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The Agency -- A Spy MMO from SOE

LucascraftLucascraft Registered User regular
edited April 2011 in MMO Extravaganza
The_Agency_logo.jpg

THE AGENCY

I was bored today and decided I'd do a little research on this game since I haven't really heard anything in a while. I did a search on the forums and didn't find a thread about this game so I decided that I would start one and include the findings of my research.

I heard about this game a year or more ago and have always been interested in it, simply because I feel the fantasy genre of MMOs is about to reach critical mass, and I'd like to see games in other genres move into the online realm.

So what is The Agency?

Taken from the official website:
The Agency™ is a fast-paced, action shooter set in an online persistent world-a modern setting of bullets, bomb blasts, and betrayal. Live the life of an elite agent in a world of superspies and rugged mercenaries, who use both high technology and low tactics to accomplish their missions and 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.

Taken from Wikipedia:
The Agency is a spy-themed massively multiplayer online shooter. It is being developed and published by Sony Online Entertainment studios in Seattle for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 3.


What is the gameplay like?

Wikipedia says:
The game will feature FPS-style gun fighting (with the ability to switch between third and first person views), with some driving and other vehicular segments as well. Skill will be the primary determining factor in the success of the player, though some RPG elements will come into play as well. It has been mentioned that one shot to the head will instantly kill any player, suggesting it will be a somewhat realistic shooter.[2] The game will also include relevant subgames and minigames, among them casino games such as Texas hold 'em, which can be played for fun or can be used to initiate instance missions, such as losing or winning enough games to draw the attention of an NPC.

You can read the full description on wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Agency_%28video_game%29

And there is also a bit of game description on the official website, here: http://theagency.station.sony.com/intel.vm

And if you like videos, here are links to a three part video series on Gametrailers.com. These videos are from E3 2009. That makes them approximately 3 months old as of the writing of this post.

E3 2009 Developer Walkthrough Part 1
E3 2009 Developer Walkthrough Part 2
E3 2009 Developer Walkthrough Part 3


Official E3 2009 Trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skpnd6Mf3Bs

The Factions
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Paragon

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U.N.I.T.E.

Screenshots!
(Spoilered for Size)
Concept Art!
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My impressions and opinions:

From those gameplay trailers linked above, I'd say this game definitely looks like something I want to play when it comes out.

However, I have a few reservations:

First -- From what I've seen of the gameplay, this game lacks a lot of features that I've come to expect from other sneaking games and action games. First and foremost that comes to mind is cover. I never once saw the character take cover behind...well...anything. The combat looked very simple. Stand and shoot. After having played games such as Gears of War, Uncharted, GTA4, and many others, I've come to expect more from shooters than simply standing still and exchanging bullets with my target.

Secondly -- The stealth aspects that I saw have me concerned. Stealth Action games such as Splinter Cell, Batman Arkham Asylum, Assassin's Creed, and Metal Gear Solid all have a whole lot more acrobatics and stealth moves. Things like going prone, flattening against walls, crawling through narrow crawlspaces or air ducts, climbing, hanging, rappelling, and many other maneuvers that just weren't present in the demos.

From what I gathered by watching those gameplay videos, their idea of "stealth" is simply running around while ducked, many times out in the open in plain sight. That just doesn't cut it for stealth anymore. Maybe 10 years ago it would have been ok, but games these days are much more advanced that what I saw in the videos.

Yes, I realize that the game is in development and things can and certainly will change. I am remaining optimistic and hopefully SOE will put together a very high quality online stealth spy game by the time it is released.

Lets talk about spies!

Lucascraft on

Posts

  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Matt Wilson (head of production of SOE Seattle), Corey Dangel (art director) and John Smith (Producer) already left the team of The Agency before it is even close to being finished. SOE claims that production on The Agency is moving along as planned, but I am sceptic.

    I mean, usually these guys don't leave the team before the product is actually finished.

    Aldo on
  • EliminationElimination Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Aldo wrote: »
    Matt Wilson (head of production of SOE Seattle), Corey Dangel (art director) and John Smith (Producer) alerady left the team of The Agency before it is even close to being finished. SOE claims that production on The Agency is moving along as planned, but I am sceptic.

    I mean, usually these guys don't leave the team before the product is actually finished.

    Yeah that probably means the quality standards were not being met. Wouldn't surprise me much with SoE's current track record.

    Elimination on
    PSN: PA_Elimination 3DS: 4399-2012-1711 Steam: http://steamcommunity.com/id/TheElimination/
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Screenshots look horrible

    Jasconius on
  • ZzuluZzulu Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Meh.

    Another pseudo MMO I will never pay a subscription for.

    Zzulu on
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  • LucascraftLucascraft Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Jasconius wrote: »
    Screenshots look horrible

    I forgot to touch on that in my original post. The graphics for this game look more like original XBox era graphics than current gen. I don't think they're terrible, but I also expect a lot more these days than what's there.

    Lucascraft on
  • farbekriegfarbekrieg Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    any truth to the rumor that dual developing for pc/ps3 was causing major issues similiar to those vanguard faced when being deved at ms and wanting vista as a requirement?

    farbekrieg on
  • ArchonexArchonex Registered User
    edited September 2009
    I don't think the graphics are necessarily bad. It seems like they're trying to go with a colorful ascetic, as evidenced by the first two screenshots. That sort of thing usually looks better in motion. Take Champion's Online as an example.


    That third screenshot, though. Man. You can see the pixels bleeding off of the NPC's.


    Really, if they want this to work, they're going to need to focus on getting the stealth and rambo aspects of the game right. People aren't going to want to play tedious stealth sections. And if gun-play comes down to "stand still for a minute while trading numbers", it's going to bomb too.

    Most of the development related information i've heard about this game pointed toward's them wanting to include un-necessary features that'd slow down core gameplay development, like having the game send a message to your phone when a modification to your car or gun is complete.

    That's shit that you should worry about either after release, or after you get your core gameplay concept working.

    Archonex on
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar Not a Fictional Character Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Why isn't this an FPS co-op game instead...?

    Incenjucar on
  • AumniAumni Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Why isn't this an FPS co-op game instead...?

    Because unless you think you're Crimecraft, you won't get anyone to pay monthly!

    Aumni on
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  • -SPI--SPI- Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Why isn't this an FPS co-op game instead...?

    Because if you call it an MMO people might forgive your hideous graphics and bland gameplay.

    -SPI- on
  • Meta T. DustMeta T. Dust Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I missed when this was a 70s espionage type dealy, like no one lives forever.

    Now its just not that, its not as good.

    English chaps with bowler hats and women wearing tie-dye dresses. Everyone packin' a silenced pistol, none of this bullshit spy miniguns.

    Meta T. Dust on
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  • EliminationElimination Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I missed when this was a 70s espionage type dealy, like no one lives forever.

    Now its just not that, its not as good.

    English chaps with bowler hats and women wearing tie-dye dresses. Everyone packin' a silenced pistol, none of this bullshit spy miniguns.

    Yeah thats what i remember this being too, now that i see this thread it looks asstastic now.

    Elimination on
    PSN: PA_Elimination 3DS: 4399-2012-1711 Steam: http://steamcommunity.com/id/TheElimination/
  • Teslan26Teslan26 Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Three rules of choosing an MMO

    1. Avoid SOE
    2. Avoid SOE
    3. Avoid SOE

    Teslan26 on
    Snowbeat wrote: »
    get out of here, numbername
  • LucascraftLucascraft Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Teslan26 wrote: »
    Three rules of choosing an MMO

    1. Avoid SOE
    2. Avoid SOE
    3. Avoid SOE

    I fully disagree with this sentiment. I played EQ1 for about 4 years, maybe a bit longer, and never had any major grievances with SOE. I left EQ1, not because of anything SOE did, but rather because I was looking for something a bit more modern, and EQ was definitely showing its age. I also enjoyed Planetside quite a bit back in the day, and I had a pretty fun jaunt through EQ2. I harbor no grudges against SOE.

    Lucascraft on
  • JediNightJediNight Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    This really sounds like it would be much better off as an online FPS instead of an MMO... ala TF2

    JediNight on
  • Fatgoat87Fatgoat87 Registered User
    edited September 2009
    Lucascraft wrote: »
    Teslan26 wrote: »
    Three rules of choosing an MMO

    1. Avoid SOE
    2. Avoid SOE
    3. Avoid SOE

    I fully disagree with this sentiment. I played EQ1 for about 4 years, maybe a bit longer, and never had any major grievances with SOE. I left EQ1, not because of anything SOE did, but rather because I was looking for something a bit more modern, and EQ was definitely showing its age. I also enjoyed Planetside quite a bit back in the day, and I had a pretty fun jaunt through EQ2. I harbor no grudges against SOE.

    You should of played Starwars galaxies.

    Fatgoat87 on
  • citizen059citizen059 hello my name is citizen I'm from the InternetRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Sorry to resurrect the thread...for a killing...but this is the most recent thread I could find via Google searching the forum.

    http://ca.kotaku.com/5787698/sonys-mmo-studio-confirms-layoffs-closes-the-book-on-the-agency

    Yesterday's rumors have proven true, as Sony Online Entertainment confirms 205 cut positions, the closure of three studio locations, and puts the final bullet in the head of massively multiplayer online spy game The Agency.

    In an official statement delivered to Kotaku this afternoon, Sony Online Entertainment outlines the strategic decision that resulted in the unemployment of more than two hundred people and the shuttering of studios in Denver, Seattle, and Tucson.

    The statement also reveals that The Agency, the eagerly anticipated spy-vs.-spy online multiplayer game that's been in development for several years, is no longer a going concern.

    The official statement begins as follows:

    "As part of a strategic decision to reduce costs and streamline its global workforce, SOE announced today that it will eliminate 205 positions and close its Denver, Seattle and Tucson studios. As part of this restructuring, SOE is discontinuing production of The Agency so it can focus development resources on delivering two new MMOs based on its renowned PlanetSide and EverQuest properties, while also maintaining its current portfolio of online games. All possible steps are being taken to ensure team members affected by the transition are treated with appropriate concern."

    citizen059 on
  • randombattlerandombattle Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    It does seem like people are finally understanding you cant just put out an mmo and make tons of money.

    randombattle on
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  • citizen059citizen059 hello my name is citizen I'm from the InternetRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    It does seem like people are finally understanding you cant just put out an mmo and make tons of money.

    1. Come up with idea for MMO.
    2. ???
    3. Profi-- wait, you mean...? No? It...it isn't working? Well, damn.

    citizen059 on
  • ArthilArthil Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    citizen059 wrote: »
    It does seem like people are finally understanding you cant just put out an mmo and make tons of money.

    1. Come up with idea for MMO.
    2. ???
    3. Profi-- wait, you mean...? No? It...it isn't working? Well, damn.
    4. What do you mean we actually have to listen to our customers and not put out a heaping pile of shit? (FFXIV looking at you)

    Arthil on
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  • AstaleAstale Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    FFIV was kind of out there though.

    An MMO that not only lacked basic features that most other MMOs have, but lacked a ton of features that it's direct predecessor has, and which said predecessor is still currently going just fine (at least before the whole tsunami reactor earthquake whatnot, dunno bout now).

    I mean that's, I don't even, what?




    So probably not a good example.

    Astale on
    Alistair wrote: »
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  • FiarynFiaryn Omnicidal Madman Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    It does seem like people are finally understanding you cant just put out an mmo and make tons of money.

    It only took them forever.

    Fiaryn on
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  • MrVyngaardMrVyngaard Live From New Etoile Straight Outta SosariaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    It's a pity. I was looking forward to this one, looked like it could have been fun.

    Figures.

    MrVyngaard on
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  • CorehealerCorehealer The Apothecary The softer edge of the universe.Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    This game probably wouldn't have held up well against the current and coming competition so it's probably for the best that SOE is sticking to it's more useful franchises. We'll never know what could of been, but I imagine it would have been similar to DC Online, with spies instead of superheroes using gadgets and guns in a similar combat style and with ok story elements. And people would have played it for a month or two and then left, which would have been bad for SOE which has already killed some MMOs already.

    Corehealer on
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  • EliminationElimination Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I forgot this game even existed...

    Elimination on
    PSN: PA_Elimination 3DS: 4399-2012-1711 Steam: http://steamcommunity.com/id/TheElimination/
  • AstaleAstale Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    And now it doesn't! You win!

    Astale on
    Alistair wrote: »
    I use Dog as a cover for when I put dead animals in Morrigan's underthings
  • tricontricon Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Well R.I.P.

    I like some of the old videos http://www.gametrailers.com/game/the-agency/4932 from 2008,
    The did have some good ideas back then.

    Too bad the missed all the release dates in the next few years..... :P

    tricon on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I remember being pretty excited about this game when it was announced however long ago. There were basically no MMOs on the market at that point that didn't feature orcs, and this game seemed like a fun departure from that.

    so much for that

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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  • Lord_AsmodeusLord_Asmodeus goeticSobriquet: Here is your magical cryptic riddle-tumour: I AM A TIME MACHINERegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Well now they can focus on Planetside 2, put out a quality MMO FPS again.

    Lord_Asmodeus on
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  • EliminationElimination Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    At least they didn't sell pre-orders for it.

    Elimination on
    PSN: PA_Elimination 3DS: 4399-2012-1711 Steam: http://steamcommunity.com/id/TheElimination/
  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I always felt like it actually had some potential -- by "always" I mean "several years ago, before it became apparent that this game was never, ever going to be released."

    SammyF on
  • Toxic PickleToxic Pickle Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Count me amongst those who were, at one point, actually rather excited about this game. I didn't know much about it, but the spy-theme made me interested and hopeful that something new and different could come out in the MMO world.

    I also had basically forgotten about this game until I saw the thread pop up in these forums... only to find out that it's been killed. Alas.

    Also, weird to find out they had a studio in Tucson, which is where I live... I had no idea they were out here. :P

    Toxic Pickle on
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