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Newest batch of Global Agenda concept art released

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, New Titles, Wallpapers, Spy, Global Agenda

In our third installment of concept art images from Hi-Rez Studios' Global Agenda, we get a look at some of the newest environments from the game. Previous batches have shown us tropical, arctic and underground scenery, as well as some gorgeous in-game shots of characters and environments. This set, however, takes us into a few of the desert locations with a look at a desert mine tunnel, desert lab hallway and a desert test chamber.

As you may remember from our hands-on time with the game, Global Agenda is a fast-paced action MMO using Unreal® Engine 3 set in Earth's near future, a spy-fi world of advanced technology and player-driven conflict. These concept images represent the type of exotic and futuristic locations that players and player-run groups will visit as they compete in a global conflict for territory, resources and advanced technology. Be sure to check out our entire Global Agenda gallery linked below.

The Agency opts for in-game advertising instead of monthly fees

Business Models, Culture, Economy, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, The Agency, Spy

In a recent interview with Kikizo, Sony Online Entertainment's Kevin O'Hara revealed that the upcoming spy MMO The Agency will not incorporate the traditional monthly subscription model, but will instead turn to in-game ads and micro-transactions.

"We're acutely aware that shooter players are not used to paying monthly fees, so I doubt we'll go for an outright $15 a month, which works on some of our other projects. So we're checking out Free Realms to see how they're going to do with their micro-transactions, and we might incorporate some of that. We'll definitely have some ad revenue models. The Agency's the perfect place for some in-game product placement," O'Hara stated in the interview.

New environmental concept art from Global Agenda

Sci-Fi, Galleries, MMO Industry, New Titles, Spy, Global Agenda

As promised, we're happy to show off three new pieces of concept art from Hi-Rez Studio's upcoming spy-fi MMO Global Agenda. This time around we get to see the Missile Assembly Observation Hall, the Nomadic Drilling Platforms (which is probably one of the coolest concepts ever) and the Pacific Research Facility.

We've been talking a good bit about the game lately, as some of you have noticed. The main reason for this is the avalanche of new content coming out of hiding after flying so low under the radar for the several years that this game has been in production. This is good for you because it means we'll be getting much more, and showing it off to the readers. Check out the three new pieces of concept art in our complete Global Agenda gallery below.

Massively checks in on The Agency with Lead Designer Hal Milton

New Titles, The Agency, Spy, Interviews (Massively's)

As we noted yesterday, The Agency isn't canceled. Despite that mixup from Gamefly's automated notification system, the FPS/spy title from the SOE Seattle studio is still going strong. Joystiq spoke with the SOE subsidiary briefly yesterday, and we had the chance to do so as well. Being the MMO nerds that we are, we just had to go a bit outside the scope of this latest mixup - mechanics are far more interesting than drama!

Join us as we talk over the current state of The Agency's development with the animated and always-interesting lead designer Hal Milton. Hal shares with us a bit of insight into what they're currently working on, give us a few fun facts to chew on, and makes us actually look forward to next year's summer con season. We didn't think anything could do that. Spy social engineering at work!

Read on below the cut for our full discussion.

Gallery: The Agency

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Rumors of The Agency's death have been exaggerated

MMO Industry, New Titles, The Agency, Spy, Rumors

Rumors abound that Sony Online Entertainment's MMO-in-development, The Agency, has been cancelled. This stems from a GameFly email sent out that the title is now removed from GameQ's, with the explanation message that "For unreleased titles, the game has been canceled by its publisher... We apologize for any disappointment this may cause. If you have any questions, please contact us."

Well that's exactly what our sister site PS3 Fanboy did. Only they went right to SOE, not Gamefly, to check on The Agency's status. Andrew Yoon from PS3 Fanboy confirmed with SOE's Katie Hanson that the project is, indeed, alive. So there you have it. The Agency has not been targeted for assassination. You can check out the declassified intel over at PS3 Fanboy.

New Global Agenda concept art reveals more environments

Sci-Fi, Galleries, MMO Industry, New Titles, Spy, Global Agenda

When they're not donating their time to host charitable events like Pwning for a Cure, to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the good folks at Hi-Rez Studios are creating some gorgeous concept art for their upcoming MMO Global Agenda. As you may remember from our hands-on time with the game, Global Agenda is a fast-paced action MMO using Unreal® Engine 3 set in Earth's near future, a spy-fi world of advanced technology and player-driven conflict. These concept images represent the type of exotic and futuristic locations that players and player-run groups will visit as they compete in a global conflict for territory, resources and advanced technology.

These first three images are only the tip of the iceberg on what's to come with new concept art out of Hi-Rez. Keep a close eye on our entire Global Agenda Concept Art and Screenshot gallery linked below for more from the Hi-Rez team very soon.

New Global Agenda trailer and screenshots released

Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, New Titles, PvP, Spy, Global Agenda

Last week, we gave you our initial impressions of the upcoming sci-fi MMO Global Agenda. Yet, even in a 1200-word article, it's difficult to express fast-paced action and innovative gameplay successfully. Luckily, Hi-Rez Studios has just released their newest promotional video for the game, and it speaks volumes.

In this video, we get a glimpse into what the game is all about from the developers' perspective. Executive Producer Todd Harris, Senior Game Designer Scott Zier and Art Director Chuk Vinson take us through some of the game's basic mechanics, accompanied by some spectacular in-game footage of combat, character advancement and more! This is one of those videos so packed full of info and visuals that you'll need to watch it a few times to take it all in. Check it out embedded just after the jump below, and be sure to check out our Global Agenda gallery, which includes some new screenshots just released today!

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Massively's exclusive tour of Hi-Rez Studios and Global Agenda

Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Previews, PvP, Reviews, Opinion, Hands-On, Spy, Global Agenda

Last week, we did a story on the growing game development scene in Georgia, and how government tax incentives have worked to get more digital entertainment companies into the state. Georgia's legislators understand that gaming is an important part of a global economic future, and they're getting their foot in the door early. As part of this story, we visited Hi-Rez Studios, located near the state's capital and largest city of Atlanta. Not only did we tour the studio and talk about their reasons for setting up shop in Atlanta, but we also got some hands-on time with their upcoming "spy-fi" MMO, Global Agenda.

This article will cover the company's prominent involvement with the Atlanta area's gaming scene, a bit of a background into the studio itself and most importantly, a look into their new MMO. Follow along by clicking the navigation link below, and don't forget to check out the Global Agenda gallery for the latest screenshots from the game and photos of the studio.

SOE talks about the challenges of cross-platform gaming

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, The Agency, Academic, Spy

In a recent article over at Gamasutra, Sony Online Entertainment's Executive Producer Matt Wilson explains some of the challenges they face with getting an MMO truly cross-platform. With the upcoming spy MMO The Agency being released on the PC and Playstation 3, they've run across some obstacles during development, but they're probably not the ones you'd expect.

Wilson explains that it's not so much a technological problem between the two platforms, it's more an issue of regular updates. On the open platform PC, developers can release immediate updates and patches to correct problems, balance game mechanics or introduce new content. On the closed platform console, they would need to go through a certification process first. This could cause quite a problem for a genre of gaming that lives and breathes by its regular, immediate updates.

E308: Walking through The Agency's trailer

Interviews, New Titles, Previews, The Agency, Spy

While at E3 2008, we had a great deal of time to talk to Matt Wilson, Executive Director of Development for SOE Seattle, the studio in charge of making the new MMOFPS title, The Agency. While we were sadly unable to procure the video they were showing at E3, we did manage to get oodles of pictures to help illustrate just what we were seeing. Join us now as we take you through Matt WIlson's walkthrough on this great upcoming title!

Matt Wilson: Back in the old days (which was like three years ago) we thought "hey, let's make an MMO that breaks the mold of MMOs." We had worked back in Microsoft on Asheron's Call and a variety of other games that were more geared towards the fantasy MMO space. So, we really wanted to break away from that. Our goal at the very beginning was also to attack the console as a primary platform. However, to really crack the console open, you have to design for the console. You can't just take a PC MMO and cram it onto the console.

Thus, we came up with an idea called The Agency. The whole inspiration for The Agency came from the spy and espionage genre. In all the places I've been, even internationally, everybody knows who James Bond is. It has that kind of broad appeal. It's easy for me to say "hey, what's your favorite Bond moment"; "what's a great villain that you can remember"; or "who was a femme fatale you liked?" All manner of things will come from off the top of your head when I ask those questions. So we figured if we put those elements in the game, players would be able to recognize the world right off the bat.

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E308: A closer look at The Agency's factions

Culture, Interviews, New Titles, The Agency, Consoles, Spy, MMOFPS

Espionage. Spies. High-tech weaponry. All of it sounds great to us, but what's the deal with the two factions in the upcoming Sony Online Entertainment title The Agency? We got a chance to talk to Matt Wilson at E3, who gave us all the news on how the two factions, ParaGON and UNITE are progressing through the alpha. We also asked about how these agencies will shake out in terms of cooperative (and not-so-cooperative) play.

So tell us a bit about the two sides for those who are unfamiliar with The Agency.

We have ParaGON and UNITE, red and blue -- well, orangish red -- and the idea behind it is kind of uptown versus downtown. It's Jack Daniels versus Grey Goose. It's the coolest gadgets versus duct-tape and bailing wire. It's the attitude you choose as a player when you come into the game.

ParaGON is more the mercenary for hire. They will work for anyone who can afford to pay them. UNITE is all about staying within a code of conduct, and working with the global authority. Eventually, they will wind up working together. We're hoping that the cross-faction game will bring in an interesting dynamic into play. We want to create areas where both factions really have to work together to solve problems.

Gallery: The Agency

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E308: Matt Wilson briefs us on the state of The Agency

Interviews, New Titles, Previews, The Agency, Spy, MMOFPS, Interviews (Massively's), Events (Massively's Coverage)

We had a fantastic chance to talk with Matt Wilson about The Agency during E3. While a great deal of the footage they showed was largely identical to the footage we'd previously seen, many of Matt's insights about the direction they're taking The Agency in were quite illuminating. From PvP to operatives to vehicular combat and the eventual beta, Matt was generous enough with both his time and knowledge, and let us in on lots of great news and background.

If you've been hungry for more information on some of the different aspects of this upcoming game, be sure to join us after the break for a great overview on this hot upcoming SOE property.

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E308: Platforms and web integration for The Agency

Business Models, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, The Agency, Consoles, Spy, MMOFPS

One of the things that many people feel has been missing from the MMO genre is the presence of more console-based titles. That's why when we saw SOE move under the SCEI branch, we figured it was only a matter of time before we saw more integration between the PC and the PS3 for SOE's titles. We've come leaps and bounds from the early days of console connectivity, to where a console not being connected now seems somewhat strange. What does this growth in online console gaming mean for the upcoming game, The Agency? We sat down with Matt Wilson at E3 and found out how things are progressing for their two supported platforms.

Are you planning on a simultaneous PS3/PC release?

That is our current plan. I may regret that I ever told you that. [laughs] But yes, that's our current plan. The nice part about it is that we're using Unreal 3, which allows us to cross-develop on two platforms with a lot of support on both sides. That really helps out. At the moment, the arrow is pointing in the right direction, but if you guys have ever participated in any MMO beta, then you know everything can change. Ask me this question again when we're in beta and see what my answer is.

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E308: A glimpse into The Agency's guilds and classes

Classes, Guilds, Interviews, New Titles, The Agency, Spy, MMOFPS

In our recent talk with Matt Wilson at E3, we were given a lot of really illuminating information about classes and guilds in the upcoming SOE title, The Agency. It would seem that the Agency crew is doing a very good job of listening to many of the frustrations of MMOG players, while taking the time to study popular games like Team Fortress 2. If you've been wondering about the different classes and abilities, as well as social structure in this upcoming MMOFPS, then you'll be interested to hear what's in the works.

Massively: What are the classes or archetypal roles in The Agency?

Matt Wilson: Our four primary classes are basically Combat, which is the ability to have weapons and have high defenses. Stealth, which is more of a high-DPS, sniper rifles and other things that you take into battle, [Undercover] Stealth which is very important, which is sneaking around and distractions. And finally, there's the Support classes like your Medics and Field Techs. Field Techs are about defense, turrets, other cool things like that. Medics are more about supporting the team, being able to support med stations while you're out in the field, heals, that kind of thing. Those are the general archetypes. Then we have specialties that fall out of those, allowing players to specialize further in each class.

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E308: Operatives and the in-game economy in The Agency

Economy, Game Mechanics, Interviews, New Titles, The Agency, Spy, MMOFPS, Interviews (Massively's), Events (Massively's Coverage)

As part of our long talk with Matt Wilson from SOE Seattle at E3, we got more information on operatives and the plans for the player-based economy coming in The Agency. As you may recall, there was a lot of confusion on just what type of a role operatives would play, based on the talk of RMT. As such, we were glad to get a chance to get some further information on just what the plans were for the in-game economy as well as a bit more on operatives.

Will there be some type of a player-based economy?

Yes. The economy is money and items, and alternately operatives. The way all these MMOs evolve it's the rare currency, whatever that rare currency is -- like 30 iron keys in Asheron's Call -- that ends up being the thing that players find important. Money ends up usually not being the factor when it comes to in-game economies. And so operatives are what is going to drive the economy in The Agency, because that is the rare system of collection. Once I have the Black Mamba card, and you want the Black Mamba card, then that's where the value in it is for a player. It's all about getting the fun and unique items that will help you play the game better.

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