Paranoid Much? The Secret World Is Afraid

By Alec Meer on April 8th, 2011 at 1:58 pm.

The hair of a wolf, the muscles of a muscley man. He-wolf, I call him

Afraid of what? Afraid of everything. The latest vid-o-flick for Funcom’s upcoming conspiracy MMO tackles pretty much every crazy theory going, and plenty of brand new ones too. THE TOWER OF BABEL NEVER FELL. THE OLD GODS ARE AWAKENING. ATLANTIS RISES. MINI BABYBELS ARE MADE FROM UNICORN HOOVES.

Woah guy, woah. Have a sit down and a nice cup of tea. Nobody’s out to get you. There is no sinister cabal quietly ruling the world. Wait, what was that noise?

Who are you? What are you doing in my h………………

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112 Comments »

  1. DarkeSword says:

    What on God’s green earth is a wagtail?

  2. kenoxite says:

    Does Cthulhu count as an “Old God Returning”?

    Also, of course we’re in the fourth age. Tolkien established that quite a while back.

  3. Rinox says:

    Nobody’s out to get you. There is no sinister cabal quietly ruling the world.

    Juuust what someone who’s in on it would tell you.

    On a more serious note…I love conspiracies.

  4. ananachaphobiac says:

    Some socks went missing from my wardrobe last week.

    The sinister cabal are thorough if nothing else.

  5. Flameberge says:

    The bees are returning?

    I wasn’t aware it had been established that they had left.

    If they did, I presume that they went on holiday – to the City on the moon, perhaps.

    • Vexing Vision says:

      You might want to read some recent news on that, then – bees “disappearing” has been a mystery for quite some while, and although recent scientific explanations for the disappearance of bees in the US exist (linked to some chemicals used for fertilizing fields), there is still no explanation for the gradual disappearance of the European bees.

      They’re converging in underground caverns in the middle of the hollow earth to discuss the world’s future, forming a secret cabal around a demon queen bee, is my theory, and if you disagree, they WILL find (and sting) you!

    • Xercies says:

      Did you not see The Happenning? The bees dissapearing are only the start of nature trying to kill us, and we all having to talk to plastic trees to save the day!

    • bill says:

      Albert Einstein: “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left.”

    • littlewilly91 says:

      I’m sure we’ll just hire some humming birds to take over, and manufacture a super effective coral reef to counteract the carbon dioxide. Roll on capitalism.

    • Gaff says:

      This was already explained in Doctor Who.

      The bees returned to their home planet, near the Medusa Cascade.

  6. DeepSleeper says:

    EVERYTHING is true?
    Pfeh.
    Nothing is true.
    Everything is -permitted-.

  7. riadsala says:

    Anybody else really wish this was a single player game?

    It looks really interesting, but I can’t see me playing it. But maybe this will be my first MMORPGer.

    • tremulant says:

      Indeed, this sounds entertaining but i have no idea why it has to be an MMORPG, was it developed from the ground up to be an mmorpg or have they tacked on some multiplayery experiencepointed achivementtasticness at EA’s behest(oooh, subscriptions, *rubs grubby paws*)?

    • riadsala says:

      Dunno, but it’s putting me off. I like to play games at my own pace… whereas multiplayer games require more of a time commitment… you can’t really pause the game half way through while you nip out to the shops, pub, cook, etc. It can be hard enough finding a a free evening for my weekly Blood Bowl game. Obviously i don’t take my hobby seriously enough.

    • Consumatopia says:

      Yeah, the premise sounds interesting, but once they show in-game graphics and play it just looks like folks throwing fireballs at each other like every other MMORPG.

      I think the concept might have worked as one of those web/facebook games–with more of a focus on reading absurd plots and collaborating with fellow conspirators. Or I would love to play a “Fate of the World” style game based on esoteric rather than climatological hazards.

      But if I just want to walk around wearing a ridiculous costume to fight giant monsters in mostly uninhabited areas, there are plenty of games already that let me do that.

    • Davie says:

      Exactly what I was thinking. It will truly be a miracle if they can actually prevent the MMO structure from trivializing the entire setting. Shame, too, because it’s a great premise…

      Only when they make an SCP Foundation singleplayer RPG will I be truly happy.

    • Stick says:

      “Anybody else really wish this was a single player game?”

      Kind of, yes. Exploration, mystery and wonder don’t really stand a chance in the face of “LF Healer”, “lol shotguns r OP” and the general availability of FAQs and wikis.

      Damn humans ruining multiplayer games.

    • Consumatopia says:

      Huh, I guess SCP Foundation is an already existing MMO that delivers what The Secret World promises (but probably won’t deliver)

  8. frenz0rz says:

    THE WAGTAIL HAS ARRIVED.

    THE BEES ARE RETURNING.

    Uhm… is this Gardener’s World – The MMO?

    • Thirith says:

      It’s like Death’s rendition of some children’s song about spring. Trust Death to make it ominous.

      Also, after the original Wicker Man film, nature, spring and the like are ominous as fuck. First those pagans will come on to you like a naked musical troupe, then they’ll burn you alive, I’m telling you!

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Dug too deep would suggest that, or it’s a Dwarf Fortress MMO

    • tremulant says:

      Sounds more like springwatch and, let’s face it, who doesn’t feel an inexplicable sense of loathing when that most sinister coupling of kate humble and bill oddie appear(on the telly, though i hear you can whisper things into a mirror too) before them.

  9. pakoito says:

    Sense.

    This trailer makes none.

  10. DXN says:

    Crooooootch!

    Also, I hope they’ve been keeping Robert Anton Wilson’s head in a jar to consult for them on this game.

  11. Epsilon Naught says:

    This… this has to be a joke, right? Right? That’s just too ridiculous.

    Also, it can’t just be me who finds the whole “Modern world in ruins (but only just)” thing a bit weak? Games which just dump you in a deserted or monster-overrun city just don’t work for me. Darksiders, Prototype, that sort of thing.

    Also also, I find it mildly hilarious how EA are publishing so many MMOs is the vain hope that one turns out to be a WoW killer. (Where by “so many” I mean, to my knowledge, two, but that’s a lot given how expensive they are )

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Not that I could possibly play any of this crap (MMOs to be understood). But what’s so ridiculous about this particular one that you find it so laughable?

      You mean to say orcs, undead, or scantily dressed babes battling armored demons is more realistic?

    • Xocrates says:

      I actually found that both Prototype and Darksiders did a fairly good job of justifying the destroyed (but only just) monster overrun city (though Darksiders not as well).

      Though to be fair it’s not that easy to create a noticeably urban setting that’s been “destroyed” without it either losing the “abandoned city” feeling if you destroy it too much, or the “something bad happened here” feeling if it’s too intact.

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      I’m struggling to believe this is serious…I’m with you, it must be a joke…right?

      I mean, I read the post before I watched the trailer and grinned when I read what Alec wrote – I didn’t realise most of it was in the trailer. I know nothing about this game but is this the first time something has jumped the shark in its trailer??

      Also, I don’t want to know how your end begins. Let’s keep our ends to ourselves.

    • Wulf says:

      The difference, Mario, is that very few MMOs are stone-faced serious, which this appears to be. Pretty much every MMO I’ve played accepts what is ludicrous and grins knowingly, having the odd joke or two even at its own expense. The difference here is that I felt like I wanted to laugh at all of this, but the people responsible would just frown at me and give me stern looks if they caught me doing so, because it isn’t intended to be funny.

      Fantasy MMOs accept that they’re ludicrous, this doesn’t seem to.

      (Whee, mentioning actual MMORPG examples in this got it marked as spam. Hopefully that’s helpful to someone at RPS who’s trying to figure out why so many posts are getting deleted.)

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      I think it’s improved by being serious. Yes, the concept is from an external POV quite ridiculous, but for the game to acknowledge that would undermine the value in it. It’d become a pathetic comedy.

      If you’re going to do conspiracy theories, you’ve got to play them straight. Like Deus Ex did—its story was equally ridiculous when viewed from without, but from within it was a web of intrigue that kept unfolding.

      Maybe I’m just a sucker for conspiracy theories? I loved the X-Files, for example. These theories are all nonsensical and obviously untrue, which is the point. If they were true they’d either be banal or horrific realities; instead they are an entertaining fiction.

  12. NPC says:

    Hmmm, they could have just posted this text as… text. It would be quicker to read.

  13. Clean3d says:

    You wanted orange… they gave you lemon lime.

    Okay, okay. I’m not that good at this.

  14. Vague-rant says:

    This game could so easily become one of the greatest comedies. I hope it doesn’t take itself too seriously, which seems a real danger.

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, for this to work they should’ve gotten some of the World of Darkness writers on board. Even nWoD is better than this. There’s just… no admitting that the game realises it’s a bit silly, no knowing grin, it’s sort of like taking the Emporer’s New Groove as a completely serious dramatic feature film. It feels wrong. I want to laugh but I’m not supposed to. Blargh.

  15. gorgol says:

    I lol’ed.

  16. Rond says:

    An absurd consipacy theory game would be cool, but an MMO? Nah, such games must revolve around the story, not something like “Kill 10 Wagtails in the City on the Moon”.

  17. juandemarco says:

    I’m intrigued by the whole background of the game, but MMO are too much time and money consuming. I know, I’m not geek enough, I should be ashamed of myself :)

  18. barichnikov says:

    You know, that’s how you do a trailer, crossfade 250 words over an hour. gj.

  19. JackShandy says:

    To lose one day could be considered misfortune. To lose eleven looks like carelessness.

  20. Chalee says:

    I remember being excited when news about this one first started filtering out. Interesting concept, lovely concept art etc. Now it looks like the biggest conspiracy jamboree since Deux Ex got gate crashed by Blizzcon attendees. That is not good.

  21. Vexing Vision says:

    While I’m really excited about the game for the background it provides (and interesting-seeming skill- and character-development), how does digging too deep work in a hollow Earth? I have a mental image of a deflating ball.

  22. Minim says:

    If they can tie all this stuff together into a coherent story, good for them. But this being an MMO I think their rationale was to just take every conspiracy they could find and build a little quest chain around them whether it makes sense or not. Maybe it’ll work, but this trailer makes me think it’s more of ‘throw crap at the wall and see what sticks’ approach.

    • Coren says:

      I understand your concerns, but I myself am cautiously optimistic. I’ve been following this game with great interest during the last few years –participating in the ARGs and the like– and if the actual game has even half the depth, lore-wise, as what I’ve seen in the ARGs, then I’ll be very impressed indeed. And let’s not forget that the driving force behind the game is Ragnar Tornquist, of The Longest Journey-fame. That man knows how to tell a story.

      If anyone’s interested, here’s a short blog post by Ragnar about how he sees stories in MMOs:

      http://www.thesecretworld.com/news/blog_update_ragnar_on_the_story_in_the_secret_world

  23. SuperNashwanPower says:

    They missed an opportunity for lolz. If they had just put one ironic one in there, like “Jordan is a robot”. The tongue seems to be missing from cheek on this one, what a shame. What a shame.

  24. yurusei says:

    The hollow Earth theory has been along for some time. There’s also a theory that the moon is hollow.

    http://www.crystalinks.com/hollowearth.html

    All I can think off is – hey, we don’t need to worry about overpopulation, MORE SPACE!!

  25. Kandon Arc says:

    The Bees are returning? I hope someone warned Nicholas Cage.

  26. BSG11 says:

    We have dug too deep.

    And too greedily.

    Beware of the Stalagmite Men and the Deep Crows.

  27. dragon says:

    I really wish they would stop making MMOs. It feels like they’re wasting their talents.

  28. Jae Armstrong says:

    So… this is The Illuminatus! Trilogy: The MMO. As written by Ragner Tornquist.

    SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.

  29. Crazy Hippo says:

    So, the cake isn’t a lie? woohoo cake for all!!!

  30. The Great Wayne says:

    Wow, seems like paranoia has struck this thread ! Or is it just pessimism ?! Or maybe it’s “The Internet” striking again. So many questions and so few answers…

    My bet goes on the “angry-nerds-lobby-against-unborn-games-we-never-tried-but-still-desperately-whine-about” which seems to be the longest secret group name since the one spawned by the Charlie Sheen one man show.

  31. Jake says:

    See, to me this sounds awesome. I don’t see how the trailer sounds any sillier than a synopsis of one series of X-Files or Doctor Who. Maybe I just read too many comics (it sounds like a Grant Morrison or Warren Ellis comic, like The Invisibles or Planetary) but I think it sounds like a fascinating world to explore, much more so than a typical fantasy setting. And being an MMO will hopefully mean you are going to be investigating with other people and figuring things out rather than just questing – already in this thread I learned what the wagtail was, supposedly the game will require you to research things like this on the web. I would love to investigate and solve riddles rather than just spam fireball or whatever. And potentially this game could really exploit the MMO genre, playing guilds off against each other with secrets and lies, sowing seeds of distrust or rivalries against other factions – let’s have some real Machiavellian power struggles and backstabbing!

    Guild Wars may be the prettier game and will no doubt be the more popular game, but The Secret World looks like it has the potential to be more interesting. The only thing that worries me is that the gameplay videos did look a bit more generic than I would have liked – even the most interesting storylines won’t save it if all you have to do is collect 15 wagtails.

  32. .backslash says:



    fnord

  33. Tei says:

    I have played a few tabletop games about the Iluminati and all, and read some books about the lore. And is fantastic, I really love the context. A mmo MAY be a good way to represent it. You are a peon, you get powers that surpass the imagination, but you still don’t know anything, and there are terrors beyond imagination outside.

  34. Urthman says:

    I was laughing so hard by the time all those statements started flashing quickly.

    Surely they meant that to be over-the-top funny?

    • Wulf says:

      Same here. And it seems to be unintentionally funny. :/ They needed some of the World of Darkness people on this, it’s going to take itself too seriously and end up being a joke, but not at all an intentional one, but we’ll all laugh anyway, for all the wrong reasons. Blargh. I can’t help but be cynical about this, but that trailer confirmed many of my worst fears about this.

    • Serenegoose says:

      I dunno, I figure there’s got to be a place for being knowingly OTT and super-serious about a concept that’s ridiculous, and playing it absolutely straight anyway. I often find the way people break the fourth wall with a wink is just… I didn’t want them to. Personal opinion mayhap, but there you go.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      ‘The bees are coming’ – should be a hint, surely?

  35. sneetch says:

    “You have been chosen”

    Dammit! Why is it always me!?!

  36. lumberjack_wannabe says:

    I will never look at mini babybels the same.

  37. jacksonmc says:

    This sort of needs to be put in context. I’m not sure why they didnt really provide any info with its publication. Its old, a couple of years old. It was put together as part of the original pitch by the game developers, its just meant to show the potential of the setting really, that there are all these story elements people can connect with easily.

  38. Jason Lutes says:

    “The end of days are near”

    If you’re going to make a trailer comprised almost entirely of text, the least you could do is proofread it.

    • Soon says:

      Depends how you want to interpret it. It could be seen as The Bacon Days, referring to the period of days that bring us bacon. But these days bring us the “End of [all things]“. So we have “The End of Days”. But it’s possibly somewhat archaic.

    • Urthman says:

      There’s a band called “days are near” that will be playing it’s last concert in the Secret World.

  39. Dances to Podcasts says:

    “THERE ARE PORTALS IN TIME AND SPACE”

    Tu quoque, Funcom?

  40. Serenegoose says:

    I can’t wait til I get to play as the Technocracy and crush all those backwards traditionalists.

    Wait, it’s not?

    • Hallgrim says:

      I wish.

      It looks like World of Darkness is going to be World of Vampires so no luck there either.

    • Serenegoose says:

      Well, as super awesome as video-game Mage would be, I’m not sure how you’d work the ‘do whatever spell you want as long as it’s coherent to your philosophy and won’t kill you with paradox’ system into a game with concrete rules. Until we have AI Storytellers that can change the code of the game on the fly (and who will try and manifest as Moriarty and kill us) I doubt we’ll see a Mage game :(

    • Hallgrim says:

      I dunno, I seem to remember there weren’t THAT many things you could do with the spheres of magic. Usually people had a dozen or so spells they knew they could cast, and we went from there.

    • Serenegoose says:

      More a limit of player imagination/character conception than anything else. Once you got good enough and realised magic was an act of pure willworking irrespective of your personal beliefs, it was just ‘do what paradox will let you away with’. Even if in practicality characters had a few effects they more or less relied on, -forcing- the game to play like that I feel would personally take something away from Mage.

  41. Kefren says:

    The music reminded me of Pitch Black.

  42. lazysuperhero says:

    The idea of this game always got me excited. VERY excited. Alas it will probably end up being mediocre….

    Or am i just being a cynical bastard?

  43. Navagon says:

    The trailer made it seem like the Deus Ex of mythological conspiracy theories.

    • lazysuperhero says:

      I think they just just went on Wikipedia and typed “Conspiracy theories” and “Myths” and put them all int hat trailer plus the ones they just made up.
      Awesome.

  44. Azrael says:

    So long…and thanks for all the fish!

  45. Gabbo says:

    Weary of the MMO aspect of this, as I don’t play MMO’s, but god damn if each successive release doesn’t intrigue me more and more.

  46. lazysuperhero says:

    Something Occured to me. Yes all of this DOES look awesome, promising idea, and the skill based character building is promising, doing away with grinding is always a good thing. But it is clearly the kind of MMO that seem especially reliant on the stories and narratives the developer puts into it. Now therein lies the potential problem, will the writing be of sufficiently high caliber to keep people hooked ? (considering the theme and world of the MMO) and if it is how will they sustain it in the long term?

    I guess it remains to be seen.

  47. Wulf says:

    This seems like World of Darkness, except without the constant knowing grin and fuckyeahness of that setting – the whole of reality is against you, most of the time, so any victory is a massive thing. This just seems like… I don’t know. The world is interesting. You are boring. Your thoughts are the playthings of the truly powerful people. NOW YOU KNOW. And stuff. Oh, and there are demons. And we’ve taken a bunch of landmarks and things from mythology and basically dumbed down what great minds have said abut them. It’s all gone a bit batshit. This game is not inspired by Fahrenheit, honestly.

    I also get the feeling that, like I said before, to Jim, I believe, that this game is going to be very very very very very very very very very very very very very very *breathe* very black & white. Yes. Very. And serious. Black, white, and serious. No knowing grins, here. And the fuckyeahs might be a bit muted. Hm. I didn’t have a lot of faith for this originally, if I’m going to be honest, and I have less now. But it’s going to be someone’s bag if they’re into the whole conspiracy thing. To me though it just seems like the kind of thing that’s been done better by a million books, films, and tabletop RPGs prior.

    I find it hard to be excited about this. I’m sorry. :/ If there was more to it, you know, if it wasn’t using mystery as an excuse not to tell you much and not to have to write anything, which I’m guessing will happen… I find the Valve ARG more compelling. Again, I’m sorry. I’m sure someone will like it, but World of Darkness just seems so… better.

  48. kwyjibo says:

    What a load of fnordic misinformation. What’s telling, is that they neglect to even mention the one true conspiracy – David Icke’s lizard men illuminati.

    That man is a prophet.

    • Wulf says:

      Hahahahaha. /applause

      Yeah, I’m surprised that didn’t come up. Oh Gods, I’m getting flashbacks now from… hm, was it Wormhole X-Treme, that episode of StarGate? Maybe not. The one where the conspiracist sends them a tape telling them he knows about everything they’re doing. He mentions a load of things like this, including the lizard people.

  49. Wulf says:

    Also, blargh, werewolves as clichéd villains, that is so passé.
    I’ll take their villainous weres and raise them some care weres! :P

  50. Tetragrammaton says:

    This needs to be a trailer for a 90 minute movie. Maximise that brain atrophy!

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