The World Is Enough: Global Agenda

By Alec Meer on January 7th, 2009 at 9:50 pm.

2009′s set to be a funny old year for MMOs. On the one hand, we’ve got The Old Republic and Love on opposite ends of the spectrum, both promising important, enticing changes to an often static genre. On the other, there’s the distant thunder of how badly 2008 went for so many existing massively multiwotsits – last year cost us Tabula Rasa, Hellgate, Mythos and RF Online. So news of a promising newish name on the virtual world block is definitely good news. Especially one that’s got robots in.

Global Agenda is an Unreal 3-powered shooty sci-fi MMO with a whiff of – whisper it, cross all your fingers and toes – Planetside to it. Dare we to dream? Certainly, it’s yer actual cursor-targeted shootiness, ” as fluid and fast paced as any online multiplayer shooter” it says here, as opposed to than Tabula Rasa’s oddball middleground. It’s primarily PvP too, which means there’s at least a hope of the tense push’n'pull of dear ol’ Planetside. Seems like it has a little in common with the much-delayed Huxley, too.

Key differences are, it seems, more focus on RPG-esque character customisation and on lending some greater meaning to the ongoing skirmishes. Planetside always suffered from this unfortunate “well, we’ve grabbed this base. Now what?” futility, whereas Global Agenda seems on about a more sustained tussle between a huge array of rival organisations, with the game handing out specific objectives.

Which all sounds like a lot of fun – just as long as it doesn’t fall too much into being compartmentalised battlegrounds, really. GIANT WAR, please. Newcomer dev Hi-Rez Studios describe it as ‘spy-fi’ – rival agencies battling for control of 22nd Century Earth, with the aid of “politics, intrigue, and outright deception” as well as gunplay.

It’s currently in alpha, and is accepting beta applications, so hopefully we’ll find out whether it matches our open-world shooter dreams in the not-too-distant. Meantime, here’s a clutch of in-game footage, interspersed with some terribly excited talking heads:

You can totally tell that’s Unreal 3-based, eh? Looks like a touch of City of Heroes in there, though – the super-jumpy abilities and whatnot should be a giggle.

More information, including specifics on the four character classes (Assault, Recon, Medic and Robotic) and the nature of its guild system and whatnot over on the official site.

And an earlier, mostly CGI trailer for the road – emphasising the stealth element, and also the giant robot element:

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45 Comments »

  1. Larington says:

    What are they going to do to prevent mega outfits/agencies from dominating play. He who has the most buddies automatically wins?

    Also, after what happened with the BattleFrameRobotics in Planetside, seeing mechs in any MMOFPS gives me the creeps.

  2. ACardboardRobot says:

    Giant stompy robots in a “spy” game. This will work how?

    Also, how is this “spy-fi”?

    Egads, lots of inverted commas.

  3. Jante says:

    Looks like a blend of EVE-Online’s player driven PVP with the gameplay of an FPS like Battlefield or Call of Duty 4. (With RPG elements. ^^)

    Colour me interested.

  4. Dreamhacker says:

    For those of us who hate MMO’s… 2008 has been a great year.

  5. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    This does look suspiciously fun.

  6. mandrill says:

    This is more awesome than a cake made of awesome filled with awesome jam and covered with awesome icing.

    Also I think their beta signup page just got very very busy, it keeps timing out when I submit.

  7. Kalain says:

    Oh well. There goes my hopes for a second coming for a PS type game. Its just looks like UT. At least PS was more tactical, this is just your bog standard first person shooter with some persistence attached to it. Suppose I should just go back to my dreaming again……

  8. Larington says:

    @Kalain: One of the reasons that I’m studying for a games development degree is that I fully intend to one day revisit planetside as a tactical shooter, rather than a simplified (In terms of moment to moment combat) runner gunner MMOFPS.
    Problem is goals like this take a long time to reach fruition, even without the task of getting into the industry first.

  9. Redford says:

    The robotic class has rigging capabilities. That big stompy robot is apparently has a robotic in there operating it by remote.

    Also, “tactical” is a buzzword for “if you start shooting the enemy first, you allways win”.

  10. Rei Onryou says:

    I’ll keep a wary eye on this. Planetside so nearly had it right and FPS fans need some MMO luvin’ too. I think the decider for me will be what the Planetside vets have to say about it upon beta/release.

  11. Quine says:

    Maybe if we all dream really _really_ hard…

  12. rob says:

    That font towards the end of the first trailer is the one from Uplink!

  13. Mil says:

    What are they going to do to prevent mega outfits/agencies from dominating play. He who has the most buddies automatically wins?

    They did say that they want to make politics part of the gameplay, and politics could be defined as getting power through buddies, right?

  14. Monkeybreadman says:

    Spyfi? And the marketeers go wild! Fingers crossed with a hint of a cynical ‘i’ll believe it when i see it’ attitude.

    AndyA is a noob!

  15. Gorgeras says:

    If they do the economy right they can balance it out. The bigger any group is, the higher natural upkeeps are. If equipment is used as a resource rather than a logic-defying reward which is technically unlimited until you find something for that equipment slot that is superior(every MMO has followed this horribly contrived model in some way). If equipment becomes a self-limited resource, there is less of it to go around and asymetrical warfare becomes a viable option. The equipment would have to not be loot-based unless it is actually being taken from something killed rather than being randomly spawned on the corpse. It would have to be only unrepairable or repairs given diminishing returns. Craft skills should be the primary means of equipment production and the resources for it should be subject to normal competitive pressures.

    When I first played WoW on a PvP beta server, I actually found myself hanging around caves and mines, thinking there would be players who chose mining coming along any minute to set up shop because mines of course must be where you will naturally find stuff to mine. Gave up after an hour and disllusion began sinking in. It was my first clue that it was not going to be a Horde VS Alliance thing. I don’t understand the sheer lack of vision with developers.

  16. Heliocentric says:

    it could look like hello kitty on-line and I’d still play it if it offered the gameplay.

    Miffy would get nerfed in the first patch obviously, allowing people to headshot her by hitting the ears.

    Then a clan of miffy players would as for a refund and threaten a lawsuit, before being told to read the eula which states if anyone moans their friends will be informed about this game and that the user plays it.

    Complaints will fall silent.

  17. Heliocentric says:

    Planetside didn’t have the equipment reward model, but it did have unlocks. And often you couldn’t use the junk you’d unlocked unless you held the right tech facilities.

  18. Larington says:

    Thus far I’ve been getting this terrible feeling that it’ll only be a quasi MMO FPS, with lots of time sitting in a browser/mission window rather than actual epic battles as in planetside. I hope to be proven wrong on this assumption/feeling though.

  19. always_black says:

    ED2009!

  20. Gap Gen says:

    On the point of most-buddies-wins, it looks like having a heavy stealth-based element, so it’s possible that a large, visible presence is actually counterproductive.

  21. roBurky says:

    Ooh. Potential!

    The art style looks very similar to the HL2 mod Dystopia. It’s not related, is it?

  22. eyemessiah says:

    Looks a bit tribesy too. I hope there a jet packs. The hyperbolic heads were a little off putting though. I’ve played games before guys, I know this isn’t going to change my life!

    Still if I can fight a giant robot with some sort of future sword\knife then I’m sold.

  23. Wedge says:

    Yeah this definitely sounds more like it’s a bunch of seperate maps in a semi-persistent world or something. Even so, it still looks like it could be sort of interesting just from the highly varied looking class approach.

    I really like the potential for super powered cybernetics and agility combined with melee combat. So it doesn’t really look much link Planetside to me, but still pretty cool.

  24. Brant says:

    Voice #1: It has jetpacks! Like Tribes! Want!
    Voice #2: It’s an MMO! The statistical probability of it not sucking is almost nil! Fail!

    Color me cautiously optimistic, I suppose.

  25. Chaz says:

    If it is like Planetside where you get to choose where to take the battle on several huge free roaming maps, then it looks like it could be quite good, as it had a bit of a Tribes look about it. However I suspect that it will be more likely that you will take a mission from a terminal or some such and just get dumped into a standard TDM type map of the typical 8-64 player sizes, with goals along the usual lines of TDM, CTF etc. And if the latter is the case then it will just be another run of the mill by the numbers shooter but with persistant stats. But aren’t games like CoD4 doing that anyway but without the need for a sub?

  26. Schmung says:

    No thanks. What they’re trying to do is admirable, but the gameplay just looks a bit horrid TBH. Actually, I’ll rephrase that as it’s not horrid, it’s just very much not to my taste – all that leaping around huge spaces with no cover and space lasers and opponents with 1200hp and some clunky looking melee combat.

    The (technical) problem with a MMOFPS is that it’s very difficult not to build an enormous world smattered with identikit installations or as Chaz suggests trying to make certain things a bit more individual and ending up with levels with a few points that people can exit/enter and ending up with something more like a watered down Unreal 3 deathmatch.

    If it’s brilliant then I’ll eat my words and sign up in a flash, but it’s a huge challenge to get something like this to work from a gameplay and a technical perspective and I don’t see anything in either of those vids to convince me that they’ve managed that. Hopefully APB can manage it, but guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  27. Bobsy says:

    Apparently ragging on MMOs for being MMOs is “in” in 2009.

  28. Heliocentric says:

    If you define an mmo by a game with a grindfest for goodies on the slow grind toward mediocrity with unimmersive combat and the gaul to after that ask for a monthly fee even though the regular unpaid additional content is negligible. Sure its cool to hate on mmo’s.

    my distinction is a game which is massively multiplayer. I think it’ll catch on.

  29. Danny says:

    I really hope that Darkfall Online will live up to it’s expectations. It’s supposed to release on the 22nd this month, and should fill the void that UO left for sandbox/pvp fans.

    Pray to jeebus that it delivers.

  30. Jante says:

    But aren’t games like CoD4 doing that anyway but without the need for a sub?

    Pretty much. Activision has been talking about a Call of Duty MMO though, so who knows what will happen on that front in 2009/10? For their sake, I hope Infinity Ward will run with it and surprise us. The multiplayer of CoD4 is pretty tight, even if it has it’s flaws. I especially liked the custom classes and perks. If they could expand on that and add a persistent world where player actions actually have meaning, who knows?

    This goes for all MMOs really. Who wants to gather bricks to help random NPC X rebuild his house only to come back months later to find out that the house is still a pile of rubble and he still wants you to gather bricks?

  31. Larington says:

    What I think is really wrong, I mean, borderline unacceptable, is this whole friggin’ business of paid expansion packs.

    I’m paying a monthly subscription, why should I be paying for an expansion pack?

    This is doubly annoying considering that Planetsides two expansion packs were easily the weakest additions to the game, the first because it wasn’t given even half the development time it really needed and the second because the idea of BFRs just didn’t gel with the rest of the gameplay.

  32. Biscuitry says:

    I’m always on the lookout for the next Planetside. I even started playing Planetside itself again recently out of sheer desperation. I’ll keep hoping…

  33. Lilliput King says:

    Fingers thoroughly crossed, beta signed up for. Heres hoping its a persistent world (like planetside) rather than a “persistent shooter” (like CoD 4).

    Are you allowed to share your thoughts on a game on forums and such if you get into a beta? Probably not I guess.

  34. Ubiquitous says:

    Those really are some terribly excited talking heads.

    So, I was thinking, what with the proliferation of talking-head-preview-videos these days, perhaps RPS could scour the depths of the internet to find the most horrifically excited talkingest head of them all? Come on, you know he’s out there – that guy who gets just a little bit too excited by those ‘tactical decisions’ and ‘next-gen’ and ‘groundbreaking’ buzzwords.

    Then just set him to work buzzwording for RPS. I’m pretty sure this site could use more ‘emergent narrative’ and ‘realistic breast physics’.

  35. IvanHoeHo says:

    Looks interesting, but if even one Gunz player gets in, then whatever balance there was will be completely thrown off.

    I’ve seen it happen in CS: headshots left, right and center. my friend got permbanned in 5 minutes, of sourse, but it might not be so easy to dismiss them in an MMO with a real appeal process.

  36. Ghiest says:

    Thus far I’ve been getting this terrible feeling that it’ll only be a quasi MMO FPS, with lots of time sitting in a browser/mission window rather than actual epic battles as in planetside. I hope to be proven wrong on this assumption/feeling though.

    Rose tinted specs are a wonderful thing, I remember sitting (and flying around) for thirty plus minutes in Planetside waiting for the fight to come to me or the forces to attack another place. As for the game, looks interesting … wake me up when there is a proper beta and normal consumer reviews/reports on it.

  37. Larington says:

    Uhh, for the record, I also remember sitting in queues to get into a continent, usually the wait wouldn’t be much more than 10 minutes. The fights were usually worth it back when that was happening of course.

    As for fights coming to me, I tended to run with a group of up to 30 other players in an outfit, the enemy couldn’t ignore us if we went to a new continent unless they wanted to lose ground.

  38. Gurrah says:

    The producer creeps me out a bit, he keeps winking at me…

  39. TheNagus says:

    I’m surprised to see no mention of WWII Online (Battleground Europe) here. It was the first MMOFPS, I believe. (Well, more of a sim that an FPS. More like a MMO mix of BF1942,IL2 and operation flashpoint than a MMO Call of Duty.)

    Not a massive player base anymore- probably only a couple of thousand on the server at any one time. But there’s just the one server, with campaigns lasting a month or two.

    I don’t play anymore (Don’t have the time), but it’s a great game. Great community too-mostly older players. Massive depth.

    It suffers to some degree from long time-to-combat and poor looking graphics and so on, but I think that’s much more due to the heavy realism stance of the devs than fundamental problems with the genre. If such a niche MMOFPS manages to work and survive, I think surely a more mainstream one can be made to work. I’m sure there’s a market for it.

  40. Arcalane says:

    Damned be my modem for dying! I’d be pissed if I’d missed this. Perhaps folks who get into the beta could/should form a RPS World Domination Association?

    [Thursday 08th] [22:51:33] T2 is a very old game, heh
    [Thursday 08th] [22:51:55] I hope I get into this because it looks epic.
    [Thursday 08th] [22:52:03] the bastard lovechild of Tribes, Planetside and Tabula Rasa.
    [Thursday 08th] [22:52:09] http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/01/07/the-world-is-enough-global-agenda/#more-6989
    [Thursday 08th] [22:53:52] sorry, bastard lovechild of Tribes, Planetside, Tabula Rasa and Dystopia.

    Dystopia as in the Source mod, that is.

  41. Bierberg says:

    Producer -> Human translation:

    “Our world is very player driven!” = -Nothing-

    “As your (something) character developes, he’ll unlock new equipment, and powerfull new devices” = -NOTHING- (i think i recall RPS saying that whatever the solution for FPS’s in 2009 was.. its was NOT “with an RPG element!” …

    Oh COME ON!! this is… UT … with.. words! and RPG elements!!

    please! give me something with a soul ! this game looks as uninspired as the producers maniac-happy speaches.. gives me the creeps..

    Its like the movies. there is a set of rules to the play of the “game” (the gameplay) and thats nice.. but in Jean Baudrillards words (and now im in over my head) those are just references to a binary system of question/answer schemas… what is important is the tactile stimulation, (the universe/soul/esscence of the movie/game) (thats why Bladerunner and Apocalypse now are such good movies.)

    If i want good gameplay ill play freakin tetris for the rest of my life (gross exageration)

    ok! gameplay is essential! but so is immersion! i want to feel that im in another world… not playing a meta game of stats and gameplay mechanics!

    (i really havent put alot of thought into this tekst.. so fire away :)

  42. Surgeon says:

    Cheers for the heads up.
    Fingers crossed that it gets somewhere close to the epic feel of battling on Auraxis.

  43. Kan3da says:

    This ones on my radar for quite a while now. As many PS Vets im still looking for the game that will give me what only Planetside could… And looking, and looking, and looking…

  44. schizoslayer says:

    This is not anything like Planetside sadly. Near as I can tell the game is instanced to the eyeballs. Your “Agency” (Read: Clan) has to attack or defend “Territories” (Read: Maps) to get resources to develop your Agency.

    Basically it boils down to at best 16 Vs 16 Capture and hold gameplay in static; lets call them, UT3 Style Maps with some Metagame RPG style development tacked onto the side.

    I’m not saying it’s bad but I am saying it will be nothing like Planetside. Not even close. Unreal is the worst possible engine to attempt a Planetside scale game in.

  45. Schmung says:

    Disappointing, but not hugely unexpected given the stuff in the trailer. Oh well.