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.
The FPS perspective doesn't bother me in the slightest.
In 1993, first-person games frankly looked and ran like poop. Devs wouldn't be able to create entire cities like in Syndicate in an FPS game.
But if you think about it, the FPS scheme is actually the most likely/viable in terms of in-game canon. You play as an executive controlling the cyborg drones - the bird-eye perspective is explained away by you being situated in a blimp above the city (!?!?).
If this actually took place, it would be more likely the executive would use cameras/bionic eyes in the drones' heads.
aaand that's why I think the FPS perspective can work tremendously well. All Starbreeze needs to do is to get the atmosphere right.
That cover is SO Syndicate though. It gives me goose bumps. Serious goose bumps. I have faith. (and I still have my original Syndicate Plus CD-ROM and game manual)
Syndicate... now there is a blast from the past. I wonder if they'll let you zombify dozens of civilians and use them as cannon fodder like you could in the original. :D
Really happy that this news finally broke. And though I'm with you in terms of feeling a mite trepidatious about the absence of any mention of what made Syndicate Syndicate, back in the day - oh, my dear sweet Amiga 500, how very much I miss you! - I'm going to try to be optimistic about this, I think. Certainly the new Deus Ex has rather buoyed my hopes, and Starbreeze are, as you say, an excellent developer, with a great track record behind them. Even The Darkness wasn't terrible, and going off of the comic, there was every reason for it to be.
In short: fingers firmly crossed.
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