Eurogamer: How will the world, and travel around it, work?
Matt Staroscik: We'll have public hub areas connecting to public and private instances, where most of the action is. You won't be trucking across huge zones in The Agency. You'll be taking a limo from the nightclub to the mission across town, or hopping on a jet to zip across the world.
Eurogamer: Are the two factions - the UNITE spies and ParaGON mercenaries - opposed to each other? Or are they just different play styles?
Matt Staroscik: UNITE and ParaGON are not enemies. The world's most elite spy agency and the world's most powerful mercenary army coexist just fine. They will come into conflict at times, but it's more of a friendly rivalry. And in fact, we are building the story to maximise opportunities for cooperation between the two factions. But don't worry - there will be plenty of chances to shoot at the other guys if you jump in to a PvP arena.
Eurogamer: Can you give us a feeling for the world The Agency is set in? It seems to be quite cartoony, but also to feature real-world locations.
Matt Staroscik: The game takes place roughly in the modern day, and it is definitely set in real places - unless it serves the story better to make something up.
I wouldn't call it cartoony, but it is definitely not grim and realistic, either. We are taking the traditional theatrical spy shtick and adding our own spin to it. Everything is bigger than life. You'll find a conspiracy behind every door and a supervillain inside every volcano. Secret societies and hidden agendas are everywhere. Bad guys have snappy uniforms. The science is super. Doomsday machines are doomier.
Some of the properties that we in the office enjoy are Bond, Alias, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and newcomer Chuck. There's plenty of comic relief in The Agency, but it will be more subtle than a rubber chicken upside the head.
Eurogamer: Will the player roles be the sort commonly seen in tactical shooters like Team Fortress 2?
Matt Staroscik: While we do not have a class system, we do have something called Roles, with a capital R. There are three Roles in The Agency: combat, support, and stealth. Each Role has its own specialties as well as a load of abilities. To change Roles, you don't need to create a new agent, simply change your outfit and you're good to go. The abilities of the Roles will be familiar to team shooter and MMO players.
Eurogamer: Why do you allow players to change Roles in that way? Won't that mean there's no incentive to start a new character?
Matt Staroscik: We wanted to make The Agency easy to pick up and enjoy. One of our goals from the very beginning was "fun now, with no waiting". To that end, we didn't want folks to lock themselves into an agent they hate after several hours. Our "you are what you wear" system fits that philosophy. It gives players the opportunity to explore the roles, specialties, and abilities without ever feeling like they've made a mistake or wasted any time.
We wanted a very simple reason for players to create a new Agent, and the UNITE and ParaGON factions, stories, and collectibles provide it.
Eurogamer: How will the player-versus-player element of the game work, and how will it fit into the world?
Matt Staroscik: The simple answer is that our PvP is always consensual. We'll have many multiplayer game types to please shooter fans, from casual and official matches to crossover PvE missions - optional, of course - and some other fun we'll share a bit down the road.
We are working on some other kinds of consensual PvP that do not involve shooting - for example, spying on other players in public spaces. The goal is to keep things light and fun for both parties.