Funcom is relaunching massively-multiplayer online role-playing game The Secret World sometime this spring. The name is changing to Secret World Legends, it's going free-to-play, and is becoming a "shared-world RPG" rather than MMO.
The changes apparently run deep. There's mention of revamped combat, new progression and updated visuals.
Here's what a spokesperson for Funcom told me: "Agartha (The World Hub) has been completely redesigned. We have made improvements to visuals like character models, character heads, combat effects/animations, lighting in playfields, and we've increased view distance in some playfields. Keep in mind these are improvements, not a generational jump in graphics. We are still using the original graphics engine."
Conan Exiles will launch on Xbox One, via the Preview Program, in Q3 2017 (July-September). A full PC, PS4 and Xbox One release will follow in Q1 2018.
UPDATE 31/1 8.30AM: It's a blip, and it's business as usual while both parties - Økokrim and Funcom - get to the bottom of the insider trading accusations. That's what Funcom director of communications Erling Ellingsen told Eurogamer.
Traditional MMOs have gone out of fashion lately. It used to be that every gaming brand had exciting untapped MMO potential and every publisher wanted an MMO in its stable, but the gold rush inspired by World of Warcraft yielded little precious metal, and a lot of publishers got burned in the process - especially Electronic Arts with Star Wars: The Old Republic - while the term "MMO" has become taboo when discussing a new breed of games that includes The Division and Destiny, even though in many respects they are both massively multiplayer and online.
EA Partners, the part of EA that publishes games made by external developers, is shutting down.
Funcom Beijing, which did lots of art and animation for The Secret World, will be closed down this year, Funcom has announced.
Dropping the default Secret World subscription in December but not the cost of the game helped, a lot. The MMO sold more than 70,000 copies in the last four weeks.
Seems like only two months ago that Funcom assured me The Secret World wouldn't go free-to-play "any time soon", and that it needed to prove the subscription model "has not gone the way of the dinosaur". Oh, it was two months ago.
A brand new instalment in The Longest Journey adventure series was announced last week: Dreamfall Chapters. The Longest Journey creator Ragnar Tornquist is in charge and he'll make the game at his new studio Red Thread Games. He'll also remain at Funcom overseeing the MMO he fathered, The Secret World.
Trond Arne Aas stepped down as Funcom boss and flogged a load of company shares the day before The Secret World launched. Did he know the game his company was betting on would tank?
Funcom's promoted Joel Bylos to the new role of game director for struggling MMO The Secret World.
Digging Deeper, the second update for The Secret World, Funcom's spooky conspiracy themed MMO, has been delayed until tomorrow, September 13th. "Due to an issue found last night we decided to postpone the 'Issue 2' update to September 13th," read a message tweeted by the official Funcom account. "Today will be a maintenance downtime."
To help pass the time, Funcom has released a new video detailing all the additions heading towards players in the update. Lead Content Designer Joel Bylos introduces the new rocket launcher weapon, as well as the all-new auxiliary abilities it unlocks.
There's also Ockham's Razor, a wittily named barbershop in London where you can attend to your avatar's hair with a range of new dos, and The Modern Prometheus, a slightly less wittily named plastic surgery clinic in New York where you can change your face, just like Frankenstein. The update also boasts new investigation missions and lair action missions.
DayZ has been the break out phenomenon of PC gaming this year. What would it look like adapted as a film? Renowned YouTube fake movie trailer maker Bloodrunsclear has had a stab at finding out.
His fake DayZ movie trailer uses sound bites from the horrific Miami face-eating incident; Peter Gabriel's version of My Body is a Cage; and clips from numerous zombie films (and other genres) to create a rousing montage - a look at what could be.
DayZ creator Dean Hall tweeted a link to the video this morning.
After "a turbulent couple of weeks", The Secret World boss Ragnar Tornquist has addressed players, in an open letter declaring "a bright future" for his MMO.
Funcom will now focus on making "smaller, more focused online games" after The Secret World tanked.
Norwegian developer Funcom has announced layoffs as its MMO The Secret World continues to struggle.
It called the layoffs "temporary" in a statement issued last night, and insisted "we have long-term plans for the company" and "we remain fully committed to all of our games". The number of employees who have lost their jobs remains unknown, but it is thought to be extensive.
Earlier this month Funcom, which runs Age of Conan and Anarchy Online, announced it was implementing "several cost-adjustment initiatives" due to the poor performance of the EA-distributed The Secret World.
Everyone's in on the secret, but no-one wants to share. That's the impression you get when playing The Secret World, the new massively multiplayer game with a conspiratorial modern-day setting in which secret societies and sinister corporations engage in a covert, occult war.
It's not really that covert, since every other character you meet seems to be on first-name terms with the Illuminati, conversant in Crowley and fully aware of your status as a nascent superhero tackling the dark forces threatening the planet. The roads teem with other players: Eurotrash vigilantes and magi in sportswear, wielding semi-automatics and spells against the nameless horrors creeping out of the fog.
But everyone's on their own private errand. No-one's talking or helping or simply hanging out, because the game too seldom gives them a good enough reason to.
Just-launched MMO The Secret World will recieve its first free payload of new content on 31st July, with the release of Issue #1: Unleashed.
Seven new missions and a marketplace will be added.
The Ankh and Hell Fallen dungeons will be unlocked for Nightmare Mode play, meanwhile, offering increased challenges but higher rewards.
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes has soared to a third consecutive week atop the UK all-format charts.
The Secret World final beta weekend is open to all who register before 22nd June, developer Funcom has announced.
Register via the game's website using the beta sign-up form and you'll get guaranteed access to the fourth and final beta weekend, called The Battle Begins.
The beta weekend begins at 5pm on 22nd June and ends at 7.59am on 25th June UK time. It opens up all of the content included in the previous beta weekends and adds player versus player gameplay, including the PVP war zone Fusang Projects. Here, over 200 players can fight together.
Modern day MMO The Secret World has been delayed by two weeks, developer Funcom has announced.
Pre-order MMO The Secret World and you'll get guaranteed public beta access from 11th May, EA has announced.
Specifically, you'll get access to all Beta Weekends beginning 11th May. These will run most weekends up until the game's launch on 19th June.
Other pre-order bonuses include exclusive in-game items and a head start on character naming.
Modern-day MMO shows character development.
Illusive Funcom MMO due in June.
The Secret World, the ambitious new MMO from Age of Conan developer Funcom, launches on 19th June.
The game had been scheduled to arrive in April, but the studio has held it back to add a little further polish.
"Allowing for even more time to polish the game really shows just how much faith Funcom as a company has in The Secret World and how committed we are to making it the best it can be," commented creative director Ragnar Tørnquist.
Scorched Desert location explored.
"You haven't strayed into some atrocious Dan Brown paperback," comments the recruiter for the Templars, one of the three secret societies you can join in The Secret World, Funcom's modern-day MMO. Well no, that much is clear - from that self-same gag, if nothing else. Dan Brown was never especially self-aware or prone to post-modern irony.
That said, Brown's airport-novel take on the bookish conspiracies of Umberto Eco is an identifiable part of The Secret World's make-up. It's just one of the many dirty mugs in its overflowing kitchen sink of influences from pop culture and post-Crowley occultism: The X-Files, Cryptonomicon, Hellblazer... Maybe you haven't strayed into The Da Vinci Code, but you have strayed into a playable version of every Neil Gaiman graphic novel you've ever read.
That's The Secret World's secret weapon in the not-so-secret war for the future of MMOs. It's a good hook - and creative director Ragnar Tornquist and his teams in Oslo and Montreal know it, making enthusiastic if not constant use of it to keep the genre tropes feeling a good deal fresher than they do in rival games. It's not this game's only new idea, but it is its best one. Personality goes a long way, and The Secret World has it in spades.
More than 500,000 gamers have registered for The Secret World closed beta, Funcom has announced.
Registration opened at the end of August.
Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas is "thrilled" and "proud" of the achievement.
Behind the scenes of Funcom's MMO.
Beta registration for Funcom MMO The Secret World is now open.
You can now put your name down to be evaluated for participation in the upcoming beta phases, due to run up to the launch of the game in April 2012.
Funcom will increase the number of beta participants gradually, it said.
Promising MMO The Secret World will follow a traditional subscription model, publisher Funcom has announced.
Funcom MMO out next April.
Funcom's massively multiplayer game, The Secret World, will launch in April 2012.
Beta registrations start on 26th August.
The news was announced at the EA press conference ahead of the gamescom convention in Cologne. EA Partners is publishing the title.
Funcom's ARG-supporting MMO.
Sneak a peek at Funcom's MMO.
MMO The Secret World doesn't even have a release date, yet Funcom already plans for "seven years" of post-launch content.
MMO The Secret World will have to be "a different game" to work on consoles, Funcom has told Eurogamer.
Click through to page two for an exclusive chat with The Secret World's writer/director, Ragnar Tornquist. Read on below for our impressions from a live demo at this year's Game Developers Conference. Preview by Oli Welsh. Interview by Robert Purchese.
Funcom shows off upcoming MMO.
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.
Funcom's The Secret World MMO will not be released "in the next few months", Eurogamer can reveal.
Funcom's next big MMO after Age of Conan, dubbed The Secret World, will be published by EA Partners.
Ragnar Tornquist, Funcom's in-house auteur and creator of its next MMO The Secret World, is as bright-eyed, effusive and animated as ever, even if his hair seems to have a nasty case of jetlag. The setting is familiar; we last met in the same building, quite possibly the same room, a year ago.
Funcom has stirred up the mystery and hype surrounding The Secret World by creating a website for Kingsmouth, a fictional New England town and a location in the occult, modern-day MMO.
Funcom has told Eurogamer that a new Age of Conan re-evaluation period gets underway today.
To lure you back, the developer is offering two weeks of free play to returning players and two weeks of double experience for everyone. And those who choose to subscribe will be showered with even more gifts.
Sign for three months earn a guaranteed place in The Secret World beta; sign for six months to claim a beta spot plus in-game AOC helmet that boosts experience earned by 10 per cent; and sign for 12 months to earn all that as well as a free copy of Conan expansion Rise of the Godslayer when it's released. These rewards are not retroactive; subscribers from October onwards are eligible.
Age of Conan developer Funcom announced that it's laying off 20 per cent of its workforce today, with the result of a delay of "several months" in the development of its next MMO, The Secret World.
The Secret World is an evocative, luxurious kind of title, a handful of words that conjure up a riddled sprawl of subterranean canals, dew-dropped gateways and darkened under-streets slotted in and around our own humdrum neighbourhoods and cities. It promises a glimpse of a murkier, sexier kind of life that unfolds just out of reach, on the other side of the raindrops, perhaps, or tucked in somewhere behind the fireplace. It practically bubbles with conspiracies, too, and we all love those - presumably because they allow you to believe that everything will make sense if you just stare at it long enough, that there's a governing force at work, however malignant, and that it operates within a galaxy of rules and restrictions, unfailingly listening to a quiet heartbeat of cause and effect. It all sounds a bit like a game, really.
Titles like The Longest Journey - dreamy, personable, and quietly erudite - have granted Ragnar Tornquist a reputation as an unsettlingly grown-up presence in single-player game design. His latest project, The Secret World - which we preview today - sees him turning his attention back to MMOs following a previous stint on Anarchy Online, and he has a typically idiosyncratic agenda. Classes and levelling are out, and in their place are a promising tangle of factions and ancient allegiances, a culturally omnivorous conspiracy narrative, and a carefully partitioned PvP structure with RTS overtones. We sat down with Tornquist at this year's Penny Arcade Expo to get a sense of how such an enormous project is coming together.
Funcom has revealed the first details of how player factions - or rather, secret societies - will work in its forthcoming modern-day MMO, The Secret World.
"What is The Secret World? It's not a parallel dimension, it's not an alternate reality, it's the world outside these blinds. It's down that alley to the left and behind the fence, it's an abandoned warehouse, it's that strange little town in the Middle East, it's that haunted forest, it's all the places we avoid, all the locations that make us feel uneasy, it's the stories on the news about the missing person who people think has been murdered but the story's been covered up, it's the things that the authorities don't want us to know about, it's what the governments are hiding, it's what the secret societies are suppressing. That's the secret world. It's a world behind our world, hidden by a veil."
The small but ardent community following the development of The Secret World has uncovered an online puzzle that might be related to Funcom's mysterious MMO.
Funcom has announced that it will be revealing the first concrete details on its next MMO, The Secret World, at GDC this month.
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.
Developer Funcom has told GamesIndustry.biz that the console version of MMO Age of Conan and its next online project, The Secret World, are both still on track.
Funcom has told us that Age of Conan has 415,000 subscribers and enjoyed "one of the largest PC launches in this decade."
Eurogamer posted a mysterious poem at the beginning of the week that promised to reveal a new game if you could crack the code. Well, you lot nailed it, finding the hidden forum and forcing the shrouded stranger to step out into the light.
The World Online is the working title of Funcom's new MMO, project director Jorgen Thraldsen told Eurogamer at GDC today.