It's been the worst-kept secret in gaming that Starbreeze Studios have been working on a new version of the classic cyberpunk strategy game Syndicate for the last two or three years. That news has now been confirmed.
Syndicate was originally released in 1993 and was released to immense critical acclaim (and is still very playable today). The game put you in charge of a small corporation seeking to destroy its larger rivals and conquer the world. The game was noted for its gameplay - controlling four agents and a ludicrous arsenal of weaponry from an isometric perspective - and its tremendous art design, depicting a dingy, Blade Runner-esque future world of downtrodden citizens and dark, neon-lit cities. An even darker and more atmospheric sequel, Syndicate Wars, was released in 1996.
The new Syndicate will be - predictably - a first-person shooter, but one which will try to recreate the squad-based mechanics of the first game by strongly emphasising four-play co-op. The game will also recreate several missions from the first game (one screenshot suggests the classic Atlantic Accelerator missions will be making a comeback). Whether the game is a linear, mission-based shooter or will have a strategic angle with a world map like the original is unclear at this time.
Of particular interest to SF fans is that author Richard Morgan has written the script for the game, adding to his previous gaming credentials on Crysis 2.
As a huge fan of Syndicate ever since I played the demo (released on a cover disk on Amiga Format magazine almost twenty years ago), the prospect of a new game is mouth-watering, especially since it's coming from Starbreeze, a very good development studio, with a story by Morgan. The loss of the isometric perspective is disappointing: I was hoping that an overhead view would still be included. More worrying is the lack of any news about the strategic component. Choosing your next battlefield, doing work in the lab and taxing the hell out of conquered territories to fund new technology research and dealing with the resulting rebellions was a huge part of the first game and its absence from this version would make the game Syndicate in name only. Here's hoping this element has indeed been retained.
Some more information on the game can be found here.