Rockstar’s canned Agent sounded like the perfect Bond game
Do you expect us to talk? No, we expect you to make video games. While Rockstar Games has an acclaimed back catalogue of video games, it's sometimes easy to forget it's not just Grand Theft Auto that makes the developer one of the biggest on the planet.
Despite the success and evolution of the controversial motoring series, Rockstar has sometimes dipped its toes into other worlds, tackling everything from cowboy capers to schoolyard shenanigans, police procedurals to snuff shockers. In some other life, we could've had Rockstar's take on the classic spy genre.
Former Rockstar dev reveals all about Agent
If you haven't heard of it before, Agent was going to be Rockstar's foray into stealthy spy games. Trying to capitalise on the success of James Bond video games, we can imagine it would've also had the humour of something like Monolith's criminally underrated The Operative: No One Lives Forever.
Former Rockstar North Technical Director Obbe Vermeij has been spilling secrets like a zombie survival game on his blog (before deleting it), giving us a better idea of what Agent could've been. Agent apparently started out with some "spy stuff" in San Andreas, with a demo using a glider and a car turning into a submarine.
Internally, the project was known as Jimmy, referring to the lead character. This Scottish spy is a not-so-subtle riff on Sean Connery's portrayal of James Bond, with Agent taking place during the Cold War in the '70s. Saying it had a "very cool" Bond vibe, Vermeij recalls working on a downhill ski chase.
According to Vermeij, Agent was going to be more linear than GTA and boasted a French Mediterranean city, a Swiss ski resort, and a trip to Cairo. Better yet, the ending was going to go full Moonraker, featuring a "big shootout with lasers in space." Sadly, it just wasn't meant to be.
What happened to Agent?
Although Vermeij worked on Agent for over a year, he admits that "the game wasn't progressing as well as we'd hoped." As the rest of the company got behind GTA V, he said it was "inevitable" that Agent would be pushed down the priority list.
"We tried to cut the game down in an attempt to get the bulk of it done before the inevitable call from New York would come," added Vermeij, "We cut out an entire level (I think Cairo) and maybe even the space section." Ultimately, he concludes that Agent was "too much of a distraction for us."
Although being handed to another company within Rockstar, it was never completed. Surprisingly, Agent was alive until relatively recently. Officially announced as a PS3 exclusive in 2009, Agent quickly went quiet. Artwork emerged in 2015, while trademark renewals gave us hope. Ultimately, the site finally went dark in 2021.
Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like Vermeij will be sharing more snippets, as his blog confirms Rockstar has sent him an email, stating some aren't happy with his loose lips. Consider us shaken (and stirred) that Rockstar gave up on Agent, and now, it's back to the cupboard with Bully 2.