Feature Article

One Of My Favorite Games Has Been Removed From Steam And I Am Sad

Alpha Protocol is gone from Steam. We hardly knew ye :(

Alpha Protocol, one of my favorite games, has been removed from Steam and other PC storefronts and is therefore unavailable to purchase.

It was initially believed Sega's rights to publish the game had expired. However, the company clarified to GameSpot that this is incorrect; it still owns the Alpha Protocol brand and intellectual property--just not some of the music within the game.

A Sega spokesperson told GameSpot: "Due to the expiry of music rights in Alpha Protocol, the title has been removed from Steam and is no longer on sale."

Alpha Protocol is also unavailable to purchase on the PlayStation, Xbox, and Humble stores, though Sega has assured fans that existing owners of the game (on any platform) will still be able to redownload it in the future.

Alpha Protocol was released for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 in 2010. Although it received a mixed critical reception at the time, it went on to gain a cult following thanks to its deep RPG mechanics and glamorous spy fiction. I once called it the best James Bond game ever, despite 007 not actually being in it.

Eurogamer reported in 2017 that developer Obsidian intended to retain the rights to Alpha Protocol for itself but was forced to give them up to Sega in order to get the contract signed. Obsidian has since been acquired by Microsoft and is now working on The Outer Worlds, which launches on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 25. Rest in peace, Alpha Protocol.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

oscardayus

Oscar Dayus

Oscar is GameSpot's Staff Writer, and as the youngest member of the UK office he's usually the butt of the joke.
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Avatar image for Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

dont worry once its all sorted it will be back on epic store exclusive

Avatar image for tinyjotun
tinyjotun

I really wish publishers would give some warning when a title is about to be removed, just to give possible customers a last minute chance to purchase. No warnings kind of continues to show me that publishers really don't care about their customers, the gamers.

Avatar image for Simulator_Shock
Simulator_Shock

And nothing of value was lost.

...Someone had to say it.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

@Simulator_Shock: Someone stupid, maybe. When you WRPG people go on and on about your decisions making a difference, both in terms of story and gameplay, AP is a shining example of it. It was just held back by a lack of polish, but it's still valuable as a reference point of how player decisions SHOULD impact gameplay.

Avatar image for hystavito
hystavito

@Barighm: Can you explain that in more detail?

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

AP was rough around the edges but it had terrific RPG mechanics. Your decisions actually made a huge difference in the game and that was endearing to a lot of people.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Alpha Protocol was so mediocre though.

Avatar image for datriax
datriax

Wouldn't be an issue with physical. Reap what you sow.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@datriax: Yeah I'll just go out and buy a new cop-wait, physical copies stopped being sold long ago? It was available for digital far longer than physical? Huh.

Avatar image for gamerboy100
gamerboy100

@datriax: Good thing that PS3 and Xbox 360 discs of the game are dirt cheap and easy to find.

Avatar image for death_burnout
death_burnout

@datriax: You can still download it if you've purchased digitally...

Avatar image for anomanderrakex
AnomanderRakeX

I own Alpha Protocol on Steam . The game is not that good.

Slow day at Gamespot i guess...

Avatar image for ltkcentaur
LTKCentaur

I've still never gotten around to playing this one. I bought it on sale ages ago, I just haven't found the time or enthusiasm. I guess I'll have to give it a look.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@ltkcentaur: Lower your expectations.

Avatar image for ltkcentaur
LTKCentaur

@Thanatos2k: a few, because Prince Charming would never settle for you!

Avatar image for gamerboy100
gamerboy100

@Thanatos2k: I bought it at the original $60 price, and I enjoyed it. The gameplay could have been done better, but the story and the countless ways it can branch were things I really liked about it. Obsidian is very good about those kinds of things, and so was their predecessor, Black Isle (a lot of Black Isle's employees founded Obsidian after Black Isle was shut down).

Avatar image for lonesamurai00
lonesamurai00

This is why I turn all game music off in any game that I play.

Avatar image for Cikatriz_ESP
Cikatriz_ESP

@lonesamurai00: That... doesn’t make sense.

Avatar image for lonesamurai00
lonesamurai00

@Cikatriz_ESP: just thought that I'd throw it out there. who really needs in game music anyway.

Avatar image for gamingdevil800
gamingdevil800

@lonesamurai00: There are a lot of situations in games where it adds a lot of emotional impact. Have you played the airport mission in Max Payne 3 for instance?

Online
Avatar image for lonesamurai00
lonesamurai00

@gamingdevil800: I haven't even installed that game at all. It's in my library though, its just been sitting. Music in movies makes a huge difference for me, but in games it does nothing for me at all because there is no meaningful difference in gameplay.

Avatar image for gamingdevil800
gamingdevil800

Alpha Protocol is criminally underrated yeah the Combat wasnt great but in terms of a spy rpg we've had nothing like it since.

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Lach0121

@gamingdevil800: Pretty much how I feel about it. It wasn't without its blemishes, and rough edges, but it was a game in a vacuum. A vacuum which unfortunately still exists.

I enjoyed it all the way through. I was hoping on some kind of follow up, but after this, I don't see that happening.

Avatar image for gamingdevil800
gamingdevil800

@Lach0121: For awhile I thought Rockstar were going to fill that gap with Agent but its seemingly dead. So there are no spy games on the horizon. Even games like splinter cell and mgs although better gameplay wise they don't have the role-playing which this game had.

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Avatar image for Lach0121
Lach0121

@gamingdevil800: Exactly, I love the RPG twist on the espionage setting that AP had, and thought/hoped someone would try to capitalize on it since then... but to no alas.

Avatar image for meedokicky
meedokicky

Hey at least it is not Epic exclusive XD

Sorry hope you feel better.

If I remember correctly it was you who reported on Sunset Overdrive coming to PC, right? It was really good news for me and I said "I love you" then, I still do for that :) Hope you get your happy news and maybe it is just temporary until they remove the music in question?

Avatar image for oscardayus
oscardayus

@meedokicky: <3

Staff
Avatar image for raygquit
RayGQuit

What's with the headline of this article? I am reading game news or some emo blog? Please don't make a habit of it.

Avatar image for al89lan
al89lan

@raygquit: Hahaha, too funny.

It's also on sale for a whopping $0.89 on Amazon. Just buy the game and don't worry about Steam? First world problems, my god.

Avatar image for oscardayus
oscardayus

@raygquit: It's a feature, not a news article. Thanks for reading :)

Staff
Avatar image for Tidus1012
Tidus1012

It's not a masterpiece, but after I beated it some times for the platinum I appreciated it more.

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

I really wanted to like Alpha Protocol, but man, it was a technical mess. Eventually, I had to stop playing because every save had contracted a bug where, on loading, the level would be totally devoid of NPCs or enemies. Just my character running around alone.

Avatar image for gamerboy100
gamerboy100

@Mogan: I played through it several times on Xbox 360 without internet (and therefore, no updates) and I never had anything like that happen. Were you on PC? That could have been a bug in that version since PC ports tend to have bad reputations for technical issues.

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@gamerboy100: PC. It was bug city. The game also just didn't feel finished. Anthem actually reminded me a lot of Alpha Protocol, in that it seemed like a cool idea that was still very much in development when it had to be wrapped up and rushed out the door to hit a deadline.

Avatar image for gamerboy100
gamerboy100

@Mogan: From what I heard, it was actually rushed. The decision to release in the state it was in was on Sega, not Obsidian. It happened with some of their other games, as well. One of the exceptions was South Park: The Stick of Truth. Ubisoft gave Obsidian plenty of time and it turned out pretty good.

I personally enjoyed Alpha Protocol, but mostly for the story and how much of an impact your choices made on the story.

Avatar image for redhedjack
redhedjack

Not that I disagree with the guy but one of the rules of journalism is that editorials shouldn't be headlines.

Avatar image for oscardayus
oscardayus

@redhedjack: I dunno what rules you've been reading pal--that only applies to news and in any case is subject to each publication's style guide

Staff
Avatar image for izraal
Izraal

@oscardayus:

@redhedjack

He's correct, redhed, this is clearly a feature article rather than news, and I'd imagine the internal style guide of a video game/entertainment media website are far different from, say, AP style, and appropriately so. It's another conversation piece in the discussion of digital media "ownership" essentially presented as a personal anecdote.

No ownership, including physical media, can be truly permanent, and there are pros and cons to physical media purchases as well as digital storefronts and streaming services.

I also happened to greatly enjoy Alpha Protocol despite its flaws from when I played it on the Xbox 360. Music licensing isn't something people always consider regarding the "shelf life" of a game. When studios fold, it can be difficult to find ways to legally monetize their products. IP licenses expire. There are a lot of reasons games can be pulled from sale on digital storefronts.

Physical media is subject to wear and tear, causes clutter and can be "lost" or damaged, and can suffer from obsolescence. Very old NES cartridges can have their internal battery back up die. Older generation consoles aren't typically compatible with current televisions, hence the sale of adapters and retro emulation consoles that work with HDMI.

In the end, for the consumer, it's all about the best compromise between value, ease, and peace of mind. Price is a consideration, almost all games even on a disc install fully to the hard drive, to digital download and "re-download" through a Steam/PSN/Xbox Library is often much more convenient. Peace of mind is the final consideration, and that's up to the individual.

Physical media feels "permanent" to many, but often to each of us hook up all of our older consoles, and test our every cartridge and disc to ensure they still work correctly? And what if they don't? We we immediately scour ebay for a replacement? Do we digitally back up our physical media onto our hard drives, keeping multiple external hard drives for that purpose, while keeping the original physical media in pristine display condition?

Some people do, but for most of it, there isn't the time or the resources or honestly enough reward in doing so. So we find whatever balance works best for our pocketbook, our desire for ease of access and use, and our sense of security in ownership.

Because these priorities vary from person to person, and even then from game to game, there is not, and cannot be, a "right answer" on digital vs physical media. Like everything else, we'll muddle through finding what makes us happy as individuals, and the market will adapt to provide what consumers want to spend money on.

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