Posts Tagged ‘The Secret World’

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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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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Escape To New York: The Secret World’s First Raid

I’ve seen the things that are to come in The Secret World, at least some of them, and even though the present is turbulent the future seems bright, or at least as bright as global conflict, the destruction of a metropolis and the spilling over of supernatural horror onto city streets could possibly be. It’s a flame-bright future with a great deal of ash, boiling blood and smoke blotted across it. As well as witnessing the power of plotting, I’ve been dipping into Guild Wars 2 for the first time, so along with a tour taking in elements of The Secret World’s first raid, I’ve been wondering whether I have room for two MMORPGs in my life.

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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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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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