Syndicate, as you probably know by now, is a First Person Shooter set in the classic universe first established by Bullfrog in 1993. We have taken all the great story elements from the original game – the setting, the mood, the agents and above all the chips – and transferred them into a much faster paced and visceral game, which is something that we think today’s gamers really will appreciate.
Syndicate is not just your average FPS though. It was clear to us from the start that utilizing the agents’ chips was a feature we had to bring into game. We did this through creating a gameplay mechanic called “Breaching”, which effectively simulates an agent using his military grade DART 6 chip to interact with other chips in the world – whether they’re in objects or even in other human beings.
But it’s not all about the chips; no FPS can do without providing the player with an arsenal of bad-ass weapons. The great thing for us was that we had some excellent examples to work with from the original, as well as having a futuristic setting that allowed us to come up with some brand new ideas of our own. In Syndicate you will find the usual suspects like sniper rifles, assault rifles and pistols, although don’t expect them to be anything like you are used to from contemporary shooters. Some of the upgrades you are able to get will transform these seemingly standard weapons into something else entirely. Alternate fire modes that turn an assault rifle into a sniper rifle, and cover penetrating ammunition are just two of the many upgrades you can get for your favorite weapon. Upgrades aside, there are also some new and futuristic weapons that are a ton of fun to handle. Use the Gauss Gun’s lock on mechanic to select a particular enemy and then bend bullets to take him out while you are behind cover. Or simply pick up the COIL rifle and reduce those pesky snipers to a pile of ash. The choice is yours.
In co-op there is a slew of weapons you can utilize as you play the game, and all of them can be upgraded in multiple ways. We have designed our research and upgrade system in such a way that the choice is always with you as a player. It will be you who decides what upgrades your Syndicate’s scientists will research, so you won’t be stuck with upgrades for weapons you rarely use. You might not be a CEO, but you certainly are in charge in this game.
But enough about the game overview, I am here to talk more about the Demo for Syndicate!
We here at Starbreeze have chosen Western Europe, the first of the co-op Campaign missions, to feature in this demo, as it has quite a lot of significance to us and was one of the first maps we built and completed.
Western Europe is pretty much entirely based on the same map from the original game and we have taken great care in attempting to bring it back to life in our re-imagining of the game. Players familiar with the old map will no doubt recognize the flow and general layout, but we have also taken in quite a few level details, not least of which are the iconic light towers.
The story of the co-op campaign sees you, the player, involved in brutal and ruthless corporate warfare taking place across the globe in 2069. As a new Agent of Wulf Western – a brand new corporate outfit on the rise – it is up to you and your friends to take on rival Syndicates on their own ground; eliminate their personnel, steal their tech, and takeover their market share.
In the demo it’s Cayman Global you’ll be challenging; they have established a military outpost in Western Europe that is threatening your own Syndicate’s expansion in the region. This is of course not acceptable, and it’s time to take action.
We have designed the mission in such a way that new players will have a chance to get used to the unique and different mechanics that Syndicate has to offer. These mechanics are all linked to the DART 6 chip your Agent has lodged in his brain. With the use of this chip the dataverse can be accessed. Objects, Weapons and even other human beings that are chipped can be accessed in a multitude of ways and manipulated. We call this interaction a “Breach”.
The very basic function of your DART chip allows you to heal (breach) your team members and, in case healing came too late, you can also reboot them if they are down. This was really our core mechanic for the game and it helped us create a game that really centers on team play. It also allowed us to create a challenging game which, particularly on Hard and Expert modes, will provide countless hours of gameplay.
The normal mode of the mission is intended to be fun and engaging for everyone, but once you master breaching and have moved on to utilize your available breach applications – software upgrades with different functions for your DART chip – then we definitely recommend checking out the harder difficulty settings!
When we set out to create Syndicate, we wanted to create a fast paced, visceral gaming experience that would put the player right at the core of the brutal and merciless world of the original Syndicate. We had a massive advantage in the fact that today’s technology can deliver this experience in a lot more realistic way than was possible 18 years ago.
It was clear to us from the start that Syndicate would feature on the PS3. Apart from the obvious technical advantages, the fact that PS3 owners can play Syndicate co-op for free on PSN was a major draw for us. We certainly hope that many people will take advantage of this possibility because the best way to find out what Syndicate truly is about is to pick up a controller and dive into the co-op Demo!
All of us here hope you enjoy the game as much as we do, and who knows, you might be joining up with one of us soon to make sure Wulf Western gains total market dominance!