Can you tell us about some of the gadget and disguise elements?
Harper: The TV show is called Alias so obviously a lot of the time Syd is in disguise and the same goes for the game. The costumes in the game were actually designed by the costume designer for the TV show so hopefully fans of the show will like the authenticity.
Syd has to use various costumes to infiltrate the different locations in the game - in the first mission for example, Syd is wearing a saucy cocktail waitress outfit to sneak into a private casino.
Once inside, the outfit becomes redundant so the player can change back into Syd's all-purpose stealth suit. The benefits of the stealth suit are that Syd never suffers in cold temperatures (a flimsy cocktail waitress outfit isn't so warm, for example), it's harder for the bad guys to see and it offers slightly more protection for the player.
The costumes reflect the situation, so in the embassy Syd enters disguised as a party-goer, for example.
The gadgets in the game are all based around those seen in the TV show, and we also made up some of our own. Alias has a gadget geek called Marshall and he provides Syd with all the gadgets she can use, along with a quirky explanation of how to use them (Kevin Weisman, who plays Marshall, did all the voice acting and he likes to improvise!).
Examples of gadgets are the razor prism, which Syd can splice into CCTV cameras enabling the player to see what the camera sees, the laser beam interrupter, which can be attached to a laser beam array to block the beams, an EMP gun which can temporarily affect electrical equipment such as TVs, radios and of course CCTV cameras, a sound booster that enables the player to record and playback sound samples and many more!
Can you tell us about some of the locations and scenarios we can expect?
Harper: The game is set over huge six missions spanning the globe. The first mission takes place in a glamorous casino in Monte Carlo, leading to infiltration of a museum in Saudi Arabia. Then there's a mission in a Hong Kong Embassy (complete with party goers and of course the secret underground lab!).
Other missions are not so pretty - we have an asylum in Bucharest (full of patients desperate to escape!), a nightclub in Rio de Janeiro and an underground bunker in Russia. The script writers went out of their way to send Sydney all over the place in the game, linking each mission with twists and plot-turns just like the show.
Can you explain what you mean when you refer to the "unique camera direction" in the game?
Harper: We wanted to capture the tension and excitement of the TV show and also provide the player with clues as to where the bad guys are. In a TV show this is usually done by quick camera cuts and in a game the traditional route is to use an on-screen map. We wanted to try something different for Alias that solved both those requirements so we invented the split-screen camera.
At certain points in the game the main screen will shrink in size and a second screen will slide on. The player continues controlling the main screen but the second screen shows something useful, such as guards approaching, or the view of a security camera, or what's on the other side of a door, and so on.
The end result means the style of the TV show is captured without interrupting the game flow and the player is fed the information to enable them to work out a strategy for progress.
We understand the game script has been co-written by the TV show's writers, and the voice-characterisations are provided by the stars of the show, right?
Harper: Yes that's right. All the main cast lent their voices to the game - we have Jennifer Garner playing Sydney; Michael Vartan plays Vaughn, Syd's handler (in one mission Vaughn is a controllable character as well); Kevin Weisman plays Marshall (Syd's technical support guy).