2009's set to be a funny old year for MMOs. On the one hand, we've got The Old Republic and Love on opposite ends of the spectrum, both promising important, enticing changes to an often static genre. On the other, there's the distant thunder of how badly 2008 went for so many existing massively multiwotsits - last year cost us Tabula Rasa, Hellgate, Mythos and RF Online. So news of a promising newish name on the virtual world block is definitely good news. Especially one that's got robots in.
Global Agenda is an Unreal 3-powered shooty sci-fi MMO with a whiff of - whisper it, cross all your fingers and toes - Planetside to it. Dare we to dream? Certainly, it's yer actual cursor-targeted shootiness, " as fluid and fast paced as any online multiplayer shooter" it says here, as opposed to than Tabula Rasa's oddball middleground. It's primarily PvP too, which means there's at least a hope of the tense push'n'pull of dear ol' Planetside. Seems like it has a little in common with the much-delayed Huxley, too.
Key differences are, it seems, more focus on RPG-esque character customisation and on lending some greater meaning to the ongoing skirmishes. Planetside always suffered from this unfortunate "well, we've grabbed this base. Now what?" futility, whereas Global Agenda seems on about a more sustained tussle between a huge array of rival organisations, with the game handing out specific objectives.
Which all sounds like a lot of fun - just as long as it doesn't fall too much into being compartmentalised battlegrounds, really. GIANT WAR, please. Newcomer dev Hi-Rez Studios describe it as 'spy-fi' - rival agencies battling for control of 22nd Century Earth, with the aid of "politics, intrigue, and outright deception" as well as gunplay.
It's currently in alpha, and is accepting beta applications, so hopefully we'll find out whether it matches our open-world shooter dreams in the not-too-distant. Meantime, here's a clutch of in-game footage, interspersed with some terribly excited talking heads:
More information, including specifics on the four character classes (Assault, Recon, Medic and Robotic) and the nature of its guild system and whatnot over on the official site.
And an earlier, mostly CGI trailer for the road - emphasising the stealth element, and also the giant robot element: