We're not in Aurora any more. Obsidian's next game, Alpha Protocol, is the least RPG-looking RPG I think I've seen. In the new video released today (below), showing lots of new in-game footage, it looks like third-person action. But do not let loose your cries of foul just yet - this is Obsidian, and while it would be nice if they'd remember to finish their games, they've yet to make a mistake. And this is Chris Avellone and Feargus Urquhart, who brought us KotOR II and Planescape: Torment. The men know how to tell a story. There is pedigree, and with pedigree comes optimism. Doubly so, since there's not a potion or magical goblet in sight: this is a spy-based RPG, set in the modern day.
The combat indicates it could even be real-time shooting, but of course it won't be so simple. There's something called "chain shot", which lets you enter a slo-mo mode, setting up your attacks, sounding similar to Fallout 3's VATS system. And more importantly, this won't be a game of running around and shooting at men. Unless, I guess, you choose to play it that way. The hints given so far suggest a Deus Exian approach to encounters, with each mission completable in numerous ways, partly based on taste, and partly based on how you've levelled and tailored your character. There's also apparently going to be sizeable downtime, between missions. You can head back to your pad, chat with friends via your computer, watch the news to catch up on your exploits. Oh, and there's going to be some chatting.
Being an Avellone/Urquhart game, dialogue is going to play an enormous role. Conversations will allow you to chose your response, and thus your personality, using the Dialogue Stance System. It seems that in Alpha Protocol you won't be given the usual luxury of weighing up your choices for too long - there's a timer forcing you to pick quickly, in the pace of natural conversation. There's a few more details in the dev commentary video we showed you last November.
However, none of this is shown below, which focuses purely on action. The trailer claims it is the first modern-day spy RPG. There has to be an obscure Polish game that beat it in 2002 or something - first person to think of one wins an imaginary prize. Do enjoy.