During Gamescom this year we attended a showing of The Secret World by Funcom, which is an MMO that is currently in development and has some very interesting features that you really should check out when the game will be available! The interview below were done with Martin Bruusgaard and Ragnar Törnquist which are part of the team behind The Secret World at Funcom.
Straight to the point, view the interview below. Note that the questions are quite broad due to the lack of information on the game.
In terms of gameplay, how will players work together, can members from different factions play together?
They have a sort of gentlemens agreement. They do hate each other. But there's a rising darkness that they all acknowledge as the biggest threat so they work together to vanquish it. At the same time though, they all want to be the number one faction. There is rivalry. In the adventure zones they can team up together. There's also a certain advantage to be for example a pure templar team instead of a mixed one.
What's the advantages of having a team that consist of everyone from just one faction then?
We haven't talked about this specifically yet. There are gameplay advantages. We've decided on what it is, but have decided not to share it just yet.
Cabals however, which are like a guild, they can only be with one faction. So for example Cabal templars or Cabal illuminati.
It's really important to us that when you are out fighting creatures of darkness that you can find a team to play with. It also makes sense that you can team up with the other factions when fighting the darkness that exist.
Will having one faction be less popular than another cause problems for you in terms of gameplay?
No, it won't. As I said for example if you're part of a very small faction for some reason then you can still team up with players from other factions. So you should be fine, there will always be someone to team up with and stuff to do. Same goes for PVP. Also with three factions there's a possibiity that two factions will team up to go up against the bigger faction.
When we revealed the factions last year we let people sign-up and show us what faction they would go with. The results were that there's a pretty even split.
Can you talk about any abilities, bonuses or advantages each faction might have over the other?
Currently we don't want to talk about this, but we will have a bigger announcement regarding this and much more in due time.
Let's talk about the skill system.
The skill system is shared by every faction and if we chose to nerf something then every faction will be affected.
What has Funcom learned from past titles, and what are some important factors for the company when launching a new MMO?
The Secret World is based on the same engine as Age of Conan, but it has been enchanced bigtime and it's a really, really powerful engine. We've learned a lot from Conan. How to make content that drive players out in the world. How to make players care about what they're doing. We've learned a lot about balancing, learned about the importance of items. We're trying to implement everything that we've learned into TSW.
Also, we're taking what we've learned from Anarchy Online. We started to develop TSW long before Age of Conan actually. Everyone on the team have appreciated and admired Anarchy Online due to their complex systems and how it was implemented.
One of the concerns players have this time around is that you will be forced to release TSW too early, like how Age of Conan was released. Do you feel that you have enough time to release a high quality game?
With Age of Conan we had to develop a lot of new technology. Currently we're benefitting a lot from that due to the fact that we're getting a lot for 'free' in terms of stable network technology, the engine has been in years of development. So we have that advantage and Conan did struggle a lot with techical difficulties.
We also had a very smooth launch technically for Age of Conan and people enjoyed playing it for weeks since there were a lot of interesting content . However, people felt it eventually ended and that there wasn't a lot to do anymore.
Either way, this time we're not afraid of not having enough testing time. Absolutely not. We will not let this game out of our hands until we're confident that the game works well and that it's fun.
This is the first time we've seen London, when can we expect to see the same from the Illuminati and the Dragons? We know PAX and other events are coming up, are you going roll them out one at each event perhaps?
Well this time around we've talked a bit about how hub's are going to work. Next time we reveal something we're going to talk about PVP. Also al ittle bit about the open world, the combat system etc. Basically they're not next in line to be revealed and there's a lot of cool stuff to be revealed before that.
There's several tripple A mmo's coming out in the next year, what should draw players the attention to Secret World?
We have a heavy focus on the story and your progression through the game us quite flexible depending on what you want to do. The story is huge and the game is very open. You can normally compare it to a jig-saw puzzle; picking up pieces around the world and in the beginning it might sound like you get a piece here and there, but eventually you will see the full picture and a cool story will unfold.
You'll also have a lot of cool introductions for the missions you're doing, you're talking to characters where you can see their facial expressions; sort of connecting the player with the character he or she is playing.
All the characters in the game will have voiceovers and all the missions will have cinematics. We're also skill-based, not many games do that these days and I think that fact will sort of bring a lot of players to the game. The openess of it. It's really easy to get into the game but if you really dive into our skill system and all the powers that are available you quickly realize you need to come up with your own combo's and your own way of playing which gives you a lot of options!
What else can you do in TSW except for killing monsters?
We have a high focus items and it is what makes your character stronger. And you're always getting better items. It's also important that we create content that allow for horizontal progression. Let's say you're carrying a shotgun and meet monsters that are weak to fire you will quickly realize that you should probably combine your shotgun with some fire magic. it's all about catering for horizontalness.
As for the end-game we have harder dungeons that will be quite a challenge, we have raid and also the PVP system. PVP will definately be a reason to pick this up, since it has a function except for just fighting each other.