What a time to be alive. Not a moon pie in sight but 2016 is already looking like a fantastic smorgasbord of tactical treats. It’s early February and yet we’ve already seen XCOM 2 and Darkest Dungeon. Now, to make my turn-based existence even more exciting, Mode 7 have announced a full-blown sequel to the supremely entertaining Frozen Synapse . Rather than going with Endzones or Cortexes, as with their sporty spin-off, the team have gone with the self-explanatory Frozen Synapse 2 [official site]. Details are thin on the ground but it’ll be “open world” and it’s coming this year.
This is very exciting. Primarily, that’s because Frozen Synapse is one of the finest tactical games ever made. While the strict turn-based procession of XCOM/X-COM is the most popular example of the form, Frozen Synapse allows each player/AI to spend time planning their troops’ movements and then works out the outcome of those orders and has them play out simultaneously.
Julian Gollop, designer of the original X-COM, used a similar system for Laser Squad Nemesis. By playing out all orders simultaneously, this kind of “We-Go” system (as in, “we go” at the same time rather than “you go then I go”) can create a wonderful tension, as the perfect plan falls apart due to your pitiful failure to second-guess an opponent. The killer shot thuds into a wall while the target of that shot ducks and weaves behind cover, flanking and menacing.
Quite what the open world aspect of Frozen Synapse 2 will mean, I can’t say for sure. A press release is incoming and I’ll update as soon as it arrives. For now, just look at that picture. There’s a ruddy car and everything. I think it’s just providing cover rather than being a usable vehicle but it sure does look pretty.