Starbreeze “proud” of Syndicate despite poor sales
Mikael Nermark, CEO of Swedish developer Starbreeze, insists he is "proud" of the studio's work on the Syndicate reboot despite the game's lukewarm critical commercial reception.
Speaking to us at the studio's offices earlier today, Nermark said he expected a backlash due to EA's decision to turn a beloved strategy series into an FPS, but insists that he was happy with the game's performance.
"Yes, I'm still proud of it," he said. "To have the courage to reboot the franchise… We knew from the get-go that there was going to be a small but very vocal [group] of gamers and journalists that was going to hate us whatever route we took.
"If we didn't do an exact copy of the game, they'd hate us. If we did do an exact copy, they'd say we didn't innovate. They were never ours to win; it was a lost battle from the get-go.
"But I'm proud of what the team did and what we made, and I'm especially proud of the co-op; I think that really shows what we wanted to do with the game, and Starbreeze's DNA."
But there's no arguing with the figures: Syndicate sold poorly – an estimated 150,000 copies worldwide – prompting EA Labels boss Frank Gibeau to describe the game as "something we took a risk on. It didn't work."
"I don't have any response to what Frank said," Nermark told us. "I think both EA and Starbreeze can look back at it and say that we could have done stuff differently. [But] if you ask anyone about any game in production they probably would say the same thing.
"In comparison to other triple-A teams, in terms of people and money, we're very small. I'm not going to tell you exactly what Syndicate cost to make – I can't due to NDAs – but it was substantially less than what the big in-house publishing studios would have spent, definitely."