EA confirms that the long-rumored Syndicate reboot will be a "visceral FPS experience."
Here's proof that EA's much-maligned Origin platform is good for something: thanks to an entry for a game that was posted on the system, presumably unintentionally, and then taken down, the world now knows that the Syndicate remake that's been talked about for years is the real deal. Sort of.
According to the description, which was posted on NeoGAF along with a half-dozen screenshots, the new Syndicate will be "a unique action shooter set in a not too distant future, where Business is War." No more top-down rampaging through crowded city streets with squads of drugged-up cyborgs packing miniguns and trench coats; instead, players will take on the role of Miles Kilo, the latest bio-engineered, chip-augmented Agent for Eurocorp, who embarks upon a "brutal action-adventure of corruption and revenge."
MK's "chip enhancements" allow him to slow down time and see through walls, and if that, not to mention the presence of the word "augmented," strikes you as oddly familiar, there's a good reason. The entire premise of the game - huge, powerful corporations using enhanced agents to battle for control of a dystopian future - sounds very Deus Ex and the screenshots posted on Origin could have been taken by Adam Jensen himself.
The new Syndicate will boast upgradable weapons, armor and gear for a "visceral FPS experience" set in a story written by award-winning novelist Richard Morgan, who according to Wikipedia specializes in this sort of thing. "Society is, always has been and always will be a structure for the exploitation and oppression of the majority through systems of political force dictated by an elite, enforced by thugs, uniformed or not, and upheld by a willful ignorance and stupidity on the part of the very majority whom the system oppresses," Morgan said in a 2002 interview, which sure makes him sound like the right man for the job to me.
And it sounds like it might be pretty cool, but does it really sound like Syndicate? Syndicate was ridiculously violent but it was also a strategy game, forcing players to think, act and react to evolving situations. Sometimes it was fun to just let the boys off the leash but in most cases, shooting without thinking would lead straight into disaster. No matter how good it is - and as far as that goes, the inevitable comparisons with the excellent Deus Ex: Human Revolution are likely to weigh heavily on it - is this new game really going to do anything for long-suffering Syndicate fans?
The new Syndicate will reportedly support four-player online co-op play with nine missions "reimagined" from the original game, although bear in mind that EA has yet to make this officially official, so at this point it's all still technically an unconfirmed rumor. As such, there's no word on launch date or platforms, although more information is expected to be revealed in the upcoming issue of the Swedish magazine Gamereactor.
UPDATE: And now it's official, as EA and Starbreeze have confirmed the "reinvention" of Syndicate. "Our goal with Syndicate is to provide a challenging action shooter for today's gamers as well as fans of the original," said EA Partners Executive Producer Jeff Gamon. "Fans of the franchise will recognize many weapons and environments in the game, but in a whole new way."
Set in a world in which mega-corporations have supplanted national governments, the new Syndicate will in fact offer a separate four-player co-op mode as well as the standard single-player option, with "chip breach gameplay" based around the biochip technology implanted in Miles Kilo's brain will allow players to use a variety of "upgradeable hacking mechanics" to take down their enemies.
A website at www.syndicate.ea.com wasn't actually available at the time of this update but should be live soon, so you might want to keep an eye on that. Syndicate is scheduled for launch in early 2012 for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.