Syndicate Never Stood a Chance


Starbreeze’s CEO doesn’t think the Syndicate reboot “could’ve ever lived up to some people’s expectations.”

The recent FPS reboot of Bullfrog’s classic dystopian Real-time tactics series, Syndicate, hasn’t gone down well with fans. Though there’s still a thematic link – the games deal with corporate greed and its effect on free will – the most recent installment, handled by Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay developer, Starbreeze, couldn’t be more distinct from its predecessors in terms of gameplay and aesthetics.

“Syndicate comes with a lot of expectations,” Mikael Nermark told Joystiq. “Such a great brand, such a great franchise. I don’t think we could’ve ever lived up to some people’s expectations.”

“I love the original!” he continued. “When I got into the industry way back, RTS and that kind of game were my kind of game,” Nermark says. “But you always wanna add your touch to it, you wanna make it your game even though it’s built on a great franchise. So I think that’s hard. Overall, we’re happy.”

Syndicate sold 34,000 copies during its opening week, 2,000 less than Capcom’s Asura’s Wrath, that week’s best-seller. The game itself is decent, if unremarkable; it currently stands at 75 out of 100 on Metacritic. It suffers from an unfortunate visual similarity to Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which leads to numerous unflattering comparisons, but according to Nermark, Syndicate offers something “high production value, high budget productions” don’t: “truly cooperative play.”

“The co-op part is fantastic to me I think it’s a lot of fun to play,” he said. “I think it may be too hard. I’m one of those guys that wants it harder, harder, harder, right? So I think we made it maybe too hard, and we didn’t really … we should’ve thought about the player more. It’s a game made for you to play with your friends, who you really know, ’cause it’s truly a cooperative play, rather than just jump in and play alongside each other.”

The four-player co-op is far and away the best part of Syndicate. Rather bizarrely, it looks and plays more like the classic Syndicate games of yore, especially compared to the relatively lackluster single-player campaign.

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