Starbreeze says the new Syndicate game was always intended to be an FPS because “time has moved on” and left the old game behind.

So how does everyone feel about the news that the Syndicate do-over at Starbreeze is actually a first-person shooter? My own internal fanboy is a little disappointed, I’ll admit, not because I don’t think it’ll make a fine shooter or have concerns about the talent at Starbreeze – they’re the Chronicles of Riddick guys, remember – but because I was actually looking forward to a new, well, Syndicate: a top-down look at corporate greed taken to its ultimate end in a grimy, brown, post-industrial future.

But that was never going to happen, according to Game Director Neil McEwan. “It was always going to be an FPS,” he told OXM. “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.”

“We’re big fans of the original Syndicate, and we’re definitely paying as much homage to it as we can – bringing across the essence of the world, the core essence of what it is to be an Agent,” he continued. “That sounds wanky but it’s true – we’re taking the Persuadatron and evolving it in different ways, the weapons and brutality. On both facets of the game, the co-op and the single player, it’s very key to stay true to it.”

Sounds great but if you’ll allow me a bit of pedantry, the agents at work in the original Syndicate weren’t heroic J.C. Denton types; they were effectively mindless machines under the direct control of an “eye in the sky” overseer who fine-tuned their performance by injecting [or withholding] copious amounts of drugs. Based on the classic opening cinematic, they didn’t exactly enter the profession voluntarily, either.

Maybe Miles Kilo is some sort of special super-agent or maybe Starbreeze is taking a few liberties with the fiction of the original game. Whatever the case, designer Rickard Johnson made it clear that, like it or not, Starbreeze believes the sun has set on the Syndicate of old. “Hopefully [the] co-op [mode] is a great nod towards the old gang,” he said. “I don’t want people to stop playing the old games, but time has moved on.”

Syndicate is set for launch in early 2012 on the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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