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Peeking into The Secret World

Jon Wood Posted:
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Today is the day that they lift the veil on the press embargo placed on information about Funcom's highly anticipated upcoming MMORPG, The Secret World. The presentation, held at this year's Game Developers Conference not only showcased some actual gameplay footage, but also provided some valuable insight into how this game is designed overall.

Those following the game will be familiar with its premise, but for those who might not be too familiar, a brief recap is in order:

The Secret World is the next game from Age of Conan and Anarchy Online developers Funcom. The game is set in a world where secret societies, freaky human powers and evil horrors from the middle of the Earth are all very real things. Unlike its predecessor, The Secret World makes no use of levels of classes, instead attempting to provide players with a more real life-like experience that relies on the growth over time of skills and abilities.

Recently, the developers released their first small clips of gameplay footage, skewed as though viewed through surveillance cameras. The images that they showed were of zombies, and told the story of the people of a Stephen King-esque town appropriately names Kingsmouth who disappeared one day in a fog and were returned later, as the living dead.

The game, as you can see by the new trailer available today, is visually quite impressive and we learned that Kingsmouth is going to be the first location that players visit after leaving their hub cities.

The goal of the developers here is to allow players to travel all over the world to different and varied locations, fighting the first of the creatures crawling to the surface of the Earth.

"We want this to be a canvas," said Game Director Ragnar Tornquist, and as such, the game has to be maybe a little bit more believeable as a world because it's set in contemporary times.


The developers on The Secret World are trying to bring their game's story to the forefront, using what was described to us as deeper NPC characters, each with their own stories. These NPCs are meant to give each situation a unique personality from government agents to the local sheriff.

Each location will also have its own unique and somewhat complex story that players will experience. In Kingsmouth, for example, players will learn that it isn't just zombies that are plaguing the town, but that the fog that took them blocks all means of escape, all the while other, more mysterious creatures are rising from the ocean.

"It's all about digging deeper," Tornquist told us. Every location will have a different feel, a different interlocking story with new NPCs.

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Jon Wood