Syndicate is back.
EA and Starbreeze Studios are on the cusp of delivering a new and re-imagined version of the classic 1990’s original, one that despite changing tact and jumping over to the first person shooter genre, never erodes the original spirit and impetus of the revered and acclaimed original.
TGL caught up with EA Partners Executive Producer Jeff Gamon to talk about taking Syndicate into the 21st century, why Starbreeze were the right studio for the job and why upholding the spirit of the original is the most vital component of this new game.
Here we go….
TGL: Why re-imagine Syndicate? What is it about the Syndicate brand that justifies a reboot for a new generation of gamers?
Jeff Gamon: Within EA there’s always been a desire to bring back the original Syndicate. I’ve been within EA for about ten years now and as long as I’m here, there’s always been different ideas bouncing around as to how we can get Syndicate back out there. So when we partnered with Starbreeze, we had a studio that was renowned for revitalising older IPs and turning them into new legitimate gaming experiences. Starbreeze were the ideal partner to take the Syndicate brand and give it the respect it deserves and nurture it into a quality contemporary game.
TGL: So why make this reboot of Syndicate an FPS? Why change from RTS to FPS?
JG: If you distil Syndicate down to the story, the worlds, the agents and the brutality of what it represents, then you begin to see Syndicate in a different way. We wanted to think about how we could bring Syndicate to a new generation of gamers and make it relevant. We wanted people to be in the boots of those agents, so we decided to go the route of FPS. You also get a new level of progression into the game this way too with character development and research and things like that.
TGL: How important is it to stay true the original and what are Starbreeze doing to put their own stamp on brand?
JG: We really just wanted to re-imagine the Syndicate. Upholding the spirit of the original is vital. Co-op is indicative of the original with four agents specialising in different elements and raiding enemy territory together to kidnap, highjack or kill rival Syndicate scientists or executives. It’s a new way of complimenting the past.
TGL: Is the model of taking older classics and bringing them back for a new generation something that more developers and publishers should adhere to and push further?
JG: There’s definitely something to be said for taking those old IPs and remaking them for a new generation but then there’s people like you and I who are old enough to remember the original games. But a lot of gamers today never played the original Syndicate. It doesn’t mean as much to them as it does to you or I so it’s encouraging to see them get to experience Syndicate in some way be it in the old form or this new form.
TGL: Syndicate comes out in February, which is a pretty quick turnover for the game considering that it was only announced a couple of months ago…
JG: Yes, that’s true. But it’s been around for a long time. We started the project off small and tried lots of different ideas to get the project off the ground and deliver a quality shooting experience. It’s aimed at core gamers. It’s brutal, it’s violent and it’s tough so we feel like we’ve created a core shooter that really compliments the Syndicate brand. Our shooter experience is first rate, so too is our A.I.
TGL: Do you think that this version of Syndicate will get the thumbs up from Peter Molyneaux and the original Syndicate team at Bullfrog?
JG: We’ve spoken to some of the guys who worked on the original and they’ve played it and they love it. It’ll be interesting to see what the rest of the Bullfrog think of what we’re doing.
Syndicate will release on Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC this February 24th