The Not So Secret World: 30 Mins From GDC

Are you John Walker?
I’ve been waiting for a John Walker simulator to arrive, and this is the closest I’ll probably ever get. It’s the Secret World’s GDC presentation, showing off Ragnar-Tørnquist’s increasingly-interesting (to me) MMO. You can pretend you’re in the room being John Walker, who can be seen here following Ragnar. Toss some water at the screen to simulate the tears that usually flow when John experiences a game by Ragnar. Or you can just watch the most complete look at the upcoming MMO yet. It includes a scene that suggests oral sex is being performed, so I’d not risk it at work or at a funeral. They really go down… look down… LOOK DOWN on that sort of thing.

It ranges from character creation to the story, loadouts, combat and the awesome crafting. It’s well-timed to help you decide if you want to sign up for the June 19th release date.

What? You want MORE John Walker? Well, there’s not a lot around. He was at this hour-long Portal 2 post mortem, a Portal Mortem if you will, but the camera never points at Dexter’s daddy. Still, it’s just like you are at GDC.


  1. Dominic White says:

    Looks pretty solid, but unless they’ve padded this out with an assload of grind, there’s almost certainly not going to be enough content to keep people around past that first month or two, especially as they seem to be going for a very tightly scripted, story-driven kinda experience.

    I’m really not sure where they’re going with this business model. The design seems fairly incompatible with the subscription style.

    • Lorc says:

      Exactly what worries me about this game as well.

      And I’m not sure how the the tank/dps/healer combat model can possibly suit the setting.

      • Trithne says:

        Yep. As soon as he started saying “we need someone who can tank, who can hold aggro” I lost all interest. That system is absurd even in entirely fantastical settings, and it’s a crutch for lazy design.

        Also assault rifles that leech health.

      • Odog4ever says:


        Hmm, lets look at combat scenarios in modern games, set in modern times: Assault, medic, sniper maps to tank, healer, dps. The Secret World is like Battlefield were you can change kits during a match.

        Because abilities aren’t locked by a decision you made when you first started the game, if your party is getting its but kicked for example, half the group can start healing or draw the enemy off. Something that would requiring logging into a completely different character in other MMOs.

  2. elnalter says:

    they need to make the clothes a better fit

    • puppybeard says:

      x = assumed IQ of target audience
      y = visible flesh in cm^2, assuming normal human proportions*
      130 = Fairly high IQ

      130 – (y * 0.25) = x

      Find x

      Honestly, I love the idea behind this game. But the thongs and other related crap make me think it may be one for the feverishly masturbating demographic. And I’m speaking as somone who owns a copy of Bayonetta.

      *And that’s taking some things for granted

  3. BULArmy says:

    I really want to play it, looks like an MMO I can enjoy and really want Funcom to have success iwth it, but I am sure I won’t be able to play both this and D3.

  4. nimzy says:

    First the John Walker simulator, then the John Walker RPG. No! What deadline!? I’m going to restart from the last checkpoint.

  5. RedViv says:

    I do like what I see.

  6. TsunamiWombat says:

    Mildly dissapointed I personality tested into Templar now. Y’know. Because of the oral sex.


  7. serioussgtstu says:

    I’d imagined that an mmo based on the Illuminati and Templar war would be heavily dependant on cloke and dagger gameplay, but dungeons and holy trinity mechanics do seem a bit unsuitable. I had imagined something like a modern day assassin’s creed setting when I first heard of secret world, but this feels a bit too typically mmo.

    I hope this game does well, but gun based combat really does require more skill than hot keys can provide.

  8. PleasingFungus says:

    Mannequin sex kinda creeps me out.

  9. diamondmx says:

    The animation and voice acting for the dragon intro scene (y’know, the sexy bit) seemed seriously awkward to me. And the expressions need a lot of work.

    The scene with the child didn’t really seem all that creepy, which was the vibe they were going for. The monologue about the dragon was a bit weak. And then there was a tattoed man in a loincloth. For a moment they were supposed to be holding the player entranced, wondering tensely about what happens next, I don’t think a genuine ‘Laugh Out Loud’ is the reaction they need.

    I’m really hoping they know there’s a lot of polish to go before this feels like an immersive experience.
    Which is concerning, because I love the idea of this game and I really want it to be something special and properly story driven.

    • Keymonk says:

      The random guy with the thong made me lol, really.

    • Ragnar says:

      The whole intro scene needs to be redone. It feels forced. Why would you follow the child (which I thought was a gigantic peep until I saw the text) unless the quest text told you to? If you were following the child, and the child was scurrying away, wouldn’t you run after it, rather than strut like you’re on a runway?

      The tattooed naked man, while kind of awesome, definitely made me laugh each time I saw him in the briefs. I don’t think laughter is what they were going for there.

      And the sex scene? I love hot women having sex, but that whole scene felt completely fake, revealing it for the cheap ploy targeted at the male demographic that it was. What, we’re supposed to believe that every Dragon initiate is a horrible slut, ready to make out with whatever attractive stranger comes on to us? At least try to be subtle about it.

      I was really excited about this game since I saw the first, awesome, trailer. Seeing this, I’m feeling pretty turned off.

  10. kud13 says:

    so many cool ideas…. why is it an MMO?

    • j3w3l says:

      It would have been far better as an open world rpg, with co-op

      • Ett_1762 says:

        just what i was thinking. it would have been so awesome to explore this world in skyrim style, maybe with a coop option. and it’s because of money that we will never see that.

  11. Jostaffa says:

    The combat seems to be everything I hoped it wouldn’t be. The UI is slick as hell, story seems out of the ordinary and the crafting looks interesting, I just hope the combat isn’t as un-engaging as it looks. I do like Thongman Dragonarms.

  12. Brise Bonbons says:

    My first response to this video: Can I have a “no combat” option when making a character? I just want to explore and play the puzzle parts, because the entire combat and “MMO” side of the game just put me to sleep faster than guzzling an entire bottle of young Cabernet after eating an entire turkey and the stuffing therein (sorry, I don’t know what people over the pond typically eat that induces equivalent drowsiness).


    Back in the world of realistic expectations, I can only see the above video as a depressing reminder of all that is wrong with current MMO design, and TSW itself looks to be shaping up into a tragic missed opportunity.

    Some of the worst missteps in my view:

    As mentioned, the trinity is ludicrous in this setting.

    Making combat a matter of standing and trading blows with these extra-planar horrors renders them mundane and impotent, destroying any potential for terror or suspense. Is bog-standard MMO combat really the best use for such enemies?

    The skill system looks like an impossible-to-balance mess, and based on the specific skill descriptions I’ve seen, isn’t even cool looking – lots of “does extra damage vs. does more extra damage”.

    Standing and spamming skills at a target that stands and flails its arms at you. Really?

    Static cut scenes of people talking, at length, helpfully inserted to exercise the player’s “esc” pressin’ finger. In a game all about solving riddles and stuff, shouldn’t we be able to ask questions?

    Writing a sex scene which has more in common with bad porn than horror/SF/Fantasy. If that’s the direction you’re going, at least be cleverer or weirder about it; this is just bland, unsexy, and nonsensical. Also damn, the animation looks bad. I’ll give that a pass for now, though, it’s in beta.


    There are so many clever things in this game (no classes, the investigation/puzzle elements, crafting, the setting itself, the mission structure), but damn does it look like they hobble all the good ideas with a bunch of tired, out-of-place MMO baggage.

    P.S. Vikings fighting alongside native Americans to stop Mayans from invading and releasing an old god. I know they’re kind of embracing the campy side of things, but this strikes me as the sort of silly idea that should have been sent back early on by a good editor or focus test group. I mean, it has potential, but seems totally half baked as-is.

    I dunno, am I just having a bad knee-jerk first impression here? I like this game, I want to be excited for it, but this video just completely turned me off.

    • Ett_1762 says:

      all of this is true and made me loose interest in the game. taking it of my “to buy” list, and writing in my wishlist that someone picks up the setting for a singleplayer RPG after the MMO has gone down the drain. oh well…

    • Shiny says:

      Still applicable 5 years later: link to

    • Simon says:

      “…put me to sleep faster than guzzling an entire bottle of young Cabernet after eating an entire turkey and the stuffing therein (sorry, I don’t know what people over the pond typically eat that induces equivalent drowsiness).”

      In answer to this question, sub turkey for chicken (except at Christmas!) and set it on Sunday afternoon and I’m already there!

      Not sure that the game will be quite that bad though, but a lot of the things mentioned in your post are still problems with most MMOs’ mechanics. Maybe time will show some improvement in the genre, hopefully before I grow old and blind and can’t enjoy them…

  13. Morte66 says:

    It does seem a bit “massively singleplayer online RPG with mandatory grouping for tough quests”. Which is maybe what people want (grouping is a pain to do all the time), but I can’t help thinking it would work better as a singleplayer game. Or if it had player created content that only works in multiplayer, like turf wars and politics.

    I like the mood and setting, I could maybe take a punt on a short sub to play through the campaign as pseudo-singleplayer if the reviews are good.

  14. Deviija says:

    I like the narrative and the gameplay and the UI. However, if this is the standard intro for EVERY Dragon player, I am disappointed. Not because same-sex relations are implied/insinuated and are part of the game — that’s great! (And I post plenty about pro-s/s romances and characters and inclusivity in games on RPS and BSN and BorderHouse blog.) But the thing is that this intro showed no player input or choice in the matter whether to have a fancy evening with a lady, let alone whether it was her choice to initiate sexytime at all? What if one of my lady PC’s isn’t into other women? Or what about some lady gamers that aren’t into seeing their character get it on (without choice) with another lady and have no option to say otherwise?

    I mean, if the Dragon Lady was a Dragon Dude and the PC was a Dude, and they had implied sexytime in a cutscene without any choice or input, there’d be a vocal response to this instead of ‘it’s hot.’ :P

    My gripe only is that there seems to be no choice or roleplay option here. That is the part that bothers me.

    • Consumatopia says:

      EDIT: sorry, didn’t mean to reply here. You’re right, though.

  15. kud13 says:

    Having watched the whole video (my last response was typed at approximately the point where they mentioned that achievemnts will give you extra stuff, a la Alpha Protocol, which I absolutely adored), I have this to say:

    If you remake this as a bloodlines-esque single player RPG, you can have all my money. really, all the money I will ever earn.

    if it’s an MMO, i’ll have to pass.

    also, the vikings+Natives vs Mayans gave me a strong Lawhead-esque vibe. especially once Excalibur’s mentioned.

  16. Consumatopia says:

    If you have sex with an NPC partner, it’s like having sex with every player in Dragon.

  17. dsch says:

    Sigh, looks like every other MMO. Is there anyone who would actually claim to prefer this to more Longest Journey?

  18. PearlChoco says:

    I am SO willing to like this game but…. the animations look awkward, the environments bland and the combat extremely boring and low-budget.
    And I hope the UI is still going to get a complete overhaul; a specific Dragon/Templar/Illuminati themed UI would be alot more interesting to look at.

    The only thing that can save this game is the story… let’s wait and see.

  19. sockpuppetclock says:

    God damn that Portal 2 post-mortem has the worst camera work. Good job on missing some of the slides, IGN, everyone knows the most important thing is to watch Erik and Chet move their mouths and make hand expressions.

  20. Grayvern says:

    I killed an elder god and all I got was this stupid t-shirt…

  21. raptormesh says:

    The skill wheel seems mildly intriguing.

    I couldn’t stop myself from laughing at the stilted suggestive scene at the beginning and the CDC woman had me gouging my own eyes. No wonder her colleagues all chose to be zombies. Her personality’s all over the place, it’s like 4 writers taking turns with each line. She didn’t come across as unhinged, just batshit annoying.

  22. Hedenius says:

    I can’t say I’ve followed the development of this game too closely, but from what I’ve seen before it seemed interesting. Not so much anymore.

    In one word: Bland.

    And there are two things that are seriously wrong. Why the hell is she wearing a thong for everyone to see? And why the hell is that guy wearing a beaner inside?

    I just lost faith in the (secret) world.

    • f1x says:

      to be honest, even if its an mmo it looks just too poor graphically,
      its not about graphic “potency” but it just dosnt have much style,
      I mean I know they might be running for mmo cliches, but there few appealing things in the game in the visual part, the chars dont seem to be able to look atractive/badass, they just look as you said: bland

    • Ragnar says:

      I’m told it was all the rage back in ’08: link to

      Besides, how else will she advertise to the world that she’s an attention whore?

  23. Space-Pope says:

    First off, the sex scene is just stupid. Gamers don’t need any more reasons to be stereotyped as sexless losers. Having lesbian cunnilingus in the intro for an MMORPG doesn’t help matters.

    Second, Funcom must have a very low opinion of their own customers. You’re standing in an alleyway in Seoul, with some weird little kid on a highlighter yellow jacket on. What do I see? “Quest objective: Approach the child.” Honestly, it’s kind of insulting when a game shows itself to be so pandering.

    • puppybeard says:

      You’re right, the juvenile oglers are the enemy within, keeping things embarrassing for the rest of us.

  24. MD says:

    Cunnilingus-receiving face at 8:08 = creepiest thing I’ve seen all week.

  25. rebbecar says:

    Katy Perry Bright Hot Medium Straight Blue Full Lace Celebrity Wigs

  26. mashakos says:

    I can’t believe that SH3, a 9 year old game has technically more advanced graphics and better atmosphere than the Secret World.
    Just look at this character model and compare with the one shown in the opening dragon cut-scene:
    link to

    and compare the blandness of the “filfth” with the art direction in these shots which start out normal but steadily more disturbing:
    link to
    link to
    link to
    link to
    link to
    link to
    link to

    This is literally a huge fail from Tornquist. hyping up the game like it’s the second coming – a melding of single player story telling and the social interaction of multiplayer, when all he’s been setting out to do was a mildly less generic MMO…

  27. smurfik says:

    Let me share my experience with you, experience of a long time Age of Conan player – Failcom games = no thanks. Look at what they have done with Age of Conan, check the games forums (which are dead after they ruined the game), look players reviews. These guys do not care about their players at all and I (and many of my friends) can tell you hundreds of examples. (DX10 says the game box and it isn`t working in the game after more than 3 years, broken sieges which were another reason to buy are still broken too, tons and tons of bugs, and so on).

    So my advice is – be careful, if you want to spend any penny on any of their games.

  28. puppybeard says:

    If I wanted unconvincing 3d sex, I’d be playing Second Life. Again.

    The Secret(-ly a mod of Second Life) World.

  29. Sard says:

    I wanna hug yellow suit woman.

    • aDemandingPersona says:

      Looking at the achievement list, you apparently get one for hugging her.