Alpha Protocol “Reactive World” Trailer

By Jim Rossignol on May 21st, 2009 at 12:10 pm.


So we were complaining that upcoming spy-thriller RPG Alpha Protocol hadn’t shown us much of the actual game, particularly the dialogue. Well, that’s changed with this new trailer, which fleshes out the talky stuff a little better, and demonstrates some of the possibilities for being a bastard to the people you deal with. But it also has some neat in-game footage showing off some of the more interesting combat move. The bit where the player cuts from melee back to ranged weapon is most interesting. Anyway, take a look, as I think this is the most revealing trailer so far.

, .

62 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Dood says:

    Wow, there’s an actual dialogue choice called “Headslam”. Now that’s straightforward.

  2. TwistyMcNoggins says:

    The lady is purty, lurk! Lurk at the purty laydee

  3. Markoff Chaney says:

    Nice. Looking better with every look. Not sure about the whole “press a button for a dialogue choice” and how it will translate to the PC, but I’m still greatly looking forward to this game. I think it just passed DA:O too. Oddly, I say because of past release histories, these character animations and movements seem much better than what Bioware is putting out. I hope the game is polished and complete when it releases.

  4. Schadenfreude says:

    @Twisty
    I dunno, they’ve gone so far out of their way to hide half her face with the “arty” lighting that I’m now convinced she has either an Elephant Man style deformity or a Kuato lookalike conjoined-foetus attached to her face.

  5. Gurrah says:

    Wow, the player character couldn’t look more generic.

  6. gulag says:

    Y’know, I think she’s computer generated.

    Anyway, never mind, girl is developer ZOMG!

    I hope this game isn’t pants, (The PR people certainly seem to be on their game.) I’ve been watching Burn Notice back to back and I’d love to see a decent spy RPG.

  7. dr_demento says:

    Fryda Wolff is funny. Hee.

    Combat looks good, although since the benchmark for third-person shooter RPG dialoguefest is Mass Effect, it only has to be functional to be exceptional. Graphics nice, comedy dialogue choices good… should be fun.

  8. Schadenfreude says:

    Initially I thought they’d just shot her in soft focus but now I suspect they’ve actually applied a bloom filter in post. They’ve really used every camera trick in the book to try and pretty her up. Are Obsidian trying to create another Jade Raymond?

    I’ll stop talking about her now.

    Game still looks like a Mass Effect knock-off to me and as someone who is nowhere near as enamoured of Obisidian’s output as the internet at large it’s looking all pretty ‘meh’.

  9. Bobsy says:

    Is it just me, or is this game a little bit ugly? It’s got a very “computer game”-y look to it.

  10. Jim Rossignol says:

    Yeah, it’s kind of old looking, but that might not matter.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Kelron says:

    @ Schadenfreude
    As someone who’s nowhere near as enamoured of Bioware’s output as the internet at large, I really hope Obsidian can pull this off. As much as I want another Planescape: Torment it’s unlikely to happen while these people have profit to consider. So I’d settle for a better game in the Mass Effect mould.

  12. Thesper says:

    For the sort of hard edged spy feel they seem to be going for I think a sort of ‘functional’ graphics look isn’t too bad. Better than overloading on bloom at least. I hope it allows them to do large relatively non-linear levels rather than something more linear and Mass Effect-ish.

  13. marilena says:

    On the one hand, the characters and interaction seems interesting. Not highly innovative, like they seem to want it to be perceived*, but good and interesting.

    On the other, it’s even harder to guess what your choices mean than in Mass Effect. ‘Headslam’ was at least clear, but having to choose between Suave and Professional for every dialogue could get really old, really fast. It was annoying even in a 4 minutes trailer, I don’t know if I could stand an entire game full of it.

    And the timer has no reason to exist, apart from trying to make the game seem less talky and more action-y, which is obviously a big concern of theirs. I understand their desire to appeal to more people, but they need to make sure that the game works for at least one demographic. As it is, it may be annoying to RPG players and still too talky for action players.

    I’m not usually on Bioware’s side when they get compared to Obsidian, but I think they made much better choices for Mass Effect, while Alpha Protocol seems to take things too far.

    * Well, they didn’t really put that much effort into it. In fact, the woman Audio Something actually said that the marketing moniker was a fancy way of saying something simple, so she obviously wasn’t in love with it like some devs sometimes are.

  14. Optimaximal says:

    I just can’t get behind the CQB – The protagonist just stands still, swinging & striking blows without any build-up, movement or momentum.

    The key reason behind everyone liking the Bourne/Bauer/New-Bond fighting is that there is a real weight to everything – this game just has the guy spinning on the spot landing blow after unrealistic blow.

    And the timer has no reason to exist, apart from trying to make the game seem less talky and more action-y, which is obviously a big concern of theirs.

    It’s designed as a gameplay device to keep the conversation flowing as it would in real life – the timer means responses are snappy rather than considered/weighed up. I think it hit the main stream with Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy.

  15. Saul says:

    This is a dialogue system all games should use. Looking interesting.

  16. marilena says:

    Yeah, but why do they insist that the conversation is snappy? I’d much rather that it moved at my pace. It’s not like I’m going to think about it forever and then complain that the game is slow paced or unrealistic.

    Masq did this too, with silence sometimes being an answer itself. The timing was more natural than what they showed in this demo. I still don’t think it has any real merit and it’s more of a gimmick.

  17. Sam says:

    I’ve been playing Mask of the Betrayer recently, and it confirms my raging love of Chris Avellone even further.

    He does have a tendency to be pretty long-winded and expansive, however. I wonder how well he and his team can dial it down to the succinct punchiness this game seems to be aiming for.

  18. a rob amongst many says:

    I really didn’t like the dialogue system in Mass Effect, it was too easy to see through the artifice in it. You’d often be presented with several choices that triggered the same response or triggered slightly different bits of dialogue that then led to identical responses. Also the descriptions were poorly worded; on a number of occasions I’d pick something and then cringe as the character said the opposite of what I’d intended.
    I can understand the point behind the timer thing, it makes conversation flow better, but is that really a major stumbling for games? Dialogue in games feels very artificial for other reasons – things like body language and facial expressions are never properly explored especially in RPGs (I’d argue Half Life 2 did the best job of this, but only in its non-interactive moments). There is a physicality to real conversations which are not portrayed in games but it is something gamers have come to expect and accept. I don’t think the pause between responses is therefore the thing that needs addressing foremost and that this approach is misguided. It didn’t do Farhenheit any favours and just meant that the conversation sections, typically a break from the action, became a thing you were desperately paying attention to to try to pick the best response quickly. The disjoint between what the player would like their response to be and mapping that to the options the game presents is a process which takes some time and should be allowed to be considered. I don’t see the benefit of rushing it.
    Anyway here’s hoping Alpha Protocol is a good game, it definitely looks like it has promise, not least due to Chris “My Middle Name Isn’t Planescape Torment, Stop Calling Me That” Avellone.

  19. Eternal_newbie says:

    Have to agree with Dr Demento.
    Fryda Wolff doesn’t seem entirely enamoured with the game tho “DSS … basically a fancy way of saying you have choices”
    “you can be a chauvinist, a misogynist, or a ladies man”
    I kinda get the feeling someone said ‘we’re gonna do some special lighting for you, so you look purdy’
    I think that’s why she’s perhaps a little pissed off

  20. marilena says:

    Nah, I think that’s just a regular developer feeling embarrassed when asked about a marketing named feature. More of them should be that honest :).

  21. Rei Onryou says:

    It was difficult to focus on the game footage with the purdy lady there. Regardless of lighting/post-FX, she was purdy. At least she flat out said what DSS was. Developers always make up names for stuff that already exist to make them sound new and exciting, so its good to see honesty seep through.

    If AP and DA:O came out on the same day, I’d get AP.

  22. BooleanBob says:

    “you can be a chauvinist, a misogynist, or a ladies man”

    Oh boy!

  23. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    How deliberate was the choice to process the footage of the devs to make it look like the game?
    When are we going to see a trailer where they deliberately make the devs look worse than the in game footage?
    Will I ever stop asking daft questions?

  24. Jeremy says:

    That is looking pretty nice, even if the graphical punch isn’t quite there. I’ve never been a big graphics freak though, probably because I haven’t been willing to dish out $450 bucks to stay only 1 step ahead of the game. I’m quite happy with my $150 – $200 dollar cards :) No matter what though, a game will be judged by it’s content, and a painted turd is still a turd.

  25. panik says:

    amusing how the sight of a girl has a massive effect on the comments.
    *the sound of a thousand nerds fapping…(shudders)

  26. mujadaddy says:

    Did they interview that guy in Obsidian’s Austrian basement?

  27. DK says:

    “The key reason behind everyone liking the Bourne/Bauer/New-Bond fighting is that there is a real weight to everything – this game just has the guy spinning on the spot landing blow after unrealistic blow.”
    This. Obsidian seems to be getting worse and worse animation wise – when they inherited KotOR and it’s fantastic melee combat animations, they improved on them. When they inherited NWN and it’s okay, but at least existant combat animations, they left them out almost entirely in the sequel – in other words, utter failure. This looks even worse than NWN2’s already static melee.

    KotOR2 seems to have been a fluke.

  28. (fish) says:

    I’m hoping this will offer some of the things I enjoyed about Deus Ex, and in that respect so long as the graphics are as good or better than the original DX I really don’t care.

    I’d prefer the game to last 30 hours and look average than having Crysis-levels of detail and lasting 10 hours.

  29. LionsPhil says:

    Is the combat supposed to look like an over-the-top parody of Mortal Kombat, or are they just incompetent?

    Oh, hey, hello preceeding comments all saying the same thing. +1.

    Yawn. Bring back proper dialogue trees.

  30. cyrenic says:

    Dear Marketers,

    You can let a shot linger on someone talking for more than 10 seconds without changing the camera angle or putting some stupid filter on the scene. We’ll keep paying attention, honest!

  31. mujadaddy says:

    Uhuhuhuhuh….she said, “Dick.”

  32. Heliocentric says:

    Thats what she said…

  33. Susan says:

    “you can be a chauvinist, a misogynist, or a lady’s man”

    And the difference between these three things is…. what, exactly?

  34. l1ddl3monkey says:

    @ Twisty: google the purty ladies name in conjunction with the search terms “Blizzcon” “female Elf dance contest second place”.

    I think that’s her, she’s not so pretty in full lighting but she is pale enough to be a game developer.

  35. tmp says:

    Wow, the player character couldn’t look more generic.

    It worked for Matt Damon and Daniel Craig.

  36. Lambchops says:

    I’m glad to see someone else has played Fahrenheit and thought that the timed general responses thing is a good idea. it’s a nice way to handle dialogue, keeps the game flowing and can lead nicely to some unexpected moments on those occasions where you don’t quite make up your mind in time.

  37. tmp says:

    And the difference between these three things is…. what, exactly?

    Chauvinist: “we are better than them*”
    Misogynist: “i hate these dumb broads”
    Ladies’ man: “yes, yes. It’s not my gun in pocket, i _am_ happy to see you”

    *) male chauvinism can be similar to misogynism, but chauvinism isn’t limited to gender. In this game chauvinism is probably more based on nationality angle.

  38. Bhazor says:

    Well having an afro, eye patch and a prehensile tail might get you noticed. But yes Barbie’s Guerrilla Fighter still looks ridiculous.

    More importantly at 2:00 minutes I think the chick just suggested she date raped him. How does that even work?

    I am dead excited about this but mainly for a picture from Games TM which the hero selling upholstery cleaner. Which to me is the most excitng thing I’ve seen so far. The combat will be terrible natch but at least it looks to have proper variety.

    Reply to those calling timed conversations a gimic. They’re really not, try Masq to see how much tenser it can be and there’s a ton of potential. Having to remember codewords or your cover before the bad gets suspicious, persuading someone to let go of their human shield before they snap. If it continues over to object manipulation you could have bomb defusal, real time hacking and live as it happens detergent sales.

  39. Noc says:

    @marilina: The timer’s actually got a good reason to be there. Look at Masque, for instance.

  40. Megazver says:

    Well, all the devs were lit up in new, exciting ways. So stop talking about it, you horrible, horrible people.

    The animation looks a bit stiff, but nothing I will care about once I’m actually playing.

    The dialogue system… I don’t know about the dialogue system yet. It does seem to have a few more options than Mass Effect, even if they’re harder to understand. I guess I’ll wait and see.

  41. gabe says:

    Did nobody else notice that Minsc was one of the voices? Glad to hear that guys still working.

  42. Magnus says:

    I have to say it, I hate this type of dialogue system. I much prefer seeing exactly what I’m choosing, otherwise it’s not really *my* character at all, is it? It’s just variations on the character thats been pre-designed for you (similarly with Mass Effect).

    That said, I’ll probably still be getting this, but after this and the other hybrid-RPGs are done, can we get some more “proper”/old-school/classic RPGs please? (Big hopes for DA:O on this score)

    And finally, did he really say there was gonna be less dialogue than NWN2? cos that wasn’t exactly dialogue-heavy…

  43. simonkaye says:

    This is now definitively on my list of “buy on day of release” games. Looks like a whole load of fun. It’ll live or die on the quality of its voice-acting, though.

  44. Sam C says:

    It looks fairly interesting, but the protagonist seems pretty generic, and sounded pretty bored. Is that a result of the player having so many choices, that they have to make him sound that bored and emotionless? Maybe it was just the scenes they showed, but he just seemed to be reading.

    I am happy that Obsidian is going with a modern day setting, and original IP to boot. I think it’s just easier for me to relate to games set in the present/near-future.

  45. Premium User Badge

    Kelron says:

    @ Magnus
    Is it ever really your character in these games? Even the classics like Torment have all your character responses pre written. Being able to read them first doesn’t make them any more your own.

    I do like being able to know exactly what response I’m choosing, but I’m not going to say this conversation system is going to be bad or make for a bad game – it will make for a different kind of game. The story is already written, you’re just influencing the direction it takes. This is a different approach that accepts that rather than pretending you’re truly choosing your character’s actions. I don’t think Mass Effect did this particularly well, hopefully Obsidian can make it more interesting.

  46. Naysayer says:

    This game has one of the blandest and most uninteresting graphics of all time

  47. Magnus says:

    @Kelron:

    It’s about the illusion of it being your character. When it has a pre-determined face, voice and limited variation in conversation style, it makes it closer to playing a preset character. Which makes it end up closer to Splinter Cell, but with RPG elements throughout.

    In older games (Fallout, Baldur’s Gate etc.) you could feel that you could mold your character as you liked it, because of the lack of a specific voice or form. Your imagination fills the gap, in a way which is difficult to do with this new film-like style.

  48. DK says:

    I think the problem is more that they want it to feel film like, but it’s still blatantly gamey – however in their attempt to hide that it’s a game, they take away vital information (what you actually say with that dialogue choice).
    We’re playing a video game, not watching a movie – you don’t have to try to pretend otherwise and worsen the game with it.

  49. tmp says:

    however in their attempt to hide that it’s a game, they take away vital information (what you actually say with that dialogue choice

    I think they removed exact dialogue choices simply because the player is given just few seconds to choose the way to respond. The keywords allow to make such selection quickly.

    This kind of dialogue isn’t anything new btw. Tex Murphy games would also provide the player just with the overall attitude of the response rather than the exact wording. It was often source of (intentional) fun in these games — Tex’ ideas of how to convey some attitudes could sometimes differ wildly from the player’s expectations. But even without the added humour the system worked pretty good.

  50. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    Wow, Developers look so cool when they are moodily lit, don’t they?

    I think this is looking pretty good. The dialogue seems quite similar to the way it was done in Fahrenheit, which was one of the best aspects of the game. The look of everything does seem a little generic and the main character seems fairly bland. This was made even more amusing by one of the developers saying that the voice actor “got it on his first line.” It does make you wonder about how difficult it must be to act an RPG lead character when it is determined how the gamer plays to the type of person they are.

    The combat seems quite similar to Mass Effect, a good thing if you ask me. Mass Effect’s combat, compared to other RPGs, was really good. Certainly beats the other options of just clicking on the enemy or selecting a type of attack that is usually used in these kind of games, leaving it all down to the numbers behind the game to decide the outcome. Of course, comparing the combat to other third person action games it comes out badly, but it isn’t attempting to compete with those.

    Please fix the inventory that was used in Mass Effect. That was the worst of its crimes and could so easily be rectified. Don’t just copy the style, it was truly horrific.