Rockstar finally puts Agent to rest
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Rockstar finally puts Agent to rest

by arun809097
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We all knew it wasn’t happening but Rockstar has put the final nail in the coffin of Agent: the game has been listed on Rockstar’s official site since announcement but has now, like a troublesome double agent, simply disappeared. An open-world spy game first spoken of in 2007 before being announced in 2009 as a Playstation 3 exclusive, Agent was an ongoing and fairly high-profile project—Sony execs continued to face questions about it for years—but the news dried up in the early 2010s.

There were signs of life afterwards, and the project was certainly not vaporware. A Polygon report in 2019 revealed that Agent was, in fact, the second iteration of another game called Agent, which was being developed in the mid-2000s by Rockstar San Diego. What became of that? “I don’t know how much of it was us trying to convince them or Sam [Houser, Rockstar supremo] knew he wanted to do Red Dead anyway, but somehow the decision was made to just shelve Agent and take all the work that we’d done and start Red Dead Redemption,” a former team member says.

(Image credit: Rockstar North)

With San Diego on Red Dead Redemption from 2005 onwards, Agent—which was apparently conceived as part-homage to The Professionals and James Bond—was handed over to Rockstar North, with rumours that Rockstar Leeds was also involved at one stage.

Another source in that Polygon article described the transition thus: “Rockstar North got a hold of some ideas and stuff. They did a little test demo that blew anything that we had done out of the water. Once we saw the demo from Rockstar North—I think they had a car that turned into a submarine or something like that, and some other stuff—we were like, ‘Holy smokes!'”

Alleged in-game images from the cancelled game Agent.

(Image credit: Rockstar North)

When things on Agent went quiet, fan hopes were kept alive by Take-Two re-registering the game’s trademark in 2016 (and the game still having a presence on Rockstar’s site). But the publisher then allowed it to lapse in late 2018, which was more-or-less the last rites for Agent, before today’s news drove the final nail into the coffin.

There were various leaks of concept art and some in-game environments over the years, though a common thread among people who’d worked on the project was that everything had, at some point in the 2010s, been subsumed into the grander project that was Grand Theft Auto V. That is, you’ll never play Agent: but you’ve probably played a fair few missions and used some items in Grand Theft Auto that were once intended for it.

Alleged in-game level building from the cancelled game Agent.

(Image credit: Rockstar North)

“We have always enjoyed making action games, and with Agent we are making what we believe will be the ultimate action game,” said Sam Houser when the game was announced. “Agent is a game we have wanted to make for a long time. The team in Edinburgh is doing an amazing job combining intense action, atmosphere and story in a great period setting to create something that feels quite unique. We cannot wait for people to experience this game.”

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