First look at `The Agency` MMO spy game from Sony
Sony Online Entertainment is hardly a beginner in the great and exceptionally crowded world of MMO games. Their experience in this particular genre boasts of games like EverQuest, EverQuest II, PlanetSide, The Matrix Online, Star Wars Galaxies and more. Their next project, The Agency, handled by the company's Seattle branch (SOE Seattle), was described as an espionage-themed online first-person person shooter. Bear in mind, SOE doesn't want players to think The Agency is an MMO in the traditional sense - reports Action Trip
. Albeit details on the gameplay itself are sketchy, The Agency was said to play a lot like a standard FPS, with a good bit of humor injected into it. Naturally, we couldn't help but think 'No One Lives Forever' in a persistent online world. In addition, the game will feature co-op missions (whatever that means in an MMOG - 'two man quest'?), PvP matches, and more.
Click here to view the first screenshots
The Agency is currently in development for the PS3 and PC with the possibility of cross-platform interconnectivity. This feature is being debated and the developers aren't 100% certain on its implementation. Creating a game with PC/PS3 interconnectivity is a big step and whoever attempts to deliver such a product to the market definitely needs to take a whole bunch of issues into consideration. You have to admit, it does sound like an interesting feature.
The game was designed to accommodate the needs of both solo and group play styles. As players commence their virtual journey through the world of espionage, they can pick between two types of characters. You can either choose to side with a faction called UNITE, which makes you a James Bond type of spy, or you may take the form of a tough mercenary working for an organization called ParaGON. No matter which one of these you go for, you'll be given a choice of initial missions. Of course, a lot of these missions take place in instanced areas. As you'd expect, however, the game also features public spaces where players can party up, chat or simply enjoy a mini-game or two in towns such as Prague.
Anyhow, after the first wave of tasks is completed, players begin to receive rewards as well as a rise in rank for their efforts. Rewards will include money for the most part, in addition to an assortment of useful items. Further leveling and completed missions opens the road to better items, more challenging jobs and a variety of other things the developers still refuse to reveal. As far as the structure of the gameplay is concerned, we still have to wait until more details are revealed. We do know for a fact that you start as a small-time agent, with a goal to eventually establish your very own agency. (Called... drum roll please... THE GUILD! - Ed)
As players progress, they can select to participate in a wide variety of story-driven quests and take part in numerous sidequests. To counter your foes you'll be able to use a range of sniper rifles, SMGs and other types of firearms. Vehicles may also be called in for support. Gradually, gamers will come across NPC operatives who are prepared to help you get your mitts on more powerful items. After completing a few missions, you'll receive schematics and blueprints, which may be given to these NPCs so they can craft new and better items, such as weapons, special gadgets and so on. Naturally, you may have to wait for them to be made. Although most of the gadgets are kept under wraps for now (and there will be a lot of them we're told), the developers did hint a particularly useful device for reviving your colleagues.
SOE are rather keen on introducing the so-called "Agency moments," a feature that allows players to complete their tasks in a certain way. Instead of finishing a mission the traditional way, you can pull it off in a more imaginative way. In some situations this may involve, say, jumping between moving vehicles or causing massive explosions with a single shot. Performing these moves grants the player additional bonuses. (Finally, a feature that sounds remotely interesting. - Ed)
The creators of The Agency uncovered that apart from a choice of weapons and gadgets, the game sees your avatar's outfit as a crucial part of gameplay. Apparently, they emphasized the slogan "you are what you wear." Switching between different attire, denotes a change of roles in the game, between combat, support or stealth. More often than not, your clothes are also suitable for disguising your avatar to deceive foes. It's also a good way of moving around the area through the general populace without drawing attention to yourself.
There's also the cool concept of non-player operatives that can serve under your arm; as soon as you've created your own agency that is. NPC operatives can be assigned to perform a number of jobs, all of which have rewarding results. Sometimes they can be sent to gather information for an upcoming mission. Also, you may instruct them to research new gear, which you'll be able to utilize later on. As I've said before, NPCs need a certain amount of time when creating these items. So, if it takes them one whole day to do it, then that's how long you'll have to wait. Of course, whether you're playing the game during that time or not, doesn't have any influence on them completing the task. You can exit the game and start playing one day later, to find that the NPC has done the job as promised.
Those are all the goodies we have for you lot at this time. From what we can gather, The Agency holds many qualities that vouch for a solid online game. We're very excited about seeing how the developers will mix all the elements together and put it in an online FPS. We also look forward to bringing you more info and media on the game as soon as the E3 kicks in.
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