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Frozen Synapse 2 Reveals Gorgeous Procedural Cities

We learned that Frozen Synapse 2 [official site] was in development last month and now we know what it is. Yes, it’s a tactical combat game, featuring customised squads controlled using a simultaneous turn-based system. But what about this open-world malarkey that was promised?

It looks like the gorgeous offspring of Syndicate Wars and Introversion’s cancelled Subversion, which was set to feature procedurally generated cities with breachable buildings. That’s true here as well – a new city every time and you can infiltrate every building. The trailer, below, is as exciting as any I’ve seen this year.

There’s a certain kind of hype video that starts small and then pulls back to show the full scale of the thing being hyped. No Man’s Sky had an onstage presentation that’s a good example of the type.

Saying, “Hey, look, space is fucking massive, isn’t it?” is all well and good but Frozen Synapse 2’s trailer doesn’t have space to fall back on. It has cities and tactics and factions and alliances and betrayals. And it manages to do that thing, where it pulls back and pulls back until you think, “This is fucking massive, isn’t it?” Look.

I want to play that right now. The cities look amazing, the tactical prowess of the systems has already been proven in the first game, and it all just seems like exactly the kind of game I expected to be playing in 2016 when I first played Syndicate in 1994.

The devs confirm in their press release that every building and corner of each procedural map is accessible, and I might as well just quote them regarding how the whole thing works because they reference X-COM: Apocalypse and Alpha Centauri, and make jokes.

“Taking some influence from janky-yet-wonderful strategic monolith X-COM: Apocalypse, the player’s initial role is to investigate a series of incursions by a powerful force. However, a number of AI-controlled factions are also vying for dominion. Do factions ever do anything other than vy? Vye? Anyway, these factions do that and they do it extremely well. Each will express its own ideology through its strategic choices; every faction will have a different approach to the incursions.

“The city map is a living system, with factions determining their own goals independently: think Alpha Centauri but with fewer worms that burrow into your brain. You can pick up contract missions from factions or play in an entirely freeform manner, stealing the resources you need to get ahead, like a cad and/or bounder.

“Everything in the game is “on the map”, from money and supplies to VIP’s, hostages and even the player’s own in-game avatar. If a faction is transporting their ill-gotten gains back from a raid, the player can set up an ambush and try to snaffle the bounty themselves. If the player’s base is raided and they are killed, the game will end. Which is nice.”

The tactical layer is receiving a makeover as well.

“Frozen Synapse 2 will add a significant number of new unit classes as well as more detailed individual perks.

“Our new AI enables stealth tactics: if a guard spots your squad, he will then activate the building’s security system, placing defensive teams on high alert.

“Curved level geometry and new objects like trees, rocks and cars mean that we can create much more realistic areas. As before, everything is fully analogue rather than grid-based, so you can adapt your plans perfectly to fit the level. Coupled with the stealth system, breaching buildings feels a lot more realistic than in the original game. Also, there are toilets.”

There’s more. Talk of multiplayer improvements, stealth mechanics and the fact that a functioning build of the game already exists. That’s not for us to play though. Not yet. A beta is expected sometime this year. I want it now.

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Adam Smith

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