Posts Tagged ‘Alpha Protocol’

The RPG Scrollbars: Time And Seasons In RPGs

The times change, and we change with the times. Or in the case of RPGs, not. I’ve always felt this a bit of a shame, especially in games like World of Warcraft, where your character is officially hanging around long enough to see the leaves fall off the trees and the snow to cover up the capital cities. That’s why I was quite keen on both Fallout 4 taking the time to redecorate Diamond City a little for at least Halloween and Christmas, and last week, to see a mod take the next step and give the Commonwealth a makeover for all seasons in a way that nobody’s really tried since Lords of Midnight 3 way back in the 90s. Whole minutes of fun with the system clock there!

But then as now, it’s hard not to start wondering how time could be given its due as more than the fire in which bad movies turn out to be even worse than they initially seemed. Maybe it could be our friend too, and in so many interesting ways.

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Have You Played… Alpha Protocol?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

It’s nice and all that Obsidian are crowdfunding a trip back to the ’90s, but I wish they were able (and willing) to revisit something a little fresher. Alpha Protocol is my favourite game they’ve made, an RPG from 2010 which used timed conversations and silent branching to make the adventures of a super spy feel exciting and unpredictable. Yes, it’s jolly wonky in ways – Obsidian made it – but it feels like the fresh green bud of what could’ve been an exciting branch for RPGs.

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Obsidian’s Avellone On Torment, KOTOR 2, Alpha Protocol

Well, it’s official: Chris Avellone has joined the Torment: Tides of Numenera team. Kickstarter’s overwhelming monetary might has pushed another old band back together again, and now this one’s ready to give belabored brain birth to another tale for the ages. And dimensions. And whatever other creative gravy giblets they can fit into their twisted turducken of a setting. But Torment’s hardly the only thing on Avellone’s increasingly busy mind, as he’s also got both Project Eternity and Wasteland 2 to worry about. Oh, and let’s not forget that exceedingly tantalizing Star Wars pitch Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart was so thrilled to discuss. It’s tough, then, to imagine that Avellone has even a spare second these days, but he somehow managed to shove aside a few for a chat, so we used it as wisely as humanly possible. To discuss kindly stick figure knights and giggle at bad naming jokes, of course. Also, all of the above, Avellone’s role on Torment, and what an Alpha Protocol sequel would look like in a post-Walking-Dead world. 

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Obsidian Want To Know What You Want Them To Make

Please make Nameless One Desktop Adventures

Looks like Obsidian headbrain Chris Avellone’s earlier talk about getting ‘Kickstarter fever’ based upon Double Fine’s happy day (they’ve now passed $1.3 million in funding by the way – which, as Tim Schafer notes, is more than the budget for Day of the Tentacle and almost that of Full Throttle) wasn’t idle chatter. Obsidian have just posted a forum thread asking for community suggestions as to what they should make, were they to start a Kickstarter-funded game. Obviously this is purely theoretical right now and there are absolutely zero guarantees, but as they’re clearly feeling out the ground here, you should go and make sure that the ground they feel is green, pleasant and potentially profitable. And, ideally, old-school RPG-shaped.
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Licence Revoked: No Alpha Protocol 2

So – no Alpha Protocol 2 then. This perhaps unsurprising news emerges from a C&VG interview with Sega West’s President Mike Hayes, with the relative meaty bits torn free by VG247, the finest jackals of the videogame press savannah. Key quote: ““Let’s speak very commercially; the game hasn’t sold what we’ve expected, therefore we won’t be doing a sequel”. Well, that’d explain it. The interesting thing for me though is how important he positions metacritic, stating explicitly that an RPG needs an average score in the high eighties to be a hit. While that’s arguably not true, it puts the blame entirely on the game simply not being good enough. Good, yes… but not good enough. I actually bought it myself, but only have got a couple of hours in, bouncing off the surface and having trouble finding the will to return to it. Still – it’s an obvious shame that an attempt to break the Fantasy/Sci-fi duopoly on the genre failed, because an accountant’s logic will mean that further attempts are even less likely. As in “Look what happened to Alpha Protocol”. My 70s punk RPG will never be. Despairing emoticon.

An Hour With… Alpha Protocol

This screen is definitely the best thing in the first hour.

We had hoped to bring your our Alpha Protocol WIT by now, but a series of unfortunate circumstances means that it’s much delayed. You might even have your own Thoughts to Wot below. So here is a description of the first hour or two, which isn’t a very pretty sight. I’m absolutely sure things much improve after this, especially now I have the game in a state in which I can play it at all. So yes, this is especially negative. No, this absolutely is NOT our review of Alpha Protocol, and anyone who says it is gets a dead arm.

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