Posts Tagged ‘Funcom’

LEGO Minifigures Online Release, Ditches F2P Model

LITTLE PLASTIC PEOPLE.

LEGO Worlds is looking like it’ll become the brick ’em up folks have been asking for since 1873, with the grand vision of letting folks slap down plastic bricks with their pals and play silly beggars to their hearts’ content. LEGO Minifigures Online [official site] is, well, one of the games that made the long wait for LEGO Worlds so frustrating.

Made by Funcom, LEGO Minifigures Online is an MMO action-RPG where different LEGOMEN are different classes, romping through LEGO settings. After a year in open beta as free-to-play, yesterday it officially launched as regular old pay-to-play offering everything for one price.

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The Secret World Wraps Up Season 1 In Latest Expansion

I suppose one doesn’t hear much about The Secret World [official site] nowadays. The idea of a supernatural RPG where our modern-day world is filled with all sorts of ghosts, ghouls, cryptozoological oddities, and unspeakable horrors from beyond the stars is fantastic, but it’s a shame it’s an MMORPG.

Still, Funcom have steadily expanded the story with mini expansions called ‘Issues’ and brought it all to a head with the launch of Issue 11. ‘Reaping the Whirlwind’ wraps up season 1 (a mixed metaphor, there), showing consequences to decisions throughout the game. It visits a fine setting: the headquarters of a sinister megacorp whose supernatural experiments went awry.

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The RPG Scrollbars: Back To The Secret World

What do Egyptian pharaohs like to feed their cats? I don't know, but Akhenaten cats prefer Whiskers.

You know those games that you can never really get into, but you keep dipping back into, time and again? For me, they tend to be MMORPGs, and two in particular – City of Heroes, which I’d often feel the urge to just fire up for a weekend and clobber some stuff, and World of Warcraft, which I always jump into each expansion pack to take my Undead Mage out of storage for one more adventure. The Secret World is also on my list, but from the other direction. It’s a game that ticked every one of my boxes when it first came out, save the one about actually having fun with it. Yet I’ve been back several times, always secretly hoping that at some point it will have morphed into the single-player Vampire: Bloodlines type game its world constantly cries tortured screams to have been.

Well, spoiler: It hasn’t. And yes, I know in my heart that it never will. However, last month… actually, wait, we’re in May. Bah! Fine. Back in March then, Funcom launched what it called ‘The Enhanced Player Experience’. Well, it’s been a quiet week. I thought I’d see if it’s helped things out any.

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Have You Played… The Secret World?

Just another day in London.

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Somewhere inside The Secret World is a splendid single-player RPG. Awakened to the supernatural horrors in our world, we join a secret order fighting against them – and other rival orders. Unfortunately, we do this inside an MMO. The Secret World is still quite pleasant as an MMO, one with a fab premise and an ace class-free skill system, but having started playing a few months ago I find myself wishing so often that it were simply single-player.

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Do Not Swallow: LEGO Minifigures Online Enters Open Beta

That's me playing as Bumblebee Girl with a character nicknamed 'Empty.'

If you haven’t already twigged that LEGO Minifigures Online was not made with you in mind, the account registration asking for your parent’s e-mail address should clue you in. Funcom’s free-to-play MMORPG is definitely for the little’uns, but I’ll understand if grown-ups fancy a peek. It is LEGO, after all. The game launched into open beta yesterday, so wander on over to the official site if you’d like to visit. You probably won’t want to stay.

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Hands On: LEGO Minifigures Online

Funcom haven’t had a smooth ride of late. The Secret World performed under expectations (although these were expectations based on their delusionally thinking they could charge a box price and subscription for a new IP MMO), and in January they were briefly suspended from trading as their offices were raided. That cannot have been fun. However, things appear to be back on track now, and last week they were showing off their next MMO, LEGO Minifigures Online. It could well be a much needed cash cow for the milking. I sat down and had a play of the family-friendly brick-me-do.

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Development And Support Continues At Funcom

Following the news of possible financial infringements a couple of days ago, we reached out to Funcom to find out if the situation would affect the company’s in-development Lego Minifigs title, as well as continued expansions and support for their ongoing MMOs, including The Secret World. Today, we received an update from the developer and I’ve included it in full below. Here’s a taste:

Production on all Funcom games continues as normal, and the company remains fully committed to games in development as well as the continued operation and updating of existing live games. Yesterday’s events is not expected to have any impact on the company’s continued operation or the development on future releases.

Good news then? It seems so.

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Funcom Charged Over Possible Financial Infringements

Funcom, developer of Age of Conan and The Secret World among others, has been reinstated on the Oslo Stock Exchange following a suspension earlier this morning. The suspension was related to charges from Økokrim, the Norwegian authority for the investigation and prosecution of financial crime. The charges state that the company is cooperating fully, which may tie in to reports in Norwegian media that the offices have been closed down and employees sent home while the investigation begins today. As for the specifics, we don’t know anymore than the few details in the charge sheet, which are covered below. We have contacted Funcom and will update as soon as we know more.

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Bust Into Lego Minfigures Online’s Closed Beta


As a casual observer of the Lego phenomenon, I am continually baffled by the games. I don’t particularly enjoy the LEGO: Pop Culture Thing third-person smash-em-ups, as I mostly want a creative restructuring of things (though John thinks it’s because I’m made of hate. I assure you the two are not related). Smashing and rebuilding without any control just doesn’t fit into my Lego universe, and while I briefly exposed a nerve of interest when Lego Minfigures Online was announced, Adam’s preview was a splash of cold water that made me grimace. There was a lot of smashy and not a lot of buildy. That’s not to say it’s not in there, but they really didn’t want to talk about it if it is. Ah well, I still have Garry’s Mod and Minecraft, and all other kinds of creative games. If you’re looking for more punchy smashy fun, you can now sign up to the the LMO Closed Beta.
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First Look: Lego Minifigures Online

Lego Minifigures Online is a functional title. This is a game in which tiny Lego humanoids have adventures together, in colourful worlds full of loot, quests and monsters. Funcom have a great deal of experience in the genre, but there will almost certainly be less decapitations and horrific conspiracies than in their previous massively multiplayer efforts. At a crowded and explosion-happy Gamescom, the sight of Lego was soothing and somehow reassuring. But what of the game itself? What is it doing with all of that lovely Lego*?

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Issue Six (Six Six): The Secret World’s PvP XP Overhaul


The sixth big update to The Secret World looks moderately bonkers, with “The Last Train To Cario” offering Lost Ark type shenanigans with hats and whips aplenty. There’s also some news regarding PvP changes, where things have been tweaked to give more motivation to combat: XP shared between you and the group for kills, as well as a battle rank. Funcom suggest that this stuff, plus “a good chunk of minor enhancements and bug fixes” should make this update an important one.

The game is now subscription free, which makes it worth a punt for no-pennies.

Interview: The Secret World Drops Subscription

The Secret World has dropped its subscription and purchasing the client will now provide access to all existing content, with no ongoing fees. Ahead of the announcement, I spoke to game director Joel Bylos and Funcom’s director of communications Erling Ellingsen to find out what this means for the future and why the decision has been made now. In a frank interview, we discussed whether players can still expect regular updates and how the team hope to make the new model profitable. We also talk about the shadow cast by Guild Wars 2 and Blizzard, and the future of subscription-based MMOs.

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Tentacles On Broadway: The Secret World Issue 4

The Macy's window display has escaped!
The Secret World‘s “Issue 4” update will burst flailing onto the streets of virtual Manhattan later this month. It’s going to include a raid in which you fight your way across the streets of the Big Apple, as well as a range of other content, including chainsaws. How you get the chainsaw seems a little gruesome. Can’t secret society soldiers just go to a hardware store?

The update is also – bizarrely – going to introduce The Albion Theatre, which will allow groups of players to use props and sound effects to put on “plays” in the game for other Secret Worlders to watch. Bonkers.
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Secret World’s First Raid Sounds Very Secret World-y

You there! Yes, you! Get down from that police car right this very instant. You are breaking the law.

Sometimes, it’s quite easy to forget about The Secret World. Don’t get me wrong: that’s not to call it a forgettable experience. Rather, its blend of witty wiles and bone-chilling atmosphere wasn’t enough to propel it to the same heights as comparatively household names like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars. Sadly, the main thing that’s occasionally shoved it back into the spotlight as of late has been internal turmoil at Funcom – not people finally taking notice of what is a fairly delightful (though certainly flawed) experience. And that’s a shame, because it sounds like Funcom’s chief fungineers haven’t stopped dreaming big just because of a few nightmarish turns for the worse.

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Keep The Faith: Dreamfall Chapters Interview

Sometimes it takes a while to turn the page. Ragnar Tørnquist announced today that his new company, Red Thread Games, will be developing and publishing Dreamfall Chapters, finally continuing the story that began with The Longest Journey. I wanted to know more about the timing, the return to adventure games and what this means for The Secret World, so I spoke to Ragnar about how far along development has already come, psychological RPGs, storytelling and singleplayer social gaming (not what you might think).

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The Cat God Returns: Secret World Issue Three Goes Live


Well now, here’s a pleasant surprise. The Secret World’s second batch of story content took its sweet time – admittedly with good reason – but Issue Three‘s already sneaked up on unsuspecting players and pounced. Much like a cat. A cat who’s also god. (As opposed to a cat who’s also a dog – which is this thing.) Among other things, “The Cat God” kicks off TSW’s first ever seasonal event, which will unfold as Halloween approaches and star the felonious feline deity itself. That, however, is only one of the many baddie-filled goodies that awaits you. Nonchalantly rub up against the break while purring and pretending you don’t notice it to find out about the others.

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Secret World’s New Dance Move: The Internal Shakeup

WHERE DID YOU GET THAT COAT WE MUST KNOW.

And by dance move, I of course mean “tectonic shift in creative management affixed to a phrase that happens to sound like it could be a dance move in a universe where things like layoffs and sadness don’t exist.” Given recent events, however, I imagine that actually adding a dance animation titled “The Internal Shakeup” to The Secret World would elicit a chorus of “too soons” powerful enough to wake the dead just so they could add, “Yeah guys, that’s sort of not-cool” before returning to their grim slumber. Anyway! Longest Journey mastermind Ragnar Tornquist is stepping down from his role as senior producer and slipping into some striking new creative director pants, while Joel Bylos is moving up from lead content designer to game director. Join me in reading way too far into it after the break.

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Funcom: Secret World ‘Has The Tools’ To Go F2P

Because shooting tree monsters is an indelible human right - not something that should be hidden behind the heartless wall of commerce.

Do you own any tools? I own some tools. I have a screwdriver, a hammer, a wrench, and a key that doesn’t actually go to anything, so I use it to open cardboard boxes. Apparently, though, Funcom’s utility belt is even more expansive than my formidable arsenal. In fact, if the sadly struggling Secret World developer is to be believed, it even possesses the mythical Free-To-Play Tool. Yes, that’s right. It does exist. Even in Norway.

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Aaaand Secret World’s Issue Two’s Been Delayed… Again

Can you guys just release the issue already? My hand is getting really tired.

Yesterday, I told you to expect a giant pile of goodies underneath your Secret-World-mas tree today. And yet, unless you live in the future, you found nothing. I expect, then, that you are here waving pitchforks and torches aloft to run me out of town for my deceitful ways. But I didn’t do it on purpose. Honest! Instead, shortly after celebrating Issue Two’s imminent launch, Funcom realized it still had a lot of work left to do.

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Digging Deeper Into Secret World’s ‘Digging Deeper’ Update

Noooooo, my Olympic track and field dreams are over.

The Secret World‘s second issue hasn’t exactly had the shortest journey to players’ virtual mailboxes, but – after one more brief delay – it should be arriving sometime today. Let’s be honest, though: seeing as it’s Guild Wars 2’s time now (Is that the point they were trying to make? I still don’t know), your TSW icon – cold and untouched by a mouse click’s caress – probably has the other kind of mouse living inside it at this point. You, I’m guessing, will require some convincing on this one. Funcom seems to think so too, so it’s put together a video overview of “Digging Deeper” – just for you, and you alone. And also hundreds of thousands of other people who are incredibly similar to you.

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