Talk Sweet or Bust Heads in Alpha Protocol


If polite discourse doesn’t work, smashing a beaker into a scientist’s face is always a possibility in Alpha Protocol.

Obsidian Entertainment’s espionage RPG Alpha Protocol left the limelight for a while when it was delayed in late 2009, but with its solid June 1 release date nearing we’re now seeing more on the game again. The latest trailer shows off the dialogue system that, while not totally breaking new ground, infuses a new level of action into the choices players make.

Alpha Protocol is an action-RPG that focuses on CIA operative Michael Thornton as he attempts to uncover a conspiracy and figure out who betrayed him after an operation goes wrong. Players will build up various special skills, use multiple kinds of weaponry and gadgets, and complete both required and optional missions.

The dialogue systems in other games such as Mass Effect give players the ability to use basic “good” and “evil” scores to alter how conversations end, but Alpha Protocol‘s “Dialogue Stance System” seems to take this to the extreme. If a scientist isn’t being forthcoming enough during an interrogation, a dialogue choice will pop up to break a glass over his head. Sometimes this won’t be enough, and you might just forgo conversation and straight up execute a guy.

The trailer gives me a feeling that each of the dialogue choices in Alpha Protocol will actively relate to the type of story experienced. I assume that killing someone rather than having a spot of tea with them would radically change a story thread. According to Obsidian, multiple playthroughs will be required to experience all there is to see in Alpha Protocol due to the three classic personas (based on James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Jack Bauer) that can be played out through the DSS.

Obsidian has a significant amount of pedigree in the game industry, having produced Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II and Neverwinter Nights 2, not to mention the classic RPGs members of the company have worked on in the past at Black Isle Studios. Alpha Protocol looks like it has potential to tide gamers over for a little while until the company’s next big release, Fallout: New Vegas, hopefully comes out by the end of 2010.

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