Michael B. Duff

Lubbock's answer to a question no one asked

The Agency brings superspies to the MMO arena


Here’s a video from Sony’s new game The Agency.

At first glance it’s a James Bond-style superspy and mercenaries game that you can play in a persistent world with other players, but it’s got some innovations that I’m really looking forward to.

In this game you’re not just managing your character, you’re actually building your own spy agency, collecting NPC operatives who will work for you and perform missions while you’re offline.

That’s the part that really grabbed me. The notion that you can assign tasks to your operatives right before you log off the game. You can assign sub-agents can infiltrate enemy bases or set your Q-Section to work on an amazing gadget and they’ll make progress on that goal while you’re at work.

Your agents can even “phone home” and reach you in the real world, sending emails or text messages to alert you when those tasks are done.

That’s a powerful concept that I haven’t seen done before. You know your guildies are still playing when you log off World of Warcraft, but when you introduce the NPC labor element, you end up with a game that never ends.

You can break up your real world life with updates from the game and (hopefully) get real-time info about what rival agencies are doing. At the highest level, this could turn the game into a kind of active-passive balancing act, where you turn your non-game time into a kind of passive NPC chess match and back it up with real time raids when you get home.

I’m not particularly interested in first-person shooters, but I love the idea of being a spider in the center of this web, dispatching agents via text message to sabotage my enemies while I work on TPS reports.

I’ll be curious to see how well this is implemented, and what it will look like when other companies take it to the next level.

Written by Michael B. Duff

May 26, 2009 at 09:03

Posted in Games

One Response

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  1. that is a trip… I feel like the old guy that always brings up Pong – when did video games get so involved that we are strategizing about them when not playing them.

    King of the...

    May 26, 2009 at 11:16

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