MI6 has a preview of the upcoming massively multiplayer online game 'The Agency' from Sony - themed around James Bond and other spy influences...

The Agency - Preview
29th January 2008

MI6 has an updated preview of the upcoming spy themed, massively multiplayer online game 'The Agency' from Sony…"We wanted to bring mainstream gaming into the MMO space," Matt Wilson, Director of Development of The Agency, told journalists during a presentation at SOE's MGM Grand suite at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

In an attempt to capture that audience, Sony have invented a world of espionage familiar to most fans of the early James Bond movies - an exaggerated and idyllic one spread across real-world locales, which for launch include a smattering of locations in Europe, East Asia and South America. First person shooter and massively multiplayer elements have been combined with a blend of third-person action; wrapped in a cool espionage setting but without the complex, elaborate interface and gameplay of most MMO role-playing games.

Developers at the show displayed a mission that takes place in Prague. Plenty of detail is rendered real time in authentic style, including the distinctive cobblestone streets and Central European architecture. Players have the choice of joining two factions in the game, as either a slick UNITE spy or a gritty ParaGON mercenary.

The game offers three types of missions dependent on length of play. The short mission is designed to be 10 to 15 minutes long, perfect for a quick burst of gameplay. Medium length missions are about 30 minutes to an hour if you want a longer play session. The third type of missions are the game's set pieces, which are elaborate and last over an hour.

The demo showed a spy entering a flower shop – but akin to traditional Bond hideouts, no ordinary flower shop, in fact a front for a secret base of UNITE that players can access in-game. Shelves swing open and you enter a vast underground facility that takes its queues from Q’s lab, with assorted experimental weapon and gadget testing going on in the background. Here players can also enjoy mini-games such as the 1980’s Q*bert arcade classic, which will be tied into the main game by only being able to gain influence with a certain character by having a certain score, for example.

Typical of most online role-playing games, you will be able to create an operative and customize him or her using a large variety of body parts. The game is played like a third-person action game and has a simple and elegant interface that lets you interact with the environment easily, essential as the game is also being prepped for the PlayStation 3.

As you play through missions, you meet a range of characters that may be willing to join your character as an operative. These characters have their own agendas and may want money, to pursue their own ideology, or simply cooperate or join with you for their own ego's sake. The theory, called "M.I.C.E." (money, ideology, cooperative, ego) is an actual CIA term used to collect their own sources and operatives.

The demo had three Sony developers each controlling a separate character with a mission to tail an operative of Das Komite, an evil organization in the game. Some of the espionage elements of the game were shown off while tailing the operative – naturally, you can’t be spotted or your cover will be blown. You can have an alias that disguises you from close encounters, however an alias bar in the interface acts like a health bar which drains the longer you are in the enemy’s gaze until your cover is eventually blown completely.

Having successfully trailed the Das Komite operative to the Prague underground, their evil plan to blow up the pillars beneath the city becomes apparent – and it’s up to you and your team to stop them. This is executed using lots of gunfire and more cleverly with special powers, gadgets, and abilities including interaction with the environment – such as turning water in a pipe to steam and using it to scald unsuspecting guards beneath it.

If you succeed by stopping the enemy agents or disarming any bombs, you'll have an opportunity to execute what are called Agency Moments, which are climactic scenes in the game. In the demo, the enemies attempt to flee to a nearby truck full of explosives but if you dispatch enough of them you are rewarded by an elaborate cutscene that shows a Hollywood-esque scene of the truck being destroyed. On mission end you get graded and receive a bronze, silver, or gold medal depending on your performance – providing replayability for those players who have their minds set on become the best agents.

About The Agency
The Agency is a fast-paced, online persistent shooter in a modern setting of bullets, bomb blasts, and betrayal. Live the life of an elite agent in a world of super spies and rugged mercenaries, who use both the highest technology and the lowest tactics to accomplish their goals. Featuring cooperative and competitive play, The Agency is designed to provide instant action and long-term strategy for all fans of espionage, intrigue, and explosive gameplay. The Agency ships this year for PC and PlayStation 3.


  • Become An Elite Agent: The Agency offers hundreds of unique missions with varied end-goals requiring combat, stealth, and style. With gameplay ranging from sneaky assassinations to all out assaults, from vehicle challenges to casinos loaded with mini-games, there's something for every aspiring agent.
  • Build Your Own Agency: As players advance through the ranks of their faction, they'll also begin building their own Agencies. Players will increase their power even further by creating Joint Agencies with others.
  • Mercenary or spy, the choice is yours: In the Agency, collect the right weaponry, gadgets, vehicles, gear, attire and aliases to gain access to various locales and influence over the people within them.
  • Put Operatives to work: Operatives are collectible non-player characters who provide the goods player's desire, the services to keep them alive, and allow them to concentrate on the mission at hand. Operatives work 24/7, regardless of whether players are logged in, and they can even keep them up-to-date through email and instant messages.
  • Fun Now, No Waiting: The Agency is not about waiting for the fun to start. At any point, players can take a break from their high-flying career to engage in a number of other activities. Veterans and new players alike can take on other players at the card tables, the shooting range, or in head-to-head combat.