Development

This section is dedicated to the development history of Rogue Agent. Basically anything related to its conception, including art and information from the artists involved with the game. This will inevitably lead to discussion about scrapped/altered content, but that's not necessarily the entire focus here.

Index:

 

  • Engine & Hardware

  • Environments

  • Development Montage Analysis

Engine & Hardware

Rogue Agent was built using the same engine as Medal of Honor: Rising Sun, which had also been developed by EA Los Angeles. According to Adam Isgreen (the lead multiplayer designer) Xbox was the lead platform for development. Apparently this engine was, even by 2004 standards, fairly dated. There is evidence to support this in the released game, such as the player count restrictions in many of the splitscreen multiplayer maps.  In Adam's own words, at least a couple larger stages the team had planned were left on the cutting room floor as a direct result of this:

 

"St. Cyril's and San Monique were the two MP maps we didn't complete."

"San Monique never got in - it was too big for the engine to handle. St. Cyril's was in, in rough form, but had size issues too."

Adam Isgreen (via Twitter)

 

While not used in the released build, the first version of Rogue Agent ever shown to the public featured hand models recycled from Medal of Honor: Rising Sun. The sleeve, however, was altered:

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Both games do share the same "loading" text and font during mission restarts. It is recolored to gold in Rogue Agent:

Loadscreen_Comparison.jpg

Environments

Dated engine or not, no shortage of effort went into conceptualizing the environments of Rogue Agent. Some of the artists involved with the game were kind enough to share some of their work with me, and I'll post that here, both for the sake of appreciation, and all to geek out over.

Fort Knox

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Denise Blakely Fuller was involved with producing some of the sky panoramas found in the game. I recommend you take a look at her blog if you're interested in seeing some great concept art.

This screenshot was included on Denise's blog only to demonstrate how the final Fort Knox sky texture appeared in-game. That's all fine and dandy, but this image actually displays quite a bit more than that; an entirely scrapped portion of the level!

 

What I find especially interesting about this image, besides showcasing an 

area that might've helped to extend the length of a considerably short mission, is the fact that the HUD on screen is the same as in the final build. Also, the original design for the HS-90 was still implemented at this point. So, if this was taken later in development (when the HUD was finalized), then that means that both this portion of the Fort Knox stage and the old HS-90 design were dropped possibly fairly late in production. According to Denise, this area was cut simply due to time constraints.

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This is the full sky panorama intended for use with the rooftop portion of Fort Knox. In fact, this is not unused in the final game. It can be seen in the opening helicopter sequence of the mission, before the crash. You aren't able to see much of it through the tiny windows, though, but the filename for this particular dome is labeled with "1_2," whereas "1_3" is the mission number for the interior of Fort Knox (a bit more on that can be found in the "Hacking" section).

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Here is the full sample image Denise had posted on her page. It gives some interesting info on how skyboxes are actually handled in the game, but beyond that, we also have a silhouette of the "game geometry." At first I thought that this might be an actual map of the rooftop portion of Fort Knox, but the same silhouette is used in another skybox sample Denise allowed me to use from Midas Casino. That image can be found further down the page.

Midas Casino

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I don't have too much specifically related to Midas Casino, but this skybox sample image goes into detail about how the skyboxes function in Rogue Agent (once again, thanks to Denise Blakely Fuller for this). The skybox shown is the same one used in the final game, and can be seen from the main windows of the second room of the mission.

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Here's a better look at the Vegas skyline used in Midas Casino. It's actually pretty low res in-game, so it's neat to see the details more clearly here.

Pyramid Duel/Showdown & Dr. No's Reactor

These maps technically make up for four of those available in the final product. The "Pyramid" stage is separated into "Duel" and "Showdown," with the first being intended for only two players, and the second being four-player deathmatch oriented. As for Dr. No's Reactor, you have your standard four-player map for offline, and the eight-player online variation.

 

All four variants were built by John Fitzgibbons, and he provided me with some production stills from the finished maps to post on this site. There is nothing out-of-the-ordinary to report about these images, but he also gave me some interesting info on the development behind these maps.

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John Fitzgibbons was pulled in from TKO Software during the last two-three months of development on Rogue Agent. Maps were still being finalized at this point, and the Crab Key mission for campaign mode was still undergoing changes. This didn't affect the development of the Pyramid maps at all, since they weren't based on a single player level. As for Dr. No's Reactor, it was originally intended to incorporate areas from the Crab Key mission (obviously the location where you actually fight Dr. No). Apparently, two other level designers from TKO were working on Crab Key at this point. Due to time constraints, the multiplayer map had to be completed significantly earlier than the single player mission. As John himself states, this resulted in two vastly dissimilar areas.

Lighting Passes (Various Missions)

These images (once again owed to Denise Blakely Fuller) can actually be found in the final product as unlockable concept art. According to the original artist, they were created by painting over in-game shots in Photoshop. If that's true, then some of these do showcase some slight differences from the final game.

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Development Montage Analysis

Earning a five-star rating on the Volcano Lair mission unlocks a rather interesting video; a development montage. Various stages of Rogue Agent's development are showcased, albeit in very short clips. Short though they may be, pausing each section and really breaking down what's shown is a treat. I'll write my thoughts/insight here, in the order of how the clips are presented.

This FMV is labeled 08_SP_UL on the PS2 and Xbox discs, and is missing outright in the Gamecube Port, where no video montages whatsoever can be unlocked in the gallery (seemingly due to disc space).

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The montage opens with an early rendition of something pretty familiar; a guard being pushed to his death from a balcony in the Fort Knox stage. This is derived from a fairly common promotional clip, and can be found in a downloadable file in the ARCHIVE section of this site. The biggest difference from the final event might be that the guard seems to be plummeting into the very depths of hell.

While this is actually pretty close to something that made the final cut anyway, it is interesting for a couple of reasons. First of all, this is most certainly not gameplay footage, and represents a more "conceptual" stage of development. Secondly, since this does predate gameplay, it's surprising to see that the P90 actually looks much closer to the final version of the released game. Rogue Agent's promotional material was saturated with footage of a custom-designed P90 that was ultimately left on the cutting room floor, but it turns out the standard P90 was the earliest rendition of the gun anyway. This can be seen in more footage included in the montage.

Next up is a look at some extremely early gameplay testing. Similar clips to this are peppered throughout the montage, mostly with the same temp HUD display. What we see is:
 


MELEE
HIT 00%
Adrenaline (100/100)

Health (100/100)   Armor (0/100)

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One can deduce that this is pretty standard stuff, and pretty much reflects the systems in place for the final product, assuming "Adrenaline" is in fact equivalent to "Eye Power." Having said that, there is no indication of eye abilities at this point, which may or may not mean anything at all. It's not impossible that adrenaline could be indicative of a scrapped sprinting feature, but that is pure speculation on my part.

As for the map on display? Anyone's guess! My money would be on a simple test level, but it's possible that this was early blocking for one of the campaign missions.

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Next up is the first of a few storyboards we get to see in action. This doesn't really depict a scene that was directly translated into the final game, however it's most definitely the Hong Kong mission, and may be at least one iteration of the finale where GoldenEye is extracted by Pussy Galore. I can very easily imagine a conversation where it was decided to simply avoid the shattering glass in production.

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More footage of Fort Knox follows, but this time it seems to be from the actual game engine, and also at a similar stage of progress to the earlier clip. The same temp HUD can be seen here, as well as this unique design for what I assume was the default sidearm.

The chopper crash was, I guess, set in stone quite early. We may not have gotten the planned rooftop portion of Fort Knox, but what we got for the interior seems to be pretty true to the original vision.

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With this next clip, it seems like development in general has progressed a little further. We now have near final models for the jackal/desert eagle, and bars for the health armor have been added (albeit messily slapped on top of the old HUD text). We are also at the stage of the Medal of Honor: Rising Sun hands being implemented.

This definitely seems to be blocking for a campaign mission. It does not directly correspond to anything in the finished product, but the closest thing I can think of would be Crab Key, with the mining pit terrain.

Remnants of this period of development are leftover in the final game. Head over to the HACKING section to see how to access what I assume was a placeholder map remaining in the main menu map file.

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A quick sample of concept art for Pussy Galore comes up next. This can already be unlocked as fully viewable anyway, at a much clearer resolution. Still, there's no denying it's an interesting version of her outfit. Full CG renditions of this outfit did exist, at least in concept, in the form of high fidelity models produced by Takayoshi Sato.

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Now this is interesting. Like I said earlier, it seems the earliest model for the HS-90/P90 was, in fact, closer to what we got in the final game. Originally I assumed this model was temporary, and lifted from 007 Agent Under Fire. Upon closer examination/comparison, however, this does not seem to be the case. Clearly there was some form of indecisiveness about how the P90 should look throughout development.

That aside, this footage does strengthen my "test level" theory, as there's no doubt in my mind that this is the same map shown in an earlier clip. The lighting is a little different, but the landmarks line up. I'll go out on a limb and say that maybe it's even the 1_4 White Box map I mention in my HACKING section. Seeing as how Fort Knox was clearly in the works very early on, at the same time as this temp HUD version, it would be logical that both maps were numbered in close range to one and other (Fort Knox being 1_3... again, see HACKING for more on this).