Syndicate This: Satellite Reign Launches On Early Access

Prepare to download jubilation and dispense judgement, agents: Satellite Reign has arrived on Steam Early Access.

The game’s been covered a-plenty on RPS since it was teased all the way back in May 2013, and that’s undeniably been helped by its promise to be the successor to long-forgotten series Syndicate. I said long-forgotten. What’s an FPS?

Satellite Reign is not a mere slavish imitation of its forebears: one clear design shift is the addition of role-based abilities and specialisations, whereas the Syndicate games largely treated your four-man teams as interchangeable bar differences in loadout. Satellite Reign’s approach dovetails nicely with the game’s promised focus on “behaviour, not scripting”, suggesting open-ended levels with multiple solutions possible for challenges.

The game’s brightly-lit environments look delightful; it’s the same sort of neon-lit cultural fusion of old and new that made Blade Runner‘s cityscapes so memorable.

Elite Special Agent Rossignol went hands-on with the game back in October, and also interviewed SR lead Mike Diskett back in July. 5 Lives Studios still have plenty of work to do, but to release a version of the game into the hands of players is something to be celebrated. It has been a long time coming.

If your interest in Satellite Reign is, like mine, at least partially driven by nostalgia, you may enjoy revisiting the intro cinematic for Syndicate Wars. I remember watching that when I was 14 and thinking it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. Feel free to laugh at my childhood; it did seem to involve an inordinate number of low-resolution PC game intro sequences.

For the rest of you, I apologise for the excitement visibly oozing from between each letter presented before you. My brain has been hacked. Sned hlep.

36 Comments

  1. AshRolls says:

    I tried to read those words but all I could think was SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE SYNDICATE

  2. Vorrin says:

    No please, don’t watch that awful intro!! Watch this one instead ( aka Syndicate intro >>>> Syndicate wars intro (that, or I just was of the right age at that point) )!

    • Shaun Green says:

      Also glorious, but needs more miniguns!

      • Vorrin says:

        heh, nah, yours has got too much polygon ;D!

        I think that intro is, together with Day Of The Tentacle’s and Ultima 8’s , in my most memorable intros top 3. (oh wait, maybe also X-com the first! ) (oh, maybe also Sys Shock 1)
        (thanks god c64 wasn’t that great for intros)

        • thekelvingreen says:

          Oh I don’t know. The little brown box had some good efforts, like this: link to youtube.com

        • Shaun Green says:

          I love the UFO / X-COM intro, particularly because it looks like a French graphic novel rather than anything like the game. The music is great! Oh and the first System Shock is a good call as well.

          Since we’re on the subject I think Mechwarrior 2’s intro was genuinely good for the time.

          • Vorrin says:

            hah, yeah that’s really true re. Xcom, I also remember being quite surprised by the clash between intro graphics and actual graphics… but I reckon it worked quite well in making your imagination fill in the gaps in the game’s looks, with something cooler than what was there :D (heh, and yeah, rewatched mechwarrior 2’s intro, was pretty epic too, tho I find that old school rendering really didn’t get old too well)

    • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

      Ah, yes, that is a great intro. Even when one watches it without sound because one is playing the ported abandoware Amiga version. Even more so, I’d say.

    • BenAttenborough says:

      Or watch this great TV advert: link to youtube.com

  3. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    It just finished downloading, I’m about to fire it up now :).

  4. jellydonut says:

    I backed the Kickstarter, but I’m still not sure if I should fight the impulse to play early access and wait instead.

    • Mirqy says:

      Same here. I think I’m going to hold off, for a while at least. I think the early access thing is good for games where it would be fun to watch their development, but this strikes me as something that would be better to dive into when feature-complete (if it isn’t already), polished, debugged, balanced etc etc.

      • Guvornator says:

        The last version I had (i.e. the one before the Steam Early Access release which i assume is a new one) didn’t have saves enabled. I’m not going back until they are. It’s a wonderful city to explore, and it’ll only be tainted if I have to play the same sodding mission at the start.

        • Vorrin says:

          eh, I also backed this, and I tried it for a few minutes yesterday night, I basically decided to sit back and wait, what’s currently there looks really a bit more basic than I was expecting (and imo, possibly a bit too early-days to ask money to non-backers for) , so, my 2 cents are ‘you are doing fine, wait for it to be at least a bit more done’

    • anandus says:

      Same here.
      I did have a quick peek though, walked around for 10 minutes to see what the atmosphere was like. And I like what I saw. And now I’ll uninstall it and wait for the final release.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Having played it in its early state, I’ll say you should definitely wait.

      They’re not joking when they say it’s very early.

      • jellydonut says:

        Oh. :( Okay.

        • Premium User Badge

          Harlander says:

          I feel like I’ve kicked a puppy now.

          Have a brief go by all means – the atmosphere and visual style is already pretty solid. But it’s not worth playing yet, really.

          • Premium User Badge

            Hodge says:

            Having had a quick play of it, I’ll second this. The city is amazing and it’s great fun to just wander around soaking it all up, but as soon as you to try to complete the missions all the glitchy, unfinished stuff gets in the way.

    • Morte66 says:

      Wait.

  5. Sp4rkR4t says:

    I and my many gems are going to win this game in the auction when it comes back up, then I’m probably not going to install it until it leaves Early Access since I can’t imagine it’s the type of game that works well half baked.

  6. Philopoemen says:

    I’m sort of wary of the whole role-based thing – one of the joys of Syndicate was the fact that you had an objective and how you completed that was entirely up to you. I can’t count how many ways my 11 year old self carried out the Colorado Assassination mission, from snipers, flamethrowers, to 30+ remote bombs going off simultaneously and chugging up my 486 Sx33 with the blossoming explosions…

    I liked the morally grey corporate world, and Satellite Reign’s world seems more immersive, but it seems you;re being cast as the “good guy”, rather than the morally ambiguous world where you see how many people you persuade before spinning around with a flamer and sending their fiery bodies forth…

    • Chris Cunningham says:

      I thought that at first about Xenonauts introducing role-based weaponry (shotguns and sniper rifles) when these weren’t present in vanilla X-COM, but it worked brilliantly. So long as roles don’t pigeonhole characters to the point where it’s impossible for one to fill in for another they add flavour to the mechanics which you’d otherwise just add in your head anyway.

    • jellydonut says:

      But the boring thing in Syndicate is that you had four agents that were generally all kitted the same way. It was a pain in the ass to control them individually, as well.

      I think it’s a good change, in Syndicate having four agents was more akin to having a bigger health bar than having 4 discrete characters.

      • Emeraude says:

        in Syndicate having four agents was more akin to having a bigger health bar than having 4 discrete characters.

        Which fit the amoral, dehumanizing mood of the game perfectly really: individual agents were nothing but a cog in the unit. It’s all machine from the top down, even the working structure.

        That being said, good that Satellite Reign can differentiate itself. Wouldn’t want it to be a perfect clone, game is going to need its own identity.

    • Guvornator says:

      Surely having more option on your squad means even more ways of completing your objectives? Regardless, you can still play it in good old “team of 4 badasses grouped together shooting everyone”. And the R&D aspect is still there, so you can still pick and choose weapons according to your needs. What’s really changed is the fact that all this happens in one location – there’s an open world with a variety of missions that you start purely by entering the mission area. I REALLY like this – it feels much more natural.

    • Eggman says:

      It’s way premature to conclude that the player is cast as a good guy.

    • Rufust Firefly says:

      If there are vehicles, I hope that they’re less fiddly. The egg cars could pack like 30 people in them, but driving them around was way harder than it needed to be and there’s at least one mission (involving kidnapping a doctor from a hospital, if I recall correctly) I’ve never finished in Syndicate because I couldn’t click on the right pixel.

      • Ravey says:

        They made some improvements to vehicles in SW – they were more predictable, gave proper feedback when you issued a move command, auto-parked by the wayside, and had lifebars (I guess visible damage as a means of providing feedback hadn’t been ripped off from Dune 2 [or Street Fighter 2!] at the time.)

        Dozens of small improvements in SW, and in general, I think it was a more ‘playable’ game; just not as innovative or presentable as the original.

  7. thekelvingreen says:

    My PC is too rubbish to play this but I have just managed to get a hard drive for my Amiga 1200 and I’ve installed the original Syndicate. That counts, right?

  8. natendi says:

    Yes! I loved that intro for Syndicate Wars too! Also the one for Tiberium Wars!

    • Shaun Green says:

      Hoo. This is the first time I’ve thought about Tiberium Wars in a long time. But yeah, I do remember really liking that one too. It made the big combine harvester anti-infantry unit thing actually look cool.

  9. somnolentsurfer says:

    I watched that trailer and it made me want to play Cannon Fodder.