The Agency

Spotlight

FeatureSOE's John Smedley

Sony Online Entertainment's very own raid boss on the MMO company's new perspective.

FeatureThe Agency

Interrogating designer Hal Milton and director Matt Wilson.

FeatureThe Agency

Matt Staroscik shows us the blueprints.

Key events

Sony confirms The Agency is cancelled

Sony confirms The Agency is cancelled

205 jobs gone, three studios closed.

Sony Online Entertainment has confirmed reports that development of its planned spy MMO The Agency has been discontinued in a cost-cutting effort that sees three studios closed and 205 jobs lost.

"As part of a strategic decision to reduce costs and streamline its global workforce, SOE announced today that it will eliminate 205 positions and close its Denver, Seattle and Tucson studios," read a statement handed to Eurogamer.

"As part of this restructuring, SOE is discontinuing production of The Agency so it can focus development resources on delivering two new MMOs based on its renowned PlanetSide and EverQuest properties, while also maintaining its current portfolio of online games.

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Sony: Expect PlanetSide Next  Q1/Q2

Plus: The Agency, Free Realms PS3 launches.

Sony Online Entertainment has offered Eurogamer updates on the launches of three new MMOs: The Agency, Free Realms on PS3 and PlanetSide Next, a working title.

The Agency: "something" playable soon

"MMO itself" will "take as long as it takes".

Sony Online Entertainment's espionage MMO, The Agency, is set to return to the public eye in some kind of playable form "within weeks", according to SOE president John Smedley in a GDC interview with GameTrailers (via VG247).

FeatureSOE's John Smedley

Sony Online Entertainment's very own raid boss on the MMO company's new perspective.

Sony Online Entertainment is one of, if not the most experienced company in MMOs. It scored one of the genre's breakthrough successes with the first EverQuest, and to this day it operates the widest range of MMOs under a single roof anywhere, including Star Wars Galaxies, PlanetSide, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Vanguard, EverQuest and its sequel. In recent years, however, it has been overshadowed - not just by World of Warcraft, but also by the succession of eager, over-hyped pretenders that have attempted to grab WOW's coat-tails as Blizzard did EverQuest's.

"No reboot" to The Agency as staff leave

SOE shrugs off studio head's departure.

Eurogamer has learned that several senior staff have left Sony Online Entertainment's Seattle studio - the developer currently making espionage MMO The Agency for PC and PS3 - including the studio head.

FeatureThe Agency

Spies like us.

Visit Sony Online Entertainment's Seattle offices, which house the team making its stylish espionage MMO The Agency for PC and PS3, and you get buried alive: in ideas, in raw information, in words. Most of these things are fired out of the mouth of lead designer Hal Milton at machine-gun rate and you're left frantically scribbling away to keep up, not to mention thrown by the propensity of Milton and the rest of the team to answer questions on almost any facet of the gameplay in great detail, rather than with a "we're not talking about that today".

No Station Cash for SWG, Vanguard

SOE item sales stay in EverQuest 1 & 2.

Sony Online Entertainment boss John Smedley has told Massively that there are no plans to bring the Station Cash item sales just introduced to EverQuest and EverQuest II to SOE's other current games.

The Agency downplays subs, will have ads

Spy MMO considers revenue options.

We've known for a while that Sony Online Entertainment hasn't decided exactly how its PS3 and PC espionage MMO, The Agency, is going to make money.

The Agency to resurface next summer

Off-radar MMO to return at trade shows.

Hal Milton, lead designer of Sony Online Entertainment's in-development spy MMO The Agency, says we'll see how the game is progressing at next year's trade shows.

All future Sony MMOs console-bound

Including the next EverQuest.

After revealed that he was keen on bringing MMOs to PSP, Sony Online Entertainment boss John Smedley has spoken more about his company's console development strategy, and it amounts to this: every future SOE game is console-bound.

No cross-platform play for The Agency

For "philosophical" reasons.

Sony Online Entertainment's upcoming espionage MMO The Agency is not going to allow cross-platform play between the PC and the PS3, according to lead designer Hal Milton.

FeatureThe Agency

Interrogating designer Hal Milton and director Matt Wilson.

Yesterday, we previewed this promising and extremely inventive MMO shooter for PS3 and PC from Sony Online Entertainment's Seattle studio. We also had a chance to interview lead designer Hal Milton - an endearingly enthusiastic crackpot genius, half George McFly, half Doc Brown - and director of development Matt Wilson about where they're trying to take the game, and MMOs in general. Read on for the results.

No microtransactions in The Agency

Developer clarifies real money trading deal.

Speaking to Eurogamer in an interview published today, developers of Sony Online Entertainment's The Agency have confirmed that the upcoming spy-themed MMO will not feature a microtransaction system for game items.

FeatureThe Agency

An agent of change.

As we sit and discuss The Agency with lead designer Hal Milton in the discreet offices of Sony Online Entertainment's Seattle studio, he hits upon a definition of what MMO games should deliver that's quite brilliant in its simplicity. We might have been talking about any number of the innovative, open-ended features of the espionage-themed massively multiplayer shooter when he nails it: the collectible operatives who play the game when you don't, the role system that's assigned to gear rather than characters, the multiple character progression threads, the encounters that scale to either solo or group play, the alias system of disguises - to be honest, we can't remember which.

Real money trading in The Agency

Could the spy MMO end up free to play?

The Agency - the spy-themed massively multiplayer action game being developed for PS3 and PC by Sony Online Entertainment - is to feature officially supported real money trading.

Dates announced for SOE Fan Faire

Dates announced for SOE Fan Faire

Sixth Sony event heads to Vegas in August.

Sony Online Entertainment has announced the date and location for the sixth of its annual Fan Faire conventions.

Fan Faire 2008 will take place at the Las Vegas Hilton over four days, from August 14th to 17th.

Tickets go on sale later this spring, but the hotel can be booked now at a discount rate. Check the official announcement for details.

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FeatureThe Agency

Matt Staroscik shows us the blueprints.

The Agency is one of our most-wanted MMOs at the moment, and not just because it's coming to PS3 as well as PC. The spy-themed massively multiplayer shooter from Sony Online Entertainment - creators of early hit EverQuest, and Star Wars Galaxies - looks like it will be one of the first major MMOs to offer a convincing alternative to the epic fantasy RPG grind. Players will enter a sharply-drawn, stylish, but none too serious world of intrigue as either a UNITE super-spy or ParaGON mercenary.

New details of The Agency emerge

New details of The Agency emerge

"The noobs are going to get you."

Sony Online Entertainment has said it wants newcomers to stand a chance against veterans in its MMO The Agency.

Speaking exclusively to Eurogamer MMO, lead designer and writer Matt Staroscik said the game was a shooter first and foremost, so would use skill to level the playing field rather than time invested.

"Less experienced characters will be at a disadvantage, yes, but we are not like a traditional class-based MMO where your 89th-level Dark Paladruid can defeat an infinite number of noobs," Staroscik told us. "In The Agency, the noobs are going to get you - but you'll make them pay dearly."

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SOE talks cultural naivety

MMO genre has moved on.

Sony Online Entertainment business development chief David Christensen believes we're all a little bit naďve when it comes to other cultures than our own.

SOE unveils The Agency

SOE unveils The Agency

PS3 gets first MMO.

Sony Online Entertainment has confirmed it's working on a spy-themed MMO for PlayStation 3.

It's called The Agency and will be based around franchises like James Bond and the Bourne series. It's expected to be available before the end of the year, and a full announcement is due early next week.

The Agency lets you take sides for one of two factions, then participate in player-versus-player combat and espionage. Although there's no word on exactly how character progression will work, it seems your equipment will play a pivotal role. If you have light and flexible armour you'll play a spy role, for example, rather than be a kevlar-clad action hero.

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