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Announcement: Alpha Protocol: The FAQ Posted by Fionavar


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Alpha Protocol: The FAQ
This is an unofficial FAQ compiled for convenience and does not come from Obsidian Entertainment.

General Information

What is Alpha Protocol?
Alpha Protocol is an action RPG game set in the modern world, telling the story of Mike Thorton, an American secret agent who becomes embroiled in a globe-spanning spy-genre conspiracy. The game allows you to use full-blown RPG character development mechanisms and a fast-paced, reactive dialogue system called DSS to let you choose how you want to play. You can be a rambo gunman, a stealthy martial arts infiltrator, or a hacker and gadget-user; you can be 'Bond, Bourne or Bauer' in the way you talk to behave. The game's most important quality is its choice and consequences: Alpha Protocol offers not just alternative endings based on your choices, but also alternative 'middles': it will take at least 3 or 4 very different games to see the majority of the game's content.

Who are Obsidian?
Obsidian Entertainment is a California-based video game developer that specialises in role-playing games. Their past work includes Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Neverwinter Nights 2 and its expansions Mask of the Betrayer and Storm of Zehir. They are also working on Fallout: New Vegas, to be released this fall.

What platforms is Alpha Protocol available in?
Alpha Protocol will be available in the PC, XBox 360 and Playstation 3.

Where can I find Alpha Protocol?
You will find it in just about every retail video game shop, as well as online suppliers such as Steam, direct2drive, gamersgate and GAME.co.uk.

What ESRB rating does Alpha Protocol have?
Alpha Protocol is rated M (Mature) in the US, and is likely to have similar ratings elsewhere. Check with your local distributor.

When will Alpha Protocol be released?
Alpha Protocol's official release dates are 27 May (Australia), 28 May (Europe, New Zealand) and 1 June (North America).

Game Features

What kind of character can I play?
You play Mike Thorton, a male American spy. You can edit his appearances to your liking, ranging from bald to shaggy hair, clean-shaved to a complete beard, caps, shades and more, but it is unlikely that you can make a completely different model. There is no party and you will always play as Mike. However, there will often be 'handlers' - NPCs who you ally with and who will give you information and talk with you over the headset while you do your missions.

How do missions work? Is this an open-world game?
Alpha Protocol is based around several 'hubs' around the world, such as Saudi Arabia and Taipei. Each hub has several missions that you can carry out, and a safehouse. The hubs can be visited in any order, and many missions done in any order; and the order in which you do things changes what happens there, as well. Inside a mission, you have a lot of freedom in where to go, what to do, what optional areas to go / things to do, or how to solve that mission. Safehouses are also places where you can gather intel on NPCs, buy equipment, upgrade and modify guns, read e-mails and speak to your handlers.

How does dialogue work?
Alpha Protocol features a brand new dialogue system called DSS (Dialogue Stance System). When an NPC begins speaking, you are presented with a range of choices - often 4 - while the time bar grows smaller and smaller. When you are a spy in a high-tension environment, people don't wait 20 minutes for you to make up your mind: so you must pick your response before the time bar expires, or the default option will be chosen (the last option you chose). In many cases, similar kinds of responses will be in similar places - such as 'aggressive' responses or 'suave' ones, allowing players to choose quickly, but there are also 'extraordinary' options such as headslam or shoot. The options do not tell you everything Mike says, but rather a short abbreviation: the developers promise that there will be no 'nasty surprises' as to Mike coming out and saying not what you intended. There are various videos, like this one, that show how it all works.

How does character development work?
You gain XP, gain levels, and spend your points in ten different skills, which let you invest in skills such as Pistols, Submachine Guns, Stealth and Technical Aptitude. You can choose to specialise in one area, or to become a jack of all trades: whatever path you take, every mission in Alpha Protocol promises to have multiple solutions and thus not punish you for making the 'wrong' character. As you get better in a particular skill, you can gain special abilities that make you even more effective - such as the 'Chain Shot', which let you line up multiple shots and then fire them almost instantly.

How does combat work?
You use an over-the-top third person view, and essentially engage in a typical shooter experience with a cover system. The difference here is that you can choose to stealth, use martial arts attacks or takedowns, grenades, gadgets and more. For example, you can set off a false alarm that lures guards elsewhere, then watch a train run over them.

Are there romances in the game?
Yes: there are definitely romance options. Spurned or abused romantic interests may even take it badly and work to sabotage your mission. Explicit sexual content is not seen as appropriate or necessary, and the game prefers to remain 'tasteful'.

What save system is used?
Alpha Protocol uses a save checkpoint system, meaning you cannot save anywhere. However, developers promise checkpoints are very plentiful and you will never be backtracking 20 minutes' worth of play because you died.

How do difficulty settings work? What kind of options are there?
There is a standard set of difficulties that controls how hard the game is, and then there are also two extra 'modes' you can enable: Recruit and Veteran. Veteran is only available after you complete the game once. These are different from difficulty settings, and more like 'Director's Cut' versions. The recruit version features additional dialogue that presumes Mike Thorton to be a 'rookie' agent; the veteran version presumes him to be a hardened veteran, and also has more odd, funny and wacky dialogue or voice acting. The developers recommend going through the game in each of these modes in order (None, Recruit, Veteran) to get the full experience.

Also see this Wiki article for more on the plot.

Technical Information

What are the system requirements for Alpha Protocol?
The minimum and recommended requirements are:

Operating System: Windows XP (Service Pack 2)
Processor 2.66GHz (Intel Pentium) or Athlon XP 2400+(AMD)
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Hard Drive: 12 GB available hard drive space
Video Card (graphics): DirectX 9.1, Pixel Shader 3.0 and 256 MB (i.e. GeForce 7900 or ATI 1800)
Sound: DirectX 9.1 compatible
Keyboard, Mouse

Operating System: Windows XP or Vista
Processor: 3.0 GHz Dual Core CPU / Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 5600+ (or better)
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Hard Drive: 12 GB available hard drive space
Video Card (graphics): DirectX 9.1, Pixel Shader 3.0 and 512 MB (i.e. GeForce 8800 or ATI Radeon HD 2900)
Sound: DirectX 9.1 compatible
Keyboard, Mouse

What kind of DRM / Copy Protection is in Alpha Protocol?
Alpha Protocol uses Uniloc as its copy protection. The particular form of Uniloc used means that:
  • When you buy the game, you must activate it online.
  • After this, you can play without being online or having the cd in the disk drive.
  • You can install up to 5 times (5 activations).
  • You can remove these activations quickly and at any time, even if you lose your computer to an accident.
  • Obsidian and SEGA promise to remove this limitation 18-24 months after the game's release.

What game engine does Alpha Protocol use?
Alpha Protocol uses Unreal Engine 3, a proven engine used in many titles such as Gears of War 1 & 2, Lost Odyssey, Medal of Honor and Batman: Arkham Asylum.

I'm having problems! Who can help?
A tech forum should be up in this place at some point. You can also use SEGA's customer support.

If you want more info, remember to check out the fan-made and maintained Alpha Protocol Wiki!

This FAQ is a work in progress. You can also ask questions or suggest additions / changes here, or by PMing me.

Now... pew pew! :)