- Agent Intercept is an over-the-top arcade action game released today on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One
- A solid vision and laser-focused storyline bring out the best of the arcade action
- A fully voiced cast and original soundtrack heighten the spy-genre feel and keep you immersed in the gameplay
Agent Intercept bursts onto Xbox at supersonic speeds today, so we wanted to share how we approached the narrative design of a game focused on arcade action and high stakes mayhem. There is a very exciting story at the heart of Agent Intercept, with twists and turns that should put a grin on the face of any spy genre fan. But narrative design is more than writing the plot, so let’s take a more in depth look at how we brought the action to life through storytelling.
Vision — This One Goes to 11
Agent Intercept started as an action driving game inspired by Spy Hunter (one of the first video games I ever played!), but it needed to go beyond that to establish its identity. We worked to create some clear, exciting design pillars — statements used to align the team on the game direction — so everyone was on board with the vision. Phrases such as “everyone should feel like a superspy” and “use the best of every car chase ever” helped guide us to what was important in every moment of gameplay.
But a grand, over-the-top story also helped elevate the overall concept of the game beyond car chases and into near superhero territory. At the early stages, the story existed not just as a plot pitch, but also a springboard to inspire our team. I wasn’t just sharing a story idea, but a world of possibilities to help people think beyond the initial reference material: Imagine the type of game where you fight bosses larger than the screen, where you explode a rocket while riding it into space, where not only the car transforms but the world transforms around you! This helped us push the game past genre material, paying homage but also seeing where we could expand, subvert, or just go that much crazier than what we’d seen before.
Story — Agency vs CLAW
I kept the core of the story clear and accessible, so the frenetic gameplay setpieces were forefront. The evil organization CLAW is back under a new villain with an army of goons and crazy tech, and only you as the Agency’s elite driver of the transforming spy car the Sceptre can stop them! Leaning on genre tropes and putting the player at the center of the action in every plot point, every stretch of level design, every setpiece, helped give laser focus to the experience. The story is full of twists and wild moments, yes, but primarily it is there to bring out the best gameplay.
Narrative Design — More than Writing
The flow of each level needed to not just tell a fun, self-contained story, but to guide the player along the gameplay journey. What bosses we had to face, what gadgets were available, what environment we were in, all factored into the decisions of the narrative. The narrative was the starting point for every level. From a flowchart of the action and story beats we then developed a full script and storyboards in collaboration with our cinematics, tech and level designers.
Each story needed to give a logical, clear, and compelling reason for the gameplay flow. For example, in one level the player races up a mountain to scout superweapons testing, then drives down an avalanche to escape another boss and take down the weapon. Hopefully that sounds cool on its own, but it was there to serve the needs of the gameplay: to show off our cool arctic mountain environment, to give a reason to transform into the new sled mode, to highlight the boss vehicles we had and their mechanics.
Audio – Bringing the Narrative to Life
Sound played an integral role in the player experience. Energetic original music tracks and bombastic sound effects heightened the feel of every moment and gave the story and play extra momentum.
We also knew we wanted voice acting, not just to give weight to the characters urging you forward and fighting alongside you in the levels, but to keep your eyes focused on the chaotic action. You could experience the plot twists and character emotions without being distracted from the tense gameplay.
Our aim was to deliver a fun, knowingly over-the-top spy story worthy of James Bond, Fast & Furious, and Spy Hunter wrapped together. But we also hope we delivered a holistic experience, where the characters, plot, music, and design all work together to keep you focused on the intense action gameplay and heighten it to peak ridiculousness at every moment.
Did we deliver? Did you see the twists coming? Do you really explode a rocket while driving on it while it is blasting into space? Buy Agent Intercept on Xbox and see!