The Secret World's Joel Bylos has taken to the official game forums to participate in a thread with specific regard to last week's April Fool's Joke where a "mankini" was being sold in the in-game shop. The mankini, a poke at gender equality and revealing outfits, created a veritable storm of indignation when the item was not only removed from the in-game shop, but also from players who had purchased it. In the letter, Bylos goes over the timeline of the issue and offers a word of apology.
Many of you have been asking why we decided to pull the Mankini outfit on Friday last week, and I understand some of you have been very frustrated by that decision. I have been avoiding commenting until I could be sure I had spoken with all involved and gotten all the information correct.
To be clear: the Mankini outfit (and the wetsuit) was definitely an April Fool's joke, and it was always my intention to have them be available for a limited time only in the store. However, it was never my intention to pull them from players who actually bought these items.
Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication between my team and Funcom management on how this was to be handled. Funcom management feels strongly that the Mankini outfit goes against what The Secret World intellectual property (IP) is all about and they did not want this item to stay in the game permanently. We all agree on the fact that The Secret World should be the best urban contemporary horror MMO out there, and they want to make sure that everything we bring into the game stays true to the setting and the atmosphere we have created – however it is safe to say that there is sometimes disagreement on nuance.
For that reason, Management made the decision to pull it from the game entirely.
I do not think we should have pulled it from those of you who had already purchased it. I have made that very clear, and I have also voiced your opinions to everyone involved. I am making sure we take every step necessary to make sure we do not end up in a similar situation again.
The wetsuit has also been removed from the store, as planned, but we are not going to remove it from those of you who already own it. However, if you wish to be refunded, please do contact our customer service for assistance.
The Gender Equality outfits were supposed to be a commentary about poor choices in the past and our commitment to being a better company in the future. The item was pulled due to concerns over the integrity of the IP - not because of the gender or skimpiness of the outfit. Let me reassure everybody that we take gender issues seriously (the entire point of the April Fool’s joke was to make fun of ourselves and respond to some comments that you have made in the past in a lighthearted way)
We all apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. I hope that this has explained the situation to you all, and reassures you that we won’t allow anything like this to occur in the future.
Addendum - Feel free to continue discussing it in this thread, of course, but if anyone has further concerns or feels that something hasn't been addressed, please contact me via PM.
You can read more and participate in the thread on The Secret World forum.
Disruptor Beam has announced that it is currently developing a new strategic RPG game called Star Trek Timelines. The game will see players build their ultimate ship and crew alongside iconic Star Trek characters from throughout the game's rich lore history.
“We want to create a new generation of strategy game for tablet and mobile devices and one that is as large and deep as the Star Trek universe itself,” said Jon Radoff, CEO of Disruptor Beam. “I grew up watching the franchise and have always felt that the best episodes were those that went beyond the coolness of the technology or vastness of space; the ones which told the story of characters making important decisions that had an impact on others, on civilizations, planets, and technology. Star Trek Timelines will encompass all of these concepts, allowing you to explore the vastness of space along with your friends—letting you live out the ‘where no man has gone before’ mantra we all love—but will also allow you to make decisions that impact your future, your friends and even the fate of the Galaxy.”
Star Trek Timelines will immerse players through a story-driven journey across the vast Star Trek multiverse including content and characters from Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise. Players will explore the Galaxy alongside their friends, build their dream crew and go on missions with Captain Kirk, Spock, Captain Picard, Data, and many other beloved (and some infamous) characters. Throughout their journey, players will explore numerous galaxies, planets and distant lands, while interacting with a plethora of technologies, cultures and races. Players will resolve problems through combat, diplomacy and science while building their own resources and creating the ultimate starship! The game will feature all original artwork and 3D graphics throughout.
Find out more on the Star Trek Timelines Facebook page.
Scapes has posted a nifty piece of ArcheAge news on the Trion ArcheAge forums. The team is embarking on a series of lore pieces to give fans and potential players a look at the story behind the game. As of today, a four-part prologue is available to read.
A half-age before the Exodus, twelve companions set forth on an expedition that would give rise to our world at the cost of their own. A detailed accounting of their journey was discovered in Gods and Heroes, a book attributed to Lucius Quinto, the expedition's ill-fated bard.
Read Prologue: Gods and Heroes, Part I.
Read Prologue: Gods and Heroes, Part II.
Read Prologue: Gods and Heroes, Part III.
Read Epilogue: Gods and Heroes, Part VI.
There you have it! Head to the links in the quote to read for yourself before letting us know what you think in the comments.
Villagers and Heroes, a unique indie sandbox MMO with player-created towns and much more, is officially heading to Steam according a press release from Mad Otter Games. The game has been given an April 17th release date and the Steam version will include new maps, new quests and adventure modes and much more.
- 30 new Adventure Maps, bringing the total to over 110.
- Countless new quests, beasts, and…Dragons.
- 20 new spells and heroic feats, now totaling over 100.
- 15 additional skill levels.
- Completely revamped graphics engine.
Check out the shiny new Villagers & Heroes page on Steam.
Bungie, quiet of late, has released five new Destiny screenshots to show both the beauty and the terror of deep space. The screens show locations and monsters players may encounter in their journey through the forthcoming MMO. Check them out and let us know what you think!
To celebrate this week's PAX East convention, the Infinite Crisis team has announced that all of the game's heroes will be unlocked for the week. Also, the team let us know that all mods, augments and stolen powers will be -50% off in the game's store.
Find out more about the superhero sized game on the Infinite Crisis site.
The third in a series of videos has been posted on the Ghost Recon: Phantoms site that details the journey from Ghost Recon Online to the newly minted Ghost Recon: Phantoms. The game, according to the development team, will be undergoing a significant update packed with new features and community-requested changes. In this episode, the new vision of how an accurate battlefield is created.
The latest Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls patch has been deployed in North America. The patch brings some significant changes to most character classes in an effort to make their skills and attacks more "meaningful". In addition, resplendent chests will, as Blizzard said, feel more resplendent and legendary crafting materials will have a much higher chance to drop.
- The treasure from Resplendent Chests has been improved to feel more resplendent
- Malthael is now much more afraid, and will more consistently drop the Reaper's Fear Legendary crafting material
- Bug Fixes
- Legendary Follower relics will no longer roll incorrect Primary stats
- Gloves of Worship no longer grant 60 minute buffs for Empowered or Fleeting Shrines
Read the full and very comprehensive patch notes on the Diablo 3 community site.
Do you get the feeling that there has been a lot of recent activity in the area of game-related corporate ownership changes? If so, your impression appears to be very solid. According to information released late last month by UK-based Digi-Capital, the total value of mergers and acquisitions during the first quarter of this year was more than $5 billion.
Read more of Richard Aihoshi's The Free Zone: MMOG Monetary Miscellany and More.
The latest Star Trek Online blog has just been released, and details a brand new level 50 event called the Undine Infiltration. Read on for more details.
"Undine Infiltration" is a mixed faction queued mission for level 50 characters. The event can be completed in 15 to 20 minutes, and has both a Normal and an Elite version.
During the mission, Captains will investigate Bajorans suspected of being Undine infiltrators in disguise. They will do this by asking a series of questions and based on the answers, deciding whether or not the suspect is an Undine and needs to be quarantined. If the investigator believes a suspect's story, he or she can also clear them from the investigation.
However, the Undine won't simply wait to be discovered. They'll be trying to disrupt the interrogations. So watch out for disturbances.
Be sure to head to the STO site to get the full scoop.
The Further Analysis mission pack for The Secret World is now live and available for purchase from the Funcom store for 960 points. They're available for subscribers and lifetime members at a reduced call as always.
Read more at the official site.
Sidestories: Further Analysis gives you the chance to delve into four brand new Investigation Missions! Hone your puzzle solving skills and play through four fresh stories spread throughout the game world.
En epic reward, The Inspector's Gadget and a Deep Mystery Box, awaits those who complete all four missions!
You get the Investigation Mission called Immersion from Lisa Hui in the Scorched Desert, where you investigate Orochi comms equipment in Egypt to try and get a signal from Tokyo HQ.
In The Animate Clay you return to Dr Anton Aldini in New York and follow the trail of one of his lost creations as it struggles to find its purpose.
Trials of the Dragon starts you off in the Shadowy Forest and lets you explore the monster hunting prowess of your old friends, Tibor and Luminita. Here you get the opportunity to undergo the Draculesti trials to become a true monster hunter.
The fourth Investigation Mission, The Abandoned, marks a return to the mysterious Mosul and sweeps you into the back stories of the fairytale creatures of the Shadowy Forest.
If you've been hungry for new information on Fortnite, Epic Games' upcoming F2P fort-building third person shooter, you'll be glad to know that the May issue of GameInformer will feature 20 pages of coverage dedicated to all things Fortnite and Epic Games.
When I was considering the various topics I could cover for this week’s The Secret World column I was faced with so many options I really didn’t know where to start. First Joel announces new content, then there was Mankini-gate, and finally there has been ARG activity. How could I pick just one? I couldn’t. So we’re breaking it down into four parts.
Read more of Shannon Doyle's The Secret World: Mankini-gate and More.
Dark Souls 2 is a resoundingly good RPG, if our official review is anything to go by. But the original Dark Souls’ PC edition was, let’s face it, an abhorrent nightmare of a port. The studio, From Software, admittedly said (in so many words) “Look, we’re sorry, but we’re not PC guys. We’ll do better next time, I promise.” So it was with cautious fingers and eyes on my monitor that I booted up an early preview edition of DS2’s PC edition. I will say these things primarily: the graphics transferred nicely. The UI and controls, have not… yet.
Read more of Bill Murphy's Dark Souls II: Taking the PC Version for a Spin.
Former MMORPG.com managing editor, Jon Wood, has started a new gaming website for the more frugal members of the gaming audience called "On a Budget Gamers". In one of the site's first articles, Jon takes a look at the newly announced Amazon Fire TV.
This week, we learned that Amazon was jumping into the “hook our tiny box up to your TV to make awesome things happen” business by announcing the launch of the Fire TV.
This is not to be confused with the Apple TV, though, because that’s a device that hooks up to your TV and (among other things) makes it easier to move content onto the TV from a fancy tablet that’s also kind-of an e-reader. It is completely different from the Fire TV; a device that hooks up to your TV and (among other things) makes it easier to move content onto the TV from a fancy e-reader that’s also kind-of a fancy tablet.
Read more at the link above.
While there have been a few bumps in the road for the launch of The Elder Scrolls Online, these have been typical for MMOs. Launch has worked out mostly as anyone with MMO experience might expect, with some players experiencing issues, and some painful growing pains that began once the gates opened up to the masses. Yet this will concentrate more on some pain of a different kind - the kind inflicted upon players through gameplay.
Read more of Christina Gonzalez's Elder Scrolls Online: The Challenge is Welcome.
Steparu.com has posted a new character creation video from the Black Desert closed beta phase two. It's an amazing creation feature that you won't want to miss. Check it out and let us know what you think!
MMOzg.net has another fantastic interview with ArcheAge's Jake Song. The team started with a list of questions and added more as answers were given. See what he had to say in this comprehensive new interview with our friends at MMOZG.net.
Read more ArcheAge: MMOZG.net Interviews Jake Song About Russian Version.
The Child of Light team is working concert with renowned Japanese artist Yoshitaka Amano to bring the game world to life. Child of Light is a "playable poem" and is a re-imagining of childhood fairy tales.
Child of Light is a re-imagining of classic fairy tales set against a picturesque background inspired by the watercolor artworks of The Golden Age of Illustration. As a playable poem, Child of Light puts players in the shoes of Aurora, a young princess who must win back the sun, the moon and the stars held captive by the mysterious Queen of the Night.
Aventurine has revealed that territory control will the the main focus of the forthcoming Darkfall: Unholy Wars patch. To show what they are working towards, the team has produced a video to give players an idea of how the feature will work.
You have caught glimpses of them in our Facebook posts and our developers have shared some details about how they work. Essentially, this is the basis of the whole territory control system. All control points that can be captured (holdings, villages and sea fortresses) have an area attached to them and the clan that owns the control point is considered the owner of the area of influence around it as well. On its own, this system offers a visual element to the map so that anyone can have an overview of what and how many territories are owned by which clans. Its true potential lies in the features that are tied to it.
Read more on the Darkfall: Unholy Wars site.