GDC09: Catching up with Global Agenda

Shawn Schuster
S. Schuster|03.28.09

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GDC09: Catching up with Global Agenda

Last year, we had the opportunity to visit Hi-Rez Studios to get one of the first press hands-on looks at Global Agenda. While the game is still in the alpha test now, closed beta is about to begin soon. In order to gear up for these next stages of development, Hi-Rez brought Global Agenda to the GDC audience to try it out for themselves. This is actually the first public hands-on of the game at GDC, so it was a key moment for the team.

So what has changed since our tour in October? Well, quite a bit, actually. This public showing brings out some exciting new developments from the Hi-Rez team, including brand new upgraded face customization and an improved tutorial. In addition, the AI, UI and graphics have all experienced quite a bit of tightening and polishing. With Hi-Rez implementing their own in-house motion capture studio, the character animation is among some of the best you'll see in an MMO. What hasn't changed? Well, I still get my butt kicked in the game quite frequently. But I love a good challenge.
Todd Harris, the game's Executive Producer, spoke to us at GDC about some other upcoming features that the alpha team is working on refining now. "Campaign mode is this idea that Agencies can take unique territories in the world, almost like a big game of Risk." Harris says. "Either through conquering with military or through research or through production or through diplomacy, you'll get different territories and then choose how you want to use those territories as far as manufacturing different things."

This public viewing also served as a way to get GDC attendees into the upcoming Q2 closed beta with special beta key cards available at their booth. These cards were printed with special codes, with priority registration given to the first 100 attendees who registers at their website.

In addition to these changes and improvements, Hi-Rez has made another announcement during GDC concerning their billing solutions. Aria Systems will be providing the "on-demand billing and customer lifecycle management" for Global Agenda once it launches later this year.

"Billing is a critical component of running any massive multi-player online game," says Stewart Chisam, Vice President of Game Operations at Hi-Rez Studios. "By partnering with Aria, we leverage their global reach and years of experience with MMO billing, and greatly simplify our deployment by using their unique and secure Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform. That gives us great confidence that we'll be able to adapt to our players' needs in this area -- and keeps us as a Studio focused on the efforts of building a great game."

So in all, it's been an exciting conference for the Global Agenda folks. With Q2's closed beta timeframe being defined as between April and June, we're right around the corner from getting more testers into the game, and eventually a solid launch. Not in the beta yet? Don't worry. You can always sign up at their website, and be sure to check out the newest screenshots in our gallery below.%Gallery-35351%
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