The new Syndicate game thought to be in development at Starbreeze will reinvent Bullfrog's top-down classic as a first person shooter, so say insider sources.
According to current and former employees talking with 1Up, the game, which the Swedish studio behind The Darkness and Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay has codenamed RedLime, will also have a strong multiplayer focus.
"RedLime was meant to be the step up from Darkness, where we sort of took all the mistakes we did with Darkness and do them right," explained one source.
CEO Johann Kristiansson (who has stepped down since the interview was conducted) also chimed in on the new project, though didn't specifically acknowledge that RedLime is the Syndicate game.
He explained that the title will be tightly focussed on a key gameplay feature.
"I think [our] technology focus used to be strong, and we had a strong storytelling focus in The Darkness, but now I think we mostly focus on the core gameplay mechanic. We're trying to be innovative there - and we have something really exciting in our new EA title in this area.
"A lot of it has to do with going from more of a technology-oriented company and story-oriented company, and becoming more of a gameplay-focused company.
"I think now when we start pitching and creating a concept, we always start with the question, 'What's the core mechanic? What are you doing in this game that's different from other shooters, or other similar games?'
"A few years ago, we weren't too focused on that," he continued. "We managed to pull off a great genre mix in Riddick, with shooting, sneaking, fighting, and dialogue, but there was no real core mechanic that differentiated it from other games. Now we are trying to differentiate ourselves more."
The game has apparently had a rocky development, with the project being restarted several times thanks to tech issues, creative differences within the team and a number of staff leaving the studio.
A separate source explained that external input from publisher EA has also caused tensions.
"If [EA producers] step in, which they have done now on Syndicate, where they send producers over there to embed them with the dev team, that's a really bad sign... Starbreeze did something very, very wrong for a very long time with Syndicate."
No indication is given as to when the game will finally be ready for release.
Speculation that a new Syndicate game is in the works first reared its head in April 2010 when trademarks filed by Starbreeze for the title were spotted.
Earlier this year, original creator Peter Molyneux stated that he'd love to spend 24 hours with the studio sharing his thoughts on where the game should go.