Paradox developing Syndicate-inspired action-RTS called Cartel

By Stephany Nunneley
21 September 2011 17:07 GMT

Paradox has announced Cartel, which is a “real-time squad-based RTS,” actioner with global research and a diplomacy map.

That’s how RPS described it at any rate.

The game is set in a future where global mega-corporations are fighting among themselves for world domination: hence the name Cartel. Apparently, the game is meant to fill the void left by EA’s new Syndicate game becoming a first-person shooter. Paradox pretty much admitted it openly as well, when Shams Jorjani spoke with RPS.

“We are now in a place where there are many classical PC games that now have people doing remakes and new takes on them,” said Jorjani. “One of these is Syndicate, which is being developed at Starbreeze. It was the worst kept secret in the Swedish games industry! But now it’s out there, and we were very interested in the reaction to it.

“Meanwhile we were kicking around a lot of ideas for what kinds of cool games we’d like to see made because nobody else is making them anymore. During this time there was someone over at 2K who said you could not make turn-based games anymore, that the new X-Com had to be a shooter because you can’t do turn-based games anymore. Now, we have tremendous respect for the Starbreeze guys, they make great games, but the announcement sparked a discussion about “what is in a name”. What makes a Syndicate game? The world? The gameplay? The platform? The name? What is it?

“Cartel was born out of this discussion.”

The main goal of the game, as with most strategy games, is for the player’s faction, or in this case cartel, ending up as the winner of the war. In Cartel, the large conglomerates are based on the 80s concept of “megacorps,” according to Jorjani which are entities full of “all-encompassing evil,” but which think the actions it commits are in the best interest of humanity as a while.

“You eliminate the other cartels by doing missions, for which you can decide on your strategies,” explained Jorjani. “The game is therefore structured in two parts. You have the action mission part and then the part that takes place between missions. On missions you control a squad of elite soldiers and specialists who are controlled RTS-style. There are a lot of different mission types you can send these guys on, such recon and exploration missions, sabotage missions, retrieval missions, assassinations missions, and so on. These are the kinds of things we are currently experimenting with in terms of making the variety of missions interesting.

“Of course you don’t just send your agents in blind, either. You have kit them out, customise them and their weapons, and it’s all about giving you control of your gang. You are responsible for making sure the teams are suited to their mission.”

Jorjani goes on to explain that some of the missions will be scripted when part of a campaign, but the team is working on making missions dynamic as well. This means that if you are sent to assassinate someone, each playthrough may have the target doing different things.

“Our missions will always have parameters that change,” said Jorjani. “A large part of the game will about planning ahead, but also adapting to changes in the mission. You’ll need contingencies.”

Jorjani said Cartel could be ready for release in around 12-18 months, but the team has to be “happy with the formula” before it considers a street date.

You can read the full interview through the link.

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