5 Lives Studios, a name that very few have even heard of, yet is a name with large ambitions attached to it. At this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, there was a lot of coverage for the next-gen consoles, paired with some big announcements for games as well. However, perhaps one of the most underrated and exciting announcements to come to the gaming world as of late is not attached to E3 at all.
Enter 5 Lives Studios, a team of four veterans of the game development world, headed by front man and programmer, Mike Diskett, who have made it their mission to bring a modern presentation of the original ‘Syndicate’ series to life. Part of the reasoning behind this labor of love is the fact that the original concept of the games was based on an isometric perspective tactical shooter, giving a top-down view of the streets and buildings of a corporation infused cyberpunk city.
Several games were released in this style by Bullfrog Productions, creating not only the original ‘Syndicate’ title, but also the expansion ‘Syndicate: American Revolt,’ and the sequel, ‘Syndicate Wars’ as well. After several attempts to make another game for the franchise, all of which were finally abandoned, some of which were slated to debut on the PC, and one for the Playstation 2.
In 2012, Starbreeze studios, known for their work on ‘Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay’, and the ‘The Darkness’, made a new installment in the series in the form of a first-person shooter, abandoning the previous mechanics from earlier titles in the series. Though the game received generally positive reviews, this had a largely polarizing effect on the gaming community, splitting the reactions. People who had never played the original games either were none too concerned over the change, or applauded the updated perspective, while fans of the original felt that abandoning the franchise’s roots after such a long time betrayed the true nature of the games.
Now, this team of four experienced individuals looks to the gaming community for their support as they begin a journey to create the first true ‘Syndicate’ game in over 15 years. With collective knowledge of programming and design from the troupe, from work on games such as Crackdown, Grand Theft Auto IV, and the Syndicate series itself, there is no lack of experience from the Australian based company. The group has all ready released a teaser trailer, showing off the concepts of the game that they wish to incorporate in the final product. The group’s Kickstarter boasts some of the great implementations intended for their game:
‘A real-time, class-based strategy game, set in an open world cyberpunk city, from the creator of Syndicate Wars… ‘Satellite Reign’ is a real-time, class-based strategy game. You control a team of four agents, each with distinct and unique abilities, collectively battling for control of a fully simulated, living cyberpunk city.’
Currently there is a slew of perks and rewards for backers for the ‘Satellite Reign’ project, ranging from t-shirts, alpha access, art books, and even a custom-made oil painting from the company, or being made into the lead villainous CEO of the game. (Not kidding.) Currently the project has reached its $50,000 stretch goal, but has massive room for more funding and fan inclusion. One of the most exciting updates for the project is the fact that Russell Shaw, composer and sound designer who has had experience working on the ‘Black and White’ games, the ‘Fable’ trilogy, ‘Dungeon Keeper’ and the original ‘Syndicate’ titles is now committed to work on the project.
The game is nowhere close to a release date, but created using the Unity engine, it is slated to be available on PC, Mac and Linux through clients like Steam or GOG.