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July 23, 2007
E3 2007 - The Agency

By Staci Krause

Action! Adventure! Intrigue! Sony Online's Seattle office has been hard at work on an upcoming First-Person Shooter style MMO titled The Agency, which will offer players the chance to become spies. At E3, we got our first glimpse of the game, with a pre-rendered trailer we were told was in-game footage. It looked pretty darned nice.

The story itself will allow players to immerse themselves in the world of spies, akin to the James Bond movies. It's set in the modern world, one players will hopefully be pretty familiar with. One thing that was made clear to us during the presentation is that they aren't taking themselves all that seriously. There will be a lot of cute moments in the game and some that pay homage to video game history and more. The game will be somewhat campy, although there's nothing campy about the gameplay.

It is a shooter at its core, with some vehicles and other types of gameplay thrown in. Set in modern day, players will travel the globe, completing missions for whichever agency they decide to join. In the demonstration, we were introduced to two characters created by the company to be the iconic figures for the game. Just in the names, you can see how not serious the game is intended to be taken. The team of Cassie Nova and Gavin Eissen exploded onto the screen, as Cassie tried to come in all secretively and Gavin came in guns blazing. After some words, we got onto the real gameplay, which makes great use of the environment. Cover is going to be important, as well as tactics. It's not so fast-paced as to be considered a twitch shooter, but it's fast enough for most adrenaline junkies.

Since this is more like a shooter than a role-playing game, they didn't want players to get bogged down with character development. It's a persistent world, but instead of leveling in the traditional way, instead players will be collecting really great gear and vehicles. We were shown one such vehicle, with a caveat. It was decked out in every imaginable gadget - think what Q would provide James Bond - but they told us it would be very difficult for a player to actually get all the things on this car. Regardless, it looks like there will be a wide variety of items for players to collect and that's basically what will make this game persistent. There is also going to be a range of clothing including, we were happy to hear, what they are calling Bordello Ware. Who hasn't wanted to dress like they worked in the red light district? Oh, and the red light district? Yah, it's in the game and you'll probably travel there on missions.

The in-game footage we saw was gorgeous, although don't expect to be hearing about beta this year. It's still a ways off. But it looks like this is a solid transition for the FPS-MMO game and this one just might pull it off to perfection.


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