We may have already covered a lot of Alpha Protocol at E3 recently, but we managed to see a little bit more at this year's Leipzig Games Convention. We managed to secure an appointment to see the latest build of the game at the Sega booth, where we saw a couple of new things about this promising spy-based action RPG.
The guiding principle of the game is to make you feel like one of the three J.B.'s:Jack Bauer, Jason Bourne, and James Bond. To do this, Obsidian has the services of writer Chris Avellone, who wrote the acclaimed Planescape Torment, to create the people who inhabit this world. The team is trying to eschew the notions of clear right and wrong and keep the excitement high by giving each character a specific set of interests.
Your base of operations will be kitted out exactly as you'd expect for a spy's home. The developers have clearly watched Mr. & Mrs. Smith, as the gadgets and weapons reveal themselves from regular household cabinets. You'll be able to upgrade nearly every part of the weapons on offer to make them, for instance, more silent for stealth missions or more deadly for close combat. The developers are also pushing the gadget angle with items such as EMP grenades and electronic trip wires.
One of the coolest aspects of the espionage is acting and dressing appropriately for what you're doing and whom you're speaking to. If you're talking to an informant in the street, you'll need to dress casually and act relaxed, and you can choose responses by pressing different buttons on the controller. If you're interrogating someone, you might choose to be threatening by pulling a gun or suggesting violence. That person may well give in to your demands, or may get angry and fight back--it's up to you to judge each situation.
Another cool aspect is the media feedback. Your actions may be reported on the TV news, for example, and you'll also be able to sit down at your computer to check your e-mail. The one thing the team isn't including is vehicles, despite the game's use of Unreal Engine 3 technology.
Alpha Protocol has been in development since the beginning of 2006, but the end is now hopefully in sight for Obsidian. The game is set for release in February 2009 on the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.