Chance was standing a good distance away from her, and his weapon was silenced. He was also using a submachine gun, whose effective range is limited even further when suppressed. (She is shot in the ending cutscene of Finale in Syphon Filter 2, but is alive and well in the beginning cutscene of Paradise Ridge in Syphon Filter 3)

Syphon Filter 3

Original information Retcon
During the game's starting cutscene, the end of the previous game is re-enacted.

Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain

Original information Retcon
Zohar killed Fatha al-Hassan during his trip to the Taherir Palace in Sana'a, Yemen. (Sana'a, Yemen: Arms Bazaar) Stone was sent to kill al-Hassan during a bonus mission in Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror. (Trapped in the Hornet's Nest)
Stone insists he only requires one single bullet to finish a mission as evidenced by Pescara, Italy: St Cetteo's Square, in which he assassinates Dimitri with only one round while using his neck snap to kill intervening security personnel. (Pescara, Italy: St Cetteo's Square) In the bonus mission in Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror where he is featured, Stone is equipped with a fully loaded weapon. (Goodnight Sweetheart)
Elsa Weissenger is declared missing in action during a cutscene that plays after Kiev, Ukraine: Chechen Terrorist Base. She is never heard from thereafter, and is presumed missing in action. (Cutscene which plays over the credits) Elsa appears in Stone's assassination of Mara in Syphon FIlter: Dark Mirror. (Goodnight Sweetheart)
Mara is sitting on her balcony during the post-credits cutscene in which Stone is sent to kill her. (Post-credits cutscene) Mara is moving inside her house during Stone's assassination of her in Syphon FIlter: Dark Mirror. (Goodnight Sweetheart)

Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror

Miscellaenous

Original information Retcon
The first Syphon Filter instruction manual lists Lian as being born in California and having obtained several degrees from U.S. Universities. However, this is retconned in the Syphon Filter 2 manual in the following quotation - "Originally an agent for the Chinese MSS, she was recruited in 1996 by the Agency and given a new identity as an American citizen including fake biographical information".
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