Frozen Synapse Prime PC Announced, Reforges Original

Hang on, that’s not the contrasting green, blue and red I’m used to! There’s been a robbery of extreme colour, replacing it with bluish greys and skyline backdrops! Just one of the changes made to Frozen Synapse in the Prime version that’s coming to Steam on November 14th. It’s a port of the Vita, uh, port with some added goodies. I actually quite like the old Synapse art, it’s simple but unique and nicely abstracted enough from the usually quite extreme violence being committed. Fit the tactical feel of the game as a whole, too. The other changes are less controversial and there’s a trailer to show them off.

Developers Double Eleven, who’ve worked on a host of console ports previously, bring word that the Steam version includes Arena Mode, which they’ve detailed thusly:

Maps, squads and unit placements are not random in the new Arena matches, but created and balanced specifically for some awesome new multiplayer showdowns.

The Arena maps were conceived by our most devious designers, to challenge players to strategize a little differently, combine the strengths of your squad in new ways, and utilize the terrain like never before.

There’s an ongoing vote for which ones should be included in the game on the Steam community page.

Along with the graphical overhaul, there’s a big list of changes from the original game. The highlights are a rebalanced and redesigned campaign, which was originally fun but did have a habit of dragging and a jagged difficulty curve. It’s also pulled from all 40+ missions that were in the base game plus it’s Red expansion pack. There’s also new commands available for units and improved AI, meaning smarter instructions and better reactions.

No word yet on what it’ll cost or if there’ll be a discount for those who own the original, but keep an eye on the Steam page. I’ll likely be using it as an excuse to dive back into Synapse, which was always quietly one of my favourite games of the past couple of years to play in quick bursts. It’s as close to top-down Counter-Strike as I’ve found a game to get, its mechanics and best tactics shared between the two games.

19 Comments

  1. Viroso says:

    I like the old look better, given the game’s fiction. I imagined the blue as a rough visualization of a real place like an office space, you only saw what was necessary. This one makes it look like the entire world is weird metal walls.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Yes, this is a pretty dumb choice in my mind. The story even has a moment of resolve where it acknowledged you only see what is needed, so why is the world made out of foil baking trays?

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Definitely. If given the choice, I’d pick the classic look any day of the week. I’m hoping they don’t force us to upgrade to Prime.

    • Shadowcat says:

      It’s really quite astonishing how unappealing this looks by comparison with the original visuals. Why anyone approved this look is beyond me.

    • TomxJ says:

      It was the strong visuals that attracted me to FS in the first place. The Gameplay improvements would have to be pretty astonishing to suck me into the new artstyle given the brilliance of the original. The death animations don’t look as brutal either, which is a shame, you should winch everytime one of your guys gets whacked.

      Maybe they’ll release a version with the best of both worlds in terms of updated gameplay and original graphics.

  2. gnodab says:

    Finally, more grey! That is what games are missing these days. Now let’s hope they release a GOTY edition next and add some brown.

    • Baines says:

      I don’t know… Can modern graphics cards handle grey and brown at the same time? Surely that concern is why developers reverted to 256 color monochrome years ago.

  3. povu says:

    Now I need to play the entire soundtrack again. Especially those from the Red expansion.

  4. bonuswavepilot says:

    Man after playing enough hours of original FS it is jarring to hear them chopping bits of the lovely soundtrack into each other at the start of that video…

    Some of the changes suggested sound alright (better multiplayer code, sweep view around fixed point), and there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of them breaking the good stuff… We’ll see. Will certainly be keeping an eye on it though, I loves me some Frozen Synapse.

    From a dev response in the steam thread: “We are working on something special for owners of the original game, the game will be available as a 2-pack for friends who want to go toe-to-toe and no we won’t be using Steamworks for the multiplayer notifications, we use out own in-game solution. “

    • Heliocentric says:

      The Steamworks notifications were ace though, you boot up steam and yup… 2 turns need doing, that’s brilliant.

      • jezcentral says:

        But have they sorted the two-weeks-without-taking-a-turn-means-a-loss? I got into FS in a BIG way, but got bored of multiplayer as too many opponents would just stop playing, once it became clear they would lose, and the game would never award the win to me. This happened so may times, I just got disheartened.

  5. Scandalon says:

    Did they revamp the tutorial and/or UI? I loved the idea of FS, but once things progressed past the basics, I could never make enough sense of the UI to properly give the orders I wanted

    • gollum_krumen says:

      You must have had some pretty complex stuff in mind, then. I hadn’t once the feeling not to be obeyed perfectly by my soldiers.

    • suibhne says:

      I found the UI mostly decent, but some things were a bit more difficult than needed. E.g. the method for dialing in an exact view angle was less than intuitive, and complex paths with numerous waypoints were sometimes damn difficult to manage. It looks like some of the controls are significantly cleaned up in this version.

      On the other hand, I really dislike the new art. Bah.

  6. SlimShanks says:

    I can’t help but notice that if you made a WW2 version of this game, except that it was realtime, and you had to control 100 units at once on a map big enough you had to scroll around it, it would be Men of War. At least braindead soldiers makes sense in Frozen Synapse.

  7. HisDivineOrder says:

    It’s interesting to watch a studio not understand the charm of their original lightning in a bottle and proceed to strip it out, bit by bit.

    • bonuswavepilot says:

      You might be right about the charm being bled out, but this is the studio who did the console ports of the original, “Double Eleven” rather than Mode 7 who came up with the original game.

  8. KFee says:

    let’s make it slightly different for $$$…
    Greedy Mode7