It was in the interest of discovering proof that I spoke with Ragnar Tørnquist and Joel Bylos, who showed me highlights of three of the new missions that will form part of July’s Issue. The characters were people I’d met already but now they have more to say, their stories continuing. The bulk of the new content will be made up of investigation missions, which is grand as they are the most powerful storytelling devices and also the areas where the game is at its most experimental, fusing puzzles, adventure game concepts, real world knowledge and understanding of The Secret World’s own rules.
Back to Innsmouth Academy where the classrooms and laboratories are home to animated dolls, stitched up students and the phantoms of the faculty. Observant eyes may have noticed, when collecting anima charges during The Breakfast Cult mission, that the item used to bolster the school’s wards is described as being available for use in another mission: “Carter Unleashed”. People have searched for that quest to no avail and that’s because it’s part of July’s content.
This particular extra-curricular activity focuses on, as you might expect, young Carter, a lady with the ability to burst animals with the power of her mind. She is also, rather regrettably, a lady who sometimes has a total inability to stop herself from bursting animals if they happen to be in the vicinity. Your task is to craft a device that will prevent the overflow of psychic dissonance from melting your brain, while guiding Carter and her destructive noggin through the school for…what? I don’t know because they didn’t show me how it ends.
Integrating crafting into missions more directly isn’t entirely new, it’s something that some of the Academy missions already do, but continuing to do so, perhaps in more interesting ways, could convince people who have ignored the system to take another look. I’m one of those people, with pockets full of bits and pieces that I never find a use for, and I’d happily be nudged toward working with another aspect of the game.
The game uses real locations, as well as long standing myths. How much research went into the development?
We have a brilliant team that researched all different kinds of myths, legends and pop-culture elements from all over the world. The big challenge was to weave this into our world in a believable way. This means that when we created London for instance, we had to capture the essence of London to make sure that London feels like London. If it didn’t, players wouldn’t believe the setting. We have a huge challenge when it comes to creating our world. Players will be much more unforgiving when looking at something they know what looks like in the real world, compared to some made-up mythical place. The feedback we have gotten on this has been amazing, and players really immerse themselves in The Secret World.
What are your influences that affected the story?
Everything from conspiracy theories, to myths, to fairytales and to urban legends. Every location you go to have something different, a different theme and atmosphere. In Solomon Island, off the coast of Maine in the US, it’s influenced by Steven King and H.P Lovecraft. If you travel to Egypt, you’ll have more the Indiana Jones feeling. Over at Transylvania, you have our unique take on vampires, and their crusade to take over the world. Lots of variety, that’s for sure!
Was there ever any discussion, of making the game for consoles as well?
We have no plans, but it could definitely be a game that works well on consoles. Since the players have to make a selection of what abilities to bring, 7 actives and 7 passives, the players will have fewer buttons to press than in a traditional MMO. If sure you’ve all seen screenshots of players playing MMOs and have over 50 buttons they can press…. We have people in the office that consistently play our game with a gamepad. If we did put it out on consoles, we wouldn’t do a direct port. It would require some adjustments.