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Apr 23 2009

The Secret World Interview

Published by at 4:17 am under The Secret World

Funcom’s contemporary dark fantasy, The Secret World, is an MMO with a cliffhanger ending.  So says its creator, Ragnar Tørnquist.


Can you just explain the classless progression idea?

Tørnquist: We wanted to make a game system that was at home in the modern world.  We wanted to give people freedom to be what they want to be, and play how they want to play. Players will have a sort of deck of cards which will say how their character is going to be.  It’s much more dynamic than other such games, you won’t get stuck as the tank or the healer, and you should be able to contribute to the process and to the party no matter who you are. Clothes aren’t going to have stats – you can choose whether you want to wear sneakers and a T-shirt, or if you want full goth outfit, or a dress and high heels. All those things are possible, and they’re not going to effect how your character plays.

If someone has been playing for six months you can’t really play with them. How does The Secret World deal with that?

With an MMO you want to reward people both for playing for hours and hours, and for people to come home play for an hour, and get something out of that. The classless system helps with that because you can play for a reasonably limited amount of time and get skills that will allow you take part in the group, even if the area is quite dangerous, and the party quite experienced. They will be able to go more places than you, have more options at their disposal, and be able to do missions you can’t, fight enemies you cannot fight, but you will still be able to play with them in a group and contribute without having played as much as they have.

So how does the world work? How open is it?

Tørnquist: The world is fairly open. When you start you start in a hub city. When you make a new character you make a few choices, you choose how you look and where you start, and a couple of other things I can’t talk about. After that you’re basically free to roam the world. As you explore you do missions, and open up characters. There are areas that are more dangerous than others, and there are progressions from one area to another into more difficult encounters. You can go to harder areas, but you will struggle unless you are with a tougher group of players. But most importantly there is a linear storyline for you to follow, the story that explains why you can do all this amazing stuff. Following the story takes you to new locations in a sort of “ideal sequence”.

Does that lead to some kind of end game? You can’t keep telling the story indefinitely?
Tørnquist: The open structure of the world means that there will be missions to do after the main linear story is completed, and we’ll keep adding to the world. But a linear story does have an end, and we do have an end for the launch version of the game: we’re going to finish with a cliffhanger. We’re planning on expansions and content upgrade, and that will continue the story. You’ll complete the story and say “Oh crap I want to know what happens next!”

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