Posts Tagged ‘Funcom’

The Secret World Pledges It’s “Far From Done”

The looming face of Ragnar Tørnquist sits atop a message to The Secret World players, in an effort to calm concerns after what are described as “a turbulent couple of weeks”. The game, which apparently has only around 200,000 players after its first month, has put developers Funcom in a tough financial position, with rumours of as many as half the staff worldwide being laid off, and their share value falling a massive 84% drop. But T(ALT-0248)rnquist is seeking to assure players that things are still good for the game itself.

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Secret World Sells 200K, ‘Smaller’ Funcom Games Ahead

'Well, at least *someone* cares enough to kill me.'

Well, I can’t say we didn’t see this coming, but I’d always really, really hoped some cosmic force would swoop in and reshape reality for the sole purpose of avoiding it. In this bold new world, Ragnar Tornquist would be the brains behind every MMO storyline, and we’d live happily ever after in worlds that couldn’t unironically apply the phrase “happily ever after.” But alas, The Secret World has had some pretty serious trouble gaining ground, and that’s taken a toll. First, layoffs and delays struck in fairly short order, and now Funcom’s headed for a very different future than the one it originally planned.

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Having Issues: Secret World Issue Two Delayed

Disclaimer: this image may no longer be entirely accurate.

When we last peeked in on The Secret World, it was on the up and up. Rocket launchers and surgery were right around the corner, and – and in spite of that sentence sounding like some kind of homicidal plastic surgeon super villain trap – it was quite an exciting time. But things have changed a bit since then – mainly, things of the layoff variety. And with some reports saying that up-to-half of Funcom’s employees have gone the way of Kingsmouth residents (that is to say they disappeared – not that they turned into wildly gyrating fish monsters), it’s not too surprising that the remaining staffers would need a bit of extra time to get things back in working order.

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Tough Times: Layoffs At PopCap, THQ And Funcom

Sniff.

As we know, random events segregate ‘non-randomly’, and things bunching together isn’t a trend. But it’s still pretty chilling to see so many lay-offs in the games industry all at once. So we express our sympathies and best wishes to those at Funcom, PopCap, and THQ who’ve found out their jobs are no longer in the last few hours.

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Secret World Issue Two Adds Rocket Launchers, Surgery

Soon, you too will have the chance to trust this man with your life. Hooray!

As a red-blooded member of the game-playing populace, I must confess that I quite enjoy rocket launchers. However, as someone who has blood and doesn’t particularly want to see it outside my body, I’m not the biggest fan of surgery. But then, I suppose that means The Secret World Issue Two is adding something for everyone. And honestly, aside from the part where the man performing it looks like he wants to take all your organs and replace them with giant centipedes, even the surgery will do the body good. Specifically, you can get a new face! Then you can use your new face to look at more hair customization options, new story missions, and two more nightmare mode dungeons.

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MMO Woe: The Secret World Suffers

It doesn't feel good to have to write stories like this a few months after every MMO launches, I tell you

The Secret World has one remaining secret – that it wasn’t the big fat hit it needed to be. Dev Funcom has been making grumbly noises about the Metacritic score being too low, leading to a tumble in their share price, reportedly by as much 84%. It’s almost as if Metacritic is a poisonously artificial benchmark of success and accomplishment, isn’t it? While I raise at least three eyebrows at Funcom claiming their aggregate review score is the major reason for the game struggling, the fact is that the game has failed to meet their sales projections, and that’s bad news for an MMO. Funcom’s chief money-dude has also been talking of lay-offs in the wake of the bad news.
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Age Of Conan Taking Pages From Secret World’s Book

Come one, come all! Ladies and gentlemen, step right up to see Francis, the horse who grimaces like a man!

Hand-me-downs are for the weak. Real fictional computerized barbarians use hand-me-ups, because they don’t abide by tradition. They destroy it. Actually, no, they don’t do that at all. Instead, if Age of Conan‘s any indication, they observe it closely and make a series of measured decisions based on heaps of empirical data – in this case, data collected by The Secret World and its recent successes. And then I guess that somehow leads to enemies being driven somewhere – in some variety of environmentally friendly automobile, presumably – to provide community service for lamenting women? Sounds about right anyway, but I should probably brush up on my barbarism.

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Spread The Word: Secret World Free Next Weekend

You - yes, that's right, you - could have a chance to party with this thing! Who could pass up an offer like that?

I don’t imagine it’s easy being a subscription fee in this free-to-play world of ours. At best, you’re viewed as an anachronism. At worst, a pariah. You walk into places of commerce, only to find people talking about you as though you died years ago. And others… well, others aren’t so kind. They all-too-willingly bring out pitchforks and torches, which is among the more enthusiastic ways to communicate the message “Please go away.” I mean, just look at The Secret World. Funcom’s throwing a giant party next weekend, and TSW’s subscription fee isn’t even invited!

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A Sneaky Glimpse At The Secret World’s July Update

Holed up in Mistakotonic Prepatory School Innsmouth Academy yesterday, I stumbled across a headmaster’s report on a girl who was in a spot of bother with some wendigos. I don’t know how I’d missed it before, lying on a desk in plain view, but somehow I had. That’s the nature of The Secret World; look around and you’ll probably spot something you missed first time through. Despite this abundance, on July 31st, the first monthly injection of additional content arrives. Gather round, because I’ve had a private look at Funcom’s secret bits.

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Secret World To Get New Missions, More On Monthly Basis

OK, OK! Truce! Gosh, I'm just a tree monster. Fire, lightning, and guns, though? Total overkill. Man, I'm going home.
[TEASER NOTE: Full interview with Ragnar on this stuff to follow later this week!]

The Secret World’s off to a strong start, but we live in a world of short attention spans and even shorter tolerances for subscription fees. So then, how does a heavily story-and-puzzle-solving-focused MMO keep players from scattering to the winds like fickle, fickle fall leaves or SWTOR’s userbase? Well, by giving them more of those things. Constantly. Every month. Sorry, Funcom employees. Please don’t haunt me when you all become fatally sleep-deprived ghosts.

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Secret World’s Tornquist On F2P, Single-Player Games

The Secret World is officially live, and we’ve both locked it in a room with our most dangerous mythical creature, Adam, and hurled questions at creative director Ragnar Tornquist until he cracked – by which I mean “willingly and jovially answered my questions in a highly consensual fashion.” And today, the insane brutality continues. Specifically, we discuss free-to-play, what Tornquist plans on doing next (hint: probably not another MMO), social gaming, whether or not MMO business models hurt fun, and more.

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Secret World’s Tornquist On WoW Copycats, What’s Next

Secrets! Everybody has them – even you. Maybe you occasionally take two samples at the grocery store, or talk on your cell phone while driving, putting millions at risk. Or perhaps you’re just part of some boring, hum-drum Illuminati that controls the world’s every thought and action. The Secret World creative director Ragnar Tornquist used to be like you – except more interesting and with a cooler name. Now, though, his secrets are all gone. Yep, I snatched up every last one. He’s afraid of liquorice-flavored jellybeans. True story. But also, more pertinently, he thinks Secret World “doesn’t feel like any other MMO” in existence, and he has big plans about how to keep you wayward folk interested long after launch. Read on for all of that and more.

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Wot I Think: The Secret World

I’ve been exploring The Secret World for a good while now, so even though Funcom have only just released it into our own unenigmatic land, I’m ready to tell you wot I think. Of course, given the nature of the game, I’ll be continuing to play, revisiting and reporting back, but I’ve already seen a great deal of the content and so I’m going to do this the only way I know how. Words, ordered into sentences, conveying ideas.

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Go Minifigure: Funcom To Work On Lego MMO

Was anyone else unnerved by the way Toy Story Lego minifigs had non-conformist heads and proportions?

The Secret World will be ready to reveal all of its enigmas soon enough but Funcom are already looking to the future, announcing that they are to begin work on another MMO.

…the company has signed a license agreement with the LEGO Group, one of the world’s most successful manufacturers of play materials, to develop a massively multiplayer online game based on the hugely popular LEGO® Minifigures franchise.

Of all the things I expected to read today, that sentence ranks as slightly more unexpected than ‘moon is actually an egg’ but slightly less unexpected than ‘Dreamfall Chapters to release tomorrow; Kinect exlusive’. More on the announcement below.

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Jig’s Up: Secret World’s Last Beta Weekend Open To All

The stalk-o-vision camera seems to be working well.
So let’s say – speaking, of course, on entirely hypothetical terms – that there was an Illuminati. And – again, hypothetically – let’s say our own John Walker found himself exchanging super-official, deathly serious secret handshakes among their shadowy ranks. In the event that these things happened and weren’t ludicrously impossible, you might have found them intriguing – perhaps even scintillating. You might have thought “Gee, I’d like to give that a try myself – you know, if it were a real thing that existed. But it’s not, so I won’t. Ever.” And today I’m here to report that nothing has changed, secret societies don’t exist, and you’ll never have the chance to take part in one this weekend.

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Funcom Illuminatis Slight Secret World Delay

RRRARGH MONGO HATE DELAYS.
Did John’s latest glimpse into The Secret World entice you? Did it make you (skeptically) ponder the possibilities of an MMO with diabolical puzzles and authentic female characters that finally offset the catastrophic damage Tera did to the balance of the universe? Well then, you might want to sit down. Ah, you’re already sitting. Well then, I give you permission to eat a cookie or something – even if you’re on a diet. But just one, because honestly, this isn’t that big of a deal. The Secret World, you see, has been delayed. By a couple weeks. And you’re getting more beta weekends. Actually, you know what? Give me back that cookie.

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What The Secret World Is Getting Right (And Wrong)

Get back in your tank!

As I’ve progressed further into The Secret World‘s beta, and have cleared most of New England’s enormous territory and swathes of quests, I’m hitting that more difficult place to write about in an MMO preview. That’s partly because you obviously don’t want to know what’s going to happen 30 hours into your game, and I’d be an idiot to say. And it’s partly because being a beta I’m increasingly hitting buggy territory and slightly unfinished missions, and it’s pretty bad form to write about that since it’ll likely be gone by release. (And if it’s not, it’ll certainly get written about then.) I mean, it’s hard not to want to tell you about the time I died so hard all my clothes and my hair fell off, and I spent the next hour streaking around in a tiny pair of pants, baldy-headed with my boobs out for all to see. But that’s unlikely to be a feature in the finished game. So of course everything I’m writing about here is subject to change.

So instead, I’ve thought of the big three things I think The Secret World is really getting right, and then put together a list three things I worry it could get wrong.

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Next Secret World Beta Weekend Returns To Kingsmouth

Omigosh, where did you get that jacket? WE MUST KNOW.
I love weekends. They’re rife with potential – for adventure. Granted, that usually means a concert, bar-hopping, or sleeping through both of those things, but I don’t live in New England. John, however, is trapped there, and he seems to be having a pleasant enough time “joining the Illuminati,” “staving off a demonic invasion,” and whatever other crazy slang lingo drips from this apparently endless faucet of cool. Fortunately, you will once again have the opportunity to take an all-too-brief tour this weekend – but with even more locations in which to perform wholesome activities like “investigating what lies behind the rising darkness.” That means, like, braiding each others’ hair, right?

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Temporary Templars: Secret World’s First Beta Weekend

Oooo, I think I see a bunny! Wait, no, just another Dracula.

Riddle me this: If everyone knows about it, is it still a secret world? And, if everybody in the entire whole of human existence makes that joke, have we failed as a species? Are our greatest works – from the Great Wall to the Sistine Chapel to Twitter – rendered invalid by a primal attraction to terrible humor? These are the questions we must ask ourselves as we peer into the nightmarish depths of our own reflections, glances dancing and darting around – never lingering – for fear of drowning in the oozy shadows of truth. Well, that and also “Did I pre-order The Secret World?” If the answer’s yes, then you’ve got a hot date with the Templar starting area this weekend. Hooray!

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