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A real-time, class-based strategy game, set in an open world cyberpunk city, from the creator of Syndicate Wars.
A real-time, class-based strategy game, set in an open world cyberpunk city, from the creator of Syndicate Wars.
15,029 backers pledged £461,333 to help bring this project to life.

The Chicken and The Egg

Posted by 5 Lives Studios (Creator)

In Engine Gameplay Visualisation

We’ve had a quite a few requests to see gameplay footage, the dilemma for us being that it’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation. To accurately portray the kind of immerse, simulated and emergent world we want to create, we need to actually create it for reals! And that’s what this Kickstarter campaign is for, to create the game. We’d love to be able to demonstrate a mission played numerous different ways to sell the idea to you but that would require several months and a lot of money to produce. If we could do that we’d have the game half done and we wouldn't really need Kickstarter to get us off the ground. We need a right, royal Kickstarting!  

So with that in mind, while we prepare for our final week's onslaught of updates (no spoilers, we want them to be a surprise!), we thought you might like to see the extended cuts and a few unused gameplay shots we created for the initial pitch video and how we imagine the game will play and look. All of this was done in the engine we’re using for Satellite Reign, Unity.

Gameplay Walkthrough #1

So part of what we think is really exciting about our game is the ability to tackle objectives in completely different ways. I thought this might be a good opportunity for me to run you through how 2 different players might use different tactics and load outs to achieve the same result in two totally different ways.

So lets say we have Dean and Mike playing the game. Dean is all about espionage and being underhanded and Mike [Why can’t I be underhanded -MikeD] is all about guns and blasting his way through. Both of them are about half way through the game and they are both wanting to get their hands on a prototype for an antimatter fusion power cell from a facility in the industrial district.

Today we are going to have a look at how Dean's mission plays out: Dean has spent a good amount of time hacking into banks around the city and has a decent flow of cash coming in. Most of his agents' upgrades have been focused on hacking abilities, stealth, and surveillance. He has paid off the manager of one of the CCTV stations in the district and is putting money into the intelligence network in the area too. Dean sends a message, about his desire to steal the power cell, to his intelligence contact and gets a reply almost instantly (money well spent).

“We have already had an informant infiltrate the security forces in the facility. She has discovered 3 entry points into the facility; the main gate, the side entrance, and a secret entrance around the back. The main gate and the side entrance have security details and the secret entrance is secured by 2 DNA sample security doors. The informant has found the names and ID numbers of 2 potential targets who will be able to bypass the DNA checks on those security doors.”

Dean doesn't want a big fight so he decides to take the double security check option. He gets the bribed manager of the CCTV station to scan the district for the 2 targets. He doesn't have the money to pay for the scan to be done automatically so he has to do it himself. Dean has had plenty of practice finding targets so he makes quick work of the scanning process. This is going to be too easy. Target 1: Dr J. Duncan was found wandering back home from the red light district. Stumbling through back alleys, he seemed a little drunk. Dean's agents simply walked straight up to him and the hacker jacked into his neural pathways and ordered him to return to their cloning facilities. Dean's hacker escorted the good Doctor home and used the facilities to produce a new clone and insert his consciousness into the new body. Easy.

Target 2: Professor L. Rammy doesn't seem to be as careless as the Doctor. He has 2 personal bodyguards following him around and seems to be sticking to the busy streets. Dean's agents tail the Professor for a while, hoping he makes a mistake. No such luck. Dean grows impatient and decides to make a move. The Professor has stopped at a noodle stand to get something to eat, giving Dean the chance to position his agents. His soldier is moved up ahead in case the Professor makes a run for it and the support agent down an alley off to the side. The assassin moves to the entrance of the alley and enters into stealth mode (Dean has upgraded the assassin to be able to stay in stealth indefinitely while he is stationary, so he can just sit and wait). The hacker moves around behind ready to herd the target towards the other agents. The hacker has been upgraded to allow for higher level neural hijackings but the Professor seems too paranoid and has upgraded his neural defences even further. The bodyguards, however, are easy pickings. The hacker takes over the mind of one of the bodyguards and leads him down towards the the alley where the assassin is hiding. The Professor and the other bodyguard are confused but quickly follow. As they move past the cloaked assassin the hacker fries the brain of the controlled bodyguard and the assassin performs his “Stealth take down” ability on the remaining one. The Professor freaks out and runs down the alley, straight into the mess of bullets fired from the support agents silenced pistol. Dean only needs his DNA, a hand will suffice, the security door won't care if its from a living donor.

With everything he needs to gain access to the facility Dean simply needs to walk straight through the DNA checkpoints, pick up the power cell and walk out. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

Dean's agents find the secret entrance to the facility and use the DNA sample of the recently deceased Professor to gain access to the facility. All the agents are on high alert now, weapons at the ready. This is a restricted area. Being spotted will cause major problems for the operation so let's get in and out as quickly as possible. The support agent fires up her “Tracking Disruptor”, which scrambles the IDs of the agents so they can’t be picked up by any security cameras in the vicinity. The agents move to the second security door and the hacker, now in his new body cloned from the good Doctor Duncan, simply walks up to the door and gets straight through. The agent finds the power cell exactly where the intelligence said it would be, picks it up, and walks back around to the other waiting agents. This is all going too smoothly. They are all about to simply walk out the door when a single patrolling soldier walks around the corner. Dean knew it wouldn't be this easy.

The guard sees the agents and starts calling for reinforcements. The assassin fires a high powered shot from his sniper rifle but its too late. The guard falls lifeless to the floor but the call has already been made. They are coming. The door the agents used to enter the facility slams shut and guards can be heard running from the other side of the facility. The hacker moves quickly to the door and starts hacking it to allow for a possible escape route. The rest of the agents set up behind cover, ready to buy the hacker some time. 30 seconds, that's all he needs.

Four corporate soldiers run around the corner and open fire on the agents. The agents return fire and the soldier manages to take out one of the enemies as they dive for cover. The support agent uses her “suppressing fire” ability to spray bullets at the corporate soldiers keeping them cowering behind cover. The assassin takes the opportunity to throw an EMP grenade at the corporate soldiers, hoping that they have enough augmentations to disable them momentarily, no such luck.

Two more corporate soldiers trudge around the corner, while the assassin is exposed, both heavily armoured and moving slowly. They both toss grenades at the assassin and manage to quickly take him down. He isn't dead but he needs to be revived by one of the other agents if he is going to get out of there. The support agent's suppression ability runs out and all 5 of the corporate soldiers are now firing wildly at Dean's agents. Dean's team isn't cut out for a big fire fight, but just as he is about to call the mission a failure, the hacker cracks the door and gives the agents a last glimmer of hope.

The soldier throws out a smoke grenade to cover their retreat as the support agent turns and runs for the exit. The hacker and the support both make it out the door and into the alley, both taking bullets in the back as they escape. The soldier runs for the door just as one of the heavily armoured corporate soldiers emerges from the smoke and puts a bullet in the downed assassins head. The power cell was more important than getting the agent out alive anyway. Not everything went to plan but he has what he needed. Hopefully the assassin will learn his lesson for next time.

That’s just a bit of a look at how an operation might go down when using a more stealthy / espionage route. Our second player, Mike, has a more destructive approach to obtaining the power cell. Stay tuned for his attempt at breaching the facility.

Special Thanks

A special thanks goes out to Chris Roberts from Roberts Space Industries/Star Citizen for the shout-out on Facebook and Twitter. It got us all very excited to have one of our favourite gaming icons merely acknowledging our existence! Not only did he help spread the word but he’s snagged the third last “Director” reward tier, so we’re proud to announce you'll be meeting Chris Roberts' digital doppelganger in Satellite Reign as a VIP NPC! If you’d like to join him in digital infamy there’s only 2 remaining “Director” slots left so you better get in quick.

While we’re on the topic of gaming celebrities, Mitch’s girlfriend Yas was excited to tell us she met Jerry Holkins of Penny Arcade at a signing while at PAX Australia and he’d even heard of us! *blush*


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    1. David A Bacher on

      Syndicate Wars was awesome.

      When you show Chris Roberts in game, it should be followed with some guy in a cat outfit dropping out of stealth while singing the Wing Commander II theme, badly, laughing then shouting "do you believe in invisible cats now" and opening fire. He should be defeated only by holding left and down and the primary fire button on a gamepad for a full minute.

    2. Carlos Bruno Alves on

      Cool trailer!!! what's the name of music? It sound like skrillex?

    3. Michael Zautner on

      Well, less than 40k away and 5 days still to go, so it's looking good! Backing sure has picked up a ton in the last day or so. I think this update may have been a big factor as it shows how polished the game already looks. I'm guessing there is alot of coding that needs to be done, and plenty of work that can be done improving the already impressive visuals, and the dozen other things that go into making a game (sound effects, music, etc.), but it really shows this isn't just an idea, but something that already has form and has had effort put into it.

    4. Christian on

      @Marc Sustins
      I particularly loved this update, so ...

    5. Michael Zautner on

      Not sure if I remember hearing anything from PA about Satellite Reign or not. If Jerry would do a small blip about it, or even a comic, I think this campaign might go crazy, but needs to be done real soon. Funny how influential that guy is.

    6. Marc74 on

      really looking forward to this but damn way too many updates

      calm down

    7. Chris Doak on

      Between the new video and PAX AU, I slept easy last night. Now only a few days to go, let's keep this ball rolling.

    8. Missing avatar

      Comrade Suhov on

      Oh, I hope CR will help this kickstarter to gather enought attention.

    9. Missing avatar

      Demovitron on

      Nice walkthrough! Does this mean you will have such black market information about each building in the city? And will there be even several different versions?

      I'm sure that you'll reach the kickstarter minimum goal and maybe that's better anyway. Like this you can produce a solid smaller version of the game. It's not a too overwhelming project and you can still make an "add-on", once you have received some profits. You could put some stretch goals within this "add-on".

      And if you get enough money together, you can take your time for Satellite Reigns 2.

    10. Michael Zautner on

      P.S. I've been meaning to ask this question for ages, and this seems like as good an update as any other to put it on. Will you be able to pause the game and issue orders, or will pausing the game basically lock you out of command? I ask because personally I really dislike the latter. While making choices quickly is potentially a very fun aspect of the game, my motor skills have never been up to the task and I often find myself doing poorly in games with no pause because I simply can't coordinate my mouse clicks quickly and accurately enough.

      So, if you hadn't planned on being able to pause the game and issue commands, I'd love you to consider it. If hardcore syndicate fans don't like the idea of pausing... well, nothing is forcing them to pause. Or if you want to ensure that at least some level of quick thinking is preserved, I saw a mechanic that worked amazingly well in another game. How it worked was simple, you could pause the game and issue orders while the game was paused... but you had a limited amount of pause time (60 seconds I think it happened to be... maybe 90-120) that would refresh slowly as the game ran unpaused. This allowed you to pause for a moment to line up all your attack orders and make things happen simultaneously, but still forced you to think on your feet. I found it to be an amazing mechanic, and can't believe I don't see it used elsewhere except that the game was a very small title... so small I can't even remember the name off hand, despite how fun it was x.x

    11. Michael Zautner on

      Considering that the game is... what, pre pre alpha or something? Those are amazing graphics. Heck, if the final game looks like that I'd call it a win in the graphics department. I mean, the giant mecha could have used some more textures, but just wow.

    12. David Warschauer on

      this was the update that will put you well over your funding goal. a prototype!
      cheers on ya

    13. Narq on

      After your exposition on the gameplay footage (which sounded more like an apology), I watched the footage and was blown away! It looks awesome... freakin' awesome even. Keep it up guys. And thanks to RSI for their contribution. Chris is indeed a star citizen!

    14. Thilo Bayer on

      This day is the best since the beginning of July so perhaps there is some fire from the video.

    15. Richard on

      I like chicken

    16. Danish Lukawski on

      That video was just radical and gosh, the pictures put into this update were just breathtaking. I'm loving how the art and design is translating nicely into the render.

    17. Thilo Bayer on

      This video just looks AWESOME! And I would love to get coop MP.

    18. Vortex - Syndicate?Satellite Reign 3.93 on

      Still got every chance to hit 500k Sergio :)

    19. Sérgio Schüler on

      Sad that this won't make the stretch goals. Well, you can't have everything - but at least we can have something as good as what is described here.

    20. Missing avatar

      Ed on

      Citizens, you need to give these people your money!

    21. Missing avatar

      Peter Marshall on

      I have to say that gameplay footage looks really good, if the game ends up looking a lot like that and with the kind of complicated scenario you've outlined I'll be pleased.

      Looking forward to hearing about Mike blowing everything up! :D

    22. Steffen Christophersen on

      It does look really great. How I wish I had more money to give you :D I would really love for this game to made. Syndicate is one my favorite games!

    23. suppafoxe on

      Awesome video and really interesting update! Hope it will spawn lots of news coverage tomorrow.
      Now I can't wait to read what Mike will do :)

    24. Methanoid Pete on

      the video even if short is pretty damned sexy tbh, also love the backing tune.

    25. Methanoid Pete on

      even if you couldnt get ingame engine material early on, personally id have at least used mock screenshots just so people not familiar with syndicate would get a rough idea of what to expect.

      it would be interesting to know how many of the backers we currently have came here and funded the project because they knew what syndicate was and those who came here to fund not knowing anything about syndicate.

      personally im in the "i love syndicate / almost anything remade from amiga classics" group.