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Home » Featured, News

The Agency – Don’t Call It An MMORPG

Submitted by on Wednesday, 3 December 2008One Comment

The Agency, once Sony’s secret big megaton (and somewhat underwhelming) announcement, has been flying under our collective radars ever since.  Until now.

In a recent interview with Kikizo, Kevin O’Hara from Sony Online Entertainment Seattle makes it very clear that this game will not simply be a spy themed MMO.  No keyboard and mouse required on this game.  The Agency is gearing up to be more of a shooter than a traditional MMO.

Will The Agency ask for monthly fees, or will it be supported by micro-transactions or even ad supported revenue?  Is third person the only way to go or do first person aficionados have something to look forward to?  Is it time to get excited about Sony Online Entertainment’s ambitious project?  Read on and find out.

Dubbed as an “online persistent shooter” The Agency is pretty much shunning the MMO label altogether while going for a very different experience:

We really want to first and foremost be an action shooter as a game, which means first person or third person view, which really brings in the crowd who like that type of visual experience where when you aim and shoot your skill is important.

The option to play in first or third person view seems taken straight out of another successful Sony property, SOCOM.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  Imagine SOCOM with a spy theme and a everything that makes MMORPGs worth playing.

Instead of going for a realistic look of a Call of Duty or a Far Cry, Sony Online Entertainment opted for a graphically less demanding look inspired by Team Fortress 2 or PS3’s own Warhawk.  The Agency will try to pull you in with exotic locales across Europe and Central America, different roles to play as (read: classes), spy themed Flash minigames within the main game (Q-bert anyone?), and an ‘Operative System’ akin to Call of Duty 4’s perks.

Apparently all aspects of The Agency will be tailored to bring the shooter crowd in, most notably the business model:

We’re acutely aware that shooter players are not used to playing monthly fees, so I doubt we’ll go for an outright $15 a month, which works on some of our other projects. So we’re checking out Free Realms to see how they’re going to do with their micro-transactions, and we might incorporate some of that. We’ll definitely have some ad revenue models. The Agency’s the perfect place for some in-game product placement.

Product placement you say?  Don’t fret dear reader, you won’t be shooting a Pizza Hut branded Beretta loaded with KFC branded ammo.  SOE doesn’t want to go “over the top with it”.

Apart from a planned simultaneous release on PS3 and PC no other release information has been released so far.  Don’t expect to hear from The Agency again until the summer of 2009 where it will be showcased on certain trade events.

So how excited are you for The Agency?  Is the premise of an online shooter with heavy MMORPG influences float your boat?  Let us know in the comments.