"Alpha Protocol," the action/RPG from Obsidian Entertainment and Sega, has seen a few big delays, but the last one was especially odd. Planned for release in October 2009, the game was never officially delayed until that release date came and went, leaving many to wonder just when it was going to see the light of day. Sega eventually stated that the game was pushed to Spring 2010 and the title went underground, unseen by press until earlier this week at a press event in New York.
Before this week's event I had seen the game demoed three times, and each time they were showing off the same level. Thankfully Sega trotted out a new level this time around, along with a new build. I asked Matthew Hickman, Assistant Producer at Sega, why the game was delayed and what Obsidian had done with the increased development time. Here's what he had to say:
"We had a few reasons for doing it. One: We wanted to position it better, give it a lot of time. The main reason: We really wanted to polish the game up, make it everything Obsidian planned it to be, and give the consumer a very polished game.
"We added a couple of other things. Tweaks in lighting here and there, added the inventory comparison screen so you can compare what you're buying to what you have equipped. Just bringing the whole quality level up."
I'd say the lighting tweaks are probably the most obvious improvement, as the game's graphics definitely lacked depth and definition before, and the new lighting gives the environments a more believable feel. The addition of the loot comparison screen is also crucial for anyone that's ever played a loot-heavy RPG (which "Alpha Protocol" most certainly is). So there's definitely work being done to improve the title.
I've always had a soft spot for "Alpha Protocol," as it really is trying to offer a deep RPG experience wrapped in a modern day combat setting, which is something you hardly ever see. There's still a lot of work to go, though, as the graphics remain pretty raw and there seem to be AI issues still to be worked out. It's definitely a good thing that Sega decided to push the game out even further, into summer 2010, as it'd be a shame to lose such a promising title to rushed development.