Syndicate remake 'was always going to be an FPS' - Starbreeze

Director of strategy series reboot planned on shooter approach from the outset, designer says "time has moved on" from old games' approach.

Reboots of classic PC franchises are in style these days, but for every Deus Ex: Human Revolution that tries to hew close to a series' established formula, there's a Fallout 3 or an XCOM that overhauls the formula, much to the consternation of diehard fans. Despite that potential blowback, the developers of Electronic Arts' new first-person shooter Syndicate reboot didn't think twice about rocking the boat, according to an Official Xbox Magazine story.

Developer Starbreeze is trying to pay homage to the original Syndicate with its FPS revamp.

"It was always going to be an FPS," Syndicate director Neil McEwan told the magazine. "The original nub of the idea was to take that viewpoint from the original game and zoom into the Agent's head, and play that part. A closer experience, to become one of those Agents."

Despite that, McEwan said the team is consciously trying to pay homage to the source material, adapting the original game's weapons and tools like the Persuadertron for use in the context of a shooter. The game also features a four-player cooperative mode and levels inspired by some of those in the original Syndicate and Syndicate Wars. Despite that, there is little doubt that the new Syndicate will be a significant departure for the series.

As designer Rickard Johansson told OXM, "I don't want people to stop playing the old games, but time has moved on."

For more on Syndicate, check out GameSpot's review of the series' first sequel, 1996's Syndicate Wars.

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195 comments
NightFox313
NightFox313

Whoa. Four-player co-op! Awesome wicked!

Unholy123
Unholy123

Bah time hasn't moved on from peoples love of a complex, deep, and fun top down strategy game but this guy ability to imagine a good one clearly has

foojam
foojam

"Time has moved on" states the inability of the new developers to make a more complex game, their disrespect to old fans who made this title big, their respect only to money that fps bring these days. Instead of being sincere he tells lies. And if he indeed thinks that time has moved on and we gamers are not allowed to play a game these days that is not a fps he is just a mor*n.

cyberarmy
cyberarmy

@Daemoroth That is a very good read mate, thank you. I think all the fans of classic thinking the same way as you did.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@vincentmon, since it's carrying the name of a classic game that most of the posters have played (And probably worshipped), that automatically includes us in their target market. Otherwise, they might as well call it "Future Shooter: Now with Lasers". Instead, they try to tap into the old fanbase by using the Syndicate name, but now they ALSO want to attract the people playing FPS, thinking that it's cumulative. Unfortunately, people who love Syndicate will ignore this abomination (And any sequels, even if they try to 'correct' this move and release a game that's close to the old Syndicate), and people who love shooters will most probably stick to CoD and BF3 because they don't recognise or identify the Syndicate brand, so they've effectively minimised their potential customers with this (moronic) move. To top it all off, they seem to think we're retarded, trying to make an excuse for their dramatic shift in genre by saying that gaming has moved on. If they had the guts to be honest, they would have said: "Shooters are really hot right now, and they're much easier to port to console because we want to milk it for all it's worth. And that means we need to pick a genre that makes it easy for us. Obviously strategy games are useless on a console so there's no way we can do that. And doing the Fallout 3 thing of putting some RPG elements/free roam in will take too long. We need to release this thing as soon as possible to try and catch the MW3 and BF3 wave."

Just-Breathe
Just-Breathe

We already have too many FPS's in the market. Syndicate should have remained a strategy game.

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

GAMERALL
GAMERALL

Game devs just won't stop until they FPS every goddamn fond memory every gamer ever had form every classic franchise including classic FPS games. Now I'm not sure what does that mean so I'll have to FPS my way to the kitchen and stab myself a sandwich. FPSigh!

max_1111
max_1111

@vincentmon Right... Me and the majority of people commenting on this article (who don't agree with you) are commenting just to comment... Whatever helps you sleep at night man. ...Also who said anything about tryin' to be funny?! Nuthin' funny about dudes like you who think that just because a lot of people agree with Johnny, in this case, that it means they're just parroting what he's saying instead of formulating their own opinions.

Zyclobonzaron
Zyclobonzaron

If they are dumb enough to turn Syndicate into a FPS, it better be the best damn FPS ever friggin' made! LMAO, cavernous gap in the FPS market indeed! How did we manage to survive with such a drastic shortage of FPSs to choose from?

vincentmon
vincentmon

@elven82 Thanks for reading and commenting, and you only made stronger my whole point (where you said "but if you don't like very much aiming and shooting to people you don't like more of half of the game.") which was, if you are someone that doesn't like fps then you are not the target audience, that was the point, i don't like driving games so i won't even bother to comment on them, let alone say something like, "another driving game, who needs it?!" that is simply an unnecessary comment in my opinion. @max_1111 You are from those who comment just to comment, if you have nothing smart or funny (or even your opinion about something) i think you are just wasting time.

Labouskie
Labouskie

I still think the idea of turning Syndicate into a FPS is like leaving a massive dump in the toilet and not flushing. Im not interested whatsoever in this game now and I really dont care that the game has been planned as a FPS from the beginning. That doesnt change the fact that the Syndicate franchise is going to be mutilated this way. Look at how Shadowrun was completely ruined by turning it into a FPS. How foolish to say that these are new times so we are going to make a new game. FPS are far from new and they far outweigh the RTS genre. How on earth is the persuadeatron going to allow for you to brainwash dozens of citizens to follow you, pick up dropped weapons and help you out then give you more money to upgrade at the end of the mission. I cant see a FPS game being able to handle that. I also have high doubts that you will be able to completely blow up buildings while fighting or what ever, unless its been written into the particular story your following. To me making this a FPS is just a really bad idea.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@Brokenhope69, you are making the assumption that they're going to leave all the elements in from the original and simply changing the point-of-view. Unfortunately, if that was the case, the designer would have said so in an attempt to appease the fans (And I would have been cautiously optimistic about that kind of approach). Nothing in what he said even HINTS at that happening. I also enjoyed Fallout 3 and I played the originals as well - I was annoyed by the P.C. move of removing the 'actual' drugs (And addiction) from the game, but I still love and play F3, mainly because it feels like Fallout but from a first person angle. What would your thoughts be if they turned Fallout 3 into a corridor-based, no free roam shooter? Which is what they appear to have planned for Syndicate.

Valas_Azuviir
Valas_Azuviir

@Brokenhope69 @Icehearted. You're overlooking one small tidbit, despite the First Person/Third Person aspect of Fallout 3, at its core, it's still an rpg. No matter how great a shot you normally are, if you don't have the necessary skills trained, you'll be sucking badly when compared to someone with average skills, but who invested in those aforementioned skills. So the over all leap is far smaller, than what's taking place with both X-Com and Syndicate. It's a complete change of genre, from Squad based Strategy Game to a FPS. And often these genre switches end up.. shall we say suboptimal. Look at Command & Conquer and its spin off Command & Conquer: Renegade. Or Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior, when compared to Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. Not exactly rousing examples of commercial success. And there is a market for Squad Based Strategy games. Look at Dawn of War 2, or the upcoming Jagged Alliance: Back in Action. And Strategy games over all sell just fine. Civ 5, Starcraft 2, Company of Heroes, the original Dawn of War series anyone? So when looking at the bigger picture, this genre switch thing is pretty risky over all. And not really indicative of much business savvy or foresight. As countless others have already mentioned, there's a glut of FPS that come out each year, and using a preexisting setting/brand name for a different genre is by no means a guarantee that your game will find itself elevated amongst the top dogs in the genre.

so_hai
so_hai

Of course it was - almost all RTS games become FPS games...

Ryozo
Ryozo

I will admit to being ever so slightly concerned about this change - but perhaps we can wait until we get some actual eyes- and hands-on time before condemning this to oblivion. That said, it does seem highly presumptuous to dismiss the original mechanics solely because of the passage of time. On which note: am I the only person who'd like to see a rerelease of Syndicate Wars that takes advantage of today's computers? We're not asking for Crysis levels of graphical wow! here - just look at Torchlight for an example of a game that manages to work and look good even on a netbook.

DrKill09
DrKill09

Uh, yeah. That's why they freaking hired Starbreeze, a company KNOWN for FPS games. How is this surprising?! :roll:

Yams1980
Yams1980

Another FPS game who the hell cares. Slapping a classic name like Syndicate on it, whats the point. Cybernectic soldiers you control... umm sounds like a game that just came out called Deus Ex 3. Syndicate should remain a real time action stragedy game.

rogerpenna
rogerpenna

I am actually more sad about the XCOM fps than the Syndicate fps. these developers are morons... like if Strategy games couldnt be a hit anymore... have they ever heard of the Total War series? Or Civilization??? I bet these morons would try to turn Total War and Civilization on FPS games if they put their dirty claws on them!

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

This game will go down as living proof that sometimes you shouldn't mess with the established formula. I mean nobody would buy a Metal Gear Solid game if it didn't feel like MGS or if it didn't stay true to the series......

edinko
edinko

was for brokenhope 69

edinko
edinko

@ i stopped reading your comment afer reading that the dumbed dowb crap that was DA2 was light years ahead of origins. you shouldn waste time discussing stuff like this . instead go back to playing kinectimals and other consoleretard titles

Brokenhope69
Brokenhope69

I agree with you completely vincentmon. Gamers are always looking for something to bltch about. Fallout 3 is one of the top games this generation. I've been a gamer since 1991 so I saw all these games and enjoyed them but I'm happy about them being modernized. Fallout, XCOM, Syndicate. All awsome. Dragon Age II was also light years ahead of Dragon Age: Origins. Then you have Duke Nukem Forever that mostly adhered to the old school (quite brilliantly) and it gets torn to pieces. I guess all these numbskulls think there's nothing original or innovative about such masterpieces as BioShock, Deus Ex, Half-Life 2, Portal, Fatal Frame, Arx Fatalis, Fallout 3, Dead Island, Ultima VII, Borderlands, Crysis, Rage, Singularity, Project: Snowblind and Bulletstorm. All very creative and some of the best games made. If you want something not FP that's brilliant then try Catherine, L.A. Noire, Mass Effect, Red Dead Redemption, Baldur's Gate, Dragon Age II, Heavy Rain, Indigo Prophecy, Shadow of the Colossus, The Witcher, Kane & Lynch 2, Alan Wake, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Bayonetta, Shadows of the Damned, Diablo and many others! Quit bltching and play whatever you prefer!

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

It doesn't matter if they do a good job or not. The fact is people are sick of everything becoming an FPS.

firehawk998
firehawk998

I swear to god one of these days EA will revive the Magic Carpet series back as Third Person Shooter you heard here first people.

tgchan
tgchan

bring old BULLFROG back!!! wtf is he talking about he must be some kind of a noob... fps syndicate? ffs...

JJB03
JJB03

yes time has moved on so now every reboot must and will be a FPS simular to that of call of duty just with all the style of an old game made in the ninties...come on! is this is there way of reinventing the wheel? willl we ever move on from fps? it feels like we have been stuck in the same era for the past decade

Icehearted
Icehearted

They did this with Fallout and sales proved it's what people want, so I really don't see why people are up in arms about this. From their standpoint it makes sense. I sympathize, I wanted Fallout 3 to remain true to the previous games, but millions in sales means that will probably never happen again. Syndicate, X-Com, they're just people trying to bring back something old and make money. Hard to fault them, and sales figures don't lie, it's evidently what people want.

stimpy01
stimpy01

What's next a Dungeon Keeper FPS?

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

>Bodom_child If they did, it would probably be a First-Person RPG, i.e. a wannabe Elder Scrolls. Just like how this going to be a wannabe Deus Ex. It seems almost like EA just doesn't care about their piss-poor reputation.

Olgark
Olgark

EA are just going after the cash now. Most EA games now follow a single formula and its getting boring.

FoeCrusher
FoeCrusher

This article should be read,"We are a business that does not innovate, will spend buckets of cash in areas where it is not important to justify our game's high price. We will reduce risk by doing what everyone else is doing namely First Person Shooters and coupling our game with crushing DRM."

MrDouglas
MrDouglas

That Diablo series of games isn't doing too shabby with it's top-down/isometric view, and that little 2d/isometric strategy game, think it's called Starcraft II, sold one or two units as well, didn't it? But I guess time has moved on and everything has to be a FPS today and any kind of action/strategy-gameplay with units viewed from above can't be successful.

Darkreaper_1
Darkreaper_1

"As designer Rickard Johansson told OXM, "I don't want people to stop playing the old games, but time has moved on."" Time has moved on but that doesn't mean you have to make it into a FPS. I'll echo what's already being said on here. If you remake an old game you have look at why the game has such a strong fanbase and why so many of them are against the idea of changing the style of gameplay, especially into a generic FPS. Syndicate was original at the time. I can't think of many top down squad based combat games, with research and mission selection thrown in (among other things), around at that time...or around at the moment! Why not carry on the franchise and make something different? Why not make something fans of the old Syndicate will embrace and will raise the interest of the new players? Why not make a game that'll stand out from the ground of games flooding the market at the moment? I think they're making it into a FPS because it's the "easy option"

Ka113
Ka113

I've got some predictions about how this game will play.. There will be stealth, combat, a hacking mini-game (probably a bad one), insta-kill take-downs and some social interaction. Like every other RPG-FPS that's been coming out on the market the last couple of years.. I remember Bethesda saying that an isometric view was outdated when they turned Fallout into "Oblivion with guns". I'd like to think that BioWare proved them wrong when they released the massively popular and good Dragon Age: Origins. I had hoped other developers would see that as a sign that isometric games still kicked ass but it doesn't look like they did.

dreamforager
dreamforager

Perhaps publishers should listen more to their fans. When Microsoft announced Shadowrun fps fans were nearly unanimous against the idea. The game was such a flop Fasa was closed down which is unfortunate since the critically acclaimed Crimson Skies deserved a sequel. Sega turning Golden Axe into a 1 player RPG was another example. If you are going to relaunch a franchise don't forget why fans enjoyed it in the first place. Don't think fans would be happy if Halo 4 became a Mario-style platformer either.

steveguttenberg
steveguttenberg

It looks like this is a response designed to reassure those worried it won't be enough like the original. But I'm not sure longtime fans will find "time to move on, old man!" very comforting.

Spinxy
Spinxy

i loved syndicate, but turning into a FPS? I have my doubts, but i will keep my eye on this one

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

Here's the thing: it's Starbreeze, the same people who made the underrated Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. Does it suck it's going to be an FPS? Sure. Does it mean it will be just another FPS? No.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

Well, I guess it's good to know that the game was always going to be awful, so it's not like we really lost anything.

Bodom_child
Bodom_child

Please don't let them make a Baldur's Gate Reboot

nevryn
nevryn

I think what it comes down to is a FPS is just easier to port to a console, where they can make more money. Too bad, I loved the original so was looking forward to this, but now since I absolutely hate FPS games I won't be getting it.

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

"I don't want people to stop playing the old games, but time has moved on." In which point this is an excuse to make yet ANOTHER FPS? Time has moved on... creativity too it seems.

Berkut666
Berkut666

Woohoo just what the games marker needs. Another FPS. A new syndicate on the DS or 3ds which was squad based would have been better.