Alpha Protocol Developer Walkthrough

By Jim Rossignol on April 27th, 2009 at 11:04 am.


This is worth watching. Alpha Protocol, Obisidian’s modern-day spy RPG, has a bunch of different options and approaches open to you, but it seems that the way you approach a mission will depend on the “handler” you decide to have run your operation. In the following video we see a mission played through under two different handlers, each one with a rather different approach. We also get to see some of that espionage stuff in action – illuminating stuff. This is one game for 2009 that I can’t wait to get some hands-on time with.


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62 Comments »

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  1. Gurrah says:

    This is the MassEffect-engine, right?

  2. Sinnerman says:

    Not sure if I like this idea of selecting a handler and selecting your intention on a dialogue wheel. It seems to be taking the the interesting choices out my hands. I guess it increases replay value which is all that many people value these mechanics for so, ho hum. Mustn’t grumble.

  3. Tommy says:

    Looks like it could be fun. The big but is it seems like a Deus Ex style game that forces you to make a choice very early in the game to pigeonhole you into a play style. All in an attempt to up the replay factor. Which in turn makes me think it’s going to be short. So mark me as skeptical.

  4. unclelou says:

    @Gurrah: Both use the Unreal 3 engine, yes.

    It’s all rather cheesy and a bit low budget, but I was expecting that, and have faith in Obsidian’s writing and RPG mechanics.

  5. Premium User Badge

    AndrewC says:

    “Dahhhlink, I dooo not play games.”

    I do so very hope that is being deliberately played for the lols.

  6. Heliocentric says:

    The movement looked kinda ugly, tell whoever does the animation to go play splinter cell and come back. Otherwise this looks like hotness, i look forward to using conversation to calm someone down and holster their weapon, then stone cold shoot them IN THE FACE.

  7. matte_k says:

    Colour me interested. For all their bugginess, I love Obsidian’s games, some of the better written sidekick characters (i’m thinking of Sand from NWN 2, specifically) these days. Although the second handler was kinda cheesy. The first reminded me of the Supervisor from The Prisoner TV show…

  8. Bhazor says:

    Heh, they’re looking for Suck off.

    More seriously I’m looking forward to timed chats which worked brilliantly in Masque and these are still among the best RPG writers around. So this could be something special.

    Or it could be riddled with broken AI, clumsy controls, dull weapons and repetitive environments.

  9. Sinnerman says:

    I don’t believe they are going for super realistic or serious. It seems more like a fairly realistic setting that features comic book characters and situations. Reminds me of Metal Gears for the Sony Gamestations in a way.

  10. Jazmeister says:

    I like it. I haven’t seen anything bad, there’s just the usual fog of war in these matters.

    I like how they saw what Mass Effect did right (punch in the face dialogue options) too.

  11. kobzone says:

    Haha! The yacht’s called(по)беда, good one.

    I watched the video without sound, but judging by the ridiculous eyewear (pink glasses, night vision goggles with bright blue LEDs) it must be full of silliness.

  12. Bhazor says:

    Also with this and Command and Conquer 3 are Soviets sexy now? Because that’s a trend I support.

  13. St_Martyne says:

    “So this could be something special.

    Or it could be riddled with broken AI, clumsy controls, dull weapons and repetitive environments.”

    Most probably, it will be both.

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    MonkeyMonster says:

    So entertaingly done on a console not PC with the wandering, then suddenly jerky aim spot… Could be entertaining.

  15. Okami says:

    She’s supposed to be Ex – Stasi?

    Ok, let’s see… The Stasi hasn’t been around for 20 years, so judging by her looks she was around ten to fifteen when the she worked for them? Let’s say that she’s a really young looking 40 year old, that would make her 20 when the GDR ceased existing.

    Apart from that, the Stasi was more known for it’s tendency to monitor the population than for outright violence. They were masters of wiretapping, finding willing collaborators within the population (sometimes it seems as if half of the GDR’s population was spying on the other half) and keeping files on everybody. Very thorough, very efficient, very german.

    Also “Sie” is german for “She”.

  16. ET says:

    This looks pretty sweet, although the chick is a little bit too lolarious for my tastes. I just hope they have a *lot* of factions that interact in a truly complex way, rather than just the intel and the arms dealers.

    Bring on the bad AI, Obsidian!

  17. catmorbid says:

    Damn, this has an awesome appeal to it. Just what the boring rpg genre needs! A fresh wind at last!

  18. Bhazor says:

    Reply to Okami
    I thought she was Russian. I’m not allowed to judge accents ever again.
    To be fair she is a mercenary who may have only temped with the Stasi when she was in high school. I mean the Stasi must have had someone to do the filing and make coffee. I do like how they make her look battle hardened and gristled by giving her an elastiplast. Awww, did someone get a boo boo in the mean old war?

    Still would.

  19. Aldo says:

    Perhaps the Stasi developed a superior form of botox.

    Looks a bit creaky round the edges, but i’m hopeful regardless as the concept sounds pretty strong.

  20. Okami says:

    @Bhazor: I don’t think that your accent judging skills are to blame here. That woman just has a generic european accent, hard to say what nationality she’s supposed to be.

  21. Radiant says:

    YES!
    Finally an Obsidion RPG I can play without feeling like a nerd.

    I’m so hoping this’ll turn out good; Metal Gear Acid 2 on the PSP got me into turnbased card game rpgs [is that an actual genre? Teach me these dark acronyms] specifically because I was Solid Snake and not on horseback or! A woman with an unpronounceable name [Yggdra].

    Hopefully this will do the same but with long form RPGs. [so long as I’m also not callously ruffling through dead people for their clothes].

    I just realised there’s a lot ‘wrong’ with traditional rpgs.

  22. wiper says:

    I’ve recently been watching through both seasons of Burn Notice, and I’ve got to say it’s really whet my appetite for this. Also, anything and everything with Bruce Campbell in, but that’s besides the point.

    I am looking forward to this, though I have to admit I found the ex-Stasi agent a little too far. Aside from the, er, ‘impressive’ voice acting, the fact that with her pink sunglasses on she looked distressingly like my Saints Row 2 creation didn’t bode brilliantly well.

    But hey, it’s Obsidian, and it’s spies, so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. Excited!

  23. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    I liked the look of this. I was a little worried at first that selecting a handler would limit your options to their preferred method, but keeping the options open within level was a relief. Having said that, I think I would prefer finding my own ways to do the mission rather than be told how to do it.

    Still, I like how they do the dialogue, which seems to be a step up from the system in Mass Effect. As it is the same engine, I’m sure the combat will work well but I didn’t like the look of the inventory, which seemed to be the same as Mass Effect’s horrific efforts.

    I’ll be keeping an eye on this.

  24. Rook says:

    Yeah, I too am offended by this ex-Stasi character. I mean, Obsidian is obviously going for a hyper-realistic take based on actual history and real people, and not some stupid spy-goof-flick where they take liberties to tell a more interesting story with OTT characters. They should really hang their heads in shame at fucking that one up

  25. teo says:

    Premise is cool but the character models look really weird and animate poorly. If they can’t go for realistic they should do stylized

  26. drewski says:

    wantwantwantwantwant

  27. Jeremy says:

    I like how everything looks and I actually approve of the whole handler concept. My guess is they want people to actually see the content of the game that they’ve been working on for so long, and not just hope people randomly stumble upon a path they created.

    I definitely like the dialogue system. That’s a first for me, even though it was apparently used before? Either way, I like how you have choices in dialogue “style” rather than choosing between 3 different paragraphs and trying to decipher the moral value of each paragraph (good, neutral, evil).

    I will most likely end up playing this in the same way the Bourne movies played out.

  28. Okami says:

    I never said that I found the ex Stasi agent offensive. In fact I like the cheesiness of it all and I can totally see, where they’re coming from:

    Ice-cold yet very hot mercenary chick from europe? Make her a german! Better yet, make her a communist german! What do we know about communist germans? They had this secret service, the Stasi! So an ex Stasi chick it is.

    Bloody brilliant reasoning, if you ask me!

  29. bhlaab says:

    The handler stuff scared me at first, but it seems every path is open to you anyway. I like that you have to pick which one to be told about.

  30. espy says:

    Okami: she’s obviously a time-traveller.

  31. Dante says:

    Not what I was expecting, but interesting none the less. People who are wary about the handler thing should note that they said that the alternative paths are still open, it’s just that they’ll advise you differently.

  32. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    @ Jeremy:

    I definitely like the dialogue system. That’s a first for me, even though it was apparently used before?

    Someone mentioned masq earlier, which reacts to how long it takes you to select dialogue options/actions, but with that visible timer and single word options it looks closer to the Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy dialogue system. Given how well it worked in Fahrenheit I’ve been rather disappointed that it hasn’t been picked up by other devs until now. I was rather suprised Mass Effect didn’t use a similar approach, they kind of got halfway there with the handily arranged dialogue wheel but then seemingly forgot to add any time pressure to help the conversations flow.

    @ espy:

    she’s obviously a time-traveller.

    Aha, looks like we’ve found the eleventh Doctor’s companion.

  33. Quests says:

    I was kinda excited until i heard that in the end it’s all about having more guns or more money.

    Is that the only reason for choosing either one faction or the other?

  34. Spanish Technophobe says:

    Man Raised By Puffins:

    My guess is that Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy got so batshit crazy by the end that no one wanted to associate themselves with anything from it, including mechanics.

  35. Nick says:

    “Or it could be riddled with broken AI, clumsy controls, dull weapons and repetitive environments”

    Like Mass Effect then?

  36. Jeremy says:

    Quests, I can imagine we’ll be able to expect a more story driven affair than just the accumulation of wealth and power. My guess is the factions all have their particular goals and reasoning for said goals, and I can also guess that they will be willing to do most anything to reach those goals. Hopefully they don’t try and make a “do-gooder” faction, and if they do, I will crush them and their philanthropic ways.

  37. EBass says:

    What is it with Obsidian? I mean they are a good dev as far as they go, but they seem to play off bioware for every game.

    Bioware make KOTOR they make the sequal
    Bioware make NWN they make the sequal.

    This may not be a sequal but it seems to be taking a LOT of influence from Mass Effect.

    I can see this being either great or pretty rubbish.

  38. soviet travolta says:

    I’m really looking forward to this game and hoping it turns up good. But for now, it seems to me the artistic direction is a bit confused about what’s cheesy and what’s plain wrong.

    What is this secret agent doing, infiltrating in his shirt with his sleeves pulled up? I dont demand supersleek techno ninja suit either, but well, i hope it will changeable into something more “professionnal”.

    The four lenses night googles are quite disturbing too. it could be some sort of joke like “splinter cell got 3, we got 4!’, but the rest of the design seems so realistic and serious that it just looks bad.

    We probably need the whole game to be able to experiment the general mood. If it is full of sarcasm and able to make fun of the stereotypes of the genre, count me in. But for now, it’s quite unsure.

    Something nice would be to stop weapons from magically sticking to the characters back, but this a more general complaint about 3rd person game.

    At least they are showing real in-game footage, kudos for that.

  39. WUT! says:

    THERE IS NO COW IN MOSCOW.

    Larn to pronounce please.

    Other than that, interesting looking game.

  40. Funky Badger says:

    Graphics and animation glitches – it was an alpha build, right?

  41. Quirk says:

    Capitalist pigdogs! Do you suppose the Stasi just conveniently stopped to exist when Germany unified? Well?

  42. Serondal says:

    @Quirk Yes?

  43. Matt Kemp says:

    Funky Badger: It was Alpha Protocol, dear. Take your medicine. :P

    Okami from ages ago: Sie is also the way you say ‘you’ to someone you don’t know very well, or ‘they’.

    I liked the presentation of the video, looks interesting. Splinter Cell RPG sounds pretty funky, anyhow.

  44. Wisq says:

    Regarding the choice of infiltration attire: I wonder if the lack of sneaky spy gear is specifically because he’s trying to look like a civilian, not like a spy? I mean, he walks right up to the guard at the front door and tries to talk his way in.

  45. Serondal says:

    I guess walking up to the guard with a skin tight ninja latex suit on would probably give you a away, if not that maybe the giant rifle with 5 diffrent firing modes and a grenade launcher under the barrel or the 4 lense night vision goggles?

    I was hoping that the 4 lensed goggles meant that the character in question had 4 eyes :P

  46. Jeremy says:

    I can see this being either great or pretty rubbish.

    Is this your professional opinion? I jest.. I jest.

    I really wonder if it is even worth showing a video on this site anymore, nobody gets excited about games at all, just bashing all the minute details. I’m glad that a development team is aiming to realize a brand new take on an RPG environment. Sure there may be some cheese, but since when has the only acceptable effort worth our time been a 10 or above? (On a scale of 10. I am being facetious. Seriously.)

    There are some interesting ideas here, not any of them having do with the reality shattering concept of wearing a t-shirt to a mission.

    Positives:
    The ability to pick and choose to your preference how you go about tackling a mission. Also, other options are available to you even though you don’t pick a certain handler.

    Graphics look slick, the UI and everything seems well put together. Integrated mission briefings, more interactive ways to converse with people and factions. Reputation of sorts, being friends with one group may lead to becoming enemies with another.

    Negatives:
    Perhaps a bit cheesy, some of the conversations and stereotypes, specifically that ex-Stasi girl.

    Animations may not be spot on, but this is a work-in-progress build, so we’re not sure on that yet.

    Unknowns:
    AI, Controls, Weapons, environments or storyline

  47. I says:

    What was the difference between the two playthroughs? He did that Braid thing to the video but it looked the same the second time only with more smoke?

  48. Aubrey says:

    Cool stuff. I actually see a lot of ideas in here similar to a design I did in 2006 which never actually went anywhere because it was way too ambitious. The idea of placing morality in the eye of different characters, each representing archetypical play styles/axes was in it, but this looks like it has a chance of actually happening! Definitely prefer it to a sort of “objectivist morality” approach, where a designer in the sky decides what’s moral/evil.

  49. Rei Onryou says:

    So what happens if you don’t respond in a conversation in time?

    Definitely looking forward to this. Hope it delivers.

  50. Serondal says:

    If you don’t respond in time they guy calls you a jerk for ignoring him and then depending on the AI’s pre-programed reaction he’ll either shoot you or just walk away dejected, either way you can never finish the main mission and a little screen pops up saying you’ve severed the thread of fate by being a jerk ala morrowind :P