Not only is Sega's Alpha Protocol going to be "the espionage RPG" (according to the box), but it's also the case study in mixed messages from the creators to the game press and public. IGN recently asked Obsidian associate producer Matt Hickman if he could clarify the key moments that held up the development process, noting that there had been "a lot of different, sometimes conflicting reports." Hickman responded, "The decision to move the game out from October [2009] was merely for repositioning and constituted a business decision only."

Strange -- considering that in February Hickman told MTV Multiplayer that there were "a few reasons" for the delay, including giving the game more polish, with "tweaks" to the lighting and inventory, and a general objective in "just bringing the whole quality level up."

Perhaps Obsidian and Sega have taken the "espionage game" a bit too literally (dare we discover this to be a viral marketing campaign that went way over our heads). As if being interrogated, the creators have erratically covered up the game's development tracks with changing stories. Last October, Alpha Protocol's expected release date was flat-out ignored by Sega, until the publisher came out of hiding a week later to confirm that the delay was "official." The reasons for the delay have been many -- and now just one: a business decision. We'll find out if the "repositioning" was the right business decision for Sega when Alpha Protocol breaks its cover on June 1.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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