The MMO genre is currently attempting to inject originality into itself, breaking the monotony that has ultimately caused it, with the exception of a few key players, to stagnate. Funcom had already tried once with Age of Conan, although the end result was unfortunately lacking. However, their second attempt at an MMORPG, The Secret World, moves closer to release, and after years of following its progress from the safety of preview articles and involving ARGs, I finally got my chance to gets hands-on with it during the first beta weekend.
For the uninitiated, The Secret World takes place in a modern day setting where the numerous myths of ages and conspiracy theories are all true, filled with horrors clearly inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. In this world, secret societies work to preserve humanity’s place, although they all want to ultimately have power and be on control. At launch players will be able to choose from three such factions; The traditionalist Templars, the extravagant Illuminati, and the manipulative Dragon, who will be fighting each other for dominance whilst keeping the forces of darkness at bay. In the beta weekend only the Templars and the first location of Kingsmouth were available, but it was more than enough content for me to discover what to expect in Funcom’s next title.
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Matt Gardner (Dealspwn): Our resident MMO guru, Carl, interviewed Ragnar at Gamescom and came back with glowing reports, and although I can't say I've ever been a huge MMO fan, I've found myself taking an interest in The Secret World, particularly with regard to the mythos, the story elements, and the three factions involved. How did the concept for the game come about?
Erling Ellingsen (Funcom): Well, here at Funcom, we've always tried to innovate. And I'm not just saying that, the proof is in the pudding. With Anarchy Online we created the first sci-fi MMO experience and pioneered things like dynamic questing and user trials, with Age of Conan we heavily explored the nature of combat in a massively multiplayer online title, and broke new ground in terms of action.
So naturally we wanted to create something very different to the rest of the genre with The Secret World. We realised quite early on that we wanted to set it in the real world, and our game director, Ragnar Tornquist, is a writer by trade. He wrote the story for Dreamfall and The Longest journey, two award-winning adventure games, and he wanted to focus heavily on story in The Secret World.
So when we looked at those two things - the idea of setting the game in the real world, along with this emphasis on storytelling - the notion of taking real world stories themselves, cultural myths folk tales and legends from around the world, that came quite quickly. There's so much stuff out there, too; brilliant stuff that might seem simplistic and childlike in narrative terms at first, but with real depth that we can work with. Take the Bogeyman, for example; it's a childish legend, but at the same time, he scares the crap out of people. The ability to take material like that, put our own spin on it, and incorporate those ideas into the game, is fantastic.Click here to read more...
Innovative modern-day MMO The Secret World is now ready to pre-order, Funcom have announced. As well as receiving a copy at launch, pre-order customers can expect guaranteed access to a series of Beta weekends (featuring persistent characters and experience between sessions) and exclusive in-game content. We've got the full details below.
A series of bolt-on packs allow players to buy some optional extras, such as extra game time and character slots. A lifetime subscription is even included in the top-tier option, though interestingly, Funcom don't seem to be willing to talk price as yet.
We're rather excited about The Secret World, to put it mildly. Funcom are throwing away conventional classes and levels to offer a freeform experience that doesn't resemble anything else on the MMO market, and Carl has exhaustively researched the subject in our The Secret World preview.Click here to read more...
Funcom’s upcoming MMORPG, The Secret World, surprised quite a few people at Gamescom with its information blowout, showing off what to expect in terms of missions and PvP. Looking to keep the momentum going, Funcom have launched of an entire week dedicated to one of the three joinable factions to which players will get to pledge allegiance to; the chaos-creating Dragon.Click here to read more...
Those of you excited for Funcom's upcoming MMORPG The Secret World (and we know there's at least a few of you) will be glad to know that the sign up process to join the beta, along with the first part of the tie-in social game The Secret War, has finally begun. To register just go to the official website, choose your side from the three playable factions (the Templar, Dragon, and Illuminati, for those not in the know) and then link it all to a Facebook account. This process ensures that you are on the beta waiting list, but by taking part in The Secret War you can increase your chances of getting into the beta, with those who attain the highest possible rank guaranteed a spot.But that's not all! Check out the rest of the news after the jump >>
The Secret World had a big showing at GamesCom this week, with EA and Funcom finally willing to spill the beans on their long-in-development MMO. It's an exciting proposition, a massively multiplayer game with no levels and no classes, in a world where every monster, boogeyman and urban myth is real.
Suffice to say, we're a little bit excited. As such, we managed to wrangle director Ragnar Tornquist for a sit-down interview. A compelling, charismatic individual with an obvious passion for his work, Tornquist shed more light on The Secret World's unique premise and unconventional design. Check out Carl's preview for much, much more on this very exciting new title.