Funcom's Ragnar Tornquist, the writer-director of its in-development MMO The Secret World, has revealed that the game's design is currently undergoing sweeping changes.
Writing in his blog, Tornquist - creator of much-loved adventure games The Longest Journey and Dreamfall - said: "We've recently made some Big Changes to the game and those need to be worked through."
Tornquist wasn't specific, since the changes apply to aspects of the game that haven't been discussed yet. The most he revealed was that the graphics and setting are being retained, but the game design is changing.
"It's a bit too early to talk about the details," he said. "The story and the setting is the same as it's been since the early 00's... The gameplay is going through a redesign - for the better, let me assure you - and we’re revisiting content produced in the past two years to lift it up to a whole new level."
Tornquist hints that the The Secret World's new direction is an attempt to distance itself from World of Warcraft, whose market Funcom attacked directly with Age of Conan year, without much success.
"We want The Secret World to stand out and be remembered - obviously. To not be just another MMORPG, a WOW clone, of which there are already too many. We're going to play up the strengths of our universe and differentiate ourselves in both the setting and the gameplay."
The Secret World combines a contemporary setting with elements of dark fantasy, in which players "play a role in unravelling the vast conspiracies that span oceans of time and space," according to Tornquist.
"Players can become exactly who they want to be, their secret selves, both visually and in terms of powers," he said. "Everyday adventurers and superheroes; guardians of the secret world; champions of Gaia. Warriors. Explorers. Cryptologists. Cryptozoologists. Mystics. Magi. Demonologists. Storytellers. Historians. Travellers. Lovers."
Tornquist denied that the changes to the game will result in a delay, although they surealy quash any last hope that it might see a 2009 release. However, he confirmed that the game will be properly revealed this year. You'll know the details as soon as we do.