Kotaku reported yesterday that the investigative dynamos over at SuperAnnuation spotted three separate trademark registrations for the name “Syndicate” — all filed by Electronic Arts.
Of the three trademark registrations, two specifically apply to videogames, whereas the third describes itself as:
Board games; Collectable toy figures; Hand held units for playing electronic games other than those adapted for use with an external display screen or monitor; Modeled plastic toy figurines; Playing cards
The most applicable to our interests would be the application describing itself as:
Computer game software; Downloadable computer game software via a global computer network and wireless devices; Video game software
This appears to be a download-only piece of software, though the description “Video game software” could mean a game, DLC for said game, or indeed a video game downloading service.
The second videogame-specific application cites its product as being this:
Entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game; Provision of information relating to electronic computer games provided via the Internet
To me, this sounds more like an actual service, such as Valve’s Steam. When you think about it, “Syndicate” isn’t too shabby a name for such a service, either.
So what do these trademark applications actually mean? Well, in my opinion it is one of two things: Either “Syndicate” is a Steam-like service for EA, which would be replace the woeful EA Store and EA Download Manager; or someone is remaking a download-only Syndicate title that will have online multiplayer functionality.
For the uninformed, Syndicate was a game created by Peter Molyneux’s first development studio, Bullfrog Productions, in 1993, and was published by EA. At this time, Bullfrog was enjoying a wave of success, thanks to other games in its catalog, like Populous; and Peter Molyneux was just getting started on being the mogul he is today.
Set in a dystopian, cyberpunk-influenced near-future, Syndicate charged you with controlling a team of four cyborgs — the unfeeling enforcers of the Syndicate corporation. Your job was to assassinate key players from rival corporations, which then opened up new areas of the isometric-3D game world for you to violently dominate. Over time you could tax the citizens of these claimed areas to gain more wealth, which led to bigger guns, bigger assassinations and bigger territories. 17 year-old me loved it.
What do you make of this news, Ranters? Were you even born when this game first came out? Get off my lawn.