Multiple Middles: Alpha Protocol Details

By John Walker on March 18th, 2010 at 11:20 am.

Look out behind you!

Game Trailers have a good interview with the Alpha Protocol team, which has reawoken my interest in the game. I think a combination of a disappointing E3 and some hefty slips has left me a little unsure about this one, but the footage here, along with the confident suggestions of the game letting me play it how I choose to, reminds me this is Obsidian. I trust Obsidian! Hooray! Take a look below and see if you have the same reaction. The game is due 1st June, which is AGES away.

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71 Comments »

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  1. Chris says:

    Someone should tell that guy in the picture that the reason there’s no bullets coming out of his gun is that he forgot to put a magazine in it…

    • Bananaphone says:

      Whoops…the position of his finger makes it look like he pressed the mag release catch instead of the trigger.

      Alpha Protocol: battling the world’s most incompetent terrorists.

    • Tei says:

      Re: incompetent terrorist

      judging from the fingers, he is a obvious violinist.

      Image not related:
      http://www.naa.gov.au/Images/09543414-Violinist-700_tcm2-9431.jpg

    • BooleanBob says:

      Tei wins the thread, again!

    • Demon Beaver says:

      Actually, where I live, it is not uncommon for soldiers to saw off part of the magazine, so that it’s short enough not to stick out of the magazine feed. Thus, they make their weapon seems unloaded (as regulations require in a non-combat zone), but they are able to defend themselves quickly in case of a kidnap attempt.
      Can’t think why that terrorist would really like to seem unarmed, though…

  2. Latedave says:

    ‘Might as well’ ahhh my catchword after six pints of cider and some dark lighting…

  3. Premium User Badge

    Wichtel says:

    Can you put in a link to the gametrailers homepage? Because a lot of people (like me) have problems viewing the embedded gametrailer videos.

    I think this is the video John is talking about:
    http://www.gametrailers.com/video/gdc-10-alpha-protocol/63324

    • Marcin says:

      Yes, please do this. Seems like this started about 2 days ago and I can’t see any GT trailers either.

    • kallewoof says:

      Ditto this! I get “loading video” perpetuality a lot recently.

  4. anomie says:

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/obsidians-chris-avellone-interview?page=1

    This is what keeps me confident in Alpha Protocol.

  5. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    Someone should tell that guy in the picture that the reason there’s no bullets coming out of his gun is that he forgot to put a magazine in it…

    I guess it’s just visual feedback to the player – “enemies in this game have infinite ammo, do not bother waiting for them to run out”.

    anomie said:
    This is what keeps me confident in Alpha Protocol.

    “Eurogamer: So what did you think of Bethesda’s take on Fallout 3, given you worked on the original attempt?
    Chris Avellone: I enjoyed it quite a bit.”
    This is what keeps me skeptical about Alpha Protocol.

    • Bananaphone says:

      You’re sceptical about this game because a man said he enjoyed another game which you didn’t like? Do you base all your game-buying decisions on the likes and dislikes of the developers?

    • sfury says:

      Him and J.E. Sawyer have been saying mostly positive things about Fallout 3, and really – they can’t be super negative, can they? You’ve got to give at least that to Bethesda – they had the license all for themselves and yet gave the right people the chance to make something fantastic in the same universe again. How can you diss them after that? :)

      Now of course I hope New Vegas will be way better than Fallout 3, and I’m even getting my hopes up for Alpha Protocol again.

      (btw I’ve been watching this hilarious spy comedy series recently – Archer – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archer_(TV_series) , man I hope they inject some humorous dialogues in AP too, that show opened my eyes to the potential of screwing with the spy canon :] )

    • Poltergeist says:

      Sorry, that sounds really stupid. Has “wait for the enemy to run out of ammo” ever been a tactic you could really apply in any game? Except maybe Deus Ex where people would charge you with their Rambo knife after shooting for 10 seconds :)

  6. Dante says:

    I actually consider slips a good thing with Obsidian, they’ve always been screwed over with tight release schedules, the more time they get the better.

  7. simonkaye says:

    Hmm – looks like the combat will be closer to Mass Effect than Mass Effect 2, then.

    Can we go back to that now? Or is Alpha Protocol coming out 6 months too late?

    Either way, this is a ‘buy on day of release’ game for me. I look forward to James Bonding it up as far as the game will let me. I’m not much of a Bourne man.

  8. dancingcrab says:

    Out on my birthday!!

    I also trust Obsidian, but KotOR2 and NWN2 were a little underdeveloped (ok, The Sith Lords was a lot underdeveloped thanks to publisher deadlines). Great games though – fingers crossed that Alpha Protocol and F3: NV will be too. Especially AP, as I’d like them to own their own amazing IP.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Stense says:

    Does look promising. A spy rpg does sound like an interesting idea. Not really seen much of its ilk since Deus Ex and Invisible War. I get that kind of feeling, but without the sci-fiyness. Plus obsidian are goodies.

  10. Joe Martin says:

    Saw this game at Cologne last year and it was by far and away my favourite game of the show. I couldn’t understand why everyone else was so down on it or why I hadn’t heard of it. It looked amazing and it still does now.

  11. delusionsofnoir says:

    Also having problems with the embedded video sitting on loading.

  12. DanPryce says:

    Really looking forward to this. I hope we get some cool James Bond-y gadgets to play with.

    • Wulf says:

      It would be a crying shame if we didn’t! But I can’t see Obsidian passing up an opportunity like that.

  13. Magic H8 Ball says:

    What a ridiculous question.

    Do I expect a video game to be bad because the lead designer just displayed complete lack of taste in video games?

    Yes. Yes I fucking do.

    • anomie says:

      Avellone bad mouthing Bethesda, who are notorious for very strict PR policies (as noted in the interview), would be fucking stupid. He uses the same answer every single time he gets asked that question, meaning he probably didn’t play much of the game, or is just saying nice things to keep Bethesda.

    • anomie says:

      keep Bethesda happy*

    • Dante says:

      What do you expect him to say? That it’s a pile of shit? How fast do you think New Vegas would be handed to someone else?

      That’s not even burning your bridges, it’s setting your house on fire.

    • panik says:

      “Yes. Yes I fucking do.”
      No you don’t. You know most of your peers here often bash fallout 3 and you are simply reacting to a positive fallout 3 statement with an overexcited ridiculous comment to try and impress.
      Well done sonny (pats head) you tell em.

    • Wednesday says:

      Your taste of course being a rigid objective tool for qualitative measurement.

      Or, y’know, not.

    • Wulf says:

      What Wednesday said.

      I was critical of Fallout 3 until I actually played it, but doing so shut me up because it was actually pretty good. Coupled with a few good mods it was actually quite brilliant.

      The part I still hate is VATS, VATS is horrible, but I’m not going to hate on an entire game just because of VATS. Besides, there are mods to improve VATS (some of which do an admirable job) and there are other mods which make VATS completely unnecessary (hooray!).

    • whalleywhat says:

      Fallout 3 is one of those mediocre games that remains enjoyable in spite of itself.

  14. bill says:

    Why would ANYONE trust Obsidian???

    They must have dashed more hopes than Simon Cowell.

    • Tei says:

      bill:
      Maybe because some of his failures are better than most people succes.

    • bill says:

      Simon Cowell?

    • Wulf says:

      I can’t say I recall any dashed hopes, I was always eminently pleased by anything they put together, even if Atari’s Whip of Rushing +10 left some of their games buggy.

      Besides, Vampire: The Masquerade is one of the buggiest games of all time, but also one of the best!

      Also, who’s Simon Cowell? Wait, is this an attempt at humour? Sorry, it’s not working for me since I don’t know who that is. Should I?

  15. The Sombrero Kid says:

    fingers crossed!

  16. BooleanBob says:

    Yay, Obsidian! Hands up everyone< who trusts 'em!

    /Raises hand

    • l1ddl3monkey says:

      O/

      Also my capture phrase is FELC… which is uncomfortably close to something else.

    • Dante says:

      *Raises Hand*

      I don’t care how broken it was, KotoR 2 was still brilliant.

    • Premium User Badge

      Stense says:

      /Raises hand too.

      I trust them because as buggy as KOTOR 2 and Neverwinter Nights 2 were upon release, they did eventually get (mostly fixed) and had some brilliant writting and story in.

    • sfury says:

      The roof is on fire. ;)

      I trust them, and I’ve only played KOTOR 2 and the beginning of NWN2. (well, that and almost all of their games when they weren’t Obsidian yet)

    • alseT says:

      /raises hand

      I have a lot of faith in Obsidian and their writing so having more time for polish can only be a good thing.

    • Wulf says:

      *waves a mannequin’s hand around in the air.*

      They’ve never given them reason to doubt them, but they did give me reasons to strongly dislike Atari. Not to mention that Mask of the Betrayer had such incredibly impacting characters, characters that left such a mark (and an emotional one at that), that I could never forget them, not one of them, and I still remember almost all their lines.

      Few games are capable of having that sort of effect, because such emotionally empowered things are often only found in the realms of books, and sometimes telly/cinema, but in games it’s so rare. Too rare. The thing is, people can only say that games like Heavy Rain has a great story because they haven’t played witness to the exceptional writing of an Obsidian game, and this is why I’m so critical of the writing in today’s games, because I have.

      Not to mention that every decision in an Obsidian game tends to carry some weight, and can open optional story paths even resulting in new content and characters, I think Obsidian were perhaps the only ones to do this before Bioware picked up this trick a bit with Mass Effect 2 (all though still not to the level of an Obsidian game).

      The thing is, you can replay an Obsidian game and truly have different experiences, because there were just choices you didn’t make, and every different choice has a different kind of reward and consequence, what that means is that the storyline is something I’m partly weaving due to my choices, they’ve anticipated what I might want to do and they’ve allowed me to put together the story I want.

      And that’s exactly what they’re bragging about in their video trailer there, isn’t it? That’s just what they do. It’s their thing. It’s what they pride themselves on.

      I’m just expecting more of the same, and it sounds like I’ll be getting just that.

      Couldn’t be happier!

    • disperse says:

      *Raises hand*

      Obsidian and I have such a good relationship, they’re really good to me. What’s that? Oh, I ran into a door, I should really be more careful.

  17. Heliocentric says:

    You can pre order this for £15, it would be rude not to.

  18. Pidesco says:

    The no magazine thing is actually because that screenie is a really early one from when guns didn’t have magazines yet. Still funny, though.

  19. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if people here

    Anonymous Coward said:
    “Yes. Yes I fucking do.”
    No you don’t.

    oh

    damn

  20. Enoch says:

    Avellone’s more fleshed-out response to Fallout 3:

    http://forums.obsidian.net/index.php?automodule=blog&blogid=1&showentry=127

    It’s heavy on fun personal experiences with the game and light on consideration of core design and writing issues, which might (or might not) reflect diplomatic concessions to Bethsoft as a business partner. But it does remind me of some of the fun moments that the game provided.

  21. Sidorovich says:

    I don’ think Obsidian are exactly a safe pair of hands, but it will be interesting to see what they do with their first IP. Spy-em-up’s don’t really do it for me though. I’d rather they spend there time perfecting Fallout: NV.

  22. Premium User Badge

    Samuel Bass says:

    Despite looking pretty iffy at E3, I’m still filled with deep want for this – even if its not perfect, the world is one I’ve wanted to RPG in for quite some time.

    My only major concern is whether the character design matches up with the story – I remember the video they released last year showing how your interactions with various characters can alter your play experience, in this case with a female ex-KGB agent…which is all well and good, except that she looked about 22 and was dressed like Jenny McCarthy in Red Alert 3, which rendered her a mite unconvincing.

    That said, Avellone is about as good a writer as it gets, Obsidian have action-RPG bonafides and they’ve had more than enough time to actually finish this one, so I continue to be excited. Fingers crossed!

    • Premium User Badge

      Samuel Bass says:

      Having just watched the video, looks like they’ve upgraded the visuals a bit – at least ex-KGB lady now looks her age, although I still quibble her fashion sense.

    • The Dark One says:

      I don’t really see that type of character out of place when you consider that you can play Thornton as an over-the-top lady-killer, too. The Bourne movies might play things a little closer to earth, but don’t forget that the other archetypes they bring up are Bauer and Bond.

  23. Vinraith says:

    I suspect this is going to be too short and too action-heavy to really be the RPG I want, but it has the potential to be fun viewed as a shooter-with-RPG-elements regardless. As others have said, the Obsidian game I care most about this year is definitely New Vegas. This is just a (hopefully) nice appetizer before the main course.

    • UK_John says:

      I agree with the first part. The developers have said it’s a 25 hour game. What RPG has 25 hours gameplay? This is a action-RPG as in Borderlands, let alone Mass Effect, and certainly not Witcher or even STALKER style RPG! 8/10 scores and another ‘Alone in the Dark’ or ‘Far Cry 2′ – lot’s of hype, and in Far Cry 2, high scores, but both with very low sales and gamer derision!

    • Wulf says:

      I have faith in both, to be honest. I follow their forums a bit and their fans matter to them, they know that they have as much riding on this as they do with New Vegas, this being their own, original IP as well, which needs to be strong. So to be honest, I’m expecting this to be something of a sleeper hit, in the vein of Mask of the Betrayer. I think that for some people, both games are going to represent the best roleplaying gaming they’ve experienced in a long, long time.

      I’m trusting them not to disappoint.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Wulf

      I’m positive it’ll be a well made game, I’m certain it’ll serve its fans well, I’m just not sure I’ll be one of them. :) When I first heard about this one I had visions of Millenium’s End and Top Secret SI PnP sessions from back in the day. I’m sure it’ll be a fun shooter/RPG-lite, I’m sure I’ll pick it up and probably enjoy it, I’m just having a hard time moving past my initial hopes for a really deep espionage RPG.

  24. Mac says:

    Cheap pre-order at CD-WOW too

  25. shalrath says:

    People. You. Care. About. Will. Start. To. Die.

    It’s a modern day Robot intrigue I guess, man that was some plastic looking stuff…

  26. Adventurous Putty says:

    These fine gentlemen made KOTOR II, and Sega seems to be allowing them as much time as they need — we have nothing to worry about.

    • Wulf says:

      Couldn’t agree more!

      They’ve pretty much aired annoyances about Atari before, always holding them at whip-point and forcing them to rush to meet ridiculous deadlines, and despite those deadlines Mask of the Betrayer was still a truly stunning game.

      I’m eager to see what they can do when they’re allowed to develop and polish in their own time.

  27. Wulf says:

    This thread has a worrying amount of Incorrect Reply Method Syndrome, which I believe Kieron went nuts over a little while ago, what with the ‘Anonymous Coward’ type quotes and all. Just a heads up!

    I, of course, am excited by the fact that they talk about exactly what push my buttons.

    Obsidian: Hey, you get choices in the middle, too!
    Wulf: Which is exactly what I’ve come to expect from you!
    Obsidian: Well hey, good!

    That really is the definitive factor, for me, and one of the things that’s bugged about certain other RPGs: The lack of choice, the lack of overall motivation in regards to choices, the lack of consequences and rewards for those choices, the lack of anything that shows the choice isn’t purely cosmetic. If they can give me a game where every choice I make matters (which I expect of Obsidian) and make all the other bits pretty decent too (which I expect of Obsidian) then I’m going to be very happy with the end result.

    I’m sure that there are going to be some graphics whores that’ll pick up on this game not looking as polygon-pushy as some triple-A titles, but that’s not where they focus their development, thank goodness. I’m getting kind of tired of bigger development houses forsaking everything just to be able to push a few more polygons, or add another shader. Give me a decent story with choices that count any day over that nonsense.

    So rock on, Obsidian, and do what you do best.

  28. Wulf says:

    @kobzon

    Agreed, I don’t actually like killing that much, not even of the virtual sort. I admit, I’m more inclined to take umbrage at being forced to shoot an animal (in which case I’ll just use broken game mechanics to trick my way past them), but I still wince at death cries too. Even though the people I’m shooting might not be innocent, I don’t like having to make that decision in order to do the job the game sets out for me.

    That I can solve all the problems within the game without killing a soul pleases me immensely, and I don’t mind the game being harder for it, I don’t mind having to use weird stealth and knock-out methods in order to accomplish my goal of keeping everyone alive, because really that just makes the game more interesting. Funny thing is, in a game like Deus Ex, killing was for the less skilled player because it took a far greater amount of skill to keep everyone alive. It’ll be lovely if that’s the case here, because I relish a challenge and being rewarded with the knowledge of having done it without one death on my character’s conscience is really rather nice.

    Obsidian seem to know just what appeals to me.

  29. Serenegoose says:

    I’ve got reasonable expectations for this game, and in particular the characters within it. No team that can claim the creation of Kreia can be without the talent for making engaging characters. Very, very happy to hear that you can take a softly-softly approach to the fatality rate too. Been a while since that’s been a real option.

  30. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    Sorry, that sounds really stupid. Has “wait for the enemy to run out of ammo” ever been a tactic you could really apply in any game?

    That’s the joke

  31. Andeh says:

    Is anyone else really concerned at how the bullets didn’t seem to hit anyone? I mean, I know it’s an RPG that is presumably skill-driven, but I’m a little worried about the shooting mechanic. Martial arts looks fun anyway, but if they’re trying to appeal to the shooter market as well, that might cause some problems.

    Then again, maybe the guy playing just sucked.

    In any case, I still want this.

  32. prom gowns says:

    I would hope to be back tracking. Thanks for the great write-up.