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GVMERS – More often than not, western role-playing games emphasize two genres—fantasy and science fiction. Developer Obsidian Entertainment and publisher Sega dared to pursue a different path with their self-proclaimed espionage RPG Alpha Protocol. Yet, in its ambitious attempt to forge a new style of role-playing title, Obsidian faced myriad challenges that ultimately diminished the overall quality of the final product. In turn, Alpha Protocol garnered lukewarm reviews upon release and, consequently, failed to move the needle on the sales charts.

Much of the project’s developmental woes stemmed from poor leadership on the part of both Obsidian and Sega, though the latter especially struggled to find its footing while assisting with the production and budgetary process. Despite the ups and downs, however, Obsidian still managed to deliver a Jason Bourne-style adventure that eventually gained cult status amongst a group of players who saw past Alpha Protocol’s numerous flaws.

Unrefined gunplay, a clunky cover system, and unpolished combat encounters significantly hindered the gameplay mechanics. Enemy AI didn’t fare any better, culminating in a stealth experience that felt half-baked at best and completely uninspired at its worst. These shortcomings aside, the reactivity of Alpha Protocol’s game-world, coupled with its branching narrative paths, turned the 2010 title into a modern cult classic, one that fans are eager to see return as a sequel. Unfortunately, the lackluster sales performance caused Sega to abandon the spy property before it had even spent a few months on the market.

This is the tragedy of Alpha Protocol.