Do you know what 5 Lives did right with its first game as a new studio? It found a community of gamers who weren't being reached out to and gave them what they wanted. After the Syndicate reboot was revealed, many fans of the original games felt ignored and left behind. It wasn't the strategy game they had hoped for. Mike Diskett of 5 Lives Studios worked on Syndicate and Syndicate Wars and he wants those fans to think of Satellite Reign as their spiritual sequel.


It certainly has all the trappings of that classic series in terms of setting and gameplay. The dingy and rain-soaked streets are lit by neon signs and video advertisements. Your team of agents is suitably decked out in ankle-length leather trench coats, dark glasses and in some instances even some rather natty face masks. Mechanical augmentation is the order of the day, corporations rule the world and cars float around the streets with impossibly good braking mechanisms so they don’t run over your team.
“ The game world is designed to facilitate emergent gameplay, giving you the tools and freedom to play how you want to play, so you can create strategies and scenarios that  not even we had anticipated!
And what’s perhaps more important is that those things still work as a setting. It’s still a tense and threatening landscape to explore and what 5 Lives has created here is a very open and inviting city to get lost in. Missions can be selected as you wish from a selection offered to you. You can head off for high-value targets in your mission to free the people from the police state they have found themselves in or you can pick off some of the weaker targets and gradually level up your team of agents in their various skills. The breakdown is essentially Heavy, Hacker, Support and Sniper and while you can choose to play stealthily or go in noisy, all of them will be of use to you in a mission.

At this early stage there’s still some work to do tightening up some of the controls and the AI pathfinding, while jumping in a car can be a rather strange experience, but everything is there and it’s all very promising. The strategic possibilities in such an open world are many. Approaching a police station for instance we could head straight through the hacked front gate or work our way around the side, gradually picking off security cameras, sneaking our team through the compound to find fresh tech or intel. It’s all very intuitive and the enemy AI is a force to be reckoned with. It’s smart enough to notice a guy in a trench coat standing at the edge of a wall even if he’s technically ‘in cover’. Line of sight is really what’s important and guns need to be hidden when not in combat. Satellite Reign really looks like a worthy standard bearer for Syndicate fans.