Syndicate: 'FPS plays to our strengths... we're not going to please everyone'

Developer discusses its Bullfrog reinvention

Perhaps the worst kept secret in the games industry, EA's and developer Starbreeze (The Darkness, Chronicles of Riddick) are remaking PC strategy classic Syndicate - and it's a first-person shooter.

In its announcement earlier this month, EA said its goal with the reboot is "to provide a challenging action shooter for today's gamers as well as fans of the original".

This is an extended interview from PSM3's exclusive 10-page Syndicate cover feature. For more details, exclusive screenshots and opinion buy PSM3 online and have it delivered to your door


"I'm sure they will enjoy and recognize the legacy that made it such a classic," said EA Partners executive producer Jeff Gamon.

Ahead of the game's official reveal earlier this month, PSM3 visited Starbreeze to quiz creative director Neil McEwan, and lead designers Rickard Johansson and Viljar Sommerbakk.

Read more details on the remake via the latest issue of PSM3 here.

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How much of a challenge has moving from RTS to FPS been in terms of translating what people expect from a Syndicate game?

Neil McEwan: I think you're never going to please everyone. I'm a Syndicate fan. Just the original premise of being able to just pan that camera down in-game, inside that Agent's head is the inspiration for where where've gone really.

Rickard Johansson: We have to keep in mind at all times basically, the basic feeling we're trying to provoke here, which in itself isn't hard because the Syndicate world is very rich and in terms of a world to play in. I think that world should have many different types of gameplay.

Viljar Sommerbakk: We definitely want to play towards our strengths as a company. We believe that we do first-person games reasonably well and it was natural for us to get that closeness to the world that a first-person perspective brings.

RJ: Getting into the head of a character is kind of what we've always tried to do. We've also tried to give nods here and there so people who are familiar with the original games will definitely see that we've taken some care to show we actually feel love for the games ourselves. But that's fine. That's the legacy bits, and we don't want to go too far with that.


VS: Yeah, we don't want to force it on you.

Given that you're making this game now in 2011, do you think you've got a clearer view of what 2069 might be like? In 1993 they barely had mobile phones...

VS: In 20 years when people remake this Syndicate they're going to say, 'well now they didn't have this thing y'know'. Technology is always evolving but we always think that we know better than those that came before, but another 20 years along the road we might have got everything wrong.

RJ: It is interesting because today and in just a few years actually, this consumer society, we are there, with the pads, when they were introduced, and smart phones, when they were introduced, that kind of changed us.

NM: We all know this is the way it's going. It's evolution. This is kind of what can go wrong (all laugh)...

Do you see a world where Syndicate can be real?

NM: I hope not. (laughing)

What sort of modern media has influenced your vision for Syndicate?

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