The World May Never Know What Happened to Rockstar Games’ Agent

With so many video games in active development, it’s normal for the odd project here and there to fall through the cracks. Numerous studios have had to quietly cancel games over the years, with projects like Star Wars: 1313 and Scalebound being among the most notable examples. Even the critically acclaimed Rockstar Games has had its missteps, with the mysterious action adventure game Agent never seeing the light of day.

Developed specifically by Rockstar North and exclusively for the PS3, the game was first teased in 2007, in the early days of the PS3’s life cycle. Categorized as a Cold War espionage thriller, Agent was officially announced in 2009 to a great deal of excitement due to the strong pedigree that Rockstar had set up for itself with the Grand Theft Auto franchise. The concept of the game combined with the impressive technology of the PS3 at the time seemed to set the stage for something special. Unfortunately the game was canceled without any further information about its development, and its unlikely fans will ever know what could have been.


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Rockstar Games Moved on to Bigger, Better Things

Rockstar finally retired the trademark for Agent in 2018, after years of speculation regarding the status of the game’s development. This came five years after the gargantuan success of Grand Theft Auto 5 and within the same year as the monumental launch of Red Dead Redemption 2. In between the production of these two gaming juggernauts, it just may not have been feasible for Rockstar to continue work on Agenteven with the vast amount of resources and talent it has at its disposal.

This isn’t to say that Rockstar had no faith in Agent being a good game, but over the years, priorities can change for a company and development of projects can change very fast. Agent began development on the PS3, before being stretched well into the PS4 generation. Consistently jumping from platform to platform can be a stressful and laborious process that can ultimately hinder the final product, as is evident with Duke Nukem: Forever. Rockstar has a certain bar of quality it likes to hit, and if Agent just wasn’t reaching that level, it wouldn’t live up to the company’s name.

Over the course of the past decade, Rockstar Games has also shifted much of its focus to online multiplayer gaming. Grand Theft Auto 5 has been supported since its launch in 2013, and continues to receive new content and updates at a regular pace, with Red Dead Redemption 2 being in the same situation. That’s not to say Rockstar doesn’t still believe in single player campaigns, but multiplayer is crucial to Rockstar games today. Yew Agent had one as well, it may have resulted in unnecessary competition between Rockstar projects.

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What Agent Could Have Been

This is all speculation of course, and the true reason for Agent being canceled may never be known. The main fact remains however, that countless players will have to live with the fact of never knowing what this promising action game could have been. Only snippets of information and some general concept art or screenshots have made their way online, with no actual gameplay footage to speak of. Prior canceled games like the aforementioned Scalebound have at least had proper trailers to give an idea of ​​what the game looked like, which isn’t the case here.

There are the odd cases in which in development footage or assets make their way online for fans to enjoy. Early last year, Rare’s N64 canceled N64 swan song Dinosaur Planet leaked onto the internet, with modders combing through the game’s code to discover secrets and other previously unknown details. While this is extremely fortunate for fans of Rare and the Nintendo 64 era to have stumbled upon this, a case like this one is more the exception to the rule. Rockstar is very protective of its IP’s, and likely has footage of Agent locked up tight.

Furthermore, Rockstar releasing any footage of Agent just for fun may be counterintuitive with whatever the company’s plans are going forward. Agent was left behind in 2018, which is already several years in the past. To dig it up again for the sole purpose of showing it off runs the risk of distracting from Rockstar’s efforts on current projects. If the footage shown ends up being exciting, it may cause some backlash as to why Rockstar would cancel a promising title in the first place, hurting its image in the midst of success for Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, and more.

The truth is, that gamers may never truly know what happened with Rockstar’s Agent and shouldn’t hold their breath for some kind of reveal down the road. It would always be nice to please that deep-rooted curiosity, but sometimes things are better left in the past, as the gaming industry as a whole continues to move on.

Agent has been canceled.

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