Syndicate, the brainchild of Peter Molyneux's Bullfrog studio, was well ahead of its time when it was originally released in 1993.
Although an early example of the real-time strategy genre, it remains a very good game today, and was all the more noteworthy at the time for providing an uncompromisingly gritty depiction of the future rather than the more common, rather cheesy '60s, '70s and '80s sci-fi inspired style seen in many other futuristic games.
While the recent reboot of Syndicate wasn't a complete disaster, the shift from isometric real-time strategy to first-person shooter irked a lot of fans significantly. The aesthetic and mood was intact in the new game, but many of the more interesting emergent gameplay mechanics from the more freeform original game had been lost. People were still hungry for a true successor to the original Syndicate games, whether or not it still carried the official Syndicate branding.
Enter Satellite Reign by 5 Lives Studio, a project that aims to provide that Syndicate successor fans have been hungering for for so long. The team at 5 Lives is made up of a variety of experienced professionals who have worked on a number of high-profile games over the years, including Grand Theft Auto IV, Darksiders II, L.A. Noire and, encouragingly, Syndicate Wars, the second entry in Bullfrog's original series.
Satellite Reign is a slightly different beast to the original Syndicate in that you're not spoon-fed specific mission objectives in discrete levels; instead, you're presented with an open-world dynamic city that responds to your actions and goes about its business in the meantime. By day, the streets are full of people; by night, criminal organizations come out to play. Everyone in the game world will react to the things you do, and it'll be up to you to make the best use of the things you find to advance your own goals.
Satellite Reign is being funded through Kickstarter, and is currently at just under £300,000 out of its £350,000 ($530,000) goal. There are six days left to run on the campaign, so it's reasonably likely it will attain its goal, but whether or not it will reach any of its proposed stretch goals remains to be seen -- this kind of project often sees a sudden influx of backers in the final hours.
Proposed stretch goals include the recruitment of the original Syndicate series composer Russell Shaw; translations into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Russian and Czech; environmental destruction -- a key appeal element of Syndicate Wars; the addition of new enemy factions and city districts; a multiplayer co-op campaign; and the recruitment of Russell Zimmerman, who is composing a companion digital novella for the game, as the project's full-time writer.
There's some great rewards on offer on the Kickstarter page, so if you want to support the revival of Syndicate's particular blend of dystopian sci-fi and real-time strategy, head on over sometime in the next six days and show your support.
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