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Syndicate Reimaging Official

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This was one of the worst kept secrets in the business and it was finally officially revealed. EA and Starbreeze (The Chronicles of Riddick, The Darkness) are working on a sequel to the classic Bullfrog game Syndicate.

But hold on there, Sparky. This is not a remake. A remake would be a tactical/global strategy game if pure awesomeness.

This is a first person shooter.

PR Ahead:

Electronic Arts and Starbreeze Studios today announced the reinvention of Syndicate, a storied franchise at EA. Created by an all-new development team from the awarding-winning studio that brought gamers The Chronicles of Riddick and The Darkness, Starbreeze Studios delivers a unique and brutal sci-fi first-person shooter experience set in a not too distant future, where business is war. Players take on the role of Miles Kilo, Eurocorp’s latest prototype agent, and embark on an epic action adventure full of corruption and revenge.

“We are excited to finally reveal what we’ve been working on the past couple years,” says Mikael Nermark, CEO of Starbreeze Studios. “It’s been a great experience working with EA, and an amazing opportunity for us to use our expertise in the first person shooter and action genres to bring back, and reignite, the signature action/espionage gameplay of Syndicate.”

Set in 2069, Syndicate takes players into a dark, Machiavellian world run without government oversight with many syndicates vying for total dominance of their local market place. With no one to question their intentions or actions, three mega corporations – Eurocorp, Cayman Global, and Aspari – are at the forefront of this brutal war for control of the pivotal American market. In the world of Syndicate, everything is digitally connected, including the people. Players aren’t limited to the weapons in their hands. Through DART 6 bio-chip technology implanted in their head, players can slow down time and breach the digital world around them to take down their foes using a variety of upgradable hacking mechanics.

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“Our goal with Syndicate is to provide a challenging action shooter for today’s gamers as well as fans of the original. I’m sure they will enjoy and recognize the legacy that made it such a classic,” says Jeff Gamon, EA Partners Executive Producer. “Fans of the franchise will recognize many weapons and environments in the game, but in a whole new way. The game also provides a separate and deep 4-player co-op mode featuring missions from the original cult classic, which adds another layer of depth to the overall experience.”

Syndicate will be available in early 2012 for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system and the PC. For more information on Syndicate, please visit www.syndicate.ea.com.

Bill Abner

Bill has been writing about games for the past 16 years for such outlets as Computer Games Magazine, GameSpy, The Escapist, GameShark, and Crispy Gamer. He will continue to do so until his wife tells him to get a real job.

16 thoughts to “Syndicate Reimaging Official”

  1. Syndicate is one of those games I come back to every couple years… no matter the effort required in finding it, installing it, playing it on a new OS. To “reimagine” it’s core gameplay mechanics would make a totally different game. Why not just turn that FPS into a new IP?

  2. This announcement reminds me of oh so many movies adapted from books. If you expect some part of your audience to lay down cash because of the content, why change the content? Oh, right, because you’re both (1) smarter than the rubes who give you money, and (2) smarter than the person who wrote the original story. Putting the Syndicate name on a different type of game is meaningless, except in the minds of this type of person in the game industry.

  3. What amazes me is when they can say things like:

    I’m sure they will enjoy and recognize the legacy that made it such a classic.

    with a straight face.

    If the game’s such a classic, why aren’t they making that instead of a retread of everything else they’re doing right now?

  4. This game could be a deep metaphilosophical statement about modern videogames.

    In the original Syndicate, the agents were mindless cyborg zombies, under the direct control of some uncaring executive, forced to walk a path determined by the exec while commanded to shoot waves of enemies, and using high technology to zap other people’s minds and enlist them to the cause – all to the profit of the corporation.

    With modern FPS design, none of that changes. Just that EA is the corp, and we’re the ones walking a linear path shooting on reflex. And the “persuadertron” of multi-player co-op will work just like the original – the more people who join, the easier it’ll be to persuade others who would otherwise look away.

    I’m looking away though. Every time I see a screenshot of the original, the grief of this upcoming abomination hits me. I’m waiting for the FPS “remake” of Chess – I hear the typical multiplayer “advance and promote” mechanics will be in that too.

  5. This is the problem with these “FPS successors” to old tactical games. Just make your own shooter if you want to, don’t drag down old franchises with you.

  6. If I’m ever, by some stroke of fate, working at a games publisher and I’m in a meeting where the word “reimagining” is used, I’m drawing first blood.

  7. I’m not going to go quite that far. Which is to say, that I think it’s quite possible for a healthy franchise to support more than one style of game. Given a good world/background, you can say all sorts of different things about it through different genres of games.

    Of course, that’s not what’s going on here. First off, these aren’t healthy franchises. They’re old, stagnant ones that are remembered well because because they were appealing games. The worlds they generated is somewhat secondary today.

    I’ll admit that I never played X-Com, or heard of Syndicate before today, so I’m getting a bit theoretical here. But, it seems like they both had worlds that could be of interest in their own rights. And it should be possible to say interesting things about those worlds through the medium of something other than a tactical turn-based game. A good creative team could do something as special as the originals, FPS or not.

    However, there is no sign of that happening here. So far, all the PR sounds like, “People like FPS and people like these old games, so putting the two together = profit!”

  8. Totally agree with you Rindis, but you got me thinking about the worlds of those two franchises, and I don’t think they even merit any kind of “reimagining.” Neither world had strong stories or even characters. X-COM was largely (and deliberately – I’m not bemoaning it) founded on alien cliches, e.g. the small smooth grey aliens with big black eyes. Syndicate had its cyberpunk corporations-rule and mind-control themes… and that was about it.

    This is totally different to, say, Blizzard’s (unreleased) “StarCraft: Ghost,” where the game world already had a strong history, actual backstory and strong characters. There, it makes sense (as you said) to explore different facets of that world from a different perspective – and it helps that that example is Blizzard reusing its own IP, rather than some other developer using it as a PR stunt.

    For X-COM and Syndicate, the true beauty was in the gameplay rather than anything else, and the first thing these “reimaginings” have done is throw away that gameplay. It’s like taking a da Vinci painting, chucking the canvas, and saying “wow, imagine what else we could do with this frame! But we’ll still call the result a da Vinci.”

  9. Transformers… GI Joe… Xcom… and now Syndicate…

    Everyone has already stated all the good beefy points to be made here. My memory of Syndicate is of 4 basically *faceless* murderers. Instead they’re delivering some random harlequin romance novel cover boy with a Gatling gun… lovely. I also remember the game being more in the world of BladeRunner, dark, gritty… the shots they show is some well lit, indoor, light cycle garbage?

    But seriously:

    1: All the people that remember the game, don’t want it to be a first person shooter
    2: All the people that don’t remember the game, don’t care about the title “Syndicate” and will see your game as the next Brink… some also ran, that won’t be bought until it’s on a clearance pile on Steam Oh wait, it’s EA…

    I really wish instead of just making generic shooters, people would try to blend the two (Fallout, Mass Effect both did a pretty darn good job of this). Or better yet… innovate, blow us away… Just once I’d like to see EA come out with a press release that says, “This is a game that will define a generation!” Instead of, “Buy this, please, thanks.”.

  10. Why would they even bother taking the name if they’re going to change almost everything about it? How about we take Madden and turn it into a game where we manufacture pigskin?

  11. As long as I get to mind control random bystanders and turn them into a blood ravenous horde of psychotics in order to achieve my goals, I’m game.

    Frankly, I actually think recreating XCom/Syndicate as they were would have been a waste. You could argue that they could have been more creative in the reboots (an XCom hybrid RTS/FPS would have been cool), but if they just made another tactical strategy game… well… why not just play the old games?

  12. Wrong.

    They would need to turn to Madden into a FPS.

    Doesn’t matter what title/backstory/history it has – make if FPS.

    We’ve done research – FPS is where it’s at. Take Sid Meier’s Civilisation and make it FPS. What? No I’m not mad – FPS is where the money is – everything else is Indie nonsense.

    Shoot me in the head please.

  13. Because with today’s tech those games could be exponentially richer than they already were.

    Imagine playing a turn-based(XCOM) or RTS with a bug-free intuitive UI, coupled with the latest graphics and AI capability.

    Pity it takes more than an corp with foresight beyond $$$ to make that call. EA dropped the ball, just like every other corp, once again.

    They had the chance, just like 2K, to stand out from the crowd. Instead they take an old love, change into some weird slut with herpes, and expect the fans to love it.

    Get farked (EA/2K).

  14. As you say – you haven’t played either.

    I played them in their heyday (that is when they were new AND GROUNDBREAKING!).

    Neither XCOM or SYNDICATE will benefit from a FPS element (XCOM tried before and failed, and now the latest strays so far from the source material it may as well not be in the same game universe).

    The only thing that rings any truth about this latest raping of an old IP is your last sentence.

    Herp Derp – people pay $$$ for FPS, let’s make EVERYTHING FPS! It’s like Hollywood – squeezing another foetid stool of re-make for those movie-goer dollars.

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