BioWare Wanted to Make a Spy Thriller

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Every time I hear about EA doing something stupid, I cannot help but imagine them as a Saturday morning cartoon villain.

Shit's getting ridiculous, maybe they turned it down due to the name? "Agent" doesn't sound particularly thrilling, yet the premise is quite unique, though if there were ever two words to describe Bioware's works it would be them.

Even if the game would've seen release, I think that Bioware should work in partnership with Obsidian, as their "choice" mechanics are a bit too simple and binary, whereas Obsidian is at least leaning towards a more interesting direction regarding said mechanics in their recent games, F:NV had no good ending(arguably), which is why I loved it so, their exploration of a moral grey area would work well in a spy game.

Sadly, Electronic Arts didn't feel the same way about Agent, and BioWare was forced to move on to other projects. "Fundamentally EA didn't believe in the concept," Oster explained, "and if the company's not behind it, it doesn't matter how hard you struggle you just can't make it happen."

Electronic Arts can go fuck its mother...

or, more appropriately, the suits at the top can go fuck their mothers.

I can't recall anyone having a problem with BioWare until EA started shitting all over it. Though I still have Jade Empire sitting here unopened, so maybe that's a steaming pile of shit and BioWare isn't as good as I thought.

Raiyan 1.0:
... and then Obsidian would have made a buggier but far better sequel to it, eh?

Haha! I was about to say that myself!

In its prime, I would of loved to see Bioware doing this. Yet from current releases, its obvious something has changed for the negative within Bioware's culture and it has led to the less than stellar developments in their major franchises. Mass Effect 3 for its heavily divisive ending, Star Wars: TOR for the simple fact they fail to understand even the basics of developing MMOs, and Dragon Age 2 for feeling that a rushed development timeline would hide the horribly overused environments, weak story impact, as well as the heavy character-twisting they do just to make some things happen.

And even then, Obsidian delivered the better title. While I loved Knights of the Old Republic, 2 was always the stronger game to me. Alpha Protocol, for all its annoying bugs and glitches and oddities, actually delivered on its story. Alongside The Witcher, its one of the few games that actually has choices affecting the game, where all the Mass Effect trilogy has done is give the promise of it then implement various plot devices to ensure that all those supposedly important decisions were null and void in the end. The Rachni, the Geth, among all the others, ultimately didn't matter in how you dealt with them.

Souplex:
So it would have been Alpha Protocol, or Deus Ex: Human Revolution, as done by Bioware.
That might have been fun.

But the real question, how would they have worked in a red blue or green ending?

I'm not sure this would work in BioWare's favor.

Most of BioWare's games tend to (at least try, but I digress) have strong characters and relationships with these characters. Specifically BioWare makes great party-based games where you have numerous, memorable characters tagging along with your blank-slate or blank-slate like of a character you personify through the game's campaign. James Bond and Jason Bourne films seem to be the total opposite of this: It is the main character that overcomes obstacles on his own, with little or no allies supporting them. There are other characters in these films, but the thesis of these films is the main character is extremely exceptional compared to normal folks. Capable of charming or sneaking his way into rich, evil facilities where death rays are being built to thwart equally unique villains, and then celebrate with an intimate tussle along with a woman who might be named after her genitals. It's like trying to make a BioWare RPG with the "Indiana Jones" license while they try making characters that rival or are more memorable than the character which the franchise is named after.

And what ? bladnify it? Yeah great idesa!
Sorry to bioware but i fidn their games a tad baklnd although a]enjoyabkle.

And at the end of the game you'd get a brief-case with 3 guns and which gun you used to shoot the final boss would determine the ending.

Dammit this could have been an actually good version of Alpha Protocol. :(

Hey Bioware, have you heard of Kickstarter?

Just curious...

VoidWanderer:
Hey Bioware, have you heard of Kickstarter?

Just curious...

Unfortunately, you can't fund a AAA game via Kickstarter

This is why you dont sell yourself to EA.

People can mock Bethesda and Valve all they want but at least they make what they want to.
Not what some 50 year old suit thinks will sell well.

The undeveloped spy RPG, given the working title Agent, was heavily inspired by Casino Royale and the Bourne Trilogy.

That's a redundant statement. Casino Royale is a "Bond" movie that wanted to be a Bourne movie when it grew up, but never quite grew into those big boy pants. And it slides further down my shit list because the story of Casino Royale is indirectly responsible for Quantum of Solace, arguably the worst Bond movie ever made.

But enough of my bitching about the Bond movies. Let's talk about this "Agent" game (which, btw, is a stupid name).

Agent would have allowed for a mix of intense action and espionage-inspired drama, and would rely heavily on digital acting sequences. "We really wanted to be very high drama, very intense scenes," Oster continued. "I always think of the scene in the second Bourne movie where Jason Bourne's choking the guy out with a book and he's right in his face and it's this very intense moment. That was one of the key things we wanted to carry off."

It sounds like they basically wanted to make their own version of Alpha Protocol.

And whether you liked that game or not, it's not exactly a critically acclaimed title with millions of units sold. Can't say I blame EA for pitching that particular idea in the trash, where it belongs. I've yet to see a spy game that really knocked my socks off.

It's a shame not simply because the concept is intriguing, but because Agent would be a perfect fit for BioWare. BioWare games tend to strike a fine balance between epic action sequences and detailed character development, something that spy games rarely take advantage of.

You mean spy movies, not spy games. Spy MOVIES are designed to balance action with story. Spy GAMES don't exactly tend to be all that good at either one, unless the spy in question is an assassin archetype, which is specifically what they said they weren't going to make.

At the risk of having everyone and their grandma bitching at me for speaking my mind, I'm gonna say it: This game isn't a perfect fit for BioWare, it's something they would not have been able to handle. Their heavy focus on story means that their actual gameplay has only suffered more and more as time goes on. When they're not keeping essentially the same mechanics in place that they've been using for years (I picked up DA:O on a friend's recommendation and was shocked to discover that despite being 6 years older than KOTOR, it's almost a blatant rip of KOTOR's mechanics and combat enginequickly), they're radically changing them in ways their fans never wanted because their new corporate masters, EA, want "broader appeal" (DA2 being the classic example of this). This isn't a game Bioware would have been able to do much with. They're just not the "spy game" type of storytellers, and I really doubt they're the "spy game" type of gameplay designers either, judging from all of their previous titles.

"Agent" would have been run into the dirt by terrible gameplay decisions, too much of a focus on making Jason Bourne instead of making something truly unique, and lots of corporate meddling. It would, in all likelihood, have been a worse game than Alpha Protocol, and probably sold about the same as it too. I know that there are still some people clinging to their angelic image of BioWare, but seriously guys, for once EA actually made a smart call here and saved themselves a lot of wasted time and money making a game that would not have been successful.

Imthatguy:

deth2munkies:
Pitch sounds near identical to Alpha Protocol, and look at how crappy that turned out...

Oh look someone who didn't play Alpha Protocol.....

Bought it for $5, played 5 playthroughs of the game. And I believe, that's more playthroughs than I had with Mass Effect.

The characters in this game were amazing, and so was the story. But it had Obsidian all over it, a diamond covered with cow dung. I still <3 Obsidian though.

If it's the 'other' half of Goldeneye, does that mean there's no shooting whatsoever?

Because shooting people in Goldeneye was... you know... kind of fun.

Now I think about it, Goldeneye also had actual espionage like taking photos. Does this mean this wouldn't have cameras? Would it also avoid escaping captivity against heavy odds? Would it ignore stealth entirely? I'm pretty sure Goldeneye had books in it too, so there goes your ability to use the book punch move and stay true to your mantra.

Plus the books in Goldeneye could explode. Even the Bourne films can't top that one.

Even more depressing considering Rockstar announced (now considered vaporware) The Agent.

CriticKitten:
I picked up DA:O on a friend's recommendation and was shocked to discover that despite being 6 years older than KOTOR, it's almost a blatant rip of KOTOR's mechanics and combat enginequickly

While I agree that Bioware isn't a good fit for this type of game, DA:O was marketed as a Spiritual Successor to Baldur's Gate and older Isometric RPGs, which Kotor was heavily influenced by. It was also a critical success and sold quite well. You're basically bashing on DA:O for being what it promised to be.

ScrabbitRabbit:

Fanghawk:
Alpha Protocol had the right idea, but its story and characters never reached the level of appeal that BioWare's Mass Effect or Dragon Age franchises held.

I felt that Alpha Protocol's story and characters were far superior to either of those games. It was the borderline-unplayableness that brought it down.

I don't know about everybody else, but based on my personal experience I have yet to play a game that everybody says is massively buggy and unplayable and ever encounter a SINGLE bug, that includes Alpha Protocol. I hear it all the time but have yet to actually have it happen. I'd give a reason for why I think this happens, but a couple people from a thread on the GOG.com forums said it better than I ever could:

[Delixe: I bought this at release and encountered no bugs that I could see. There was a concerted 'fan' backlash over the game and they grossly exaggerated the flaws. Seems to be something about the Obsidian name that drives people to over-exaggerate every little bug because Obsidian make buggy games derp.

New Vegas had the same reception with people calling it unplayable which was a complete lie. People seem to have a mental block that makes them forget the very unplayable state Fallout 3 shipped in. In most respects Obsidian improved a lot of the problems with the Gamebryo engine that plagued Fallout 3.]

[predcon: The people who complained were spoiled toddlers who nitpicked about bars and railings not being fully rendered in true HD or some shit like that, and even when so far as to post comparative screencaps with closeups and the like. These jokers are of the same ilk as those who complained about KOTOR 2, which I found enjoyable, broken quests aside. Every RPG has broken quests and red herrings, it can't be helped.]

As for people complaining about games like Alpha Protocol not selling well as justification for why this game probably wouldn't have worked, OF COURSE it didn't sell well! That always happens to great games that don't get enough advertising.

thebobmaster:
Let's look at it from EA's perspective. Launching a new IP is a bit of a risk, because you don't have the brand name to go off of. So, they look at the market, and see how similar games have done. Most likely, the games they looked at were Alpha Protocol and The Bourne Conspiracy.

Alpha Protocol had mixed reviews, and has sold 700,000 copies on the PS3, 360, and PC since its release 2 years ago. Now, those numbers may not include Steam sales, so I'll be generous and bump it up to an even 1 million copies.

Bourne Conspiracy received mixed reviews, and has sold a grand total of 750K copies worldwide on both the PS3 and 360 combined to date, 4 years after its release.

Looking at those numbers, can you blame EA for not getting behind a game concept that has been tried twice, and failed both times?

Except this game was suggested in 2009 and alpha protocol came out mid 2010, and movie tie-in games are a usually rushed and poorly reviewed reguardless of what themes or genre they are, so making a judgment based on a movie tie-in game on what games to greenlight would be poor.

Fanghawk:
Sadly, Electronic Arts didn't feel the same way about Agent, and BioWare was forced to move on to other projects. "Fundamentally EA didn't believe in the concept," Oster explained, "and if the company's not behind it, it doesn't matter how hard you struggle you just can't make it happen."

HAHAHHAHAAH

And they said EA wouldn't destroy Bioware! The proof is right there!

Fanghawk:
Alpha Protocol had the right idea, but its story and characters never reached the level of appeal that BioWare's Mass Effect or Dragon Age franchises held.

image

God I wish this "Bioware does great story and characters" myth would just die. Bioware used to be good at story and characters, now they suck.

Akichi Daikashima:
Every time I hear about EA doing something stupid, I cannot help but imagine them as a Saturday morning cartoon villain.

While EA is easily one of the worst offenders, making mind numbing obviously stupid decisions and blatantly ripping off and pissing off their customers is epidemic in the video game industry, almost to the point where it seems like industrywide policy. Not greenlighting games it's obvious would be successful just because there's no established name behind it, (and in most cases such as Agent's they easily could have made a few changes and tied it into some other IP if that was really the issue) extreme price gorging on everything despite ALREADY making record profits, On-Disc DLC, Day 1 DLC, DRM, flaunting their stupid decisions and scamming of their customers without care, and more. The worst part is that NO OTHER INDUSTRY could do these kinds of things that the video game industry does on a regular basis and survive, at least not while being so obvious about it.

thebobmaster:
Let's look at it from EA's perspective. Launching a new IP is a bit of a risk, because you don't have the brand name to go off of.

Most game concepts could easily be changed a little to either fit into a IP that a publisher either already has or could get for a reasonable price, so not having an brand name behind it is a pretty lousy excuse.

thebobmaster:

So, they look at the market, and see how similar games have done. Most likely, the games they looked at were Alpha Protocol and The Bourne Conspiracy.

Alpha Protocol had mixed reviews, and has sold 700,000 copies on the PS3, 360, and PC since its release 2 years ago. Now, those numbers may not include Steam sales, so I'll be generous and bump it up to an even 1 million copies.

Bourne Conspiracy received mixed reviews, and has sold a grand total of 750K copies worldwide on both the PS3 and 360 combined to date, 4 years after its release.

Looking at those numbers, can you blame EA for not getting behind a game concept that has been tried twice, and failed both times?

Yeah, I can blame EA. 700,000 and 750,000 copies? Assuming your numbers are accurate, are you kidding me!?! I remember back when a game sold for those kind of numbers was considered a smashing success! In fact, there's plenty of failing and Indy developers right now that would sell their souls, pride, integrity, etc. to have even 1 game that reached anywhere near that many sales. If any of us ordinary joes made anything that sold that much we'd be set for life! Why has the video game industry allowed it to get to the point that making games gets so expensive those sales numbers aren't considered impressive?

immortalfrieza:

Akichi Daikashima:
Every time I hear about EA doing something stupid, I cannot help but imagine them as a Saturday morning cartoon villain.

While EA is easily one of the worst offenders, making mind numbing obviously stupid decisions and blatantly ripping off and pissing off their customers is epidemic in the video game industry, almost to the point where it seems like industrywide policy. Not greenlighting games it's obvious would be successful just because there's no established name behind it, (and in most cases such as Agent's they easily could have made a few changes and tied it into some other IP if that was really the issue) extreme price gorging on everything despite ALREADY making record profits, On-Disc DLC, Day 1 DLC, DRM, flaunting their stupid decisions and scamming of their customers without care, and more. The worst part is that NO OTHER INDUSTRY could do these kinds of things that the video game industry does on a regular basis and survive, at least not while being so obvious about it.

Our industry is still evolving, there will always be studios/companies that want to exploit a growing medium.

Nonetheless, I see them like a SMCV(Saturday morning cartoon villain) because they act surprised when their schemes fail due to outcry, also their monumentally stupid ad campaigns for Dead Space 2 & Dante's Inferno are prime examples of their idiocy and ignorance.

elilupe:
but because EA didn't want to 'risk' a new IP instead of milking Dragon Age and Mass Effect, they could never try it.

This happened in 2009.Seeing as back then Dragon Age was an as yet unreleased brand new IP and Mass Effect 2 had yet to be released I'm not sure how you can accuse EA of milking them

I don't want to come across as a EA supporter but there are enough legitimate reasons to dislike them without making stuff up you know

Chris Avellone and his crew are far superior writers than whatever rhesus monkey they put in charge in Bioware's writing division these days.

I finished Alpha Protocol 3 times and I was amazed how much your choice actually affecting stuff in game, as an RPG (not as a game) its exemplary

Akichi Daikashima:

Our industry is still evolving, there will always be studios/companies that want to exploit a growing medium.

I've heard that before, and I consider it to be just cop-out to justify what the video game industry does. It doesn't matter if an industry is 1 year old or 10 decades, there's no excuse whatsoever for blatant obviously stupid and explotive business practices that screw over the customer. In any other industry companies that "exploit a growing medium" and make it anywhere near as obvious as the video game industry does now either change their way of doing things before long or die out, quickly. However, for SOME reason the video game industy seems to be the ONLY industry that I know of where screwing the customer is not only expected and encouraged, but flanted. I wouldn't be surprised if someday some big company just came right out and said something akin to "Ha ha! You want video games? Pay out the nose for no reason and deal with unecessary frustration or you ain't gettin nothin! NA! NA! NA!" At least industries like the tobacco industry did everything they could to hide the fact that their customers were little more than walking wallets to them until the government stepped in and made them be honest, the video game industry doesn't even do that much, and since the video game industry isn't dangerous, it's unlikely the government will sort them out.

Akichi Daikashima:

Nonetheless, I see them like a SMCV(Saturday morning cartoon villain) because they act surprised when their schemes fail due to outcry, also their monumentally stupid ad campaigns for Dead Space 2 & Dante's Inferno are prime examples of their idiocy and ignorance.

I'd bet anything that at this point that EA and companies like it know how much they are reviled and instead of improving themselves like sensible people would are instead being stupid and pissing people off deliberately for the attention it gets them. I wouldn't doubt that without those ridiculous ad campaigns that nowhere near as many people would have heard of Dead Space 2 and Dante's Inferno as they have. They're going for "no such thing as bad publicity" in other words. That will bite them in the ass eventually, but until then we're probably just going to have to deal since there's nothing anybody can really do, even a massive number of people getting up in arms and complaining about it seems to be playing right into their hands.

immortalfrieza:

ScrabbitRabbit:

Fanghawk:
Alpha Protocol had the right idea, but its story and characters never reached the level of appeal that BioWare's Mass Effect or Dragon Age franchises held.

I felt that Alpha Protocol's story and characters were far superior to either of those games. It was the borderline-unplayableness that brought it down.

I don't know about everybody else, but based on my personal experience I have yet to play a game that everybody says is massively buggy and unplayable and ever encounter a SINGLE bug, that includes Alpha Protocol. I hear it all the time but have yet to actually have it happen. I'd give a reason for why I think this happens, but a couple people from a thread on the GOG.com forums said it better than I ever could:

[Delixe: I bought this at release and encountered no bugs that I could see. There was a concerted 'fan' backlash over the game and they grossly exaggerated the flaws. Seems to be something about the Obsidian name that drives people to over-exaggerate every little bug because Obsidian make buggy games derp.

New Vegas had the same reception with people calling it unplayable which was a complete lie. People seem to have a mental block that makes them forget the very unplayable state Fallout 3 shipped in. In most respects Obsidian improved a lot of the problems with the Gamebryo engine that plagued Fallout 3.]

[predcon: The people who complained were spoiled toddlers who nitpicked about bars and railings not being fully rendered in true HD or some shit like that, and even when so far as to post comparative screencaps with closeups and the like. These jokers are of the same ilk as those who complained about KOTOR 2, which I found enjoyable, broken quests aside. Every RPG has broken quests and red herrings, it can't be helped.]

As for people complaining about games like Alpha Protocol not selling well as justification for why this game probably wouldn't have worked, OF COURSE it didn't sell well! That always happens to great games that don't get enough advertising.

Obsidian are one of my favourite developers and I, too, had very few issues with New Vegas in spite of it's reputation (and I also found Fallout 3 to be in a much worse state). In Alpha Protocol I'd frequently fall through the floor and opening a door would sometimes alert every single guard in the mission.

On top of that, I wasn't just referring to the bugs. Even without them, the gameplay (outside the narrative choices it gives you) just isn't very good.

Fanghawk:
Alpha Protocol had the right idea, but its story and characters never reached the level of appeal that BioWare's Mass Effect or Dragon Age franchises held.

*looks at The Illusive Man*

*looks at Henry Leland*

I'm sorry, what? Surely that should be the other way around.

Damn I probably would have enjoyed that. Though I'm going to say with alpha protocol I would love a sequel. I had no issues with bugs in the game, though will admit the combat got really annoying at points, kind of like the bosses with DE:HR. the 1 thing that I adored though was the time limits on decisions, this to me added depth and suspense, instead of ME where I spent half an hour debating whether I should kill or reprogram the geth heretics and reduced the ethical considerations to a list of pros and cons.

MetalDooley:

elilupe:
but because EA didn't want to 'risk' a new IP instead of milking Dragon Age and Mass Effect, they could never try it.

This happened in 2009.Seeing as back then Dragon Age was an as yet unreleased brand new IP and Mass Effect 2 had yet to be released I'm not sure how you can accuse EA of milking them

I don't want to come across as a EA supporter but there are enough legitimate reasons to dislike them without making stuff up you know

Heh. You're right, I should probably check my facts a bit better next time ^.^
I still dislike EA though...

Look guys, I love Alpha Protocol as much as anyone. But that doesn't mean I don't want another studio, BioWare included, to try to make an espionage RPG. At worst, it'll turn out to be a bad game that I can ignore. At best, it could turn out to be amazing and we'd have a great entry in a woefully under-represented setting in games.

Sizzle Montyjing:
And what ? bladnify it? Yeah great idesa!
Sorry to bioware but i fidn their games a tad baklnd although a]enjoyabkle.

...don't drink and type.

Bioware/EA are a crashing plane atm nothing surpirises me. I seriously want them to put the fire out and pull up before anything else jumps off into oblivian but i'm not holding my breath :P Any more failure by bioware and they may start feeling the EA death squad breaking down there neck. Any sure the idea will get made one day by some cool people and it'll probally be a kickstarter :D

Interesting idea, it could be like a more in-depth exploration of the bits of Splinter Cell:Double agent when you have to balance your cover with your objective and manage your perceptions of loyalty to both sides.

What they mean is a first person shooter with occasional stealth elements, right?

thebobmaster:
Let's look at it from EA's perspective. Launching a new IP is a bit of a risk, because you don't have the brand name to go off of. So, they look at the market, and see how similar games have done. Most likely, the games they looked at were Alpha Protocol and The Bourne Conspiracy.

Alpha Protocol had mixed reviews, and has sold 700,000 copies on the PS3, 360, and PC since its release 2 years ago. Now, those numbers may not include Steam sales, so I'll be generous and bump it up to an even 1 million copies.

Bourne Conspiracy received mixed reviews, and has sold a grand total of 750K copies worldwide on both the PS3 and 360 combined to date, 4 years after its release.

Looking at those numbers, can you blame EA for not getting behind a game concept that has been tried twice, and failed both times?

Of course, the other element one tends to look at is the pedigree of the studios. While Mass Effect 3 has soured from people from Bioware, they're still "known" for quality titles.

People talk about good business decisions and these things being all about the money, yet EA's been through a huge stock drop and lost a lot of investor confidence, which is a huge element here. They've plateaued (at best) financially, even with steps like online passes. The safe bet is no longer the safe bet if you catch my meaning. And in 2009, they were already having these problems.

Can I blame EA for lack of faith in a studio with a solid pedigree, with ME3 years off, for thinking it'd do as awful as Alpha Protocol? Kinda. Can I blame EA for deciding to take the safe approach, even though it's clear it doesn't please investors or increase their intake of cash? HELL YES.

EDIT: Wrong thread. Woops.

IGNORE ME.

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