Dialogue is a major component of gameplay in Alpha Protocol, a majority of the missions and the scenes involve use of the dialogue system. When placed into an in-game conversation, the player will choose Michael Thorton's behavior and interaction with other characters. A conversation is timed, with any choice in behaviors and dialogues pre-highlighted being the one selected once the time limit ends. A bar is displayed over the dialogue stances and indicates how long the player has to choose, shortening as time passes.
The Dialogue System, also called the Dialogue Stance System, is used for both conversational direction as well as action-oriented decisions. The former will result in three (or sometimes four) options resulting in different verbal (or rarely action) responses. The latter takes place as differing choices in course of action. Conversational stances result in different relationships with other characters. Each character has different preferences in conversational behavior, resulting in different levels of reputation.
Choosing the professional dialogue stance will have Michael talking straight with other characters, telling them what he wants or thinks clearly and respectfully. Choosing the suave dialogue stance will have Michael acting cheeky, coy, comedic, arrogant, or sarcastic. Mike will dance around the topic at hand and make jokes before saying what he intends to say. Choosing the aggressive dialogue stance will have Michael act tough and intimidating, threatening people to get what he wants or telling people off.
There is sometimes a unique fourth dialogue option that will appear depending on what class the player selected or in special conversations. Usually this option is to execute a character, resulting in Michael Thorton drawing his pistol and killing the involved character. The recruit and veteran classes have many of these that give them unique dialogues. The Tech Specialist has a special option to tell Mina how to bypass Brayko's security systems in his mansion. The Field Agent has a special dialogue option to tell the Embassy guard in Moscow that he needs to get inside to see Sergei Surkov. No matter what class is selected, an option can be given to hit Leland in the final mission.
Occasionally, the dialogue system will be used to allow the player to choose a course of action. One choice will have to be made from two (or more) options, resulting in the following choice becoming the next objective/action taken. These choices will have no impact on Reputation based on stance preference, but rather on the action chosen itself.
- The professional dialogue is the most well received dialogue throughout the game, yielding the most postive reputation gains with many of the characters.
- The suave dialogue is the most humorous and will have Michael saying some of the most amusing lines of dialogue in the game.