Alias is the trashy yet terrific TV show that casts the deliriously hot Jennifer Garner as grad student and after-hours CIA agent Sydney Bristow.
Acclaim is set to release a videogame version of the eminently watchable show imminently, so we caught up with Acclaim Cheltenham's creative director Nick Harper, who told us exactly what we could expect from the title...
What's the storyline to the game? Does it follow any particular episode of the series?
Harper: Because Alias is shown all over the world at different times we had to make a game with a story that would make sense in Europe and America. Because of that we set the game sometime near the end of season 2.
For those that know Alias, this means Sydney (the start of the show) is a full-time operative for the CIA and SD-6 is no more, but Arvin Sloane (the bad guy!) is still lurking around and up to no good.
The game itself is like a lost episode of the show - we worked really closely with the creators of the TV show (they wrote all the dialogue for the game) to use characters from season one and introduce new characters.
Of course, because the TV show is weekly, the character written for the game (Dr Caplan) has already appeared in the US show, but terrestrial viewers in the UK will hopefully see him in the game first!
With the use of stealth and gadgetry we'd guess you could liken this title to Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell - but what spin does Alias offer on those titles?
Harper: It's interesting because, while there is a lot of stealth in Alias, the game is much more action-orientated that MGS or Splinter Cell. Sydney has hundreds of combat moves so the player can often take out the enemies rather than having to avoid them like you do in MGS or Splinter Cell.
Having said that, there are times where stealth is definitely the best option - we tried to keep a variety of gameplay so players feel they have the freedom of choice when approaching the missions - they can sneak around and avoid being spotted if they want or take a far more aggressive stance at the risk of alerting more guards - and more firepower of course.
I'd say on the whole, though, we're not trying to make Alias as hardcore an experience as the other stealth games on the market - that was never our intention.
What kind of combat are we talking about? Do you learn new techniques as the game progresses, and are there any novel moves we should know about?
Harper: We based the combat around the techniques used by Sydney in the TV show, which basically means close-quarter dirty combat (kicks in the privates and so on!) combined with improvised moves based on weapon usage and the scenery.
For example, if Sydney is punching a bad guy close to a desk she can slam his face into the desk corner, or if there's a nearby item that can be used as a weapon (a broomstick, frying pan, candlestick, chair leg, etc.) the player can grab those and hit the guards - when Syd is carrying weapons she has a completely different set of combat moves, but everything is tied in to a simple interface to avoid confusion for the player.
We want the player to feel cool when they play this game. Regarding a learning curve, we wanted inexperienced players to enjoy the game as much as more dedicated players, so we introduced a timing system on the combat. While you can hit the buttons to produce some great-looking combat moves, if you learn the timing of stringing together combos the end result is a more powerful attack that does more damage.