Syndicate reboot 'didn't pay off, didn't work' - EA

EA boss says nature of resurrecting old IP is "some stuff works some stuff doesn't," still interested in bringing back franchises for next gen.

Despite Starbreeze Studios' first-person shooter Syndicate notching positive critical plaudits, the game "didn't pay off" and "didn't work," according to EA Labels boss Frank Gibeau. Speaking to CVG, the executive explained that this result was not entirely unexpected.

Syndicate was a bust, EA says.

"That's the nature of the business; some stuff works, some stuff doesn't," he said.

Syndicate launched in February and failed to crack the NPD's top-10 software sales list for North America during its launch month.

Speaking about SSX--another recent reboot--Gibeau signaled that this game had a "very successful launch," and teased a sequel or downloadable content, saying, "You'll probably see more in the future." A recent job listing at developer EA Canada indicates the Burnaby, British Columbia, shop is moving forward with a next-generation action shooter.

Gibeau further explained that EA has "numerous brands" that he finds worthy of making a comeback. He did not say what any of these properties were, but said it's possible these franchises could be reborn on next-generation platforms.

Syndicate and SSX are not the only recent reboots at EA. A new SimCity game is due out for the PC and Mac in February 2013 and will be the first new core entry in the franchise in seven years. It will run on a new GlassBox game engine, which will allow developer Maxis to introduce curved roads to the franchise. The game will also be fully 3D, a first for the series.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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1 comments
santinegrete
santinegrete

Exclusivity on Origin did not help either. I got this dirt cheap because I liked the video review and I'm enjoying it very much, gameplay is great with overall mechanics, great AI and rock solid gunplay. It's a real shame for me it failed.

UrbanMessiah
UrbanMessiah

The game in of itself wasn't bad at all...actually, I quite enjoyed the cyberpunk setting. If they had called it anything else, it probably would've sold better. EA would do well to follow what happened with X-Com Enemy Unknown; stick to the original formula, tweak it a little and make it pretty.

Cirkelinespark
Cirkelinespark

Lesson learnt EA? I forgot, you guys never learn. And just for future reference, KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!

hidehairy
hidehairy

Well, just recently bought this. I'm a veteran of the originals - I liked the SWars most. To my knowledge, hardly anyone played these back then, everyone playing C&C, Total Annihilation, Quake etc. It didn't bother me then, it doesn't bother me now if this reboot is not a blockbuster. I kind of like it. The crazy future with chips and cyborg agents and the killing rampages with collateral casualties... :) In SWars you had the arsenal to destroy the whole level.... (Just a while ago I downloaded dosbox and played both Syndicate and SWars, they were tougher than I remembered :)

 

A crazy idea would have been to incorporate another level of game, where one player was doing the tactical shooting part of the originals, as the real executive, while others would be his agents. And there was always the risk of agent being detonated close to the target as a solution... :)

_Doomsayer_
_Doomsayer_

It didn't "pay off" because EA did not market the ****ing game in the slightest. They released it with no promoting done alongside Mass Effect 3.

Shadows of the Damned had poor sales for the exact same reason. Both games are great, but little exposure led to very little sales.

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

"Some stuff works some stuff doesn't"

 

Yeah, like doing a faithful reboot works, and what EA did doesn't.

y3ivan
y3ivan

if they DIDNT change it to a generic FPS, more gamers expecially the RTS/tactical gamers might have bought it since theirs hardly any good RTS this days.

 

If anyone questioning RTS dont work for consoles, Look at battlestation:pacific, Full spectrum warrior.

ps727
ps727

I played the demo, thought it was fun. Had some friends who were fans of the original that thought the demo was cool as well, more so than I did. The problem is that it doesn't bring any new, innovative features to the genre that allow it to stand out from other FPSs. I thought it was fun for a bit, but didn't really have anything to draw new players into the fanbase. Also, the lag was pretty bad in the demo when playing online, so that kind of ruined it.

Scorpion2929
Scorpion2929

Cause you guys are bad at making games...

jnewco81
jnewco81

Only picked this up last week, really enjoying it. I loved the original and wasn't sure why they decided on an FPS format... But it does work well and you'd be daft to dismiss it on that basis

obliviondoll
obliviondoll

Yes. Syndicate was a failure.

 

Releasing two similarly sci-fi themed shooters with 4-player co-op on the same day, and putting MASSIVE effort into advertising one while basically having your marketing team ignore the other...

 

I WONDER WHY IT DIDN'T SELL WELL?

 

Maybe because you DIDN'T BOTHER TO ADVERTISE IT AND WERE HEAVILY PUSHING A SIMILAR PRODUCT RELEASED AT THE SAME TIME?

 

Idiots. And idiots posting here saying that changing from a top-down shooter to FPS is the reason for the failure. IT WAS ALWAYS A SHOOTER.

xxYetterxx
xxYetterxx

This is what happens when you reboot a game while ignoring the ip's original fanbase

auntbessie
auntbessie

I had to give up, can't get past a certain point cos it keeps crashing on PC, bit annoying that really, I didn't mind it though, was alright as far as FPS's go

SauhlGood
SauhlGood

and mary had a little lamb.... these are things we know 

 

this game reminded me of "The Asylum" movie studio who releases movies that are blatant copycats of popular movies and you know its just a cash cow, you know its prolly gonna suck, and your thuroughly vindicated when it does...

 

RIP syndicate franchise, id be surprised if EA did anything with the franchise now after this, just ffs not another FPS if they do

acemcgregor
acemcgregor

If they had just made it work like the originals but updated everything and added further depth it would've sold fine. Didn't EA learn anything from Shadowrun?

Roweb0t
Roweb0t

i agree, game was GARBAGE.

Axe_Armor
Axe_Armor

Well what did you expect for butchering a beloved classic?

maalth
maalth

EA didn't create Syndicate.  Bullfrog (whom they bought) did.

Madball357
Madball357

FPS adaptation of a great strategy game fails.

 

BIG SHOCKER.

 

And these people get paid how much? FFS.

Landsharkk
Landsharkk

Really?  EA you are so freaking dumb

 

Anyone who played the original syndicate could have told you the game you created would not be successful.

 

When you take the name of a successful IP and then bastardize it in order to release it to the ignorant masses (in a good way, ignorant as in - aren't familiar with the real syndicate game), you are just asking for failure.

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

Their new SimCity remake will fail too (sadly) because of the forced online mode, the inability to create multiple saves of a city (there's only 1 save allowed per city), the ability for other players to ruin your city while you don't play, the high pricetag and already announced DLC madness, the requirement of Origin and lots of other nonsense.

 

I would however be interested in buying again if they release it non exclusive to Origin, don't include any DRM, don't require me to be online to play it, allow me to create as many savegames as I want, simulate the economy offline (including cross city trade, etc.), include modding support, for multiplayer allow me to host my own server and offer it for a reasonable price.

 

Knowing EA however, SimCity will be a for marketing purposes only dumbed down cashcow.

Maxis should've known better though, looking back at what their ambitious and innovative game "Spore" (Will Wrights GDC presentation of it from 2005) ended up as after EA got their hands on it (a meaningless, shallow kids game).

wexorian
wexorian

Don't make FPS Reboot from outstanding classic RPG game Next time and maybe it won't fail :)

electronic_eye
electronic_eye

Bought syndicate day 1 and love it. Sad it didn't do better sales-wise.

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

Ehhh a reboot isn't really a reboot when you just slap old IP branding on a completely new product. New Syndicate was NOTHING like old Syndicate - why would you expect a product like that to trade on the previous product's goodwill? If anything, the opposite will happen. They were trying to appeal to new fans here (and the game wasn't good enough) not old fans.

 

Man, gaming publisher executives are as clueless as Hollywood execs. And they hold so much of the power in the industry now. No wonder gaming standards are going down and microtransactions, online passes, day-one DLC and other ways to fleece us of our money are going up. EA execs = clueless and don't understand gaming/gamers at all.

jonajacket
jonajacket

As one of the few on the planet who has played all Syndicates to completion I can say the reboot is a good game. The campaign has a weak story line but the action is very satisfying.

 

The multiplayer is awesome though. I much prefer cooperative MP to competitive. Working as a team is essential, especially on the hard difficulty setting. Shame there will be no new maps :(

Conjuration
Conjuration

Completely evil company.  I don't buy anything they make.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

Severe disconnect between this suit and the ones who hold the franchises dear.

nurse_tsunami
nurse_tsunami

Just don't ruin the SimCity IP and we won't have any problems, EA.

12inchnails
12inchnails

I agree with most gamers here, the whole FPS idea ruined the game.

spetz_naz_basic
spetz_naz_basic

Least surprising failure of the year, but only because the X-COM shooter isn't coming out this year (and probably never will).

 

It was obvious from the start that nobody particularly wanted this game. Obvious to everybody except EA and certain writers from certain sites who wrote gushing previews last year.

makryu
makryu

Butchered franchise+generic  FPS=Fail

 

Not that hard, is it?

-The-G-Man-
-The-G-Man-

"positive critical plaudits" = yellow on metacritic?

toddx77
toddx77

I had never heard of Syndicate before this game came out so making it a FPS to attract new players is pointless.  I didn't say "oh wow its a FPS so now I'm going to play".  Actually when I found out the originals weren't a FPS my response was "wow why would I want to play a reboot that had its genre changed simply to pander to the COD crowd?"  No wonder why it didn't pay off EA.

ziproy
ziproy

Why is it that these big corporations just don't understand. I could have told them as soon as they announced this that it wasn't going to "pay off". It was just a cash grab that also served to end one of the greatest PC genres ever made. If you are going to reboot or great a sequel to a genre at least put some love into it.

 

Tsuchikage
Tsuchikage

Syndicate didn't work for the same reason that XCOM (assuming it ever sees release) isn't going to work, either:  the audience interested in a new Syndicate game doesn't want an FPS that has almost nothing to do with the Syndicate games they love, while FPS gamers didnt know what Syndicate is and didn't buy it, either.

Jato_81
Jato_81

 @_Doomsayer_ It wasn't just the lack of marketing, I think it more went down to the total lack of appeal to the fan-base of the original. The last thing any of us needed was another fps in a saturated market.. If the didn't wanna go isometric I would of settled for 3rd person action. 

3v1LR0n1N
3v1LR0n1N

 @y3ivan for the last bloody time the original syndicate wasnt an rts it was a tactical isometric shooter

obliviondoll
obliviondoll

 @Madball357 Nope. It was a squad-based tactical shooter. FPS is the most appropiate modern genre for a remake. The problem was releasing it right next to Mass Effect 3 and only promoting the game that already has a current-gen fanbase.

 

I'm an old-school Syndicate fan, and the new game was AWESOME. It just needed EA to actually SUPPORT it.

HeavyStorm
HeavyStorm

 @Madball357 Perfect comment. What didn't work was not a "ressurection", it was a "reboot", which, I think, never works. 

Tidal_Abyss
Tidal_Abyss

 @bloody-hell

 They sure know how to ruin good games. I think you mentioned it all (thanks for sparring me a rant!). Well said.

obliviondoll
obliviondoll

 @wexorian RPG? That's a new one. It usually gets accused of being RTS. NEITHER is correct though, it was a tactical SHOOTER. You know what the "s" in "FPS" stands for? Yeah... SAME THING.

obliviondoll
obliviondoll

 @TurambarGS The co-op is actually quite closely linked to the original. Obviously you never played the game though.

 

What EA needs to learn is how to NOT RELEASE TWO DIRECTLY-COMPETING GAMES ON THE SAME DAY... or they could have at least put effort into advertising BOTH of them... Maybe if that happened, they would have had enough sales for a decent crowd to notice the game was worth making the devs support it. And if they supported it, maybe the fans would still be spreading the word so it would keep selling. Because the game is BRILLIANT, but DESPERATELY NEEDS PATCHING, and the devs have moved on to other projects, because EA ARE BEING MORONS.

Landsharkk
Landsharkk

 @TurambarGS 

I agree 100%

 

If they had re-titled it to something else, then maybe I would have bought it.  This time, however I did NOT buy it purely based on the fact that it is NOT syndicate.  Syndicate is not an FPS game.  

 

 

obliviondoll
obliviondoll

 @makryu Great tactical shooter franchise given great FPS reboot = win.

 

Until they decide to release it on the same day as one of their biggest titles for the year, and forget to promote the better product.

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

 @toddx77 A game being an FPS doesn't make it a CoD clone. Those who actually played the Syndicate reboot understand that.

obliviondoll
obliviondoll

 @Tsuchikage As a big fan of the original Syndicate AND the remake, I can safely say you're horribly wrong. They needed to PROMOTE the game properly, and if they had actually bothered to do so, it would have done well. Unfortunately, promoting this game might have reduced the hype train surrounding Mass Effect 3, since it was scheduled for release on the same day. Maybe if they'd actually released it with more sensible timing it would have done better. Maybe if they'd thought of promoting it anyway it would have done better. But no, EA were their typical moron selves and screwed a quality product over then somehow failed to realise it was their own stupid fault.

s_h_a_d_o
s_h_a_d_o

 @Jato_81  @_Doomsayer_ 

I think you're both correct - indifferent marketing for an ill-advised re-imagining of a beloved brand resulted in alienation of the potential audience, and gamer disinterest generally. It's a pity, because the game is actually rather good - it has it's flaws, but it does stand out as a somewhat innovative FPS, in a world overpopulated with poor examples of the genre.

ZOD777
ZOD777

 @johnny_pay There are 2 XCOM games in the works.  The one by Firaxis is a true reboot of the original Enemy Unkown.  2k Marin is working on a FPS XCOM game that has been pushed back to sometime next year.  XCOM Enemy Unknown is due out in OCT.

inaka_rob
inaka_rob

 @Richmaester6907 I enjoyed the %%%% out it if. I really don't see what all the complaints are? It was short, even with the on-line co-op. I enjoyed though.