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Do we really need another FPS?

Opinion: Tom Pakinkis bemoans the all-consuming genre...

Let me tell you, if the eight-year-old Tom were sitting next to me right now, he'd be fuming.

"They're remaking The Syndicate as an FPS?" he'd cry with a few Sesame Street non-swear words thrown in. "Syndicate isn't an FPS!"

"Should you be playing Syndicate at your age?" I'd ask. "Nevermind that, we've got bigger things to worry about," he'd snap.

He'd be right too. We do have bigger things to worry about here, bigger even than the Syndicate remake that's sitting in front of us today.

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Syndicate's narrative elements are still firmly in tact.

This isn't the first time, after all, that we've seen a classic non-FPS title reworked and potentially crowbarred into the most popular genre on the planet. It seems to be gobbling up everything that dares to be different.

XCOM is suffering a similar fate as we speak. The one-time strategy game, with elements of something almost resembling a military manager suite, is somehow undergoing the seemingly unnatural transformation into an FPS right this moment.

To be fair, from what we've seen so far, the jury's still out on XCOM as an FPS, it just seems like a bit of a logical leap when something like the RTS genre could do with another big name title that XCOM would provide.

The blueprints for a current-gen real-time or turn-based strategy game have been there from the start, the hard work of creating a solid, exciting core has already been done, and the XCOM brand would be a great launch pad.

But then the RTS genre is by no means as lucrative as the FPS, is it? Nor is the top-down tactical shooter it seems.

It does feel, though, that these are the kind of big names that could jump-start ailing genres rather than pander to one that a lot of hardcore gamers are beginning to see through.

Obviously I can't damn Syndicate at this point, nor would I want to, but the FPS as a genre for me has become stale, conjuring images of cookie-cutter level design, shooting galleries of NPCs and set-pieces abandon. It's gotten to the point where I no longer expect anything genuinely new from the genre, so I'm left with little enthusiasm for more.

Even taking my own personal feelings on the dominance of the FPS genre out of the equation, concern still lurks at the back of my mind for Syndicate.

I think it's because I want modern gaming audiences to feel the same love I did for the Bullfrog production back in '93 and I wonder whether the FPS genre will allow a remake to shine.

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XCOM started life as a strategy game, would you believe?

The jostling in that arena is fierce and Syndicate will find itself among much bigger players in the modern market. Don't get me wrong, the buzz surrounding EA's efforts has been tangible with every hint of rumour, but Syndicate has something of a cult status today, with nostalgia being its main drive. Is that really enough to take on the likes of Halo and Crysis?

It'll rely heavily on its relationship with older gamers to kick-start the swarm of popularity it could certainly achieve, but the decision to go FPS could also see a stylistic miss, making it difficult to reignite the flame in retro hearts from the off.

We can at least take solace in knowing that the essential plot points appear to be in place. Near-future setting? Check. Megacorp dystopia? Yup. Is business still war? Certainly looks like it.

But, as exciting as the original setting and story of Syndicate was, it was very much secondary to the gameplay mechanics - they were what made the game loved enough to last this long.

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