There will be no need to "breach" your 360 or PS3 in order to enjoy the 4 player online co-op mode in Starbreeze's upcoming revival of the PC classic Syndicate. In a move that's a bit different from how they (and many other publishers) are currently releasing games, publisher EA has stated that no online pass will be required in order to play the game with friends. This means that whether you buy the game used or new, you'll have access to all of the content that originally comes on the disc.
Jeff Gamon, EA Partners executive producer, had this to say about the decision:
We want as little resistance or barriers to entry as possible...The co-op is equal billing in this. We wanted everyone who owns a copy of the game to have access to the entire product.
It's certainly an encouraging statement, but one that we shouldn't necessarily get too excited about. Gamon went on to say that had the game included a competitive multiplayer aspect, then it would certainly have required an online pass. He added:
But because it didn't have competitive multiplayer and because we wanted as many people as possible to be playing co-op, we got away with it
It's that last bit, the "we got away with it," that I find troubling. Usually, it's not a good thing to "get away with something," as it implies you only just managed to get something done. Based on what Gamon is saying, in some ways it feels like Syndicate is a test case for this kind of decision. Should sales of the game and, more importantly, the continued time players spend with the game's co-op mode manage to hold gamers' attention (read: we don't trade the game in a week after picking it up), then we could see more games with co-op modes not get bogged down with those pesky online passes.
Time will tell how all of this pans out, but we will continue to hope that Syndicate sets a trend for removing the otherwise limiting feature of an online pass from co-op modes.