Sony Online Entertainment has officially confirmed the development of spy-themed MMO The Agency.
We'd already heard it would be available on PS3, but it seems we'll also be treated to a PC version. But although last week's news hinted it would be out before the end of the year, no date was mentioned this morning.
The Agency is designed to offer instant action so you can jump straight in, plus a long term hook as you'd expect from a traditional MMO.
You get to play the role of an elite agent who jets around the world taking on various syndicates in plenty of co-operative or competitive missions. You'll choose whether you want to be a rugged mercenary working for "ParaGON", or a super stealthy spy for "UNITE".
It seems there won't be any typical class restrictions here, as SOE is suggesting your role will be determined by the equipment you carry. You wouldn't want to be clad head-to-toe in heavy combat armour if you were going to sneak around and gather intelligence, for instance.
As your rank increases within your agency, your influence over the rest of the world will increase. Eventually you'll get the chance to break off and form your own organisations, and ally them with other players to make them more powerful.
The loot system sounds interesting, too. Rather than wait for bosses to drop the elusive pistol or kevlar vest you've been waiting for, you'll simply order a non-player character called an Operative to create it for you. These collectable, er, people, will grow in power as you push further through the game, and can be traded with other players. They'll even gather intelligence, make you a sports car, or do whatever you order when you're logged out, using instant messages and email to control them.
"SOE is looking to take the online gaming industry to new places with The Agency, not only in terms of its theme, but also in its design," said Matt Wilson, director of development at SOE. "It's accessible to all types of players, blending genres and changing up established conventions. It's different from anything SOE has released before."
"Our goal is to break from traditional online games and provide players with a 'fun now, no waiting' gameplay experience in a dynamic, ever-evolving online world."
Another nice touch is the option to take a break from the story-based missions and take on other players in a number of activities at the card tables, shooting ranges, or even in head-to-head duels.
Alternatively you can head over to The Agency website and sign-up in preparation for the inevitable beta test announcement.