Speculative Rumour: Is Syndicate Coming Back?

By John Walker on October 18th, 2008 at 1:32 am.

Will Kieron start wearing the leather coat again?

Well, if this is true, it’s a bit of a surprise. CVG are claiming that EA will soon be announcing a new Syndicate game. Yes, Syndicate. Way back in February EA signed a deal with Starbreeze to make an old game from the EA cupboards. Known as “Project RedLime”, no one knew what it was. Kieron madly guessed Archon. We naturally asked you to guess, and kudos to commenters who got it. (Apart from the ones who listed the entire EA back catalogue). If CVG are right, that is.

Syndicate stands out for two important reasons. One, it was utterly great. And two, it’s responsible for Kieron’s… well, it’s responsible for Kieron circa 1993 to 2005. His life was really just one giant Syndicate cosplay. (Okay, it stands out for proper important reasons too).

So Starbreeze. Most famous for the highly enjoyable Chronicles of Riddick, and more recently The Darkness (and probably hoping we don’t remember Knights Of The Temple), they’ve no priors for the RTS. Clearly their focus so far has been on action, whether first or third person. So might this be the direction in which the Syndicate franchise is heading? Or will they go against type and make something true to the original? Or are CVG talking out of their bottom hole? Only time or psychic powers will tell. (Thanks to Pod for the tip).

I still can’t believe it isn’t James Pond.

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51 Comments »

  1. ikigeg says:

    Syndicate was amazing, so truly special in my memories. From that first person exploding into flames, to the mighty mighty power of the gauss rifle, and the pseudatron (sp?) allowing you to create a huge body shield – to keep all your junkie agents warm in that bitterly cold landscape!

    I hope they succeed in bringing it back to its full glory :)

  2. Tony says:

    Holy shit.

    I loved Syndicate. And I might have to play it again if I ever find the disks.

  3. Heliocentric says:

    I realise only now how much of a programming masterpiece this game was. I’d have a 150 swarm of civies cops and agents i bum rushed with my mind control thingy and all of them violent.

  4. Bhazor says:

    Probably Molyneux’s best game. I’d hate to be the lead designer on this, hella big shoes to fill and a whole lot of fans just waiting for an excuse to rip you a new one.
    A steam release of the original, patched to work with technology from space year 2008, might be on the cards now as a way of drumming up some hype.

  5. Pags says:

    I actually started playing Syndicate again recently, courtesty of DOSBox. Not sure how comfortable I feel with Starbreeze handling it, if the rumours are true. The Darkness was pretty weak.

  6. Reid says:

    Well, Syndicate was pretty action-y for an RTS.

    God, It was like a revelation when I learned you could blow up the banks to steal the cash in them.

    Coolest weapons ever — the satellite was appalling frightful and the nuclear hand grenades were a wonder. Psychogas was always a lot of fun if you had a lot of guns lying around.

    Ohh, the Atlantic Accelerator . . .

  7. ZenArcade says:

    “EA will soon be announcing a new Syndicate game.”

    What’s wrong with this statement?

    I’m sceptical, no offence.

  8. eyemessiah says:

    JUST DO IT.

    Atlantic Accelerator was easy! All my guys had tons of lasers, I finished it on my first try! (I think, my memory is a little hazy. I often had to reset my computer mid level though because my mum kept coming in to make sure I was doing my homework. FUCK YOU MOTHER!)

    SWARS was nice also, I keep trying to revisit it because I never finished it, but its hella hard. Stylish though. And it has animated GITS on the billboards. And nuclear handgrenades. And razorwire. And really crazy sandbox multiplayer.

    Great stuff.

  9. Martin Kingsley says:

    I think I was the only one who…didn’t…quite…get…Syndicate. Granted, I was, like, six years old when I got to playing the bastard thing, but for some reason it just never grabbed me. The game never seemed to want to tell me what it was I was supposed to be doing, or how any of the guns worked, or…anything, really, and so I ended up confused and sad, like a brain-damaged kitten stuck up a drainpipe. Maybe now, all these years later, I will appreciate Syndicate for the piece of genius programming that it evidently was. I wanted to like it, honest!

  10. du bios says:

    If EA do a new Syndicate (as opposed to, say, a vaguely cyberpunk FPS called Syndicate) surely it’d be on DS?

    eyemessiah “FUCK YOU MOTHER!”
    But can you afford her?

    (Is it possible to be addicted to “your mom” jokes?)
    (I’m already addicted to your mom so that’s half-way there…)

  11. Nick says:

    I don’t recall Syndicate agents having long hair…

  12. Norman the carpet says:

    Don’t try replaying the old version, your memories will be utterly decimated. God, we were naive.

    Can’t fault the attitude though.

  13. malkav11 says:

    Starbreeze also did Enclave (Knights of the Temple never came out in America and I didn’t realize they’d done it. I guess to their benefit.). Which was a very pretty, kinda broken, forgettable sort of hack-and-slasher for Xbox, and a very pretty, stylish, less broken, forgettable sort of hack-and-slasher for PC. I’ve played it partway through. You can see bits and pieces of what made Riddick work, they just weren’t there yet.

    I think they could do great things with Syndicate.

  14. NoNamePls says:

    So Syndicate was like Commandos but with World in Conflict gameplay?

  15. Pijama says:

    …I, I… I don’t know. Say what you want about our good fella Molyneux, but a sequel to a game of his without him doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. : |

  16. RichPowers says:

    EA: we ruin good games.

  17. Optimaximal says:

    So, nothing concrete then? It could quite easily by System Shock 3, Bioforge 2 or one of the many other licenses from companies like Bullfrog that EA will happily sit on like some bloated corporate cyber-squatter.

  18. Him says:

    There are perhaps two companies I would trust with a project of such Amiga-nostalgia. Elemental Games (developers of the mighty Space Rangers series) or Katauri Interactive (King’s Bounty, obv.).
    Put one of those two in charge, and you’d get a modern retelling faithful to the original, not simply ‘inspired’ by the original.

  19. Thiefsie says:

    Dungeon Keeper 3. Woooo

  20. Candid_Man says:

    Could be worse. Could be developed by Bethesda.

    “Cyberpunk, for us, is a hobo with cyber-arms running around and killing things.”
    -Todd Howard

  21. hydra9 says:

    Chronicles Of Riddick was fantastic (and kudos to RPS for making me buy it!). After playing that, I have every faith in Starbreeze.

    And Syndicate….! Wow! I honestly never thought we’d see a sequel to that classic! I’m excited… uh, as long as it’s true.

  22. kafka7 says:

    O M F G

    Syndicate was my first time in 1997. (Imagine a game that good being your first purchased PC game?). I played it straight through until completion at 5am. My flatmate complained that the noise had kept her awake – the volume control required batteries (which I didn’t have), but I had wrapped my cheapo speakers in old t-shirts in a vain attempt to muffle the noise of destruction. Ah, memories!

  23. dean says:

    OMG
    Syndicate is, i think my favorite game of all time. i played it on my amiga 500 over and over again. I cannot wait. Seriously cannot wait :D

  24. sinister agent says:

    OMG IT WILL BE FIFA 2009 WITH GUNS FFS EA

  25. derblaue says:

    w00t! great news!

    As much as I loved syndicate, I also equally didn’t understand the ‘finer’ points of it (blowing up banks, recruiting new agents… it always eluded me). Then again, I was only 13.
    I think a new syndicate game could be quite awesome, though it will never ever recapture that feeling the first one gave me *giggle*

  26. sbs says:

    Ahahaha, Archon.
    I just personally hope it won’t be a real-time strategy… I love me some cyberpunk, but hate playing RTS. I’d be perfectly fine with turn based tactical, though.
    And damn, Riddick. Another game I do not even dare to start playing, just because It would wind up unfinished as soon as I return to one of the other dozen unfinished games I have installed…

  27. pkt-zer0 says:

    Bethesda or not, with a publisher like EA, I don’t see the game being anything other than a console FP/TP shooter. Still, Riddick was awesome, so this might turn out pretty well.

  28. Robin says:

    “Don’t try replaying the old version, your memories will be utterly decimated. God, we were naive.”

    Crazy lies. It’s aged quite well. A damn sight better than Syndicate Wars has at any rate.

  29. Tei says:

    I loved the demo of Sindicate, but not much the game itself for some reason. I think I hacked half the demo to add weapons, vehicles and stuff. It whas crazy as a sandbox.

    It was interesting to move in trains or cars, imagine GTA with cyberpunk style, controlling 4 characters, with a weapon (the persuadertron) that let you build your army of minshased drones…

    Now that I think about it, any game could get better with a GTA sandbox style. Imagine gigantic tetrics blocks falling from the sky!.. WHOOOAAA.

  30. phuzz says:

    Syndicate as an FPS? Wouldn’t that be Deus Ex?

  31. Premium User Badge Nero says:

    I played quite a lot of Syndicate Wars back in the day. I really liked the voice that said the weapon you selected. Bring that voice back!
    I have a feeling that this might be a third person shooter or something, maybe something like Full Spectrum Warrior. We’ll see.

  32. sinister agent says:

    What’s the betting that there’ll be ten times as many adverts, and they’ll all be for real things? What’s the betting that this guaranteed money and advertising is, in fact, the only reason they’re bothering?

  33. unique_identifier says:

    “James Pond.”

    bahaha i remember some classroom machine that ran that wonderful game back when i was a wee young thing.

  34. Ian says:

    Let’s hope this doesn’t put the mockers on FreeSynd (http://freesynd.sourceforge.net/index.php).

    If EA were clever, they’d put cash and time in to make sure this remake got done as free publicity for their remake.

  35. hydra9 says:

    @Ian:
    EA are so ‘clever,’ they’ll probably shut the remake down…

  36. Funky Badger says:

    Syndicate are great. Obv.

    Also, while we’re on the subject: Hostile Waters 2!

    MAKE IT HAPPEN!

  37. hydra9 says:

    @Funky Badger:
    *BING* It did!

  38. Slimjim says:

    Awesome, awesome, awesome. Syndicate was the first game I ever bought. I remember pestering my Dad to get the extra memory needed to play it on our 386. All these years later and it’s still in my top 5. Played it recently through Dosbox and it’s lost none of the brutal magic. Miniguns, trench coats, oh hell yes.

  39. CUS says:

    Friday?

    A messianic figure on some underground forum, knew about this on wednesday.

    http://www.beexcellenttoeachother.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=117038#p117038

    But sadly didn’t get to complete scooping it there – so, kudos to you. Next time Gadget… next time!

  40. Cooper42 says:

    And when Molyneaux was expressing a desire to go back to syndicate a few months ago…

    Now, not wanting to jump the gun here, but I predict that the resulting game from EA and starbreeze will not appeal to any fans of the original games…

    That being said, though, if EA are prepared to go back to syndicate – then maybe cyberpunk games are not dead…

  41. th15 says:

    Whoa, we need James Pond. How can we not have James Pond.

  42. phil says:

    The last time we had a Syndicate thread a programmer from the Amiga version and subsequently Syndicate Wars turned up, which gave us a chance to variously praise his initial masterpiece and enquire whether the squeal was dumbed down for the console crowd.

    Will lightening strike twice?
    No, no it probably won’t.

    Still a 3D direct control Syndicate, perhaps with ‘Goblin Commander’ unit management system, would be ace.

  43. Cataclysm says:

    I remember Syndicate well. I remember having a mob of civilians swarming the city courtesy of the persuadatron and fitting 200 people into a small 2 seat hover car was always funny.

  44. Heliocentric says:

    good god, i’d forgotten about the clown cars, set one on fire and then watch hundreds of flaming boddies pour out of it.

    I still think the next syndicate should be a squad based tacical game, but by tactical, i am still remembering these guys are cyborgs not weak fleshy humans, still i’m hoping for multiplayer focus, simply because. single player games wont have missions where the enemies use civilians are cannon fodder. 4 cyborgs in fps with co-op optionally, and counter op (like left 4 dead) but, hundreds of simple AI’s.

  45. harvb says:

    I predict it will be awful. I have absolutely nothing informed whatsoever to base this on, so I am bound to be right. Huzzah!

  46. El_MUERkO says:

    my friend had a pc long before me, i used to go round his house and play syndicate wars and drool at the new 486 DX2s in shop windows

  47. megaman says:

    I played it then, I played it again a couple of months ago. And I never found out about the banks. How could I miss out on this?

    (Although money really never was a problem in syndicate, no?)

  48. ChrisF says:

    EA don’t own the rights to James Pond, Millennium did, and they went to Creature Labs when Millennium was sold to Sony.

  49. anonymous says:

    it is in fact true – working closely with starbreeze in the last months i can confirm they are developing a new syndicate game