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.


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About Ryan Saul

Hailing from Portland, OR I work by day and blog by night. I like to consider myself a video game connoisseur, playing as many new things as I can get my hands on. Its hard to hold me down to one game for very long before I move on to the next big thing. Luckily, that works pretty well in terms of video game blogging.

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