Although making an MMOG is no small effort – most of them
take four to five years to create – it seems like creating a
world with such a strong personality would be an even harder prospect
to undertake. With this in mind, we asked Wilson if they’d
been working on the operatives for awhile or if this was something
they’d begun pursuing later on in their development cycle.

“We’ve been working on operatives for almost two
years,” Wilson answered. “One of our designers has
actually been dedicated to operatives from the get go. Now
we’re just adding more and more writers. The nice part about
being tied with Sony Pictures is that we get access to their writers
and as our framework advances, we’ll be able to add more and
more writers.”

After he’d finished thoroughly explaining operatives, Wilson
discussed what the SOE Seattle team had imagined for the higher end
content of The Agency.
Rather than merely including high level encounters, the development
team hopes to really explore all areas of the high level systems.
“The final part of the game is what we call ‘World
Domination,’” Wilson explained. ”This is
the portion of the game where you start to build joint agencies with
other players to try to achieve globe encompassing World Domination. As
you combine with other players, you’ll be able to do tasks
that you wouldn’t normally be able to do without a large
fleet of operatives.”

style="margin: 10px; border-collapse: collapse; float: right; width: 136px; height: 165px;"

title="The Agency - CES - 4"> src="/image/view/17066/preview"

style="font-style: italic;">Only five of your
operatives can be active at any one time.

“At the max you can only put five operatives into play at any
given time,” Wilson continued. “However, there are
some tasks that require upwards of 500 operatives, and this is when
you’d start a recruiting campaign to really bring more people
into your joint agency. It’s a positive thing to be able to
join people together.”

All of the talk regarding grouping and guilds led me to the next point
of inquiry. With the World
of Warcraft
really hitting on the solo market, the Ten
Ton Hammer staff wondered if the game would be soloable. Wilson
responded by announcing the three different awards you could achieve
from the player missions: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. According to
Wilson, these were the big signifiers on whether something could be
soloed or not.

“Bronze, anyone should be able to go in solo and complete the
mission,” he said. “Obviously the missions ramp up
from there and it’s going to probably take a group of people
to get gold on every mission in the game. If you want a gold,
you’ll need to add more people to the mix.”

Despite all the talk about fighting enemies and fending off the bad
forces in the world, the SOE Seattle crew hadn’t gone into
any real detail on what sort of evil elements would be present in the
game. Would players be able to play on “the Dark
Side?” And where were the really big bad guys? Wilson nodded
and continued our conversation.

“What we haven’t shown at all yet, are our
villains,” Wilson explained. “There are some key
villains in this game, because it wouldn’t be a spy game
without the ‘super-villain.’ The villains are
really the guys pulling the strings. At the beginning of the game, the
two agencies are actually fighting against one another, but as you
progress you discover these super-villains really are the ones that
need to be stopped.”

“Paragon is the closest thing to a
“villain” the characters can play – those
guys are all about the money – but we aren’t really
separating the players into good guys and bad guys,” Wilson
continued. “They’re just two agencies with
completely different approaches. There are ways to steer your
characters one way or another – good or bad – but
you’re generally fighting for the side of the right compared
to the game’s villains.”

Despite not being the response that some players were hoping for
– there are a few who just love to play the most vile
characters they can – it’s obvious that those
“evil” players can definitely try to find the
darkest shade of gray possible. And from the sounds of things, SOE
Seattle wants them to explore that option. “We’re
really trying to give betrayal a meaning in The Agency,”
Wilson said. “You don’t betray strangers, you kill
them. So to get betrayal right we’ve had to work hard at
finding ways to earn players’ trust to make the feelings
legitimate. However, it is a fun form of betrayal.”

style="margin: 10px; border-collapse: collapse; float: left; width: 136px; height: 165px;"

title="The Agency - CES - 5"> src="/image/view/17065/preview"

style="font-style: italic;">Villains in The
Agency will be the super-scary variety. Think of the Bond movies.

With a plethora of cross-platform options available to them, we wanted
to make sure we were covering all of our bases with the SOE Seattle
crew. During the presentation of The
demo, the Ten Ton Hammer crew saw several items
that looked like trading cards. Since Sony Online Entertainment also
holds an online trading card game studio, we asked the SOE Seattle
developers if there was any chance of a possible crossover between the
two games.

“We’re definitely going to be doing something with
the SOE Denver studio,” Wilson said. “Even before
SOE acquired the Denver studio, we were already considering a form of
gameplay the equivalent of a collectable card game. We treat our
operatives just like loot – and therefore just like CCGs
– so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t
take all this gorgeous card art and build something on top of the

With that, we ended our conversation with the SOE Seattle development
crew, shook hands, and went our separate ways. Both Jeff
“Ethec” Woleslagle and I couldn’t help
but smile on our way out. From this brief glance, we knew that the SOE
Seattle developers had hit on something special and with the right
touches and tweaks, they could have a solid hit on their hands.

For more details on character creation, the combat mechanics, and some
basic ideas of how The Agency will play, make sure you check out our href=""> style="font-style: italic;">The Agency CES Demo
Video featuring all of those things and more!

How do you feel about the
use of operatives in The
? Do you think it will enhance the gameplay? href="">Let
us know on the forums!

Ten Ton Hammer is your unofficial source for style="font-style: italic;">The Agency href="">news
and articles!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our The Agency Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016