I’ll admit that nothing draws me to a game more than the ability to tell my own story. As much as I love watching movies my real fantasy is to be in the movie as the hero. Open-world games are often the portal that allows me to craft a unique story. I’ve felt this way long before we started coining terms like “emergent gameplay” or “sandbox worlds”. My interest in Alpha Protocol is largely to do with what appears the developers understanding this concept. While it appears to stick pretty solidly to its own story, the protagonist, Michael Thorton, can be custom tailored to the player’s style. From what I’ve seen so far, they’re not messing around. Michael’s appearance, equipment, skills, and weapons are all customizable. I watched a preview that showed how weapon customization was done and it was everything I’ve been wanting in shooters for years. Yet this isn’t a shooter but a “modern day spy RPG”, which is probably one of the few one line descriptions that could get the reply “Day One purchase!” out of me.
The only thing could derail me is another bug ridden mess like Fallout 3. While Fallout 3 remains my best game of 2008, it unfortunately lowered my tolerance for game crippling bugs. You can only tolerate so many games in a short span of time with the same flaw before it simply becomes untenable. Until then, I’m maintaining high hopes.