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August 18th, 2011, 09:00
The second part of Will Ooi's interview (you may remember the first from back in June) is up at Gamasutra. A big part of this article focuses on Alpha Protocol with some fascinating comments:
Lastly, in terms of what we would have done differently, one thing that definitely impacted the reception was out of our control (release date) - first off, people expected more from the delay when there was never any plans to do anything more with the title during the delay. In addition, being released after Mass Effect 2 with clearly superior cinematic sequences nor after Splinter Cell which specializes in some of the best stealth mechanics to date didn't help, either. To explain the publisher reasoning, however, I do know that there was a drive to push the "buzz" of the project so players were aware of it, and it was felt that eight months would give that lead time enough for people to be aware that Alpha Protocol existed. That said, even with this lead time, the PR efforts still came on late, so I don't know how much that helped in the end, except pushing the game at least eight months out from a more favorable release time, at least in terms of features. If it had been released much earlier (and it's rare to say this), I think the reviews would have come from a different perspective… as it stood, it defeated expectations on a number of levels in the marketplace.
More information.
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August 18th, 2011, 09:00
Avellone always gives great interviews, this one was no exception. Say what you will about Obsidians games, but it is clear that they really care deeply about the core elements of RPGs, which sets them apart from pretty much anybody else in the AAA gaming insdustry.
Alpha Protocol is waiting on my steam account, looking foward to playing it after the Witcher 2.
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August 18th, 2011, 10:41
Must have really liked Portal 2 for Wheatly and Glados to be the first two characters he mentions.
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August 18th, 2011, 18:29
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Avellone always gives great interviews, this one was no exception.

Originally Posted by Chris Avellone
There's a lot of branching, there's a lot of consequences to your choices, you can outwit the bad guy just by being clever and doing your homework, you can persuade almost all your adversaries that you'd make a better boss, the fact we didn't use speech or dialogue skills in conversations as an "insta-win" button, the character had no moral barometer, but everyone's perception of him was different was good, and I liked the fact that having negative reputation gave bonuses, so if you felt like being a jackass, the game recognized you were in a role-playing game and playing a role and didn't cut you off from content to punish you, it gave you different content and abilities. I like that I could pick and choose the personality of the weapons, Matt MacLean wrote great emails, and I did like the fact that there was a pacifistic path… and having the voice actor who did Winnie the Pooh be one of our major adversaries was a nice, bizarre little touch.
This is a good summation of why Alpha Protocol rocks despite its various shortcomings.

Also, quite as usual, I think Avellone is way too critical to some aspects.
Itīs a pity that emphasis on cinematic elements led to cuts on some other gameplay features, but on the other hand, conversations really felt cinematic and constantly kept players on their toes, unlike in other supposedly cinematic games where cinematic elements boil down to watching cutscenes.
And the frame narrative worked really well in this game.

Pity the lack of success resulted in zero post-release support and scratched plans for a sequel.
Also, fuck the idiotic delay.
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August 18th, 2011, 18:39
Since he mentioned it, every time a game is going to be delayed the forums erupt in angry flames. Then another contingent of fans come out to douse the flames with cries of 'They are taking more time to make the game better!'

Sometimes a teapot is just a teapot and sometimes a delay is just a delay.
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August 18th, 2011, 21:11
Nice low BS and smart interview once again from Chris. Good information there about the the design process. Also, great example of how emphasis on the "cinematic" experience can damage gameplay.
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