Rockstar’s Agent is the stuff of legends. The cancelled Cold War game languished in development hell for over a decade before finally being shelved in 2018. That decade is full of interesting little tidbits and horror stories, though, and one particularly gnarly one has surfaced today.
As per Game Informer’s Blake Hester, a significant portion of Agent would’ve taken place in an open-world recreation of Cairo. However, due to the lack of satellite imagery and on-the-ground photography of the Egyptian capital, members of Rockstar’s development team took a research trip in the early 2000’s. Unfortunately, the trip didn’t go as planned – to say the least.
See, Cairo has strict laws about unsolicited photography – especially of government buildings or officials. Hester writes that while environment artist Joe Sanabria knew about these laws, “given all the roadblocks the team had trying to make its Cairo level in San Diego, they decided it was worth taking their chances.”
But those roadblocks persisted into Cairo. Police were stationed at almost every intersection of the city, according to Hester’s piece, and the Rockstar devs were stopped and interrogated by the authorities several times during their trip. One particularly terrifying instance of this happened to developer Darrell Gallagher, who was snatched from his airport terminal during his flight home and taken into a room for questioning. Another saw an unidentified developer held at gunpoint, with an assault rifle shoved into their ribs.
The entire story is an absolute trip, and well worth reading. It’s a sobering reminder that, while traveling, Americans can’t afford to act and behave the same way abroad as they do at home. Even the smallest things that we take for granted can land us in a heap of trouble elsewhere, and that’s unlikely to ever change.
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