The Death Penalty

One of the topics discussed in the second developer chat was the death of an agent. As you know, in Syndicate and Syndicate Wars there was perma-death, which means that once an agent is dead, her or she is gone, and you have to recruit a new one from the cryo chamber. The penalty is that you have to buy new equipment and mods, and there is also a danger of running out of agents before the game is completed. Of course the death is permanent only in the sense that you have to reload and replay a mission if you don’t want to accept the loss.

In Satellite Reign, you will not lose an agent completely when he or she dies. Instead, you will be able to recover their mind and ‘upload’ it to a new body. This will preserve the agent’s skills and abilities, but you will lose the equipment and body mods. The reasoning for this is probably that the agents will be more customized than before, especially with skills and abilities, so it would be too punishing to lose them permanently.

Bureaucracy lady downloading Bender's brain onto a 3.5'' floppy disk

Bureaucracy lady downloading Bender’s brain onto a 3.5” floppy disk

In order to upload a deceased agent’s mind, you will need to acquire a new body to host it; that body is then cloned and the agent’s mind ‘installed’ on it. One way to obtain a body is to harvest it from the population. In the bullet point summary on the Kickstarter update (but curiously not in the video itself), the devs also mention the possibility of purchasing bodies on the black market.

5LS go on to explain that although you will generally lose the body mods, it may not necessarily be a total loss:

Agents lost in the field will lose their augmentations and equipment but if you are fast enough you can salvage the corpse for spare parts or we have multiple insurance packages available to suit your needs.

What’s more, there are some hints that the loss of the body may not be complete, either. Chris says at one point in the video:

parts of society, they’ve all, they’re all effectively kind of immortal. Because every time their body dies they can, um, you know, clone… clone that body or get a new body or whatever. But they can take their consciousness out and shove it into a new body

…which, as I understand it, implies that bodies can still be cloned after a person is deceased. It is not entirely clear, though, whether that means that dead agents’ bodies can still be cloned after their death, which would essentially mean that you can ‘reincarnate’ the mind into the same body again as before (or, to be more precise, into another body with the same features as the previous one).

So does that mean that there will be almost no penalty for death in Satellite Reign? Not so, says Chris in the comment section:

[…] we definitely want there to be a penalty for dying. It will be as hendawg_ofthemiddle explains: each time your agent dies and a new clone is created the clone will degrade and lose some of its stats. You will also lose all of your augmentations and weapons. When we are in production we will play with the degrading of the agents stats and loss of money and maybe xp to see what the best option is.
– Chris

So overall it seems that Satellite Reign will be more forgiving with regards to agent death. The death penalty will be money / XP loss and stat degrading on the clones, and you will have to go through the trouble of finding a new body, but you will never lose the agent completely. Note that this is a difference to the recent X-COM title, which had a similar concept of upgrading and customizing soldiers in your squad, but where you would lose a deceased soldier permanently.

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  1. […] matter of agent death has been discussed on Satellite News before (read it here). Recently, a thread on that topic has emerged over on the official forum and drew the attention of […]

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