Sure, EA’s Syndicate may not be a strategy title set in a grim future, but Cartel sounds like it’ll fill the hole in many gamers’ hearts.

In spite of a lot of anticipation, EA’s recently announcement of a Syndicate reboot (also titled Syndicate) met with a mixed reception. This was largely due to the fact that the game is a “visceral shooter” instead of a squad-based strategy game like the original Syndicate and Syndicate Wars were. However, gamers who were felt let down by the move away from sweeping strategy scenarios can take heart knowing that Paradox Interactive is working on a new game that will purportedly capture the spirit of the earlier Syndicate titles.

Paradox’s own Shams Jorjani sat down with Rock Paper Shotgun to talk about the Swedish publisher’s new project, Cartel, which sounds an awful lot like the Syndicate that charmed a generation of strategy gamers back in the 1990s. When asked about what Cartel has in common with Bullfrog Productions’ beloved series, Jorjani went into detail about the overall setting:

“Well it does take place within a futuristic world, and in that world the cartels do have the power to control entire nations. The cartels are more or less megacorporations, and the main goal of the game, of course, is to ensure that your cartel ends up on top. The “feel” of the game is based in that 1980s concept of the mega-corps: OmniCorp in Robocop, for example. The giant corporation that is all-encompassing and evil, but thinks it is doing humanity a favour. We were a little worried that the name had some drug connotations, but it is still actually about the conflict of big corporations.

So yes, you eliminate the other cartels by doing missions, for which you can decide on your strategies. The game is therefore structured in two parts. You have the action mission part and then the part that takes place between missions. On missions you control a squad of elite soldiers and specialists who are controlled RTS-style. There are a lot of different mission types you can send these guys on, such recon and exploration missions, sabotage missions, retrieval missions, assassinations missions, and so on. These are the kinds of things we are currently experimenting with in terms of making the variety of missions interesting.

Of course you don’t just send your agents in blind, either. You have kit them out, customise them and their weapons, and it’s all about giving you control of your gang. You are responsible for making sure the teams are suited to their mission.

Jorjani admitted that Cartel was at least partly inspired by the fact that Syndicate was being rebooted instead of getting a true remake. At the moment, Paradox has an expected development timeframe of somewhere between 12 to 18 months, so long as the company is happy with how it actually turns out.

So far, this sounds immensely promising. It’s been far too long since we had a good squad-based strategy game that combined over-the-top action with a gritty, dystopian future setting. Hopefully this game will turn out to be as great as it sounds like it could be.

Source: Rock Paper Shotgun

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