Long before he waxed hyperbolic on stage at various gaming events, and even before Lionhead Studios was producing "Fable" games, Peter Molyneux was the co-founder of a small studio called Bullfrog. While the "Populous" series would launch the company to fame – including an Electronic Arts takeover – Molyneux was also a producer on the 1993 tactical game "Syndicate." There have been rumors of a new "Syndicate" title for over a year, but EA officially announced today that Starbreeze Studios are working on a "reinvented" version of the game.
About a year ago, it was discovered that EA and Starbreeze ("The Darkness") had filed copyright on a number of uses for the word "Syndicate." This launched quite the storm of speculation that the classic game was getting a reboot, with Starbreeze consistently referring to their new game as "Project RedLime."
"We are excited to finally reveal what we’ve been working on the past couple years," said Starbreeze Studios CEO Mikael Nermark via press release. "It's been a great experience working with EA, and an amazing opportunity for us to use our expertise in the first-person shooter and action genres to bring back, and reignite, the signature action/espionage gameplay of 'Syndicate.'"
Did you notice the important three words in that quote? Yes, the new "Syndicate" is apparently a first-person shooter. The original 16-bit game, which released on the Amiga and PC before finding its way to the Super Nintendo, was played from a fixed, isometric viewpoint. You controlled a big corporation, hell-bent on taking over the country with a four-man team of grunts. Apparently, the new "Syndicate" will focus more on one particular protagonist.
The new game's hero, Miles Kilo – he sounds like a jazz-playing drug dealer – is a new agent at Eurocorp, and will "embark on an epic action adventure full of corruption and revenge." The game will also feature a 4-player co-op mode that allows you and some friends to play through missions taken from the original "Syndicate."
The classic mission co-op sounds interesting, but I'm intrigued to hear the reactions of the first game's fans. It's a pretty massive step to take a 16-bit era, isometric game and turn it into a sci-fi, first-person shooter. Actually, now that I think about it, there seems to be a trend here.
"Syndicate" is set for an early 2012 release to PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.