I’ve been waiting an age for some development of what is undoubtedly one of the shiniest gems in Bullfrog’s defunct tatty crown. As smug wise man say however: be careful what you wish for. EA & Starbreeze recently announced that they would be releasing a reboot of the epic Syndicate franchise as a First Person Shooter. A four player co-op one, but a stinking FPS nonetheless.
What possible rationale could there be for this? Jeff Gamon, EA Partners Executive Producer explains: “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.” Well, yes. However the same could also be said of Star Wars episodes 1 through 3. Nuff said.
The original Syndicate was a fixed isometric point n’ click affair set in a cyberpunk world over which corporations held dominion. The player would have up to four Agents under their command, trenchcoat-clad cyborgs with which to accomplish various mission objectives such as assassination, “persuading” targets or sabotage. A bit like The Terminator if Arnie put on a raincoat and started taking orders from a demented cackling puppet master.
Various weapons could be researched between missions including my personal favourite: the persuadatron, a device to turn civilians, police and eventually other agents to your allegiance, following you wherever you roam picking up weapons and inevitably succumbing to a soft, squishy end when the minigun rounds started to fly.
Despite the blocky 16 colour graphics, the sense of foreboding and immersion into the Syndicate universe was phenomenal, as was that of its sequel: Syndicate Wars, aided in no small part by the sinister Vangelisesque soundtrack.
Like an old flame perhaps I could be accused of being somewhat defensive and protective of the original, also like an old flame It was a long time ago and anyone who has seen it recently will probably have sworn blind that it didn’t used to look quite so much like regurgitated lego back in the day. But that’s how nostalgia works no?
I can only hope that the reboot can retain the air of bleak ominousness of the original games and not be seduced into becoming another vacuous frag-fest. Surely EA would never let that happen, would they?
Maybe they’ll pull a Deus Ex and it’ll be an absorbing, complex and groundbreaking gaming experience and not just a mindless shoot-by-numbers FPS. Maybe the reboot will contain every bit as much atmosphere, imagination and paranoia of the original.
Maybe. I very much doubt it. But maybe.