As an upcoming shooter in a crowded genre, Synced has a lot to prove. Thankfully, after hands on with back in December 2022, we already felt it showed massive amounts of promise, and playing it again this Summer for a second preview, it has impressed us again, looking like it may well stand out as not only one to watch, but one to be excited for.
With that in mind, just playing it wasn’t quite enough, so we sat down with Kevin Shortt, Narrative Director, and Clark Yang, Creative Director to chat about future plans for Synced, Steam Deck plans, the model for the game, story delivery, and just what the team thinks sets it apart from other PvPvE titles. So let’s get into it, then.
Mick Fraser: What was the primary inspiration behind the world of Synced?
Kevin Shortt: At its core theme, Synced confronts our conflicting fascination and loathing of technology. We live in a world where we love our gadgets even as they take over all aspects of our lives. Synced walks that tightrope relationship in both gameplay and storytelling. We are battling a rampaging technology at the same time we try to harness it.
Synced’s core story tries to unwrap that relationship and learn what it means to the many Runners in our game. They’ve all come to the Meridian to fight back against the Nanos, but something more has drawn them to this epicenter of the global collapse. There is something inside the Meridian greater than the Nanos. A presence that seems to have influence on the Runners, on the Nanos, on Haven…on all aspects of our universe. What that presence is, and what its purpose is…those are questions we explore each season of Synced.
So it may not be a big surprise to say we were inspired by the works of Andrei Tarkovsky, and by films like Annihilation. Films that explore the metaphysical world. Interestingly, it’s a topic that society is grappling with more and more of late with the rapid emergence of advanced AI and its impact on our lives, our livelihoods, and much more.
What do you feel sets Synced apart from other online PvPvE titles?
Clark Yang: By introducing the Nano companion we opened up the game to a massive spectrum of combination opportunities. Whether you build your runner and Nano around a specific mod, play style or gun tech or combine your Nano choice with those of your friends – the game just offers nearly limitless ways to play.
Will Synced be a fulfilling game to play solo?
KS: While a co-op game at it’s core the community was asking for that solo mode and to be honest the deeper we went on implementing it, the more fun we had with it. I think players who want to explore the Meridian on their own will experience an amazing time.
Are there plans for a story campaign at any point?
KS: Every season features a new chapter to the game’s evolving story. And so as players complete each season, they will learn more about the runners they’re playing, and the nature of the threat inside the Meridian.
We’ll also feature one unique Runner story every season. During this event, one Runner will be featured with unique gameplay and story content. It will be an opportunity to learn more about what brought them to the Meridian, what they must personally confront in the Meridian, and how their story connects to the global story of Synced.
These story chapters are designed to work within the context of a fast paced multiplayer game. They aren’t like a standard single player campaign mode, but ultimately we are in early days of our game. We’ll listen to our community, see what they connect with. If there’s a desire for deeper storytelling in Synced, we’ll explore all possibilities. Today, we’ve honed the game just right and I’m confident players will find the perfect balance of story, gameplay variety and raw action.
Will Synced have a seasonal model in the future?
CY: Yes – we got seasons, events, rotations all coming. Each season will focus on telling the story of an individual runner – if you play him or her you will get additional story pieces and learn more about what is going on in the Meridian.
Alongside the fixed plans for the upcoming seasons the team is constantly talking to the community looking for exciting new modes and content.
Can you earn cosmetics in-game?
CY: Yes, there are tons of cosmetics that can be earned through play and our ongoing live service rewards.
Will you be adding more Runners and Guardians after launch?
KS: Yes, so stay tuned what the Meridian has waiting for you! More Runners, more Nano Companions, more and more! Yes we already have many exciting things in the works. Players won’t have to wait long to see what’s in store.
What kind of modes are you looking to add in the future?
KS: With the Master Ops and late game content we have an amazing tool set to throw crazy things your way like a boss only run or such things.
We have an exciting new section of our game called the Arcade. That’s a special events station that unlocks a few times each season. Players should watch for when it goes live because they’ll get a chance to try out brand new game modes. For the game developers, we treat the Arcade a bit like our own little game jam where all crazy ideas are welcome. A couple times each season, we’ll post a new event. Players can try out the wild game modes and collect some cool loot. Sometimes the modes may not capture players’ imaginations, sometimes it may thrill players. If we hit on something that’s extremely popular, we’ll likely find a way to incorporate it into the larger game. So keep an eye for the Arcade!
Will Synced be compatible with Steam Deck?
CY: We are working on it, and will push this to Steam Deck at a later date, but it’s already playable on the hardware with pretty good performance, but we will still need to put extra polish and debugs to make it better before giving to the players.
What’s your favourite class to play?
KS: That is a tough call! For PvP I love playing Glory in combination with the seer – spotting enemy players from a distance, throwing a smoke grenade and taking them out one by one. In co-op PvP I love to support my team mates by using Dr. Stones healing bubble and having my Guardian pulling the Nanos together for my team to tackle them head on.
Lastly, will there be secrets and Easter eggs for fans to find?
KS: Would be no surprise if I told you but the world of Synced offers so much to play around with and explore, it would be a waste not to do anything with it, right?
Thanks to both Kevin and Clark for their time. Synced is due to launch later this Summer.