Alpha Protocol Features

FeatureYour fondest Obsidian game memories

"My favourite was shooting Darcy in the bollocks."

In September we asked you to share your favourite moments from an Obsidian game and we, on behalf of Paradox, dangled prizes in front of you in return: consoles for the two winners, PC Pillars of Eternity and Tyranny keys for the 10 runners-up. And you answered in your droves.

FeatureRummaging through Obsidian's drawer of game ideas

Star Wars! Snow White! Prey 2! Warhammer 40K! "There's tons of them."

Everyone has a drawer they can't close because it's stuffed too full of things. Mine has a whisk which always stops the bloody drawer from closing, and it's really annoying, but Obsidian Entertainment's drawer has around 100 game proposals in it. Game outlines in various states, from two-page snacks to 60-page feasts. "There's tons of them," Obsidian co-owner Chris Parker tells me. And for Obsidian there was never a time of greater need of an idea than summer 2012, after Microsoft cancelled Xbox One launch game Stormlands, and when South Park: The Stick of Truth was onboard THQ's sinking ship. It spurred a period now referred to in Obsidian history as the Summer of Proposals.

Imagine a glitzy cinematic sequence where you, as a secret agent, fight your way through an aeroplane soaring through the sky. You're pressing button prompts appearing on the screen while your hero whacks, chops, spins and kicks at the baddie in your way. "You fight all the way down until eventually you beat the guy and rip off his parachute and, I don't know, break his neck, and he floats off and you use his parachute to land." Sounds great, like a James Bond or Jack Bauer or Jason Bourne scene, or something from Uncharted 3, which hadn't been made yet.

I must have thought about Alpha Protocol 2 a hundred times, which is pretty good going for a sequel that doesn't exist. It's not even really a game in my mind, but an aspiration - a benchmark, really - of what so many games I love could be, if they'd only lower themselves to take a few design tips from an RPG that was effectively deemed a failure before it even hit the shelves.

FeatureCheap This Week - 04/05/11

Broken Sword! Alpha Protocol! Deus Ex!

Have you got the back-to-work blues? This might cheer you up: cheap games, and lots of them! The selection includes a revisited classic from yesteryear, a couple of flawed gems that might have passed you by and one of the hottest pre-order deals I've seen in a long time. If none of that tickles your fancy, there's more over at SavyGamer.co.uk.

Alpha Protocol

Diamonds take forever.

In the genre-bending world of modern videogames, things are not always what they seem. Alpha Protocol looks, walks and talks like a shooter, but it's not - under the hood it's a skills-based RPG. It's far more about character stats than firepower, and interactive cut-scenes form a substantial portion of the action.

FeatureAlpha Protocol

Obsidian's Chris Avellone breaks cover.

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. That's how it sometimes looks for good old Obsidian Entertainment, famous followers-up of BioWare's Knights of the Old Republic and Neverwinter Nights games. But it's not exactly a bad deal. Who wouldn't want to work on Fallout: New Vegas, for example? Er, apart from Bethesda Softworks.

FeatureAlpha Protocol

License to skill-points.

A few minutes of footage is always unlikely to be representative of a role-playing game, because in a few minutes of videogame footage, in the face of lots of game-hungry industry folks, it's vital to show several things, those things being: guns, guns being fired at someone, someone falling over when fired at with guns. Given that RPGs are as much about dialogue and narrative as they are about action, this approach is rather like promoting an album by stitching together all the choruses. Sure, it's noisy and excited, but it's also confusing and peculiar. For the same reason, E3 didn't do Alpha Protocol many favours.