EA Partners To Publish The Secret World

So you remember how we keep saying that Funcom’s next MMO, The Secret World, will probably be a bit of a big deal? Well, it seems that Electronic Arts agree, because they’ve signed up “to co-publish” the game. The Secret World, which is based around the machinations of secret societies and supernatural beasties in the modern world, is being directed by Ragnar “The Longest Journey” Tørnquist, and certainly raised Quintin’s eyebrows when he saw it at GamesCom. It’s due in 2011, probably, but might just slip into 2012.

We’ll have a closer look at the game for you pretty soon, we hope.


  1. Ezhar says:

    Hope Funcom won’t let the big publisher ruin the game (or since it’s an MMO, the operation of servers, updates and customer support). Wouldn’t be the first time that happened.

    • Choca says:

      Funcom’s perfectly capable of ruining the game on their own.

    • Wulf says:

      I actually think the setting is more likely to ruin it than anything – for me, at least. It’s very moralistically black & white, to degrees I rarely see even in MMORPGs, to religious degrees, with devils and sinners, saints and the servants of the light, et cetera. After The Longest Journey, where the Draic-kin were a massive grey area (not obviously good or evil, they just were), I kind of expected that from The Secret World. But TSW seems to be in religion overdrive from everything I’ve read thus far.

      That’s just not what I want from a game. I’m sure it’ll appeal to a lot of people, but I’m a bit tired of ‘clearly good’ and ‘clearly evil’. And TSW seems to drive home good vs evil with all the subtlety of a Super Sledge.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Are you sure, Wulf? The three secret societies all seem pretty grey-area to me.

      Illuminati doesn’t generally equate to “the good guys” in fiction, and all three factions are fighting each other for ultimate control of Agartha.

    • Wulf says:

      Yes, absolutely.

      From the forums – all the classes tend to be bearers of light, based on myths and legends. That’s all the player classes. All the monsters tend to be creatures of darkness, again, based on myths and legends. So you’ll be a vampire-hunter, hunting vampires, and that’ll be that. After having read pretty deeply into the forums out of personal interest, it seems that some of the story just doesn’t agree with the setting of the game, with the players, whom they play, and whom they fight.

      I may be wrong when the game finally turns up, but it certainly seems that way. But the thing is is that people have asked if the players get to channel any powers that could be considered to be ‘dark/evil’, and these were always shot down, it seems like the heroes are going to be paragons of light, just modernised, paladins with miniguns instead of maces. So to speak. As I said, I may be wrong, but… the way people talk on the forums, I really don’t think I am.

      If I see players in grey areas in the game, then I’m wrong and that’s fine, but I doubt I will. This is what put me off the game early on, to be honest, because all the classes channel powers of life and whatnot, to fight dumb, evil beasts, it seems pretty predictable in that regard. And I’m bored by such. This is why I prefer the World of Darkness setting, because you can be a sociopathic bastard of a vampire who has the best interests of the world at heart, when it gets down to it. It doesn’t sound like TSW will mirror that.

    • .backslash says:

      Sorry, Wulf, but that’s entirely wrong. You may just be confused or misinterpreting, but wrong non the less. First off, you mention classes, where one of the major selling points of the game is that there are no classes, with platers free to mix and match powers. Ok, maybe it was a misnomer and you meant powers. But literally the only confirmed powers thus far are: throw fireball, spray with fire, hit with sword, hit with sword that is also on fire and shoot with gun. Hardly any of them require chanting from the bible and sprinkling holy water.

      As to all the characters being paladin-like I honestly don’t know where you’re getting that from, since all confirmed factions are, frankly, composed of assholes.
      The Illuminati would stab their own grandma for an ounce of extra power.
      The Templars would nuke an entire settlement on just a suspicion that one of the citizens is tainted.
      And the Dragon are anarchist nutjobs, sewing chaos and confusion to further their own needs.
      And let’s not forget that when they aren’t in an uneasy alliance to stop Cthulhu from devouring reality, they lead an underground war against one another for world domination.

      So, it’s definitely not the case on “good guys vs bad guys” , rather “bad guys vs cosmic horrors”. They’re not fighting evil because they love kittens and rainbows and whatnot, but because if evil wins, there won’t be a world left to rule.

      Yeah, this might come off as a bit of a fanboysh rant, but I’ve followed the game for a really long time now, and can actually claim to have read pretty much all info available. And all that info says you’re wrong.

    • James says:


      Your opinion of “all the info” is different than mine, and Wulf’s too apparently. Maybe you’re wrong? …or maybe it’s just subjective. I see what you’re saying, but I still don’t agree. Guess I’m wrong now?

      In any event, Funcom.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      I agree with backlash, I interpreted it that way too.

      And it would be kinda ridiculous to have grey opponents when they take the form of out-of-this-world horrors. Lovecraft novels make for one of the most immersive/effective horror background ever, but it has yet to present ambivalent antagonists.

      And quoting the world of darkness setting as an example of complexity is kinda stretching it. Werewolves fighting the Worm, Mages fighting the Technocracy, or Vampires fighting the Sabbat, even if you always play human beings first who are entitled to their own complexity and their own agenda, the background is still very binary on the paper (good or “less evil” guys – the players – against their sworn enemy which appear in 95% of the case as being bad or, at least, more evil/nefarious).

      Also, you’re taking a pen&paper rpg as an example, which is not relevant as ymmv from one storyteller to another.

  2. Lars Westergren says:

    This and the World of Darkness MMO are the only MMOs that interest me, currently. I fear that the gothic mood will be spoiled by the usual meta-gaming by the majority of players though.

  3. Warth0g says:

    Interesting… I’ve been keeping an eye on this one, but agree with Lars – I can’t help but be worried that the atmosphere and unique world that seems to differentiate this from other MMOs might end up dumbed down. When it was first announced I thought this was going to be Lovecraftian and all that entails… not so sure now.

    The other sticking point for me will be subs…. it looks like this will be the traditional sub model but (given GW2 and the possibility of Star Trek Online, Champions Online and others going to F2P) it would take a truly excellent experience to make me fork out for a monthly sub…

    • The Pink Ninja says:


      Urban Fantasy as a game setting is under tapped with most games falling into high fantasy, space opera or shooters set between 1939 and the near future.

      A Deus Ex/Vampire: Bloodlines style game using White Wolf’s Mage: the Awakening as its source material is my dream, up there with a persistent mmo that’s either RTS or turn based where you can conquer a world/galaxy over a period of real time months against dozens of human opponents…

      But yes, straight to the RP servers for me. I think KOR, The Secret World and the WoDMMO will be games that for me may as well be single player because it’s the stories and setting that attract me.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Never, ever, ever do I wanna see a mmo or even a computer game based on Mage unless they’re able to fully simulate the complexity of its magic system – which is very unlikely to happen since it’s a marvel of storytelling.

      I’m anyway pretty much sure that White Wolf won’t allow for a game to be made in that setting for that reason. Vampire or Werewolf are ok tho, considering they’re more streamlined and regular titles among the p&p rpgs.

    • The Pink Ninja says:

      I wouldn’t mind a simplified magic system so long as it wasn’t the simple standard new ability system you get in most other games. I thought of a few ways I think might make it fun.

      And any WW game would have to be much simplified. No game would have the social complexity of Vampire or the Spirit world and huge territory of Werewolf. Mage is no different and wouldn’t stop WW licensing the game.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Allow me to disagree.

      The Umbra and territories of Werewolf aren’t really entitled to a gameplay system of their own. It’s just a question of world size. Which you can find in a game, given enough resources.

      Social complexity in Vampire could be simulated easily in PC-NPC interactions with a system taking player actions and evolution in consideration. It’s been done before. And for PC-PC interaction, it’d not pose a real problem either, all of this because social structure (hierarchy, rights, etc.) is a somewhat “mechanical” system, therefore able to be reproduced.

      The main problem with the magic system of Mage is that it’s made to be as non-systemic as possible. You just mix your control over the different aspects of reality to create effects and voila. All types of effects altering the fabric of reality itself, to the discretion of the DM.

      Problem being you can do that when you’re playing a storytelling game, but you can’t be faithful to this level of freedom on a computer game which depends on set rules. And going for a dumbed down version would just kill the interest of playing Mage.

      I’d be more than happy to see Mages in the Vampire : TM game by CCP, but more as rare and discreet, non playable powerful beings that we would meet from time to time. It’d be faithful to the fluff and would allow to avoid the “Jedi syndrome” players of SWG have learned to fear.

  4. Mac says:

    Given Funcom’s track record of MMO releases, I won’t be touching this one with a barge pole at launch.

    • matt901 says:

      My thoughts exactly!

    • mwoody says:

      Hmm – do you have specifics? I played Conan at release and, while the game certainly sucked outside of the tutorial area, I don’t recall any notable problems with the launch itself.

    • Stromko says:

      Weren’t the first 20 levels of Conan, IE, the tutorial area, actually offline? You can hardly call it a smooth launch when the only part of an MMORPG that doesn’t ‘suck’ is the offline mode. Personally my only experience with Conan is reading a lot of articles about it, as I find virtual car crashes very fascinating.

    • mwoody says:

      No, the first 20 levels were online. They were designed as an offline experience originally, then modified to work with other players present. As such, they play very differently, with an instancing similar to what WoW is doing these days (different people see and/or exist in different versions of the world). The result is an MMO that feels as awesome as a single player game. Of course, once you hit 21, you’re suddenly in a boilerplate MMO that’s all the worse for the comparison with what went before. Damn shame.

      But that’s irrelevant; when people say a “launch” went poorly, I assume they don’t dislike the game itself so much as being specifically frustrated by a problem related to the first few days of the game’s online presence.

  5. Frye2k11 says:

    They made some awesome adventures though. Credit where credit is due.

  6. HexagonalBolts says:

    “cool sword – but check out my DIGGER”

    • BooleanBob says:

      If you can’t jump in that digger and wield the arm against that golem then it has no business being in that screenshot. Funcom, you teases.

    • Quine says:

      You can fight Golems with JCBs?!


  7. James says:

    Funcom has been on my poop list since the AoC launch, and that’s where they’ll remain. Wulf summed up my feelings on this title perfectly above…this is poop in a shiny, non-poop wrapper.

    I’m sure there will be cool ideas and whatnot, but overall this is less than inspired (especially given what they could have done with it). I’ll wait and see, but I’m not holding my breath.

  8. Carra says:

    EA partnership.

    I suppose this means that the servers will close after one year to open the Secret World 2 servers.²

  9. The Hammer says:

    I’m still intrigued by this game, but I do worry it’ll go the way of Hellgate and APB, which I had similar hopes for.

    So many aspects of TSW could go badly wrong. The subscription model, for a start. I think it’s probably a bit of a stretch to expect that the game will be subscription-free, although EA are one of the mainstream frountrunners for F2P games these days, so who knows.

    Hopefully the gameplay will be in keeping with the setting, and won’t devolve into the depressingly familar grind and triage system. By that I mean I hope they don’t introduce a tank-DPS-healer cliche. I like WOW as much as the next addict-in-denial, but I’d also like to see genuinely different experiences in the MMO-scape too.

    Still, the setting has drawn me in so far, and I love the style of the game – very cool, urban and not-too-macho. I’ve enjoyed the character and world designs so far, and at least with Funcom they’ve got bundles of experience. Not like Realtime Worlds or Flagship.

  10. Gaff says:

    TSW is one of those games that I have been following for quite some time.

    If anything Funcom deserve credit for trying to make an MMO that isn’t just another Asian F2P WoW clone, because I’ve seen enough of those recently to keep me set until my old age.

    I’ve been concerned about the lack of information coming out about the game for the past year or so, though. I know when Funcom did some layoffs last year they said that this would be delay TSW for at least 6 months, but still I would have expected to hear at least something by now.

    A real-world fantasy game is something that I think could work very well, as opposed to your usual high-fantasy elves and sorcery type.

    Hopefully we’ll get some solid info from either GDC or E3 this year? Especially if they have any hope of making a 2011 release date.

  11. Ba5 says:

    There’s only one important question: is combat based on actual player skill, or will my bullets magically miss the monster’s face even though I just hit them point blank range?

  12. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Grrrr, I want my Dreamfall sequel >.<!!!!!

  13. Navagon says:

    I can only hope this will be used to fund TLJ3.

  14. Mac says:

    EA have just released a new press release – all game servers will be closing down within 6 months of launch so you will buy our next pile of turgid crap … it’s official !!! Honest !!!

  15. amcg says:

    Hmm this looks really cool, please keep us updated with more info when you get it! I need a new MMO :)