WarCry’s look at Global Agenda, an upcoming MMO in development at Hi-Rez Studios, continues with an exclusive Q&A with associate producer Michal Adam. Continue reading for more information about one of the most innovative MMOs currently in development.
WC: Please introduce yourself and explain your role with Hi-Rez Studios.
My name is Michal Adam and I’m the associate producer for Global Agenda. Some of my responsibilities include deploying a daily build, working together with leads on cross-functional projects and tasks, and even motion capture for our female characters.
WC: What is the development background Hi-Rez Studios?
Hi-Rez Studios was founded by Erez Goren who is also the lead designer for Global Agenda. He’s been dubbed a serial entrepreneur with a very successful business software development track record, founding and growing software companies into multi-million dollar publicly held corporations. The studio is made up of developers form all over the world – Atlanta, California, Texas, Detroit, Thailand, and China, to name a few of our employees’ hometowns. They’re people that we’ve relocated that have done a lot of games before, including other MMOs like City of Heroes and some console games like Call of Duty, so there is a great pool of talent working on Global Agenda. This is the first game out of Hi-Rez Studios and we are Georgia’s largest home-grown game developer.
WC: Hi-Rez Studios recently announced “Global Agenda” as an action MMO. What has the reaction to that announcement been like?
The most common thing we hear back from people when they see the phrase “action MMO” is how excited they are that someone is finally bringing the fast-paced FPS style to the in-depth character progression of an RPG.
WC: How long has Global Agenda been in development?
The studio was established in 2005, so it’s fair to say that we’ve been in development for just over three years. It seems that the rate of production has increased each year with milestones growing larger as we push toward beta and then release.
WC: Give us some background for Global Agenda.
Global Agenda takes place on Earth in the 22nd century, a point in the future after an environmental catastrophe has basically forced society to start over from scratch. Most of the familiar countries and cities you might recognize today are gone, replaced by new factions battling for control over the few remaining resources. Technology is the primary theme of the game and the world in which it takes place, as elite teams of special agents travel around the world in a perpetual state of conflict.
WC: What character types will Global Agenda employ?
Players are able to select from four iconic character classes, but their selection of skills and equipment can further specialize them to unique roles in battles. I can’t say more than this; actually, I may have already said too much!
WC: Some would opine that Global Agenda sounds more like a real-time strategy game. How do you answer that comment?
They would be right. The people that say we’re a frenetic shooter are also correct, as are the people that claim we’re a dynamic RPG with robust character development. Global Agenda is truly a hybrid of game genres, incorporating fast-action PvP gameplay with a serious focus on teamwork and strategic collaboration between agency members and alliances. Individual players will also experience character advancement and other RPG elements.
WC: Is Global Agenda being targeted more to the hardcore or casual gamer?
That’s a good question. A lot of people, when they think of MMOs, think hardcore, time commitment, level grinding… and if you don’t grind, it may prevent you from playing with your friends who may have more time to earn skills and level up. With Global Agenda we aimed to create an engaging system to satisfy hardcore gamers while still being friendly toward those who only have 30 minutes and want to jump into a match with their agency. But the game is very fun and our world is so immersive that you’re probably going to want to explore every part of it.
WC: The ‘factions’ mentioned in the press release sound similar to a fantasy MMO’s guild system. Is that an accurate portrayal?
Actually, what we refer to as an ‘agency’ is what would be called a guild in any other MMO. When you’re ready to really get competitive, you’ll want to join an agency and vie for control over strategic locations around the world.
WC: Will Global Agenda have a beta test? If so, when is that likely to happen?
Yes, definitely. We’ve actually been testing the game internally for over a year. This summer (June 2008) we launched a closed alpha test program that currently has a community of over 1,000 players. We will evaluate our testing status next quarter but I’d say we’re ‘very near’ a closed beta.
WC: What is the anticipated release date for Global Agenda?
As an independent, self-funded studio we have the luxury of answering this question with “when it’s ready.”
WarCry would like to thank Michal Adam for taking the time to answer our questions.