Funcom is considering all business models for its forthcoming contemporary dark fantasy MMO The Secret World, and has hinted that it may launch with more than one payment option.
Creative director Ragnar Tornquist told Eurogamer at last week's Game Developers Conference that the Norwegian studio is "not going to be locked into one model specifically".
Tornquist told media at GDC that the game was currently in alpha and would begin its first internal beta in two months. He would not say when closed or open public beta testing may begin.
Since Turbine's relaunch of Dungeons & Dragons Online in 2009, several previously subscription-only MMOs have found greater success by launching in free-to-play versions or offering the sale of content and services instead of game time, including The Lord of the Rings Online, EverQuest II and Champions Online.
"We haven't announced a business model yet... we're definitely looking at all models. I have to be political about this, I'm not in PR!" Tornquist said, choosing his words carefully.
"But obviously we are going to make this game as successful to everybody as possible, and compare it to the other games out there. So we're not locked into one model, or we're not going to be locked into one model specifically. But we'll talk more about that later on."
The decision will need to be made in conjunction with Funcom's publisher for the game, EA Partners, Tornquist pointed out.
"But yeah, in my view, of course we could have a lot of different options that we could have at launch," he said.
The Secret World is an open-world, massively multiplayer RPG with a contemporary dark fantasy theme. Players join one of three secret societies – the Dragon, Templars and Illuminati – to battle an occult conspiracy threatening the modern-day real world. An intricate story and completely free-form character progression, with no levels, are its hallmarks.