Winning gamers over on EA's FPS reboot of Syndicate was a doomed endeavour from day one, according to developer Starbreeze.
Speaking in an Edge interview, CEO Mikael Nermark argued that whatever approach the Swedish studio had taken with the project, a portion of the fanbase would have been unhappy.
"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," he explained.
"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."
Despite the game flopping on release, reportedly only selling around 150,000 copies worldwide, Nermark believes his studio did a great job with the title.
"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."
Elsewhere in the interview, Nermark refused to point the finger of blame for the game's failure to find an audience.
"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," he said.
"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."
Starbreeze's effort did indeed deserve a little more success than it got - it picked up a very respectable 7/10 in Eurogamer's Syndicate review.