Syndicate reboot: It could be worse…
EA has finally got around to confirming Starbreeze’s long-rumoured Syndicate reboot and some fans aren’t happy that it’s more Deus Ex than Syndicate. But imagine what it would be like if Peter Molyneux was still in charge.
Anyone old enough to remember the original Syndicate probably already knows most of this, but here’s a quick refresher. Syndicate was developed by Bullfrog, the studio founded by Peter Molyneux, who also the producer on Syndicate. Molyneux later sold Bullfrog to EA then left to form Lionhead, where he has headed up the Fable series, among other things.
Somewhere along the line, Peter Molyneux changed. He went from being one of the most talented, most respected innovators in the games industry to being… it’s difficult to put into words, but he’s become an odd sort of running joke. He’s a very clever, very successful joke, but a joke nonetheless. He just doesn’t seem to make much sense any more, especially not to fans of his earlier work.
So anyway, the cross between Deus Ex and Riddick that Starbreeze has been charged with producing under the Syndicate name might seem a far cry from the brand’s origins, but don’t go thinking it would be any closer to the action-strategy classic if Molyneux was steering the ship. It’d be more like this…
• The whole thing would be controlled using Kinect. Not using some kind of point and click interface that might just about work. No, in first person, on-rails and totally baffling.
• You can’t build agents in a lab in a matter of seconds. You have to nurture them individually from birth. And you can’t just choose, say, flamethrower specialisation. If an agent is good with flamers it’s because of a convoluted story event involving fire that happened when he was 14 years old.
• Agents can get married in the middle of missions. It’s the only way to make more agents.
• You have to give your agents stupid nick-names like Mini-Gun Rascal and Turd Slayer.
• Every squad consists of four agents and a cybernetic dog that you have to pet every 2 minutes to stop it whining incessantly.
• No acorns appear in the game whatsoever, despite repeated promises that they would feature prominently.
• You have to dig through seven layers of really long, confusing menus just to put the lapels of your agent’s trenchcoat down.
So count your lucky stars. Or lucky Starbreezes, even.