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Meet SOE, The Agency

Matt Wilson's Avatar + Posted by Matt Wilson on May 19, 2008 // Director of Development, Sony Online Entertainment

Hello! Matt Wilson here – I am the Director of Development for Sony Online Entertainment’s Seattle studio where we are working on development of The Agency for the PS3 and PC. This is my first entry here on the PlayStation.Blog and I just wanted to give a quick introduction to our studio in my first post.

The Agency Logo Martini Glass

We get a lot of questions about how the SOE Seattle studio got started… In 2005, a few of the core Mythica development team broke away from the Microsoft games group to form a startup company called “FireAnt Games.” Our primary goal when we founded the company was to bring the MMO space to more of the mainstream gamer audience. Specifically, we wanted to target the shooter audience and the console gamer. Well, it happened that SOE was thinking the same thing, and they asked us to start up their Seattle studio. More than 3 years and 80 people later, we are well into building The Agency. Our goal is to deliver an online world where players can “live the life of an elite agent,” full of the over-the-top action, exotic locales, and extravagant lifestyles the spy genre is known for.

TheAgency - Devastation Screen copy

We just held an open house event here at our Seattle studio for folks attending the ION Game Conference. It was a blast! We showed off some of the amazing art our talented crew has been generating in a never before seen art gallery, and we introduced The Agency to a bunch of new people. Of course, we also showed how you can take some everyday frozen water and turn it into an amazing Agency sculpture capable of delivering some hard spirits. A warning I gave during my introduction threatened to become our new tagline: “Don’t lick the gun.” (I personally think this is good advice in general, regardless of what the gun is actually made out of.)

Ice Gun

You can get a more detailed behind the scenes peek at what went down at the SOE Seattle open house on G4’s X-Play, tonight (May 19th) at 8:00pm EST. You can also view our most recent trailer for The Agency on their website.

I look forward to keeping everybody informed on The Agency’s development right here on the PlayStation.Blog, please look out in the future for more posts from me and my team. Thanks for reading!

This message will self destruct in five…four…three…

UNITEAssassination1

BarGirls1 HeloAttack1Jeep falls 1

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61 Comments   3 Replies

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1

+ darkwonders on May 19th, 2008 at 9:49 am said:

looks interesting… What I really want is that ice sculpture of the gun!


2

+ MrOlympiaSC on May 19th, 2008 at 9:50 am said:

Sweet. Looks like a good game.


3

+ StupidityTries on May 19th, 2008 at 9:54 am said:

Is this going to be subscription based or what?


4

+ youzef on May 19th, 2008 at 9:55 am said:

Great preview..can’t wait to hear more about it.

any info for a release date?


5

+ PsychoEddie on May 19th, 2008 at 9:59 am said:

@Matt

Please tell me there’s a gamma correction option.


6

+ Kilpon on May 19th, 2008 at 10:05 am said:

I can’t wait to hear more info from you guys about The Agency. This looks like it will be a great game and I’m quite excited for it!


7

+ mobiletone on May 19th, 2008 at 10:06 am said:

if this works correctly it’s gonna be a blast.

if they want a monthly subscription, adios.


8

+ stefen on May 19th, 2008 at 10:07 am said:

Any news on the beta?


9

+ Davitr0n on May 19th, 2008 at 10:13 am said:

I am really looking forward to this game. I have to agree with mobiletone though, if there is a subscription fee, I would probably have to pass on it. Hopefully there will be a demo/trial version.


10

+ Fiddlesworth on May 19th, 2008 at 10:15 am said:

Anti-aliasing in the finished PS3 game please! It’s the only thing that really spoils that screenshot.


11

+ StalkingSilence on May 19th, 2008 at 10:17 am said:

Haha sweet ice luge.
Why is The Agency’s website on the old station.sony.com site? I know you are SOE – but you should migrate some info over to us.playstation.com!


12

+ ftwrthtx on May 19th, 2008 at 10:27 am said:

What ever happened with the website sign-ups in reference to the beta?

I was under the impression that once we chose which side we would be on, we would then get an invite to that team.


13

+ un-discovered on May 19th, 2008 at 10:28 am said:

seems like an interesting concept. can’t wait to hear more.


14

+ Ghostm on May 19th, 2008 at 10:29 am said:

1080p or fake 576 upscale to 720?

I’m tired of the lies Sony!!!


15

+ SmogItUp on May 19th, 2008 at 10:41 am said:

^^^Idiot! Haze is NOT made made by Sony, and I am sure that is what you are referencing in your post. So really you just look like a fool.

Back on topic, I have been hyped for this game since it was announced almost 2 years ago. I could waste a ton of time on this


16

+ Ghostm on May 19th, 2008 at 10:43 am said:

Sony is the one promoting 1080 everywhere you turn.
By the way your mom’s an idiot!


17

+ Chrisrahosiris on May 19th, 2008 at 10:45 am said:

I truly hope that this is released soon


18

+ cb_32 on May 19th, 2008 at 10:47 am said:

I want that martini glass!


19

+ XxBigP123xX on May 19th, 2008 at 10:51 am said:

If we have to pay a subscription to play this i can almost %100 guarantee you i will not buy this.


20

+ BabeBro on May 19th, 2008 at 10:59 am said:

I hope we don’t have to pay a monthly fee to play this, I have been following this game since it was first announced and it would disappoint me greatly if we had to continously pay to enjoy. This game has extreme potential in my opinion. The customization options seem to be endless and the fact that it’s in real time puts the icing on the cake. This is on my list of must have games for 2008.


21

+ Joe on May 19th, 2008 at 11:02 am said:

Is this game still planned to come out in 09. Also any chance of a public Beta test because MMOs need them to stress test the servers. Plus could the PS3 get to beta test too.

Also any chance of EverQuest coming to the PS3 or any chance of EQ3 coming to the PS3 when ever that gets made.

Also how does UE3 work with the game does it run well on the PS3 and PC.


22

+ rojo7 on May 19th, 2008 at 11:03 am said:

man, nice first post, i like the style your giving the agency like TF2 but a little more realistic and on tps :]


23

+ TheHakku on May 19th, 2008 at 11:07 am said:

Yessss awesome Metal Gear Monday update.

…Wait.


24

+ mrlev on May 19th, 2008 at 11:12 am said:

What is everyone’s problem with a MMO if it is subscription based. Last time I checked, WoW didn’t have a lack of subscribers even considering it is subscription based.

I wish everyone would be a bit more open minded and get their head out of the sand with some preconcieved prejudice against montly fees. If the dev team requires a certain budget to continue to develop the game and provide expansions and a top quality game, but they can only achieve that budget from x subscribes playing x dollars a month, bring it on.

I am primarily concerned with the quality of the game, and I personally would be willing to pay ~10-15 a month for that quality, and apparently 10 million people are for other *certain* mmo’s. So when I read posts like “If we have to pay a subscription to play this i can almost %100 guarantee you i will not buy this.” it completely baffles me.

Btw, this game looks superb and I will be buying it the week it comes out, I can’t wait to experience this genre of MMO. And given I have a very positive history with SOE (EQ, EQII) I trust this will be a high quality game. Also, if any form of EQ would come to the PS3, I’d be there too :)


25

+ Jeigh on May 19th, 2008 at 11:15 am said:

Run! The message is going to explode!!! :P

I’ve been watching this game for awhile- it’s looking pretty good, and I intend to keep watching. :)


26

+ Jeigh on May 19th, 2008 at 11:16 am said:

Oh, but, um… If possible, could you avoid using G4 in the future? I try to avoid them as best I can, just like Gamestop, which makes these special types of things so conflicting.


27

+ EViD on May 19th, 2008 at 11:19 am said:

Been looking forward to this for sometime now. Is it coming this year?


28

+ Captain Fury on May 19th, 2008 at 11:22 am said:

Thanks for the info Matt!

I hope you guys set up a demo server for the PSN when the games hits, this is the best way to get people into the game (It made wonders for Phantasy Star Universe on the xbox)


29

+ dam6655 on May 19th, 2008 at 11:30 am said:

Thanks for the info, this is one of my most anticipated games of this year. do you have a specific release date yet?


30

+ Enedok on May 19th, 2008 at 11:37 am said:

About that trailer, I can’t say it lives up to a game I’m looking forward too. It includes long cuts, spitted copies of the same scene with delays that just confuses you and footage from a year old trailer! I’d recommend you take a look some James Bond intros as inspirations for your next trailer. This was a bit rushed.

Looking forward to some sweet, sweet HOME integration too like mission updates in the lobby. I’ve heard you are going to send status info to cell phones so I hope they work in home too.

Get real people, it’s a monthly subscription. But I’d wish it was a hardcore and a casual option.

And betabetabetabetabetabetamudkipz.


Matt Wilson's Avatar

31

+ Matt Wilson on May 19th, 2008 at 12:02 pm said:


    Matt Wilson's Avatar

     

    + Matt Wilson on May 19th, 2008 at 1:15 pm said:

    Thanks for the great welcome!

    I’ll attempt to answer as many things as I can, or am allowed.

    PSN/Home :: We haven’t announced anything yet, but we have a lot of very cool ideas regarding both of these areas.

    Release Date/Beta :: If I told you, I would have to kill you. ;) Seriously, we will not be announcing a release date until we are a little further in development. The key to MMO games is their beta. Once we are in beta we will have a much better projection on release. A little hint, is that we are heading into alpha right now.

    Subscription :: We have not announced our business model yet for on-going revenue. Our number one priority is to lower the barrier to entry and make sure everyone can play the game out of the box. We are looking at a lot of different business models, but expect that announcement to come a bit later.

    Ice Gun and Martini Glass :: We had both of those made for the ION Event. My Martini glass has already gotten a great deal of use, and yes it works flawlessly. As for the Gun, as much as I warned people…\\%$# Pictures Remove and Message Scrambled To Protect the Innocent $%#/


32

+ eisbrecher on May 19th, 2008 at 12:16 pm said:

This game looks like it’s going to be sweet; thanks for all the info Matt! :D

I’ definitely looking forward to it!


33

+ Jeigh on May 19th, 2008 at 12:16 pm said:

Whoa, had to check up top to see if that was really you (31). Should probably talk to someone at the blog about getting your comments that red background tint. Good to hear a number of those things. I’m particularly happy about the fact that you’re working to keep the entry barrier low- I certainly don’t have a lot of money to burn. I’m also quite happy that the game is supposedly playable alone- I hated the whole requisite party system of Final Fantasy XI; always made playing the game far more work than it really should have been (I realize you guys didn’t make FFXI, but that’s the only MMO, well actually online game at all, that I’ve ever played consistently. I look forward to more and more. By the way, my Computer Sciences professor was at that ION event.


34

+ Ish_786 on May 19th, 2008 at 12:24 pm said:

I don’t know if this question can be answered or not but I’m asking anyway. Is this going to be cross platform or not? I am guessing that it is but can you conform it?


    Matt Wilson's Avatar

     

    + Matt Wilson on May 19th, 2008 at 12:32 pm said:

    Yep, we will be releasing on both the PC and PS3.


Matt Wilson's Avatar

35

+ Matt Wilson on May 19th, 2008 at 12:35 pm said:

Yep, we will be releasing on both the PC and PS3.


36

+ ftwrthtx on May 19th, 2008 at 12:46 pm said:

@Matt Wilson

Will there be any crossover uses between the PC and the PS3 or will each version be it’s own entity?

i.e. 2 separate games that can not interact with each other in anyway.


    Matt Wilson's Avatar

     

    + Matt Wilson on May 19th, 2008 at 2:57 pm said:

    Technically, there is no reason we can’t do it. In fact, we have it running in our office that way right now.

    But there are a lot of other reasons we may not do it. We don’t want updates for each platform to disrupt the other platform, and areas that can affect gameplay, like controls/communication, are different between platforms.

    That being said, our first phase will be sharing data across the platforms. If you have an account on the PS3, you will be able to use it on the PC (and visa versa). Community is very important for MMO’s and we want to make sure that part is shared across each platform.


37

+ cmargary on May 19th, 2008 at 12:49 pm said:

Many ps3 owners is just so adapt to the free service that if they charge for something like a MMO they will run away. I want to see more of this game really, it will be interesting.


38

+ C-h-a-o-s on May 19th, 2008 at 1:11 pm said:

I hope this wont be the case with most cross platform games where one version is superior than the others (from my experience). If so I hope it’s the PS3 version. With that being said I am looking forward to this game, anything with a gun you can count me in.


39

+ Captain Fury on May 19th, 2008 at 1:20 pm said:

good to see you guys got some nice things for PSN/HOME.

will this game have a blu-ray disc release or will it be a download from the PSN(makes sense being a online game)?

If its a PSN game, it makes sense setting up that demo server with an option to buy the full game from the demo itself like other demos already do!


40

+ Joerazz on May 19th, 2008 at 1:40 pm said:

Very, very cool. I’ve been following this for awhile, but I really wish the team over there would update their website on content! I keep seeing the same videos and articles over and over….


41

+ themule on May 19th, 2008 at 1:58 pm said:

Will this game be playable at E3?


42

+ mobiletone on May 19th, 2008 at 1:58 pm said:

the thing that gets me, is NOT that as a PS3 user i’m used to getting things for free. i’ve spent a ton of cash over the last year on games, add-ons etc. it’s just when it comes to playing online i’m pretty casual ( too many numpties out there :) ) i would rather split screen with a mate in my own front room to be honest. so ANY subscription service i’d be made to pay for a months gaming would mostly end up being a couple sessions spread over a few of weekends, due to work, women, life getting in the way y’know.

plus for those of us that don’t live our lives on credit and deal in hard moola, we’d be hard pushed to be able to pay anyways, buying things off the store as an example is a no-no, so the only option left would be a direct debit or something, and i can’t see myself setting one of them up and canceling it every other month or whatever…

i like that we can play ‘out of the box’ but how restricted is that going to be? the last online/subscription i had was Phantasy Star Universe, fun, but never felt like it was worth the money i spent on it. which is the crutch of the matter, unless you are prepared to sit down and devote hours to a game every month then it’s money down the drain.

which is a bit of a shame as this game would be right up there on my to-buy list otherwise.


43

+ Withnail on May 19th, 2008 at 2:27 pm said:

Hope you can get this out in 2008. Looks sweet. I wouldn’t mind a subscription if the game was good enough and there was plenty of reasons to keep playing.


44

+ Gunwing on May 19th, 2008 at 2:35 pm said:

Yeah I have had my eye on this one ever sence it first showed up at GDC last year. It’s going to rock. But IMHO if we have to pay to play then it’s a no sale for almost 100% of PS3 owers. We had our fill of Pay to play games with the Final Fantasy MMO, and SOCOM’s DLC, as well as others. Note: I speak from experince here. IMO if the pay is not outragus IE $50.00 a month or higher most PS3 owners inclueding me will not pick up this game at all.

But if it’s only like $5.00 a month you can bet everybody would grab a cpy, why? thats chump change thats why!


45

+ J3SS on May 19th, 2008 at 2:56 pm said:

Ooooh! Is this the game that’s supposed to be similiar to Crackdown? Even if it’s not it’s still looks cool. Can’t wait for some gameplay footage.


46

+ ftwrthtx on May 19th, 2008 at 3:03 pm said:

@Matt Wilson

Thanks for the reply.

That was kind of what I was figuring. I can understand not being able to play console versus PC but to share stats across platforms is killer. I’m a console gamer first and a PC gamer 2nd so I know I’ll have it on both.

Thanks again for the response!


47

+ NewYork214 on May 19th, 2008 at 3:32 pm said:

cant wait for this game. im gettin it on PS3 brother on PC so hopefully u guys find a way to make it cross platform play. Wanna play it as group but only one PS3 and my laptop will probably not be able to handle it good.


48

+ HanSolo on May 19th, 2008 at 3:40 pm said:

by the time this games comes out…or any other mmo, the ps5 will be out, we need the games now.. not in 4 years


49

+ xplosneer on May 19th, 2008 at 3:54 pm said:

@C-h-a-o-s

Wait, what? I have a $1200 PC and you’re saying the PS3 version should be vastly better? Umm, try the other way around. Depends on your setup tho.


50

+ ghamdikh1 on May 19th, 2008 at 3:59 pm said:

@Matt Wilson
1-Does this game support the SIXAXIS?
2-Does this game have an option to install the game to the hard drive?
3-Does this game support HOME SERVICE?
4-Does this game support the Playstation Eye?


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