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Sega: No  Alpha Protocol  Sequel
Sega: No Alpha Protocol Sequel
July 6, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

July 6, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander
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After a mixed critical reception, there won't be a sequel to Obsidian's Alpha Protocol, publisher Sega says, adding that the game's sales did not meet expectations.

"Let's speak very commercially; the game hasn't sold what we've expected, therefore we won't be doing a sequel," Sega West president Mike Hayes told website C&VG of the game, which received some positive commentary on its concept but little on its execution, garnering altogether Metacritic scores of 63, 65 and 73 for its Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC versions respectively.

Alpha Protocol, billed as an "espionage RPG", was long anticipated, first announced in March 2008 and originally planned for a fall 2009 release. Ultimately the game launched in June 2010.

Despite the disappointing performance, Sega's Hayes praised the idea behind the game and suggested Obsidian was also tackling an especially difficult genre: "The concept was brilliant, though," he said.

"You know this whole thing with Metacritic where you have to be in the high 70s to mid-80s minimum [to have any success] - well, with RPGs you have got to be in the late 80s."

Simply "good" isn't good enough for "that upper echelon," Hayes suggested, and it'd be too pricey to try again: "Again, the amount you need to invest to get there is so large because RPGs are naturally big projects," he said. "We've decided we won't do a sequel."


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Comments


Luke Skywalker
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What an awesome concept.....What an awful execution....This game was so dissapointing on so many levels. They were clearly copying Mass Effect and to say this game didn't come close would be like saying the Wright Brothers didn't get close to the center of the galaxy. Also calling out the game press for not truly reporting on how awful this game was.



Now I'm wondering if they are going to botch Fallout New Vegas.

Kevin Patterson
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I disagree with the first poster completely,. I laud Sega for publishing all kinds of games, rather than arcade crap. Sega published some great Monolith games like the Condemned games, and Fear.

Viking was a good game that never got the attention it deserved.

Sega needs to tighten their belt a bit, and do what Eidos is doing, focusing on a few really good games, and NOT focus on sonic this or sonic that.

Josh Green
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@Andre: Sega didn't make Alpha Protocol. Obsidian did. All Sega did was publish the game.

Chris Remo
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I seemed to enjoy this game more than almost anyone else I've seen. I can't defend the early-game combat, and it doesn't deserve defending, but the conversation and narrative systems at work in this game are some of the most creative and compelling I've seen in a long time, and the deftness with which the game weaves together plot points based on your conversations and actions is really impressive. Eventually, you can sort of just break the combat by pumping lots of points into your invisibility skill and chain shot, which isn't really a good thing per se, but it allows you to just plow through combat scenarios to deal with the more enjoyable narrative elements.



It's definitely a very flawed game, but I think if people would stop trying to treat it as Mass Effect and expecting it to live up to Mass Effect all the time, they would get a lot more out of it, particularly if they're interested in narrative systems in games.

Jack Kerras
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Sadly, Alpha Protocol was a little doomed to begin with. I've never had much interest in Obsidian's RPGs; whether NWN2 or KotOR2, they always seem to be me-too kinds of games. Their stories aren't bad, their characters aren't bad, but their gameplay is never all that interesting. Even Alpha Protocol, which I had high hopes for, failed to interest me; when I start a game like this, I want to think that against low-level foes I'll do all right and have a reasonable time fighting. You couldn't shoot the broadside of a barn with a pistol in Alpha Protocol, even if you took plenty of time to line up your shot and aim straight.



Even leveled up, you never get that great at shooting, and while I recognize that there's some advancement system to be had here, I could certainly pick a better shooter out by throwing a dart at my games library.



The narrative was fine, but I'm recognized amongst my peers as a person who reads books for a great, engaging story and plays games for interesting, nuanced gameplay. Nuanced gameplay, Alpha Protocol does not have.



The commercials they put up on Gametrailers were also a vast ocean of uninteresting piled into one short commercial. I couldn't wait for it to end the first time, and every other time it just made me wonder at how their advertising department (I work in marketing) could possibly have gotten it so wrong. Airplane. Arabian Dude. 'This is the bad guy. We want you to kill him.' Bland hero face. /commercial. Eeew.



I was excited about Alpha Protocol, but it just didn't live up to what it could have been. A great story will not carry abysmal gameplay.



Also, to Chris Remo: the way that gaming is these days, there is never a lack of comparison. If you're a third-person shooter, folks compare you to Uncharted or R6 or Gears of War. If you're an RPG/shooter, you'd best be better than STALKER and Fallout 3 and Mass Effect. If you have so much as an action bar and a minimap, you'd best be willing to put your game up against World of Warcraft. It's the only context the industry at large has.

Mark Harris
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So, maybe on a positive note Obsidian learned something from this "failed" experiment and will be able to execute a RPG in the future with this robust narrative system but tack on some fun and engaging gameplay?

Chris Remo
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Jack,



That does seem to be the case, but I find it really unfortunate. If all we can accept is ultra-high-polish blockbusters, we're consigning ourselves to pretty slow creative progress.



Mark,



I hope so. I'd love to see these systems integrated into future games from Obsidian, and I hope they don't take the game's lack of success as an indictment of that design.

John McMahon
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Haven't played this game since no stores in my area carry it. I love the concept and I wish a re-imagining of the same concept would occur. But I think overall, they had to split their time with Fallout Vegas (going back to the developer's history with that franchise) and pushing forward with a new franchise.



Apparently, they chose to drop the bar on their own intellectual property, which is disappointing. Fallout 3 was terrible and just because it was open world people loved it. New Vegas doesn't seem to change anything, it's still the same engine used for Morrowind....

Luke Skywalker
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@Chris Remo - I am comparing it to Mass Effect because in almost every way it was patterned after Mass Effect (up to and including the Dashboard Graphic for it on the 360). I agree with you that they did innovate w/ the conversations closing and opening doors in the narrative in a way that I haven't seen and they should get recognition for that. Hopefully this will inspire other games in the genre to create more meaningful if/then scenarios. I look forward to the day when, truly, no two play throughs of a game are alike when played to extremes (ie: good guy / bad guy).


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