NowGamer has posted a generous excerpt from an Alpha Protocol interview that they'll be publishing in the next issue of X360 magazine. Obsidian Entertainment programming producer Nathan Davis provides the answers for this particular Q&A:
Does it feel like you're breaking new ground, mixing RPG elements with a real-world setting?
Yes. It was actually an interesting challenge because we couldn't just look at, say, fantasy games and say '˜we're going to do a hybrid of Diablo, Neverwinter Nights or Mass Effect. Mass Effect was already out when we started developing this thing, so we had to forge a lot of ground ourselves with regard to how exactly this would work. We had to balance out the intensity of the game experience with giving the player that ability to become really powerful. Our main system design push was to fuse the player's skill with character skill so everything in the game, whether it be martial arts (how well enemies can defend against your punches) to how big your reticule is to how much time you have in minigames absolutely everything, even how many slots you have to carry gadgets is based upon an RPG mechanic somewhere that you can actually develop. So it's all about giving the player a boost, to allow them to deal with the situations they'll get themselves into.