Trent Oster, currently the leader of Overhaul Games and who has previously worked at BioWare, has revealed that the company was working on a spy-themed action role-playing game in 2009, but that the project was canceled by publisher Electronic Arts.
Apparently, the code name for the project was Agent and it is no longer in the works because the recession forced EA and BioWare to focus their resources on games that had better commercial prospects.
Oster tells Eurogamer that, “The concept was to do the other half of GoldenEye, the idea being that James Bond isn’t just a gun that walks around the world and shoots people. He’s a suave manipulator, he’s a talented martial artist, he’s a secret agent.”
It seems that the Bourne series of movies, starring Matt Damon, introduced the idea that the main character should be more than human, with upgrades that ensure he performs better than all the enemies he encounters.
The developer adds, “We really wanted to push the acting side, the digital acting. We really wanted to be very high drama, very intense scenes. I always think of the scene in the second Bourne movie where Jason Bourne’s choking the guy out with a book and he’s right in his face and it’s this very intense moment.”
It’s not clear how movie companies would have reacted to a BioWare-developed action RPG with spy themes that were influenced by both Bourne and James Bond but lacked licenses for any of them.
That might be one of the reasons why Electronic Arts chose to cancel the development process on Agent.
The most recent spy-themed AAA title was Alpha Protocol from Obsidian, which was launched in 2010 and allowed players to engage in both stealth and straight up action.