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Syndicate [ ˈsɪndɪkət ] is a computer game by the game developer Bullfrog Productions and was published in 1993 by Electronic Arts . The game is assigned to the genre of computer strategy games and is set in a dystopian cyberpunk scenario. Powerful large corporations, the eponymous syndicates, determine the fate of society and fight each other using special agents.


The player represents a corporation that competes with other corporations for world domination. In various missions, the player controls up to four agents who move through cities shown in isometric perspective . Within individual missions, the player must fulfill various goals, such as escorting or eliminating target persons, killing all enemy agents or obtaining items.

Each mission is assigned to a part of the world map (e.g. Western Europe), which continuously produces protection money for the player after successfully completing the mission. With this money the player can research new weapons and objects and equip his characters with them. In addition to weapons and medi-kits , the player can give his agents performance-enhancing, cybernetic prostheses , so that they develop more and more into cyborgs as the game progresses .

What was unusual at that time was the extent of the simulation of the game world. The player could mentally manipulate walking civilians or steal futuristic vehicles. This playful joke was only taken up again much later by the Grand Theft Auto series.

Syndicate came under fire because of its high level of violence and morally and ethically questionable motives.


In 1993 the expansion Syndicate: American Revolt appeared and guides the player through 21 missions.

The story begins after the events of the main game Syndicate . The entire world is ruled by the mega corporation Eurocorp. But the citizens of North and South America, tired of high taxes and unsafe roads, are starting a revolt to regain their autonomy. In this confusion, rival syndicates step in to enforce their claim to supremacy. The player takes on the role of the Eurocorp syndicate. The aim of the game is to suppress the revolts in North and South America and to destroy the opposing syndicates.

The difficulty level of American Revolt is very high compared to the main game.


Syndicate Wars

Syndicate Wars was released in 1996 for Windows 95 and PlayStation. A new type of 3D engine was used to replace the isometric view used in Syndicate. The engine is a very heavily modified version of Dungeon Keeper .


Since 2003 a group of fans has been working on a free rewrite of the game, FreeSynd . On December 21, 2006 version 0.1 was released with a first playable level. The development is currently at version 0.7.5, which was published on May 2, 2016 after around 3 years of development. FreeSynd is under the GPL and can be played on Linux , OS X and Windows .


Around the year 2010 around from one group could hackers successfully called "vexillium" porting of Syndicate Wars, to platform-independent SDL realize (etc. Windows, Linux). This was based on intensive analysis of the original Syndicate Wars DOS . EXE file , i.e. complex reverse engineering , and subsequent replacement or wrapping of the internal function calls by accessing current function libraries (SDL etc.).

New edition

Electronic Arts and Starbreeze Studios have been working on a remake of Syndicate since 2007 under the code name Project RedLime , but the new edition was a first-person shooter, which was heavily criticized by game fans. The game was released on February 24, 2012 for PS3, Xbox 360 and Windows. Electronic Arts extended the naming rights to Syndicate on June 29, 2009 with the US Copyright Office.

The new edition received mostly moderate ratings from the trade press and critics. The Metascore is between 72 and 75. The sales figures were disappointing, with an estimated 150,000 copies sold worldwide by June 2012. Starbreeze CEO Mikael Nermark presented himself as satisfied with the end product despite criticism. Right from the start, because of the transformation into a first-person shooter, considerable resistance from the press and fans was expected. As one of the possible reasons for the poor sales figures, Nermark cited the financial crisis in the Game chain, which caused Syndicate to lose its reach. Frank Gibeau, head of EA Labels, admitted that the project was a risk that ultimately didn't pay off.

Starbreeze had to lay off 25 of its 93 employees after the work was completed.


On August 28, 2015, Satellite Reign was a Kickstarter-funded game that, according to some game magazines, was the spiritual successor to the 1993 Syndicate.

On May 3, 2016, Mode 7 Games announced the Tokyo42 game for 2017 in a newsletter . The isometric representation and the gameplay shown in the preview video are actually very reminiscent of Syndicate; the game can therefore be described as a continuation in the broader sense.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Mike Sharkey: Original Syndicate Headed to Good Old Games ( English ) . January 17, 2012. Archived from the original on January 19, 2012. Retrieved on March 2, 2012.
  2. Edge editorial team: The Making Of: Syndicate ( English ) In: Edge magazine . May 15, 2009. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved on April 8, 2011.
  3. The FreeSynd Project :: News. In: Retrieved October 11, 2016 .
  4. Gynvael Cold Wind: Syndicate Wars Port - a reverse-engineering tale ( English ) February 26, 2010. Accessed November 7, 2011: " The port what to be done by decompiling the original executable file, locating all the functions from the standard C library, locating the DOS4GW and I / O (sound, keyboard, gfx, mouse, etc) dependencies, replacing them with modern native libc function call and libSDL / OpenAL libraries (sometimes using simple wrappers, other times by creating converters), and finally , recompiling it all to form native executables for the modern systems. "
  5. Syndicate: Electronic Arts Secures Rights - Chronicles of Riddick developer on board (April 14, 2010)
  10. Starbreeze "proud" of Syndicate despite poor sales ( Memento from June 20, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  11. Starbreeze: More To Life Than AAA
  12. EA still keen on reviving old IP despite Syndicate 'not paying off' ( Memento from June 16, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  13. Starbreeze lets 25 go after finishing Syndicate ( Memento from January 7, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  14. Syndicate Wars spiritual successor Satellite Reign is now available on vg247 , accessed September 21, 2015.
  15. Tokyo42. 7Games , accessed June 4, 2016 .