Turning Test: Frozen Synapse

By Kieron Gillen on January 19th, 2010 at 3:37 pm.

This excited me when I first heard about it, and excites me even more now that footage has been released and I can see it in motion. Mode 7 Games’ first game Determinance was something which I think most of RPS feel the team over-reached themselves by going full-3D realistic 3D. Frozen Synapse couldn’t be more different. It’s a simultaneous turn-based game with really iconic looking graphics. Think of a non-e-mail-based Laser Squad Nemesis with Introversion’s 80s-neon aesthetic. And if that leaves you confused, the following footage should explain all…

It’s in Beta at the moment and due later this year. I’ll be watching carefully.

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51 Comments »

  1. Jochen Scheisse says:

    Looks like my kind of game!

  2. Scott Kevill says:

    Brain Freeze would be too obvious.

    Turn-Based + Turing Test is more subtle and still fits with Synapse. Nicely done, KG. :)

  3. jsutcliffe says:

    Oh my — that looks quite lovely. I’ll be very interested to see how the single-player part of that turns out. For some reason it makes me think of Breach 2 for the Amiga, though there are probably closer matches for “this is a game like X.” It also makes me think very happy thoughts about mission planning in Rainbow Six (before the series was consoleised).

    Also, WH40k: Squad Command, but that reference is probably best left unexplored.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Breach! Okay that makes me feel old, I remember geeking out over Breach 3′s level editor about 14 years ago… why is no-one making games like that any more? :( (I’m hoping Frozen Synapse will have a solid single-player campaign!)

  4. Amsterdamned says:

    This looks like my dream game, can’t wait to try it.

  5. Riaktion says:

    Been following this game for a long long long long time and really looking forward to its release. The guys who make it have a podcast call “Visiting the Village” which is also a good listen. They discuss gaming news etc and also give updates ont he games progress here and there.

    Thought I would give them a plug as they seem to be in the game design business for the right reasons and just like the cut of thier Jib (Gib?)

    Find it now on something called GOOGLE.. or another obscure program called “iTunes”

  6. malakian says:

    Agreed – Visiting the Village is a top podcast.

    Synapse is looking great!

  7. PixelCody says:

    Looks fantastic, a little unforgivable considering how quickly your characters can die from bad guesswork but I’m sold on the concept.

  8. PixelCody says:

    unforgivable = unforgiving

  9. nabeel says:

    That looks awesome!

  10. Wolfox says:

    That’s my kind of game. Definitely. Looking forward to it.

  11. Vyggo says:

    Plays pretty much exactly like Laser Squad Nemesis indeed, I was so crappy at that game…

  12. PHeMoX says:

    Very cool concept. Almost feels like it’s a new approach to turn based strategy from the looks of it.
    The visuals are cool, but I guess the VR metal gear solid style just needs to be in there with this kind of game.

  13. Sinnerman says:

    I approve of the development of this computer game. Carry on.

  14. Carra says:

    Looks like fun :)

  15. Kelron says:

    I almost ignored this because the screenshot looked like another abstract indie game at first glance. Glad I didn’t.

  16. Po0py says:

    When I was a kid playing Championship Manager and other footy games I used to imagine up a football(soccer) game like this where it would be the same kind of simultaneous turn-based gameplay and you have to predict and plot movements. Teams with the ball would plot out attacking movements/passing shooting and the team without possession would try to predict player movements and send their defenders off in that direction to cover. It would have different player specific stats like pace, passing, dribbling, stanima and tackling. Even going down to weather the player with the ball is left footed or right footed. Once both players had finished plotting their team moves they hit play and watch the results.

    It all stemmed from me being frustrated by the inability, even nowadays, for footy sims to replicate how beautiful the game of football can be when it’s played at it’s best. Playing Fifa and management sims always left me wishing I could do this type of play or that type of play and inevitably had me frustrated about the lack of realism and always being kicked out of and immersive experience. If ever I could make a game it would be turn based footy.

  17. myname says:

    Great, this!
    Shows that a good game doesnt need to waste time on good looks, only on good gameplay. I’ll also be looking forward to this.

    Btw now i think of Prince of Persia – the first one – the only reason why it was great, was the beautiful fluid animations.

    • Rick says:

      The original Prince of Persia was great for a lot more reasons than just the animation, myname. How about the cinematic silent-movie-style storytelling, and the in-game events with the Shadow? How about the unlimited extra lives, but limited time? That mechanic was unique at the time. How about the smooth blending of combat and platforming, with each acting as both action and puzzle elements? Prince was a whole lot more than just good sprite animation.

  18. jay says:

    “Shows that a good game doesnt need to waste time on good looks, only on good gameplay. I’ll also be looking forward to this. ”

    A game should still look good, just you can reduce the time spent on its looks by moving towards more abstract styles which is much more sensible for indie devs, having limited resources and all.

  19. Rosti says:

    Rainbow Six mission planning as a multiplayer action game? Colour me interested.

  20. reginald says:

    its interesting to read in the comments that this is apparently people’s “dream game”

    I’m glad I checked out the video so I could confirm that nothing in the game captures my interest in the least (save for maybe the introvision look). turn-based top-down rainbow 6 ? I’ll pass.

    • Vinraith says:

      @reginald

      Which is funny, because I had exactly the opposite response. On first glance it looked like yet another indie puzzle game, so I dismissed it out of hand, but once I figured out it was “turn based top-down Rainbow 6″ I became very, very interested.

  21. TCM says:

    Looks sexy. But, I am a sucker for tactical mission planning stuff. >_>

  22. RaptorRed says:

    Adding my vote to “Top down rainbow six planning, game Yay” crowd, I used to play the first one by meticulously planning the mission and then just waiting at the start issuing go orders, was so disappointed by the later games loosing that element so im really looking forward to this thRPS for bringing it to my attention.

    • jsutcliffe says:

      I loved the planning phase. You’d sit there at the end thinking “How could this magnificent plan possibly go wrong?” only for things to go tits-up halfway through the mission and have to come up with a new solution on the fly. That was exciting gameplay.

      General question: Did Raven Shield have a planning phase? I don’t remember. I might pick it up again if I can find it cheaply, as it probably still looks decent and I’m sure R6 and Rogue Spear must have aged terribly, since they were not exactly pretty when they first came out.

    • Vinraith says:

      @jsutcliffe

      Yes, Raven Shield had a planning phase, and really stands as the last “real” Tom Clancy game IMO. While I can’t say it’s aged gracefully, the graphics are quite functional and it’s certainly still very playable. I go back to it now and again, as it’s one of my all-time favorite tactical shooters.

  23. Matzerath says:

    My excitement is palpable. Go on, have a feel.

  24. Cynic says:

    Ooh, I like the look of this! Puts me in mind of how the tactical missions from UFO:After* games should have been done.
    Anything that calls to my nostalgia for XCOM and Rainbow6 is worth keeping an eye on.

  25. Wedge says:

    Oh so this is what Ian has been up to? Damn, looks pretty interesting, and should have a feasable single player this time. I loved playing Determinance on a LAN and it was a fantastic bit of tech, but being indie, mainly multiplayer, and constrained by latency sort of hurt.

  26. Malleus says:

    Yes Raven Shield has a planning phase. Also, the AI is good enough to pull off missions on their own (if your plan is good). I know it first hand, just finished Raven Shield entirely in observer mode (I make plan, the AI does the rest). :)

    Needless to say, this “turn based top down R6 planning” game sounds more than interesting.

    • RaptorRed says:

      Most interesting will definitely have to dig up a copy and give it a go, also great to find someone else who played them that way!

  27. D says:

    Kinda like chess innit but with fuzzy and hidden rules. No I am kidding, it looks great.

  28. Helm says:

    I am very hopeful about this. Laser Squad was great but it fucked itself over with the subscription concept, I hope this one is a buy-once-play-forever deal!

  29. Tweakd says:

    Looks great! I hope they implement LOS for MP. ;)

  30. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Looks great, indeed. And I’ll probably be oh so terrible at it.

  31. Johnny Go-Time says:

    This reminds me of the tabletop game called Wings of War (which is great).

    And I love the music, it’s like the ultracool offspring of Jason Bourne and Solid Snake.
    (Ugh, actually that’s a gross mental picture now that I write it…)

  32. Zuni says:

    Woah. The original Laser Squad (not Nemesis) Back in 88 or 89 left such a strong impression at the time that I can still remember the name of my favorite character, Jonlan, as well as some of the maps. We used to hotseat that game on C64 for years.

    This ought to be good.

  33. Ian says:

    Crikey, this looks fun.

    Though I’ll obviously suck at it.

  34. Shadowcat says:

    Po0py: That is an absolutely brilliant game idea.

  35. Hypocee says:

    Upon finally investigating further it strikes me as a bit odd that there’s no LOS – you can see everything, including your opponent’s men, all the time. Designer-guy has stated that they’ll probably put in a LOS option but he feels it’s a better game without LOS and he’s focusing his work around that. That’s indubitably the correct decision for a small indie team – build without compromise. It’s also a fascinating sci-fi conceit, a cyberpunk firefight where everybody knows the situation and works to exploit their enemies’ meatspace limitations rather than preserving secrecy or gaining intel. Still…weird. Hard to imagine it avoiding a lot of stalemates where the agressor loses. We’ll see.

  36. James G says:

    Given all the talk of XCOM, I thought I’d point out that there is one turn-based tactical combat game that we’ll be seeing soon. Frozen Synapse opens for pre-orders open on Monday (no word on price yet) and anyone pre-ordering gets both instant beta access, and a free copy for a friend.

    I imagine RPS will have more on it shortly. I know that Alec went to speak to the devs recently, although I don’t know if this was for RPS or someone else. (If it was for PCG I guess lead times could lead to a bit of a delay before we see anything.)

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