PC DOS version of Syndicate.
|Year of inception||1993|
The Syndicate series is a series of isometric science fiction computer games created by Bullfrog Productions. There are two main titles in the series: Syndicate (1993/1994) and Syndicate Wars (1996), with an expansion pack for the former, Syndicate: American Revolt. A fourth Syndicate title was released in February 2012. In June 2013, Mike Diskett (lead on Syndicate Wars) launched a Kickstarter for a spiritual successor to the Syndicate series named Satellite Reign.
Both games put the player in charge of a militant global corporation - for which the player chooses a name and logo. Gameplay involves ordering a team of four cyborg agents around gritty cyberpunk-themed cities, in pursuit of mission goals such as assassinating executives of a rival syndicate, rescuing captured allies, "persuading" civilians and scientists to join the Corporation/Church, demolishing buildings, or simply killing all enemy agents.
The player must also collect funds to finance the research and development of new weaponry and cyborg upgrades, by means of taxing conquered territories in the original game, or robbing banks in Syndicate Wars. The cyberpunk megacorp in Syndicate is called 'Eurocorp'. Unlike some games, which either punish the player for civilian deaths or reward them for violent actions committed, Syndicate remains indifferent.
The Syndicate series, particularly Syndicate Wars, is noted for its attention to detail and the intricacy of its narrative. Syndicate Wars' standard manual addresses the player as a newly hired Executive. The entire manual was designed to pull the player into the story and atmosphere as much as possible.
Notable features of both games are the use of context-sensitive background music which changes to suit the mood of the on-screen action, and a high degree of interactivity, in that many objects in the first game and nearly every object in the second game can be destroyed. The visual aesthetic of both games borrows heavily from films such as Blade Runner.
The expansion pack is available for the Amiga and PC, while the sequel, Syndicate Wars is a PC- and PlayStation-only title. Syndicate Wars had a significantly more demanding graphics engine, a heavily modified version of which was used in Dungeon Keeper.
A Bullfrog project named "Creation" took place on an alien world set in the Syndicate universe. The plot was to have EuroCorp as the antagonists, while the player, representing a third-party biologist, utilized semi-sentient dolphins to fight them. The game was eventually cancelled.
In a 2006 interview at the Leipzig Games Convention for Gamespot, Peter Molyneux said that he would like to revisit some of his old efforts, but adds that it is very unlikely that will happen. But Molyneux makes one possible exception: "Aside from the licensing complications, some sort of next-gen online version of Syndicate would certainly be popular with gamers."
Reports of a new Syndicate game developed for EA by Starbreeze Studios came out as early as March 2009 and were officially confirmed in September 2011 along with a release date of 21 February 2012.
On 15 May 2013, Mike Diskett (Syndicate Wars lead) posted a video on YouTube that revealed an imminent June Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for a new spiritual successor to Syndicate Wars, called Satellite Reign.
- "EA and Starbreeze Studios Announce the Revival of the Cult Classic Franchise Syndicate".
- The lost worlds of Lionhead and Bullfrog - From the archive: these cancelled projects offer insights into the ambitions of two great studios. on eurogamer.net
- Molyneux talks game design and next-gen, August 15, 2006
- "Escapist Magazine – New Syndicate Game Confirmed".
- Syndicate Wiki
- Syndicate Unofficial Site Syndicate series unofficial fan site. Also archives several former sites, now defunct, that have been dedicated to Syndicate games series.
- Retrospective: Syndicate