We are very happy to have had this opportunity to get some great info for our readers on what is looking to be one of the most polished MMOGs that will release this year.
Global Agenda Q & A for GameSNAFU.com
Answers by: Stew Chisam, VP Game Operations
Q: First off, how is the game development coming along, and are you content with its progression?
A: We're extremely pleased. We have a very active Alpha Testing Community of over 1,000 players, some of which have been helping us test since the spring of 2008. Much of our focus to date has been on solidifying the game's core combat system, which is really just, simply, a ton of fun and a quite addictive! I sometimes have trouble breaking myself from playing the game to get back to my "real work". As we approach our Closed Beta , the pace of development is really accelerating. With each week, we layer in more functionality and you can real start to see it come together now.
Folks can register today for Closed Beta at www.globalagendagame.com
Q: Do you have an estimated release date for Global Agenda?
A: As an independent developer, we have the luxury of waiting to release the game until its ready. So, we've been very reluctant to commit to any specific timelines. I can tell you what we're driving for internally though. Right now, we're pushing toward a Closed Beta in the second quarter of this year, and if that goes well, a release toward the end of the year.
Q: What engine does Global Agenda use and how resource hungry will the game be?
A: The game utilizes the Unreal Engine 3, which we just love for how it supports our fast-action combat while still giving our artists great freedom to develop stunning graphics. We're still tuning the game, but right now we believe that the game will have similar system specifications as other PC games built on the Unreal Engine 3.
Q: We know that Global Agenda will be a PvP orientated MMO, but what style of game play are you aiming for?
A: We are seeking to build a very unique game that fuses familiar elements from the FPS (first-person shooter), RPG (role-playing game) and RTS (real-time strategy) genres to create a distinctive team-oriented game where the best players will be those that outwit their competition in a drive toward world domination.
Our fluid, fast-action combat system, enabled by the Unreal Engine 3, will feel very familiar to players of the best multiplayer online shooters on the market today. Yet, we have been very careful to design a system in which "twitch" reflexes are not the only key to combat success. Our distinctive player classes and overall game mechanics put a premium on teamwork and tactics. The best players will be those that learn how to cooperate together to execute a well thought out strategy, adapting tactics as needed to counter in real time the actions of their adversaries. At the same time, you'll be progressing your character in an active, evolving world -- accessing new skills, acquiring new gear, and socializing in cities with a vibrant vendor economy.
Lastly, Global Agenda brings elements of an RTS (real time strategy) game based upon our episodic Campaigns. The Campaigns give agencies an opportunity to actually gain territory, construct facilities, produce or steal resources, and compete in an approximately 45 day competition to construct a protected complex for your allies before your rivals do. In this way, your character actions affect the outcome of a single mission (like an FPS), the career of your agent (like an RPG); AND the long-term Campaign goals of your agency (like a giant strategy game).
Q: What Classes will be available for play in Global Agenda?
A: We've focused on developing four very rich, deep classes:
The Assault is the heavy weapons specialist that is tough as nails, difficult to kill and provides a sustained presence on the battlefield while laying down a withering barrage of explosive firepower.
The Recon specializes in stealth and speed to use subversion and misdirection to confound the enemy fource while executing lighting fast ambushes against individual opponents. Some players within this class will specialize in long-range sniping, while others will sneak behind enemy lines to lay down mines, destroying enemy turrett installations or using melee to slay players in one-on-one combat.
The Medic strikes an effective balance between distributing healing effects to keep teammates alive while unleashing nightmarish toxins on unfortunate enemies.
The Robotics specialist uses the latest technology to gain the upper hand, defending strategic points with turrets and forcefields, or pressing forward using remote controlled robots.
Q: How does your character advance in Global Agenda? Is it a standard leveling system through experience gain or something different?
A: The general leveling system will feel familiar to players of most role playing games. As you gain experience, you will acquire skills and credit that allow you to unlock a broader and broader array of devices and increasingly customize your character to your unique gameplay style and personal preferences.
Q: What is the setting in Global Agenda's world? What time periods and locations can we expect?
A: Global Agenda is set on 22nd-century earth after a worldwide disaster has wiped the slate clean. Most of the familiar countries and cities of today are gone, replaced by new factions battling for control over the limited remaining resources. Wars are no longer fought with massive armies. Instead, elite teams of special agents are outfitted with the most advanced technology available and they travel around the world on sub-orbital dropships. You can expect to find yourself and other agents within a variety of exotic and futuristic locations including snow blown arctic bases, dusty desert outposts, mountainous ruins, and futuristic cities.
Q: During PvP will there be a death penalty or something similar?
A: The main penalty for death is a respawn timer. This timer varies based on the situation but is usually between 10 and 30 seconds. When you get a chance to play Global Agenda you'll see that it's very intense and fast paced and this mechanic worked best for the game we are building.
Q: What are players fighting over in the Player versus Player system in Global Agenda?
A: Agencies inside Global Agenda are engaged in a high level game of territory control and expansion, like a board game of global domination, but with the actual conflicts being resolved by other player agent combatants. This activity unfolds over Campaigns which are around 45 days in length. Each campaign has a win condition in which an Alliance will rule the world of Global Agenda, only for it all to begin again with the next Campaign.
The players truly control the world of Global Agenda, forging alliances with their peers and executing lighting strikes against their enemies. They determine which factions to aid and which to oppose, while the only thing that stands in their way is other agencies.
Q: Will Global Agenda rely on instancing or will it be more of an open world environment?
A: From a pure technical perspective, most of the combat inside Global Agenda will occur inside instanced battlegrounds with strike teams of around 10 vs 10 players (although, with our Base Raid mechanic these strike teams can coordinate in larger-scale missions reaching approximately 60v60 players). That said, the results of those battles have longer-term persistence in the world of Global Agenda, affecting your Agency's ability to control territory that helps produce output toward our Campaign end game. And players will be able to socialize and conduct economic activity in our city spaces.
One thing that makes Global Agenda unique is that we do not divide our player population by server. Instead, all players withing a major geographic region (for instance, North America, Europe, Asia/Pacific) will compete together toward a single end-game without being arbitrarily forced onto a specific server where they are limited from competing against the majority of other players inside the game.
Q: Will game play be from a first person perspective?
A: The game employs a 3rd Person perspective (although some weapons allow scoping in a first-person perspective). Your character jetpacks to rooftops, grapples onto ledges, engages in melee combat, and darts behind cover to evade rocket fire. With this type of gameplay, a third-person camera provide players the best view of their surroundings and in our play testing was nearly universally preferred to the first-person perspective once players were familiar with the game.
Q: Finally before we let you get back to work, is HiRez Studios working on any other projects that you could tell us about?
A: Right now, we are exclusively focused, to the point of obsession, on making Global Agenda a success.