Won’t Take Much Persuading: Syndicate For Free

Don’t panic, I mean the original one, not the forgettable Starbreeze shooter (though it did have a decent multiplayer mode). Given Recent Events it’s a good time to look back at glory days Molyneux/Bullfrog, a time when that studio’s games were rewriting the rulebook. So, I heartily recommend grabbing Syndicate from Origin today, given it’s currently free.

This will require you to install the Origin client, but in this case I can say that it’s unequivocally worth it. The cyberpunk squad-strategy game (or is it? It still defies easy genre categorisation after all this time) may show signs of age, but a coherent and ambitious fusion of tactical yet flexible action and big, open, sci-fi places it remains. It has a heart of satirical darkness too.

If olden Syndicate seems too olden for your flightly millennial ways, then there’s always the very impressive work-in-progress spiritual sequel Satellite Reign. I must check back in with that soon.

It’s unclear how long EA’s ‘on the house’ offer works, so I’d get a move on if I were you. Hopefully we’ll see more Bullfrog classics turn up similarly – it was Theme Hospital the other week, after all. Dare we hope for a Dungeon Keeper or two?


  1. Yhamm says:

    and on the French site the free game is Pants vs Zombies : link to origin.com (it may be only possible to play it in French though)

    • shutter says:

      France requires a certain level of localization by law, and there’s no localized version of the older games to give away, so Origin just gives away PvZ instead. They’ve done the same for a couple of the previous older titles they’d put On the House, like Crusader.

      • SigmaCAT says:

        So I guess that means no Syndicate for me? Or should I fiddle around, and get two for one? :D

    • caff says:

      I would pay good money for Pants vs. Zombies.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Ben Barrett says:

    That shooter is injustly defamed :( It was fun, 7/10

    • Awesomeclaw says:

      Agreed, I had a lot of fun with it. The only reason I didn’t finish it was that it always crashed at a certain section.

  3. April March says:

    The multiplayer of Syndicate (2014) was indeed pretty cool. EA should’ve sold it based on that. And with a different name.

  4. tobecooper says:

    Dungeon Keeper was free on GOG around a year ago. Probably when you were braving Diaper-land, mistah Meer.
    So I suspect it’s going to show up free on Origin too. Eventually.

  5. Darth Gangrel says:

    I got Dungeon Keeper for free from GoG, no DRM system needed. I think I would rather enjoy the “forgettable” Syndicate version, but then again, I’m also thinking about getting the 2009 Wolfenstein some day, so I guess I’m a lost cause.

  6. Chiron says:

    Origin you say? Best stick to the “Yarr” version and Dosbox/Virtual machines

    • SirSalami says:


    • melancholicthug says:

      This version uses DOSBox also!

      • Chiron says:

        And Origin, its two of my least favourite bits of software combined!

        • Great Cthulhu says:

          Presumably you only need Origin to download the game. I’ve never encountered a Dosbox game that required Origin/Steam/etc. to play.

  7. airmikee says:

    “It’s unclear how long EA’s ‘on the house’ offer works, so I’d get a move on if I were you.”

    According to the order confirmation emails I’ve received, each game is available for free for about four weeks. I’ve got emails for Syndicate, Theme Hospital, SimCity2000, Crusader, Dragon Age:Origins, Bejeweled 3, Wing Commander 3, Peggle, and Battlefield 3 going back to June, 2014.

    Having spent $0.00 on Origin, it really is worth having installed for the free games.

  8. Papageno says:

    So will this early 90’s game run on a modern machine?

    • airmikee says:

      I haven’t installed Syndicate yet, but every other old game I’ve received from Origin’s ‘On the House’ has worked for me.

  9. Continuity says:

    I love Syndicate… whats that? Origin client.



    • neffo says:

      You only need origin to download it, you can safely move the folder anywhere you want after that (and never run the thing again).

      • ansionnach says:

        From the page:

        I’ve got Syndicate Plus on CD so this isn’t a question for me, but since Origin isn’t (really) required to play there doesn’t seem much difference in how it’s obtained. Of course, EA might disagree, and I don’t see this being added to the Wikipaedia page on commercial games released as freeware (along with the C&C games), but for something that’s about 50MB and downloaded in a few seconds, what really is the difference between installing Origin, downloading this and removing the vile client… and not doing this (especially when EA haven’t attached cast iron T&Cs)?

  10. Spacewalk says:

    Thanks, but my soul is worth more.

  11. iainl says:

    I don’t mind having Origin installed, myself. But I do suspect that Syndicate benefits from being left to my nostalgic memory.