isn't a new IP, it hasn't been in the spotlight in a long time. EA's trying to resurrect the franchise with a new first person shooter that comes with a four player co-op mode as one of its selling points. EA's been pushing the online pass in all their games lately, but it looks like Syndicate's going to be free of that restriction
Syndicate doesn't have a competitive online feature and that's one of the factors that allowed the game to slide without an online pass. Another is that they are an EA Partner rather than EA.
I'm also guessing, and this is just me, that it's a resurrected IP and they want it to do well. EA is hoping that it takes off so they can make many, many more games in the Syndicate world and I bet that if it happens, you'll see the online pass come to play in future games. Again, this is just me thinking out loud.
The co-op demo was recently released, but I haven't had time to try it. Being a fan of the original game, I'm a little hesitant on Starbreeze turning it into an FPS, but 1) they make really good games and 2) an example of a game that switched views and was really enjoyable to me was Fallout 3