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E308: A closer look at The Agency's factions

Espionage. Spies. High-tech weaponry. All of it sounds great to us, but what's the deal with the two factions in the upcoming Sony Online Entertainment title The Agency? We got a chance to talk to Matt Wilson at E3, who gave us all the news on how the two factions, ParaGON and UNITE are progressing through the alpha. We also asked about how these agencies will shake out in terms of cooperative (and not-so-cooperative) play.

So tell us a bit about the two sides for those who are unfamiliar with The Agency.

We have ParaGON and UNITE, red and blue -- well, orangish red -- and the idea behind it is kind of uptown versus downtown. It's Jack Daniels versus Grey Goose. It's the coolest gadgets versus duct-tape and bailing wire. It's the attitude you choose as a player when you come into the game.

ParaGON is more the mercenary for hire. They will work for anyone who can afford to pay them. UNITE is all about staying within a code of conduct, and working with the global authority. Eventually, they will wind up working together. We're hoping that the cross-faction game will bring in an interesting dynamic into play. We want to create areas where both factions really have to work together to solve problems.

Gallery: The Agency | 24 Photos

We saw the ParaGON field office at the end of the E3 video? Is that a safe house?

Yeah, it's the same as the UNITE office, the one in the beginning of the video. It is just kind of the hang-out space for ParaGON, where different people are going to unite. You'll be getting geared up there, changing your outfits, and instead of Q-bert game, there will be bull riding, or something like that that players can participate in. We want to make it similar, but completely different at the same time.

ParaGON has kind of that rough feel, so if that's who you are and that's what you want to be, that's the kind of attitude you want to have, then that's what you'd play. Where ParaGON is located is actually not in the embassy area. It's more in the rough 'docks' area. You'll start out in this rough, dockish area, if there's such a word, and you'll work your way up into different areas. We definitely want to have missions that cross over to both UNITE and ParaGON.

So essentially they'll play nice together?

It could be. Or they could be on counter-objectives. [grins]

I'll give away a bit of a spoiler, while UNITE and ParaGON have a bit of a rivalry in regards to the early game, it's not like they aren't working towards the same thing. Both are trying to rid the world of evil. We want the players to stratify in the early game, and be more kill-on-sight towards the other factions. But at the end of the game they will wind up pursuing the same ends.

Considering the sheer level of alt-itus in many MMOG enthusiasts, will players be able to play as both UNITE and ParaGON?

The funny part is that I don't believe we've even talked about that. The primary thing we've been focusing on is making The Agency fun. We want to make the world expansive so that people can move around in it because the most important thing is playing with your friends. You start early, you start late, there should still be a way for you to get together and play.

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