WIN! SEGA’s Alpha Protocol On PC, 360 or PS3

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WIN! SEGA’s Alpha Protocol On PC, 360 or PS3

Alpha Protocol, the “espionage RPG” from Obsidian Entertainment, releases in just four weeks. How would you like the chance to interrogate the developers and win yourself a copy of the game?

Thanks to SEGA we have TEN copies of Alpha Protocol up for grabs. We’ve got them on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 – just take your pick.

We thought we’d give you the opportunity to ask questions of Obsidian’s Chris Parker and Chris Avellone. Both Chris’s are veterans of the industry having worked on many highly regarded RPGS such as Neverwinter Nights 2 and Knights of the Old Republic 2 at Obsdian and the likes of Baldur’s Gate, Fallout, Planescape: Torment and Icewind Dale while at Interplay.

They know their RPGs. We figured you might like to ask them something about Alpha Protocol, their new RPG.

So to be in the running to win a copy of Alpha Protocol – on the platform of your choice – just leave a question about the game in the comments below. We’ll choose the best ten questions for the guys to answer – and you’ll also score yourself a copy of the game when it launches on May 27.

Get your question in by midnight Sunday, May 2. No multiple entries are allowed, just the one question each, thanks. Please ensure you leave a valid email address or use Facebook Connect when commenting.

Good luck!

[Terms and Conditions]

Comments

  • hello Chris’

    It’s safe to say that both of you have worked on several pioneering games for western RPG’s – all from various genre’s (fantasy, sci fi, apocalyptic), which have been met with critical acclaim.
    You guys certainly know you’re stuff when it comes to an RPG.

    So this is mind, what kind challenges were presented to you taking on a “Espionage RPG”, something that hasn’t been done before (or at least to my knowledge hasn’t)? Is it much more difficult having to create a game in a genre that is based much more heavily in ‘fact’ than ‘fiction’, where you presumably have far less room for creative interpretation?

  • The general concensous amongst gamers when the term RPG is uttered, is that they are seen as a “Slow Burn” style of game.
    Through constant levelling up and some repetetive gameplay(farming) being the norm.
    Using the backdrop of an Espionage setting, which implies that your actions must be alot more deliberate in stratergy, subtle, under the radar yet decisive.
    How have you appeased or drawn in the gamer, who enjoys the quicker, more action oriented experience,
    who’d normally give this game a miss, into the world of Alpha Protocol?

    • PS3 preferred for me thanks.
      I also have a 360, so I’d happily take the 360 ver. if I don’t score the PS3 ver.
      Thanks.

  • Given that your game contains all the good things in gaming life (blood, drug references, intense violence, sexual content and strong language) I would like to know if you faced any challenges in getting this past our nasty australian censorship nazi’s, and if so, how did you tackle the issues they had? 😉

    • thanks for the reminder Jones 😉

      PC preferred, but I ave all 3 platforms, so I’m happy to take leftovers 😉

  • I understand that in a game about espionage and the spy game you would want to try and steer it towards a realistic and plausible storyline, make the gadgets and skills of the main character match those of real life intelligence officers as close as possible but still keep the game interesting and exciting. With the emphasis you have put on the hand to hand combat and I imagine extensive times spent dealing with professionals trained in many martial arts, settling on kenpo, and to increase realism I can imagine you would have researched and read up on current political events and possibly previous famous, maybe not so famous ex spys who could share a bit of information or two, all this combined with your previous years working on some of the greatest RPGS of our time (I enjoyed them) and possibly a few projects that you didn’t enjoy working with, Do you think that in the height of her fame, a Paris Hilton Mobile phone Rpg would have been a successful venture?

  • Now we both know that an espionage based RPG is both awesome and a mammoth task the ensure that you keep the player immersed in the gameplay…

    with this in mind, who is your favourite Sonic or Knuckles?

  • Given that it’s already been stated decisions in this game will carry over to the inevitable sequel, how do you plan to give players a meaningful impact in their universe… over say the ME2 model where previous decisions ultimatly meant very little?

  • You have both worked on an extensive list of high profile and critically acclaimed RPG’s over the years, did this history help you approach Alpha Protocol in a different way to make it stand out from the competition? How so?

  • As a married early thirties time sensitive, working professional and gaming enthusiast I seem to have less time to game with every passing year. Whilst I’ve grown up with and enjoyed some brilliant RPG series such as Baldur’s Gate and Knight of the Old Republic. I find the RPG genre is becoming more and more inaccessible, as I struggle to find the thirty five to fifty hours needed to finish a title. Specifically in a timeframe that doesn’t leave the typically excellent story, a fuzzy mess.

    As game designers are the needs of my demographic considered when developing an RPG or do you believe the RPG genre is a niche market targeted at a less time sensitive audience?

    [Not sure if I should specify a format but on off change I’m meant to I’ll nominate the X360 version – Thanks]

  • Having previously worked on sequels or preexisting IP’s (KOTOR2, NWN2), what has it been like making a game based on a new IP?
    Where there unexpected challenges or was it easier than making a sequel?

  • I personally think that the musical score is just as important as art direction, the perfect song choice can make a scene so much more memorable. What can we expect from the score of this game?. Up-beat electronic?, slow and suspenseful?

  • Given there’s no such thing as a silly question…

    …what the hell is an “Espionage RPG”?? And how does that make Alpha Protocol stand apart from all the other RPGs coming out this year? Is it just the storyline, or the gameplay, or something different again?

    (I’ll be honest – this is the first I’ve heard of Alpha Protocol, so I’m curious to hear more. PS3, cheers)

  • Overall the question is about replayability.

    With the Dialogue Stance System that you guys have put into place, which seems to suggest allowance for 3 styles of play. In the past, some games when given a choice, regardless of the path selected the direct outcome could often be the same.

    So will the choices we make generally alter the only the sub-missions and no matter what path we take we still end up with the same ‘final’ mission, or are there multiple possible final missions to play towards?

    Platform : PS3

    Thank You!

  • Recent RPG’s have been met with cries from both crowds, on whether they are moving towards what some would say is a simplification or “dumbing down” of the genre, due to the lack of classic “RPG” elements. Others take the view that they are moving in the opposite direction, and becoming more of a natural role-playing experience.
    What can you tell us regarding Alpha Protocol’s position, and more specifically both of your thoughts on this current back-and-forth?

  • The promotional material we’ve seen for Alpha Protocol so far has placed emphasis on communicating the concept of an ‘Espionage RPG.’ It’s even the official subtitle of the game.

    In a genre traditionally associated with ‘high fantasy’ settings (and currently dominated by the likes of Bioware and Bethesda) how important is it for a new IP to differentiate itself as providing a unique experience, and not just being another RPG?

  • You have made a big issue of choice being a major part of the game. Can you give us an idea of how many major story branches there are to accomodate this? I’m hoping for a bit more than an extra line of dialogue if you killed a character’s brother

  • Many developers are focusing on the dreaded ‘Casual’ gamer market, I’d love to know your thoughts on what it means to make a game for a ‘Casual’ audience, and how that relates to Alpha Pro. Cheers!

  • Given this is a undercover agent entertainment how long is the full game (story & other), depedning on stealth & warfare tactics which you have engaged within the game, Are there any features that had to be left dripping down the drain (never to be seen) due to your time schedule for the game’s release?… if so, will it be revived via DLC?

  • In an interview last year, Chris Parker mentioned the use of a ‘Kill Bill’ test to determine the level of appropriateness that a character needed to portray before being incorporated in to the finished product.

    If this is the case, could you please give one example of a crazy prototype character (in terms of design and personality) that you were at one stage considering to include in Alpha Protocol?

  • Do you believe that you have avoided the generic pitfalls and cliches that so many espionage titles have fallen to with regards to the story in Alpha Protocol?

  • Chris & Chris, did you get a lot of your inspiration from the TV show “Burn Notice”? In both your game and the show, you have the spy named Michael who is working solo, and in your trailers Thornton is doing similar voice-overs to Western in Burn Notice. And I’m not putting this in a bad way, because I love Burn Notice.

    360 copy for me if my question is asked, thanks.

  • Being a spy/espionage game, what awesome gadgets can we expect in the game, Anything new/original that will really be a talking point of the game?

    (PS3)

  • One of the greatest things about Fallout and Planescape: Torment to me were that the games were quite morally ambiguious; something that isn’t explored in games nearly enough. On the other hand, Knights of the Old Republic 2, for example, having the light side and dark side of the force, was pretty clear-cut.
    Is Alpha Protocol going to explore the same morally ambiguious territory, in having choices where there’s no clear right or wrong? If so, has there been any difficulty in creating such choices?

  • After seeing high profile games such as Mass Effect and Dragon Age cop flack for their combat mechanics, while being praised for their non-combat or ‘actual roleplaying’ mechanics, how have the team at Obsidian built Alpha Protocol to avoid such a pitfall?

    [PC version preferred. [email protected]]

  • Q: Given that this is a completely new IP that you guys have crafted yourselves, as opposed to picking up the reigns on a previous series. What would be the greatest freedom this has given you and also the most limiting?

  • What sets Alpha protocol apart from other RPGS? Your own and ones created from other developers, I’m curious as to what it does differently, in terms of story and game play from other RPG titles. It doesn’t appear to play along the same lines as conventional RPGs in plot and its game mechanics.

    Also another question to Chris Avellone and Chris Parker, how deeply involved are you guys in the games development? Is it just providing inspiration and general direction whilst tying it all together? Or does it go deeper than that?

    I’d prefer to have my questions answered but a PC copy would be nice :).

  • Recently, Sega listed Alpha Protocol as one of the pillars of their line up along with Bayonetta and AVP with a strong emphasis on sequels. Do the heightened expectations add pressure to the team, or is the confidence they have in your game reassuring. Given that you have worked on a few highly anticipated games in the past, have you been in a similar situation before, what did you learn then that applies to your current situation.

    This question references the kotaku article at this link: http://www.kotaku.com.au/2010/03/beyond-sonic-the-hedgehog-these-may-be-the-new-sega-all-stars/

    I would like the PS3 edition if I win

  • Hey Chris,

    First up I would like to say thanks for allowing the Kotaku community to ask these questions.

    With many of the RPG’s of today taking a more un-traditional approach, (i.e. implementing more real time elements as opposed to turn based combat) what can you say about AP’s combat in terms of history. Knights of The Old Republic melded them well, Fallout 3 going full real time with VATS as the turn based element, how do you, (if at all) meld the two themes into a neat package. Will we see anything like VATS pop up? Or will we face the extreme of either turn based or real time?

    Thanks, Pricklyman

    (PC prefered)

    • By the way there’s a typo there. Instead of, “in terms of history” it should be, “in terms of the history of RPG combat”

      Sorry bout that, rushing it since I had to go out! My bad.

  • Although developers wish they were games are never perfect. Gamers are also usually a whinging bunch of folks so I would like to give you guys a chance before the games release.

    Where do you think reviewers will nit pick at your game? What areas do you wish you could have had more time to polish?

  • what made you choose what the default character looks like in the demos/screens currently. did you do anything like blend bond/jason/bauer?

    ps3

  • When a game gets such a lengthy delay from its original release date, do the added costs of extending the development cycle put added pressure on you, internally and/or externally from the publisher, in terms of the sales figures you need to hit in order to get a return on the project? If so, do these added pressures result in you having to make any compromises to your original vision for the game in order to increase its mass-market appeal in order to hit the higher sales targets?

  • One of the main features of the game is being able to affect the story by the way you play, however many games have ended being 50/50 in terms of choices. How diverse are the choices in this game, and to what extend can we change the story?

    (PS3)

  • Many developers these days have been criticised for implementing in-game advertising of non-gaming related products. Whats your take on this, and will Alpha Protocol feature this?

    Thanks

    – Ben

    Platform: Xbox 360

  • Given that both the Mass Effect/Dragon Age series both were supported quite heavily post-release via Downloadable Content, are there any plans to support Alpha Protocol quite as much? If so, any hints on what’s to come?

    Xbox 360 Please! 🙂

  • In regards to the music for the game, what made you decide to bring electronica artist BT to the table for the creation of the game’s score rather than going down the path of traditional classical composition, and how has this choice impacted the overall atmosphere and presentation of the game?

    (360 please and thankyou)

  • *************
    Encryption A/1
    Alpha protocol
    Audio Extract, interrogation subject Code B1

    * Selects friendly dialog option *

    It intrigues me that game developers are moving towards realistic gameplay, don’t get me wrong personally I enjoy games with a superior grasp of the real world tactics, weapons, unarmed combat etc, (but we all know that real Intelligence Officers would have a bit more paper work 🙂 ). Can you explain to me what sort testing you completed to make the weapon handling, firing effects, Kempo moves etc as realistic as possible?

    * Selective Aggressive dialog option *
    BAM!
    * smashes glass bottle on subjects head *

    Thats so you Pick Me!

    *runs away*

    Transmission ended 17:39, B2
    Classified: Kotaku eyes only.

    PC preferred.

  • Would you say that cooperation with both Bioware and Bethesda has allowed Obsidian to both take the best aspects of the more successful RPGs and combine them with innovative ideas to create potentially groundbreaking games?

    (PS3, cheers!)

  • What other games and their respective mechanics inspired design or functionality choices in the development of Alpha Protocol? I presume Splinter Cell would have been an obvious go-to for comparing stealth mechanics, but did you find any more obscure or interesting titles and aspects that made you think “this is cool, we should use this idea for that bit in level X that we weren’t sure about”? (eg. AI allies splitscreen for coordinating parallel actions in otherwise lacklustre Th3 Plan, or dynamically switching between fixed and detachable crosshair aiming like in Vigilance to be able to ‘frame’ a series of shots like a light-gun game without rotating the character back and forth to take said shots if you’re attempting to run in a straight line)

    PC please 🙂

  • What intrigued me about this game were the choices that would have to be made by the player throughout the game. My question is, since choices affect the game midway and not just the ending, will there be instances where the different scenarios will overlap with each other even though the choices made up to that point were different?

    (PS3 preferred)

  • From your video game experience from Baldur’s Gate right up to Alpha Protocol, do you find that no matter what online elements are added or how graphically impressive a game may be – critics and the community tend to judge Role Playing Games on the classes aspects like its tech-trees, character customization or story. How has that changed over the years?

  • What process went into the mapping of coversation trees and the outcomes that followed? further, most games either run you on a path of good or bad (depending on which you do more) and sometimes entirely forget that large shade of grey… usually making “coversation choice” games linear regardless of how you play. How well does Alpha Protocol adapt to the players choices and change the overall feel/play of the games?

    (360)

  • What are some of your favourite RPG experiences, and how have they influenced your work on Alpha Protocol?

    (PS3)

  • What are the biggest gameplay points you saw in similar open-world dialog-oriented games (Mass Effect 1/2, Dragon Age), and said “we have to do this differently” and why?

    PC preferred.

  • Hey guys

    To say that SEGA has underperformed as a publisher of Alpha Protocol is probably the biggest understatement of 2010. Time after time, their ‘efforts’ to successfully market the game have been reminiscent of a dim-witted child placed in the position of CEO of a major corporation with no clue as to why they are there or what their job is.

    Since AP was announced in 2006, the trailers for the game have been few and far between, SEGA’s press releases have been laughably inept and delaying the game for EIGHT MONTHS on a previous launch day of October 2009 is the direct opposite of how a video game publisher should conduct themselves when trying to sell a game.

    On top of this marketing disaster, a SEGA PR rep came out earlier this year and mentioned the future existence of a sequel to your game. Before the first game is out. Let’s just try to get this clear: A espionage/spy RPG which could hold gameplay mechanics and design decisions that might set it apart from most games on the market exists but SEGA have treated it as if it is afflicted with some horrible disease. The only press releases sent out by SEGA for over a year, was to announce delays. Nobody at SEGA mentions anything about the game itself, how it plays or how awesome it could be. But then, they start discussing how it’s going to have a sequel and be turned into a franchise.

    What are you out of your mind, SEGA? How about instead, you wait to see the reaction to the first game before you announce a sequel? Common perception of this game has been shaky at best so stating that ” Yeah we’ve delayed this game a hundred times and never talk about ever but you know what’s really gonna rock? AP2!”

    So here’s my question: If the game fails to meet expectations sales-wise, who will you blame?

    360 please.

  • Hi Chris’,

    Some games nowadays such as the very successful ‘Mass Effect 2’ still label themselves as RPG’s even after the RPG content has been severely butchered (ie loss of inventory, simplified leveling, few weapons/armour etc).

    This seems to have been done to appeal to a wider audience with the view that RPG’s just aren’t ‘cool’ and not what people want to buy.

    How would you respond to this, and what changes do you think RPG’s need to have, if any, in order to survive in an industry so dominated by more simplistic FPS games ala the ‘Call of Duty’ and ‘Battlefield’ series’?

    Thanks

    NOTE: if I win, I’d like the PC version, thank you. 🙂

  • While we have often heard that you can make your character a James Bond or a Jack Bauer or even a Jason Bourne styled spy are there any more obscure spy characters you took inspiration from when designing the protagonist? Care to name a few?

    I would like it for the PS3 but can take 360 or PC scraps.

  • Will I to have spy hacking skills in order to play the game, what kind; if at all DRM options will the game have?

    (PC Preferred)

  • Games seem to be quite expensive in Australia, with majority of new releases being around the $100 mark. Why should I spend my money on Alpha Protocol?

    (PC version please)

  • From the trailer, there appears to be an action countdown timer during conversations. Was this added to give the game a sense of urgency (pacing), and are there measures in place to prevent players retrying different actions to obtain a better/more profitable outcome?

    (PC version)

  • How does it feel to be creating a new IP that the mainstream sites have been lukewarm in preview’s, yet the larger community driven sites have been much more open to the game and have been hyping it to be a competitor to Mass Effect.

  • To me nothing is better than chilling on the couch, munching on some snacks and playing a game with friends, but these days more and more games lean towards online and not local play. Are we going to see any local co-operative play in Alpha Protocol if not why?

  • A traditional RPG setting, whether it be high-fantasy, supernatural, or science fiction, often lends itself to the fantastic.

    Has the real-world setting of Alpha Protocol forced you as developers to think more about the playable classes, constrained the skills and abilities of the playing character and has it also impacted the variety of weapons, tools and gadgets that are available?

  • Given that [complicated diatribe about political events and figures] in addition to [spiel about the complexity of video game creation with reference to at least 4 obscure titles, 3 mainstream titles and the whole back catalogue of Obsidian], do you feel that [random question that has nothing to do with the aforementioned diatribes asked in order to inspire humour]?

    [Preferred platform and thanks]

    [PS3 please]

  • How will this game actually combine the two elements?
    MGS is the epitome of espionage action games. But in the personal level (RPG elements; getting to know other characters etc) there is little interaction whereas a trademark RPG like KOTOR got you frustrated and feeling restricted in terms of navigation at times (movement, jumping, traversing through levels)- making if hard for action gamers to participate.
    How are you going to combine and unite the elements to create a smooth-flowing and blissful experience?

    PS3, no chance of me winning but … 😀

  • As a developer who primarily works on Role-Playing-Games how has Obsidian handled the conflicting needs of providing quality voice-acting and graphics gamers have become accustomed to while at the same time satiating the need for lengthy single player content and vast dialogue and gameplay choices that has brought the genre so much success? (Drawing comparison to Obsidian Entertainment’s experiences using Bioware’s Infinity, Odyssey and Aurora engines to titles like Alpha Protocol and Fallout New Vegas if necessary.)

    (PC or 360)

  • There have been certainly plenty of great RPG games to come out in recent years such as, Fallout and Mass Effect, to name just a few.

    What have you done to make Alpha Protocal stand out from the crowd?

  • RPGs tend not to be set in current times. Is it difficult to write a contemporary RPG and how have you adressed this issue?

    PS3 for me!

  • Since in alpha protocol everything revolves around your choices, does the appearance you give your character affect how other characters react to you or does your character’s appearance mean nothing when interacting with the other characters?

    (PS3 version, [email protected])

  • First what sets this apart form other RPGs and second how does the mechanics and story line being portrayed reflect the sense of appetite for more?

    PS3

  • Has anybody actually read the Terms and Conditions of this thing?

    I draw your attention to clause 13, which states:

    “Conditions of entry will also be subject to the acceptance of the rules and regulations of the Go Karting Venue”

    WTF? 😛

  • For many people out there, there’s a fine line between an innovative game, and a simple/complex game.

    AP falls into that category of innovative game where territory may have been explored, but might have been unsuccessful, and ‘put down’ as a too simple game.

    How do you define that balance of innovation vs complexity vs simplicity in a game? And was it difficult to define this in AP?

    PS3 Version

  • Seeing as you’ve mostly worked on rpgs has it been difficult to make a real time combat system that is exciting and engaging? and what have you done to make sure it has a bit of variety and stays fresh?

  • Hi guys,
    Always wondered, who’s responsible for the in-game typeface decisions?
    Is it the designers responsible for the cover art because that type is pretty decent and I’d like, for once, to have professionally designed type and copy in a game. Cheers =]

    (XBox 360 please)

  • If I were to ask Michael Thorton to briefly describe himself to me, how would he resPond under each of the game’s possible dialogue stanCes?

  • Howdy Chris and Chris, as you are veterans of the RPG world, it is nice to see that you are trying something different with espionage, my question then is what prompted this? What influenced you? Thanks.

  • PS3

    Most games claim that decisions within the game affect the outcome, which makes the gamer feel in control. However, this mostly just turns to “people hostile towards you” or “people simply do not want to talk to you.” What level of complexity or context is offered by AP in terms of using the DSS to alter the later stages of the story?

    E.g. If I executed a guy, would there be other repercussions besides a “bad” ending?

  • Planescape Torment is considered in many circles to be the finest CRPG ever made. Much of this has to do with its construction around a philosophical question, rather than a typical ‘quest’ or ‘hero’s journey’ narrative. Comparing the state of the industry now to what it was when Torment was being developed, do you think that it is possible for a CRPG to address the same lofty ideas that Torment did, and will this be in a direct way or hidden beneath a ore popular style of narrative?

    PC preferred.

  • Hey Guys,

    Thanks for answering some questions. I have always been a fan of realism in games. I know that it isn’t always possible to make a game true to life, but what have you done to make this game realistic? Did you consult with actual “spies”? If so, what did they add to the game?

  • Being that this is an ‘Espionage RPG’ I was wondering if there were references to other forms of media that share similar subject matter? Does it draw on the classic Bond films, or the newer Bourne style raw action orientated? Maybe there are allusions to real world people/places/events or is it pure fiction? Were other games of similar nature such as Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell drawn upon as a source of inspiration or were they avoided to help create something more original?

  • I’ll be brief and ask the major question on my mind. After the many games that you have made (KOTOR was major for me!) what made you decide to tread into the Stealth/Espionage venue, an area of gaming that is already filled with greats like Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid Series and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell amoung others? Further, did the fact that this area already has major titles and huge fan bases worry you?

  • Score: 290 of 300 Time: 15:35 F1 for Menu

    You are standing in a dark room, possible exits are North.

    There is an unaware soldier in front of you blocking your exit.

    You are carrying a length of rope, a stapler and a pack of gum.

    What do you do?

  • Will this game give me the necessary skills to beat up Sam Fisher, Jason Bourne, James Bond and the dude from mission impossible in the same manner that fallout let me beat up children?

    (PS3)

  • I have heard rumors that the graphics in the game have changed a lot since last year for the better. Was there a lot of work done on the game during the delay, and if so what changes should we expect to see?

  • So many serious questions, so how about a light hearted one:

    If you make a sequel, will you name it “Beta Protocol”? 🙂 (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc … lol)

    (Xbox 360 preferred.)

  • I’m curious about the name ‘Alpha Protocol’.

    I haven’t really heard about this game until recently and initially the name of the game has not grabbed me. It seems a little generic for a title to enter such a saturated market (video games).

    Is the aim here for the game’s story and mechanics to influence players in such a way that this brand/name becomes general knowledge? (Much like Valve’s ‘Portal’). If so, can you drop any hints about how this could be achieved in-game?

    (PC)

  • It is well known that Alpha Protocol draws from James Bond, Jack Bauer (24) and Jason Bourne. Are there any specific books, films, episodes or even scenes of these franchises from which you have taken inspiration?

    (PS3)

  • One of the common staples of RPGs is that violence is typically the first and often only solution to any problem the protagonist faces. However, a truly successful spy will prefer discretion and secrecy over obvious brute strength.
    How is the trade off between the use of violence and secrecy reflected in Alpha Protocol and how does selecting one over the other affect the player’s path through the story?

    (PC)

  • In the current RPG environment where players expect to be able to customise their character, name them and pick their “class” there seems a danger when you present them with something predetermined. As a role playing game they may not like that character or want to be that character. But on the other hand as a result the story could end up being bland and the character lack depth.

    There would seem to me to be three approaches to player engagement/role immersion and character design:
    1. Make the character fully customisable and let the player control every aspect of them and the story.
    2. Make the character generic or anonymous (eg Master Chief from Halo with his faceless helm).
    3. Make a strong character and let the player choose stats or other things in the story.

    In designing the character Michael Thorton, and his background, how did you balance those factors so that a player could easily “identify” with him and feel he is “theirs” while still holding onto the integrity of the story? Or is there a magic option 4?

    Thanks,
    FRIENDLYUNIT
    [email protected]
    PC please

  • I generally find RPGs to be a little dishwater dull and I find the incessant grinding to be truly soul destroying. What makes your game so different from the rest of the herd that should make me see the error of my ways?

  • I’d like to know why did Obsidian make the decision to include such a linear development system for the game. For example the majority of hands on reviews I have seen/read state that if you go down the martial arts//hand to hand combat tree you will be absolutely useless with a gun, even having an enemy’s head in your cross-hair and firing will result in you missing a bunch of times then getting killed. Makes me wonder.. why make other weapons virtually unusable for those that choose to go down a different path?

  • Music is an element of gaming that is often taken for granted (It’s like the bass player: It gets the groupies after the gameplay, graphics and story have had a turn.)We’ve seen snippets of gameplay and dialogue but how has the music of Alpha Protocol made it the “Espionage RPG?”

  • I have been following the release of this game closely and have been intrigued by the fact that the player has a limited amount of time to respond to dialogue at key “decision points” during the game, and I am curious as to how much of an impact this, and the “Dialogue Stance system” has on the game’s main story line.

    I am looking forward to this on PS3!

  • As time goes on, we are constantly seeing RPGs meshing with other genres, most commonly are shooters, such as Alpha protocol and Mass Effect. DO you believe this to be a continuing trend or a mere fad? Is there still room for a more simpler RPG in the future?

  • Sex seems to be selling in the games industry as usual, and with the latest trailers concerning the two female (potential) love interests in game, I has to be asked: Can we expect any controversial Bioware type nudity/sex scenes? 🙂

  • Chris & Chris,

    I too am named Chris. I understand exactly how hard it can be to work with someone with the same name. In fact, years ago in a Math class in high school, there were 6 (YES, 6!) Chris’ in the same class. Although one spelled his name Kris. Don’t you hate those improper Kris’?

    My Question is: How do the guys around the office
    tell you two apart verbally? Surname-only basis? Nickname?

    When speaking of behalf of both Chris’ do either of you refer to yourselves as “We and I” or “Me and I”?

    You should.

  • As it’s being classified as an “RPG” does this mean that there will be side quests and extra things to do away from the main story that are found in most, if not all, RPGs?

  • With games stores like ebGames,Game and Game traders, doing pre-order deals for games that give your extra content I was wondering. Do you go to the games stores or do they come to you? and how do you decide what store gets what content? thank you.

  • Lets talk about the term “Espionage RPG” since it clearly is the driving factor of this game and is even embedded in the title.

    When I hear RPG, I think the more you kill the better off you are as you level up and gain currency.

    When I hear Espionage, I think the less you kill the better as you’re rewarded for stealth and sneakiness.

    Now your game clearly has both these elements. But how do you consolidate these totally conflicting reward systems? Or in other words, how does the game reward a stealth player as opposed to a run-and-gun player?

  • Alpha Protocol, eh?

    What was the inspiration behind the name? Did you guys watch a bunch of cheesy eighties action movies?

    PS3. 🙂

  • How easy was it to take a ‘slow, steady, stats-based’ genre like RPG, and adapt it to the fast, smooth action of an espionage game? What challenges did you meet in achieving a fluid feel, and how did you overcome these?

    (PS3)

  • Im just wandering about your rpg on which has its setting on nowadays. You guys have experience on doing fantasy or sci-fi, but how do you integrate rpg elements without making it look weird or out of the place yet still has enjoyable and balance gameplay?

  • There is really no good games out right now, I’ve been watching videos on Alpha Protocol “The Espionage RPG.” I have a PS3, and the only games I play other than Madden, is Socom Confrontation. I have recently beat Heavy Rain, which was at least decent, except for the controls. What will be different about Alpha Protocol compared to other RPG games? Will Alpha Protocol be online multiplayer? Online games are taking over the franchise in video games, because its bringing in a better and bigger base for true gamers to show their skills and talents. Will there be any accessories used with the game, such as the Playstation Eye or the Playstation head set? Thanks for your time, hope I get a free copy.

  • Tell me your DREAM RPG. Take the elements below and choose games you would steal from to form the ultimate role-playing experience.

    Universe/Canon:
    Progression/Leveling System:
    Combat System:
    Music:

  • Well I guess my question is *CONTENT HAS BEEN REDACTED* and then *CONTENT HAS BEEN REDACTED* but more importantly *CONTENT HAS BEEN REDACTED* so what do you *CONTENT HAS BEEN REDACTED* when *CONTENT HAS BEEN REDACTED*?

    Seriously?

    360 🙂

  • Hyper magazine recently celebrated its 200th issue. What do you think is the future of print magazines and the relationships developers have with them as opposed to gaming websites(ign,kotaku)?

  • Mr. Parker & MCA, Obsidian has become well-known, and attracted a reputation, for (successfully) building upon existing Bioware franchises. Alpha Protocol marks Obsidian’s first outing with an original IP. Has this affected how the Obsidian team has developed the game? For instance, has it been liberating to design a world not tied to an existing universe, or has it felt risky to tackle so many unknowns – from perhaps both design and business persepctives?

    • If this jibes with you, feel free to add in a line about “stepping out from Bioware’s shadow” if they’re lighthearted enough on the day (+50 internets if you can get them to drop ANY tidbits at all about the cancelled Aliens RPG, oh please oh god)

  • the question is not whether it will be a fantastic game or not but moreso, will it make me a chick magnet? will my girlfriend think of me as more of a man as i play this on a playstation 3? i would never know if i dont win a copy.

  • Do you think the genre name ‘RPG’ is a good representation of the games which it is applied to?

    The ‘RPGs’ that I play do not present me with a role to play, they present me with a canvas to create and play my own roles.

    Should the genre name be changed to more accurately represent the freedom these games offer?

  • I generally don’t like RPG’s. The last i played was Borderlands due to the promise of limitless weapon combinations and before that Final Fantasy 7 on Playstation 1. How would you convince a non RPG playing gamer to give your game a chance.

  • Considering this is an action RPG, do you think the genre will move away from dated concepts like experience points and level-ups and more emphasis will be on organic character development and changing character dynamics?

    [PS3]

  • So when I see the clips for this game online all I can think of is… ‘Hard Rain’ – did you take a lot of inspiration from Hard Rain’s style of game play?

  • When playing games, I usually find the supporting characters integral in making the game world believable and enjoyable, often creating the most memorable moments.

    Can you tell us some info about the people we’ll be journeying with?

  • What makes “Alpha Protocol” more innovative and outstanding than any other RPGs in the current market, in other words What does this RPG have that other RPGs don’t have? I mean for me they’re all repetitive and it feels like a chore. e.g. get quest/mission… go to point A to B, kill this, destroy that, secure this, defend that, gather “…” this amount of items so we can make this, find this and find that, Talk tho this guy and ask him to make a weapon or item etc, assassinate this guy without creating any civilian casualties… etc. and after doing hours and hours of these tasks I feel like throwing the game out the window.

    I bet lots of people out there want something new from RPGs and want this question answered 🙂

    (PC)

  • There has been a lot of emphasis on customization of your clothing and loud outs in Alpha Protocol, however I have only seen speculation on if you are able to create your own character from scratch or not.
    Can you choose your gender and edit facial features and such in Alpha Protocol, or are you limited to the default Michael? If so, what reasons can you give for going in this direction.

  • Every industry uses buzz words to sell their products. (As a student, I knew that including the appropriate buzz words in an assignment would give me a higher mark.) What buzz words would you use to sell Alpha Protocol?

  • First of all, thanks for taking the time to read my question, and secondly I hope you don’t mind but I wanted to ask a question that isn’t about the game.

    My question is, I’ve recently graduated from university with an accounting degree and have begun full time employment. I’m still young, 22 years old, but I have come to realise I hate accounting, I enjoyed it in high school but now I can’t imagine being stuck in an office for the next 40 years adding up numbers all day, in an office without a window. My real passion is game development but my dad says that’s out of the question. He is the one pushing me into accounting, because unlike game development it provides job security, a good income and a future. I was wondering how you guys told your parents or whether they were supportive. I would really appreciate any advice you can give?

    Thanks

  • You guys copped some flack in the gaming press for the ‘Ladies Man’ achievement, so I was wondering why you chose to make “Romance” such a focal point for the game?

    Is it because sex is an espionage genre necessity, or is there more to it?

    (Xbox 360, thanks.)

  • There’s a lot of debate and talk on the artistic merit of video games and both of you are responsible for some very story driven games that seem to resonate with fans. Why do these games resonate with fans, is this evident of artistic qualities or do you think that has nothing to do with it?

    Xbox 360.

  • I’d just like to make a minor change to my question, maybe I’m not allowed to but I only want to pose one question, one could simply dismiss this post.

    Instead of this part saying….
    ” Why do these games resonate with fans, is this evidence of artistic qualities or do you think that has nothing to do with it?”

    can you change it too…
    ” How will Alpha Protocol resonate with fans and is it evidence of artistic qualities or do you think that has nothing to do with it?”

  • Hello Chris and Chris.

    I’ve heard that Alpha Protocol’s ‘Dialogue Stance System’ was inspired by the three ‘JBs’ – Bond, Bauer and Bourne. All epitomise a different approach to combat and spying, from the debonair and suave to the skilled action-hero to the gritty patriot with dubious morals.

    With this in mind, who is your favourite of the three JBs and why? Would you play like them in the game?

  • My question is for Chris Avellone.
    With your success in Fallout 2, were you disappointed or thrilled to see Fallout 3 in the hands of another producer?

    Also I can see that your Van Buren (FO3) ideas may be used in New Vegas, how much input will be used that was destined for the previously cancelled project?

    Thanks – (ps3)

  • Considering past releases, will this game contain a large number of bugs? Or has this extra development time really been beneficial for QA?

    PC.

  • When developing a game for a consistent genre, with many great games out there, it is important to distinguish yourself from the competition. One point of differentiation is innovation. If someone who hadn’t heard of Alpha Protocol asked you to sell them the game with one point, what unique or inventive idea would you say to win them over?

    (PC)

  • I was wondering where exactly you would get the inspiration to combine espionage with RPG goodness, did people in your board meetings say, “Oh this is garbage.”?

    I really would like to know who would think to combine Splinter Cell with Final Fantasy, since everyone has jumped on to the “I love Final Fantasy!” train, I figured that would be the game people associated with the most. By the way, xbox 360 version please

  • With Alpha Protocol, has the adherence to contemporary audio/visual standards has been a limitation on what you could do with the game mechanics and plot? I.E: Could the game be realised as a text adventure, or a 32-bit sprite based game?

    360 or ps3.

  • With Michael Thorton on the cover, will he be able to see with that guy on his face?

    XBOX 360 version please guys.

  • How will decisions within the story and/or dialogue system, affect the gameplay or the path you take within Alpha Protocol?

  • As gaming industry veterans, how has your experience in working with titles such as Neverwinter Knights 2 and KOTOR affected the way in which you approached Alpha Protocol?

    (PC)

  • Alpha Protocol is described as an “espionage RPG” Does this mean the the game will have the combat system of final fantasy and the story of Splinter cell? Why do you describe the game like this?

  • Games like Borderlands and Mass Effect 2 have really streamlined the RPG experience in a first person shooter, leaving the action uninterrupted and fast-paced. With a slower, more calculated game like Alpha Protocol, how are you keeping the player invested in the thrill of an FPS while maintaining those core RPG elements?

  • Hello,
    What is Alpha Protocol, and why the hell would you choose such a lame name? I mean honestly you can’t come up with anything more creative? I can only imagine how the game will act.

  • You’ve mentioned the “ripple effect” and how it will affect interactions with NPC’s. How many of these choices will actually affect the ending of the game and how many possible endings are there?

  • What inspired you to make an espionage style RPG and what makes Alpha Protocol different from other RPGS?

    If I’m one of the lucky ones I’m happy with either the PS3 or PC version.

  • Will the game allow cop so I can play with my friend will the game allow skin tone change also face change do the head gear actully affect the game play if I acctully win ps3 please

  • Q. Why was an over the head 3rd person format chosen over a newer 3rd person uptight action form (e.g Splinter Cell Conviction, Mass Effect 2 & Gears of War)?

    (360)

  • In alpha protocol is their flexibility in how you play or is it very linear and structured in order to finish the game.

    (Xbox360 version prefered)

  • After working on a plethora of RPGs, when developing a new title how do you decide which game mechanics are out dated and need tweaking or scrapping and what the games are lacking to make the role-playing experience new and fresh?

  • Alpha Protocol will be the first original game produced by Obsidian as a company (not counting when you were Black Isle) as opposed to a sequel or expansion for an existing game. Does this affect the development team at all in terms of enthusiasm, motivation, or pressure?

    [PC pref, [email protected]]

  • Both of you guys have a great deal of experience making RPG’s as well as in the game industry itself. Lately we have seen a rise in the amount of non-RPG style games incorporating RPG elements. For example MW2’s online levelling up system, Mass Effect’s mix of shooter and RPG or even Halo Reach’s credits and online shop for armours.
    Do you think that this is simply a fad that the game industry is going through or is it a sign of the evolution of games and gamers and should we expect more games and game genres incorporating RPG elements, leading to more complex and interesting games?

  • Do you find making games has increased your enjoyment and appreciation of gaming? and do you still find enough time to play new and exciting games such as Alpha Protocol?

    (PS3)

  • Hey guys,

    Just wondering – why an espionage RPG?
    What can you convey in an RPG that couldn’t be conveyed in any another genre?

    Thanks!
    Andrew

  • From what I have seen so far, Alpha Protocal is looking to be a hit, but what attitude will the game have, can I make the experience my own?

    360

  • Hello Chris Parker and Chris Avellone,

    Has tackling Alpha Protocol been more challenging as it is different to what you are used to, seeing as the subject matter is espionage rather than fantasy?

    [PC]

  • As a tabletop roleplayer, the best experiences have tended to be when both the Game master and the players contribute to the story and characters in a collaborative effort to construct a joint narrative since both parties are invested in the process.

    This is obviously harder to do in computer RPGs and the traditional view, of which JPRGs tend to be most criticised for is that the player is merely along for the ride. More recent RPGs have tried to alleviate this by giving the player “choices” as to how they are to react to situations and give them a sense of agency in what happens in the story. As a consequence though the character is a blank slate with no history or context (as in Torment or Oblivion) such that they still become merely agents that complete quests rather than actual personalities.

    From the previews of Alpha Protocol though the player character seems to have a fully formed personality and yet one of the selling points is the options a character has in approaching its dealings with NPCs and completing missions. How is it that you’ve managed to balance these two contradictions between character and story integrity and player agency and how much do genre tropes tend to offset this possible conflict?

    PS3

  • What were your influences when you decided to approach the Alpha Protocol project? And what did you avoid?

  • I have been gaming for 15+ years (i’m 28) but it was only when Fallout 3 came out that I played an RPG for the first time. I loved it but couldn’t help but wonder about all of the games i had missed, and all of the gamers that had completely missed this genre.
    I was wondering what you do to attract new players to this genre and what if any impact does this have on the traditional fan base.

    (PS3 or 360)… I love how heaps of us have multiple platforms…

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