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SOE Unveils The Agency

Staff Writer Joe Iuliani recently attended SOE Gamer Day. Most of his articles have already run, but this one was embargoed until today. Today, SOE officially announces their most recent (and until now secret) project, "The Agency", a spy-based MMORPG.

The Agency Announced
SOE Unveils The Agency
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SOE previewed The Agency back on May 9th At Gamer Day 2007 New York.

It's been hard to keep it quiet since it looks so exciting. Hal Milton, Lead Designer, Sony Online Entertainment was on hand to unveil the demonstration. As the name suggests, SOE will be making a spy-based MMORPG.

The initial demonstration was an animated sequence showing two co-working agents meeting up for a job. Showing up in your civilian attire, changing into your "work clothes", then hoping into your suped up car and heading off into Eastern Block Europe to meet with your contact. Of course, that's when all hell breaks loose, and you get to battle the up and coming European gangs.

The agency is a nice change of pace from the majority of current MMORPGs , breaking away from the standard fantasy games. In the Agency you get to live the life of an elite agent.

Living the spy life will appeal to fans of MMOs as well as fans of console games. Speaking of which, The Agency will be available on the Play Station 3 as well as PC, allowing for crossover gaming. Elements of console gaming are evident in The Agency. Boss fights start with a dynamic splash page, displaying the boss name, as well as some real great artwork. It has really nice, nostalgic feel, hearkening back to some of the old side scroll games out there.

Gameplay looked really smooth and intuitive. Moving around and interacting with NPCs and gear was nothing special. Hell, it can only be so exciting: point, click, talk. But the shooting, well that was a lot more fun. Fans of shooters will love the gun play, and there promises to be to plenty of that. During the demo there was a lot hand gun action going, although I was lucky enough to have a sniper rifle on hand. To quote YouTube, "BOOM, HEAD SHOT!"

Players will have the option of becoming one of two types of Agents; either Unite or Paragon:

UNITE is the sleek, sexy, James Bondesque type of spy relying on smarts, ultra high tech gear, and sex appeal. Let's face it folks, programmers know how to program sexy. UNITE is the type, to hack the mainframe, slip in the through the air vents and steal the data and sneak out.

ParaGON are the mercenaries. Brash, Bold and full of firearms, they are definitely the shot first and ask questions later. Wait, they are more like shoot them, and who cares about questions.

Ultimately, individuals will be able to form their own organizations. Combining the best of both traits of UNITE and ParaGON. Take your own agency in the direction you feel fit. Save the world from terrorists and such or become that human trafficking drug czar you always wished you could be.

One of the coolest features unveiled will be the use of your operatives. Operatives will work for you while you are playing, The Operatives will also have the ability to work for you while you're not playing. There will be ways to send e-mails or receive text messages from your operatives out of game. How cool will it be to get that text message saying "Sir, the modifications to your GT Cobra are ready."

Direct from the Sony Press Release here are some more detailed features:

Features

  • Become An Elite Agent: The Agency offers hundreds of unique missions with varied end-goals requiring combat, stealth, and style. With gameplay ranging from sneaky assassinations to all out assaults, from vehicle challenges to casinos loaded with mini-games, there's something for every aspiring agent.
  • Build Your Own Agency: As players advance through the ranks of their faction, they'll also begin building their own Agencies. Players will increase their power even further by creating Joint Agencies with others.
  • Mercenary or spy, the choice is yours: In the Agency, collect the right weaponry, gadgets, vehicles, gear, attire and aliases to gain access to various locales and influence over the people within them.
  • Put Operatives to work: Operatives are collectible non-player characters who provide the goods player's desire, the services to keep them alive, and allow them to concentrate on the mission at hand. Operatives work 24/7, regardless of whether players are logged in, and they can even keep them up-to-date through email and instant messages.

    Fun Now, No Waiting: The Agency is not about waiting for the fun to start. At any point, players can take a break from their high-flying career to engage in a number of other activities. Veterans and new players alike can take on other players at the card tables, the shooting range, or in head-to-head combat.

MMORPG.com will continue to cover The Agency as more information becomes available.