Advertisement

5 years after it was yanked off stores, GOG's bringing underrated spy RPG Alpha Protocol in from the cold with fewer crashes and new achievements

 Mike Thorton in a tuxedo.
Mike Thorton in a tuxedo.

Good news for those of still fighting the good fight, still holding aloft the proud banner of truth and justice, still committed to struggle for what's right instead of what's simply popular. Five years after it was unceremoniously yanked from sale, Alpha Protocol is back via GOG.

If you're of stout heart and righteous spirit, you'll already know that Alpha Protocol is a straight-up banger, an Obsidian RPG set in the high-stakes world of modern international espionage rather than a more familiar fantasy or sci-fi setting. Yes, okay, it was deeply flawed—the game was either a cakewalk or surreally difficult depending on which skills you chose to specialise in—but it made up for it with a robust system of choice and consequence: How you chose to behave really mattered in a way few games have managed since.

Alpha Protocol
Alpha Protocol

(Image credit: Sega)

But thrilled as I am that Alpha Protocol is finally back in stores (or one store, anyway), it's not all that's going on here. In a chat with GOG's Zuzanna Rybacka, the company told me it considered Alpha Protocol a key part of the process of "going back to the roots: the good old games."

GOG announced it was returning to its roots as the internet's premier destination for DRM-free stone-cold classics back in 2022, but I get the impression that CD Projekt is keen to start ramping that return up now that Alpha Protocol's "very long release" (the company told me bringing the game back to life has taken longer than usual: around half a year) has hit its climax.

Rybacka told me that GOG was, naturally, incredibly excited to have titans like Sony releasing modern blockbusters on the platform, but that a proliferation of modern titles had "kind of lost this whole 'Good Old Games' vibe." So the store is "going back to our core, to bringing back classics… basically, our point [is] to not let all those games that would go to perish, and make them accessible for younger generations."

A German woman with a very large gun on her shoulders
A German woman with a very large gun on her shoulders

(Image credit: Sega)

Which means the zoomers can finally experience the magnificent joy that is Alpha Protocol's agent Mike Thorton, and the three diverse flavours of dickhead—Professional (Jason Bourne), Suave (James Bond), and Aggressive (Jack Bauer)—you can play him as.

Thing is, of course, that on top of its pitfall-ridden skill system, Alpha Protocol could also be a technical chore to play. This is a game from the "Bugsidian" era, when Obsidian was renowned for putting out ambitious (and, if you ask me, exceptional) RPGs that left a little to be desired on the technical side. AP was no different, and its original release had more than its fair share of bugs and crashes for players to navigate when they weren't lamenting putting all their points into assault rifles.

But GOG reckons it's got most of that stuff fixed. The company tells me that "the most known and crucial bugs from the original Alpha Protocol are currently 'very rare'" thanks to the efforts of its reverse engineering team. Or, well, it sounds like less of a team and more a single wizard GOG keeps around the office, who is the one mostly responsible for "doing all this crazy stuff that our minds cannot comprehend," says Rybacka.

Mike Thorton holds a man at gunpoint.
Mike Thorton holds a man at gunpoint.

(Image credit: Sega)

On top of the bug fixes, GOG says its version of Alpha Protocol will come with full support for your DualSense, DualShock 4, Switch Pro, and Xbox controllers, compatibility with modern OSes, cloud save support and—new for PC—achievement support. Also, yes, it'll have its "licensed soundtrack," so I'm pretty sure that means the music for the Brayko fight is majestically intact. GOG wouldn't tell me if the game was a permanent exclusive, but I wouldn't be surprised if Alpha Protocol magically re-manifested on stores like Steam and Epic a year or two from now, too.

I've had a chance to mess around with the game via GOG Galaxy myself and, friends, I can tell you it's definitely Alpha Protocol. Don't come in expecting a remaster—for all the work GOG's done, it's still indistinguishable from the game you remember at first glance—but I can confirm my controllers work, the game didn't crash, and I was running around behaving like the most insufferable agent in town with zero faff. As much as I dream of a sequel or full-fledged remaster, I'll certainly take it when it comes to a game I'd thought dead up to now. It's finally time for this spy to come in from the cold.