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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.

The Agency was first announced in June 2007, but nothing new has been seen of it since a demo was shown at the Consumer Electronics Show at the very start of this year. It was the same demo that turned up at E3, Leipzig, and SOE's own Fan Faire.

In an interview with Massively, Milton said that the game would reappear in the public eye in the summer.

"I'm not supposed to talk about any specific dates right now but I think you're going to see some stuff at a few of those 'small' shows next summer, the ones they throw every year," he said - presumably indicating the likes of E3, Games Convention and the Penny Arcade Expo.

"We went kind of intentionally dark after CES, we've been pretty quiet this year so we could go heads-down on the content," Milton explained.

He said the team was focused on creating new zones and mission content at the moment, and "the full polish mode is sort of burbling underneath. We're polishing as we go while the features come in."

Prague has already been built, the first passes on Kiev and Warsaw are in, and work has started on Central America too. "We got back this fantastic Panamanian shooting gallery, just so damned beautiful," Milton enthused.

He noted that SOE had committed a plenty of resources to making the game. "In the world of MMOs and triple-A game development we are actually a pretty reasonably-sized team. We're slightly under a hundred people," he said.

New info can't come soon enough. The Agency is coming to both PS3 and PC, and is our most-wanted MMO here at Eurogamer - for its slick espionage theme, squad-shooter gameplay and innovative design. Browse the Agency gamepage and our preview for more.

Incidentally, Milton was speaking to Massively to quell rumours that the game had been cancelled - rumours so obviously false that we didn't bother repeating them here. We only mention them now because Milton's response can't be left unquoted.

"No, no, we're not cancelled. We have actually changed focus completely, though. We're now making a 'Kitt Kittredge: live the life of an elite spunky pioneer girl' series," he lied.

"I think it's a great change for the product, I think our Eastern European assets will work well as assets for new colonial America.

"I think people will appreciate the change, we've had to make gambling games into more Thanksgiving hunter-gatherer experiences, but other than that everything is the same."