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Alpha Protocol - Interviews @ Critical Gamer, VG247

by Dhruin, 2009-10-28 21:47:36

Matthew Rorie has pointed out two new Alpha Protocol interviews on the official forums.  First, Critical Gamer speaks with Chris Avellone - let's take a fun quote that isn't about the game:

CG: Which of the JB’s (Bourne, Bond, Bauer) would win in a fight to the death?

CA: They’d all die, here’s how I figure it: In the opening five minutes, Bauer shoots Bond dead after finding out Bond slept with Bauer’s daughter, his ex-wife, and all of his romantic interests from Season 1 through 5. Bauer then shoots up with heroin to smooth himself out, unaware that Bond already poisoned his black tar blend with a synthetic poison that’ll kill him in 24 hours. Bauer takes a deep breath, searches Bond’s possessions and discovers he’s just murdered a British intelligence agent. Bauer goes underground as a rogue agent, but CTU counters this by drafting Jason Bourne to go after Bauer and bring him in by any means necessary.

Bourne ambushes Bauer, and in the midst of the fistfight of rapidly-shifting camera angles and improvised weapons, Bauer (face bloodied) explains why he killed Bond. Bourne (face bloodied, and now with a limp) nods and says he would have done the same thing if Bond had slept with Sarah Silverman.*

Bourne offers to help Bauer get the antidote – another lethal poison that ironically enough, perfectly counteracts Bond’s poison but is otherwise lethal if ingested.

Bauer tells Bourne, you aren’t going to “forget” are you?

Bourne says no way, “mind like a steel trap.”

Bauer says, well, let me write you a note to make SURE you don’t forget and puts it in Bourne’s jacket pocket. Bourne goes after the antidote being held at CTU, recovers it in a bloody shootout, Sarah Silverman shows up for 10 minutes, takes a bullet and dies saying Bourne’s name, Bourne is sad and mopey, and on the way out has an amnesia attack and forgets everything that happened. Searching his jacket for clues, he reads the note from Bauer which simply says, “recover the antidote to save my life.” Bourne assumes the antidote is for him, then injects himself with the counteragent and keels over dead.

Bauer waits the remaining 22 hours (becoming the most boring season of 24 ever) and then dies. Then there’s an explosion.

Next is VG247, who gathered senior producer Ryan Rucinski, PR producer Matthew Rorie and lead designer Chris Avellone.  On that infamous Sony tester and being "RPG enough":

An alleged internal Sony tester recently said that Alpha Protocol wasn’t “RPG enough.” Ever since I read that, it’s been bugging me. RPG is such a muddled term these days. How does Obsidian define “RPG”? What makes a game an RPG, and not, say, a shooter with RPG elements or something like that?

Ryan Rucinski: “RPG” is a broad term with plenty of sub-elements. Technically, in any game you play as a character, you are playing the role of that character. A great game that was a shooter with RPG elements would be one of our favorites: System Shock 2.

In SS2 you ran through the game with pretty much no movies, a fixed story, and only one way to win. You did get bits of the story as you played through, and you got skills that helped you with some puzzle elements but besides the three archetypes of characters you really didn’t get too in-depth. On a side note, even if I heard that freakin’ monkey sound effect to this day I would probably swear and jump in the chair. Low on ammo and swinging a wrench at a monkey is no way to go through life.

Now, SS2 is very different than a Fallout or Oblivion title where everything is skill- and stat-based. Both are still technically RPGs one is just more about the numbers than the other.

Chris Avellone: An RPG is a game that provides character progression, opportunities for exploration, the ability to confront or fight adversaries and obstacles to achieve rewards, and, most importantly, gives choice in everything from character construction to action and dialogue choices in the game, and the game reacts to those choices in measurable ways. I agree with Ryan’s System Shock 2 analogy. I think if that game had had one chance to choose sides or make a choice outside of the level progression, then it would have the spine of an RPG, no question.

The percentage that a player is engaged in each of the RPG elements also factors into the definition as well – Alpha Protocol is a pretty strong blend of action, character building, character interaction and reactivity (as well as providing options and optional content you never need to do). We have several major characters that you can kill, change the allegiance of, or never encounter at all, and all of these opportunities have major effects in the game. We think that’s core to the RPG experience; we want people to discuss “their” path and see how much it compares to someone else’s. (Our reactivity summaries in our debriefing screens showcase this pretty well.)

As a side note, we had a debug option that showcased all the reactivity for each level, and when a reviewer took a look at it, it was one of the aspects he enthusiastically brought up – he found that seeing all the reaction results for a level was pretty fascinating. He was able to see how all the mission choices and dialogue choices could have played out and the effects it would have on people’s reactions, intel, and future mission structure.

We’ve been tempted to provide the debug command to expose all the reactivity for the official reviews, but we’ll see. We may just want to let people discover them on their own.

Information about

Alpha Protocol

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Modern
Genre: Action-RPG
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Release: Released