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."
The shift to "shared-world", meanwhile, means a shift in tone. It means multiplayer is optional rather than required, so you will be able to play the game's entire storyline alone as well as with friends.
The Secret World has long been applauded for its stories so this is good news indeed. And considering TSW launched in 2012, those stories now amount to A Lot.
The Secret World struggled as a subscription MMO when it launched. It had quality, as Oli wrote in Secret World review, but it was buried underneath some frustrating design. That didn't stop a dedicated community forming but it stopped the masses. Sales struggled to break 200,000, predictions were halved, and layoffs happened as a result. And roughly six months after launch the subscription fee was axed. The Secret World bobbed along in the background ever since.
Things weren't looking great for Funcom as 2017 clocked in, but with Conan Exiles the company has found a new lease of life. Money is coming in again. Could this be a second coming for The Secret World?