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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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May 12, 2008 12:12 PM

More on "The Agency," Sony's upcoming shooting game, plus art

Posted by Brier Dudley

This is concept art for "The Agency," the new online shooting game coming out of Sony Online Entertainment's Bellevue studio, which I wrote about today.

AM_SpeedboatActionMomentLarge.jpg


I thought it might also represent the state of game industry recruiting, with studios across town hiring from the same limited pool of talent. But Matt Wilson, studio boss at Sony Online Entertainment in Bellevue, said it's actually collegial.

Even though they're all competitors, the studio managers all seem to know each other and keep in touch, even when they're poaching employees from each other.

"Everybody kind of works together," he said. "Anytime we need to hire people, we'll send information across to different folks and they'll help out a bit.''

Wilson said it's in their common interest to nuture the talent base, so employees may move between companies as projects come and go.

"It's just the biorythms of game development, which is there's never going to be pure money flowing all the time and we all know we need to support each other to make sure the Seattle business stays successful,'' he said.

That support network gave Wilson and his partners a boost after they left Microsoft and launched the studio, called FireAnt before it was acquired by Sony.

Chris Taylor, founder of Gas Powered Games, gave FireAnt space in his Kirkland offices to get started and later ended up losing a few employees to Sony.

Wilson's team has also drawn MMO veterans from other Sony studios and people who worked on hit shooters like "Call of Duty" and "Half-Life."

Watching a demo of the game last week, I caught a whiff of "Call of Duty," at least, in the action sequences.

Here are a few more concept images and screenshots from the game. The guy with the turban looks awesome, but what I can't wait for are later installments with vehicles, like a boat race through the Venetian canals.

AM_ZiplineActionMomentLarge.jpg

Helo attack 1.jpg

UniteTeam_courtyard.jpg

BonesAlley2_CassieMovin.jpg

(Do you have to recycle your spent cartridges?)

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.