Open World Tactics: Frozen Synapse 2 Announced

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.


  1. .backslash says:

    More importantly, nervous_testpilot seems to be back for the soundtrack, making it worth be buy for that alone.

  2. Cipherpunk says:

    Thank you for referencing one of my favorite Simpson’s episodes.

  3. lagiacrux says:


    i bounced of frozen cortex pretty hard, but im excited for another version of frozen synapse.

  4. TomxJ says:

    Be still my beating heart.

    Look at that cutesy little neon car!

  5. draglikepull says:

    I had a lot of fun with Frozen Synapse, but I’m curious what they could do in a sequel to make it worth returning to the concept. It felt like the first game exhausted the idea.

  6. Herzog says:

    As someone who adored Jagged Alliance and also hugely enjoyed the new XCOM I somehow always missed to play Frozen Synapse. Maybe I can make up for it by playing the sequel.

  7. Useful Dave says:

    I hope that picture means they’re keeping more in line with the fantastically minimalist graphics design of the original rather than the cringe-tastic metal and robots EVERYWHERE used for Frozen Endzone and Synapse Prime.

  8. rodan32 says:

    Adam, I will fax you a moon pie with Jasper’s compliments.

  9. Unsheep says:

    The first game was OK, but every map looked the same, and playing similar-looking maps over and over easily gets boring after a while.

  10. bonuswavepilot says:

    Woooo! More Frozen Synapse! Remains to be seen what’s new for this edition, but (tentatively at least), woooo!

  11. Unruly says:

    I see a little neon toilet! It’s up in the top left section of the pic.

    I hope they keep the Sweep command from Prime. That was really the only thing that I liked better about Prime than the original. Sure, you could create it manually, but replacing a series of commands with a single one is just a good thing all around.

    I do like that they’re getting away from just plain rectangular shapes for everything. Giving some rounded edges interspersed within a game of hard corners just makes it look nicer. I’m also hoping that the new shapes let you get a sort of feel for different types of buildings that the fights might be taking place in. It’s a little thing that really has no bearing on the way the game plays, but it makes it a little more interesting to me if I can say “Well, it’s an apartment complex this time.” rather than going “Ok, so generic rectangles again.”

    Oh, and multi-level fights. Gimme stairwells or elevators, and let fights spread out over 2-4 floors. Might have to extend the round limit above 10 for that, but I still think it’s something that would add a little bit of variety.