Sega’s espionage RPG, Alpha Protocol, shares something in common with Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love. When you’re not sneaking behind guards equipped with a handgun, agent Michael Thorton is picking dialogue choices.
Similar to the LIPS system in Sakura Wars, Michael has a few seconds to respond warmly or antagonistically during a conversation. Obsidian Entertainment carried the timer over to major decisions too such as letting a boss escape or coldly killing him. The Dynamic Stance System is designed so players go with their gut instead of thinking about the pros and cons of each decision. Alpha Protocol’s the story twists based on the player’s decisions.
While Sega is the publisher of Sakura Wars and Alpha Protocol, the producer at Sega that demoed the game didn’t notice the connection. I talked to him about Sakura Wars a bit while he showed me how the plot can go in wildly different directions.
In one path, Michael goes into his apartment and meets Madison who is sleeping in his bed. Madison shows concern for him and players can respond with stances or tones like “apologetic” or “professional.” The scene ended with a fade to black while both characters shared a “tender moment.” In another path, Michael returns to his apartment and Madison smacks him in the head. Then she shocks him an electric trap and breaks up. Michael, lying in the floor, shows concern for Madison’s life.
The producer emphasized “many middles” rather than many endings as a key feature in Alpha Protocol. Look for the game in stores on June 1.