Syndicate creators worry their game is too hard
“Games today are too easy” we keep telling ourselves. “Remember when games were hard?” Apparently Starbreeze does, creators of the up-coming Syndicate reboot. What is it about when somebody tells me a game is too hard that actually gets me really excited? I think its because games today just are too easy and we seriously crave challenge.
“It’s hardcore in the aspect of if you try to play it as a shooter straight on it will be really hard. You need to take a different approach from other shooters where you try to really cooperate and heal and revive each other, almost like an MMO experience.”
-Lars Magnus Lang, lead co-op programmer for Starbreeze
MMO games require that players take on now well-established roles: the tank who absorbed the damage, the healer who keeps everyone alive and the numerous DPS characters who deal out all the heavy hits. Its a role mechanic that’s easy for players to follow and identify with. But its typically reserved for RPG games like MMOs or DotA-style games. FPS games are almost always an army-of-one affair.
Syndicate doesn’t come with any easy mode. There’s 3 different tiers: 1 star for normal, 2 stars for hard and 3 stars for “insane”. That’s saying a lot to people interested in the game. I think Starbreeze may hit on some untapped, almost Dark Souls-like potential here, one that doesn’t really exist for the FPS genre right now.
Let’s not forget some of the formulaic aspects of MMO games that make them so addictive: keep the game super easy and light in complexity at the beginning, then really turn up the difficulty mid-to-late game to force players to work together. This is probably my major worry right now, as long as the game keeps it simple in the beginning I think it will do fine, but if it forces the difficulty early on they will probably turn a lot of people away.
But let’s face it, Starbreeze probably is worried about their game being too hard not because of any sort of development flaw. No, I believe this was very much intentional. They see that there is a growing niche of gamers who crave a difficult experience in all sorts of games and would like less to do with games that throw XP at you for scratching your butt. Indeed, I believe Syndicate could be the FPS game we’ve been waiting for to break free from the CoD-rut that FPS games have been in for the last 3 years.
The Syndicate demo is currently available for Xbox Live and PSN. The game officially releases February 21st.