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Saturday
Mar122011

About walls and secret worlds

Yesterday afternoon, I finally hit the wall.

Not in a scary way; I was going pretty slow and saw it coming. After more than a month of intense deadlines and constant pressure, there was suddenly nothing. As in: nothing aside from the regular high pace of game development, something I'm pretty used to at this point. (After seventeen years in The Biz, I should be.) I could focus on one thing instead of a million, and so, of course, I couldn't - at all. After a few hours, I gave up and went home.

This is nothing unusual, of course. It's always hard to get back into the rhythm after a long period of controlled chaos and intense stress, and waking up this morning, I already felt unusually refreshed and ready for the next phase of the project.

Of course, I can't wait for The Secret World to ship. Not only because five years is a long time to do any one thing, but also because the response to our latest media push has been tremendous, and both the community and gamers in general appear to be excited about what we're trying to accomplish. I think Jim Rossignol from Rock, Paper, Shotgun nailed it best in his excellent preview: our goal is to be interesting. Different, ambitious, creative - yes - but most importantly, we want to make an interesting game. A game that engages - mechanically, emotionally, spiritually - and a game that doesn't underestimate its audience. PC and MMO players are skilled, experienced, smart and creative, and a huge portion of them are actual adults. Not enough games recognise these facts. I hope ours does.

Here's the video we released this week, which you've probably already seen. It doesn't go into a lot of detail, but it does show a bit of the scope and variety of The Secret World, and it hopefully illustrates why and how we've been working on this game since 2006.

We've also launched a new TSW website, which you can find, conveniently, at www.thesecretworld.com.

I'll be back tomorrow with more about GDC, our presentation, perceptions, comments, corrections and feedback. After I've had a chance to pick up the pieces and recover completely.

Game development, it's fucking hard. But, at times like these, it's also incredibly rewarding.

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Reader Comments (64)

Hi Ragnar,

What's the name of the song in the trailer that begins around 3:14 (with heavy bass and piano)?

Thanks,

Mike

May 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike

I'll join the people in here that want, more than anything else from Funcom, to see the story of Dreamfall resolved. I have no time or interest for MMOs and the market is crowded with them. Moreover no preview has got me interested in the Secret World.

Why did you leave so many cliffhangers in Dreamfall if you didn't even know if you'd make a sequel?

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTommy Bureau

It is because of the cliffhangers that every1 is still interested in DF and Ragnar has shown us quite a few times that het REALLY wants to create another TLJ/DF but now just let them complete TSW (which I think is going to work out great for Funcom).

@ Ragnar this is an automatic reminder send by...
Your blog and Twitter are dying...

May 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJordy

Of course not only because of the cliffhangers people and critics love TLJ/DF series..In addition to cliffhangers, beautifully rendered places both in Stark and Arcadia, fascinating characters deeply analyzed and reflected, superb dialogues, voice acting and great score, professional editing and storytelling, impressive story and variable atmosphere scattered all around the game..all of these elements created a very good combination..I mean we should not focus only to ending and resolutions but to every aspect of the games..Ragnar pls do not make us wait too long! At least for the beginning, a little explanation will suffice..and yes please do not kill this blog where you and your loyal followers shared so many things since years..

May 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJose

Been a few years since I was here last... Good to see that even though the blog has changed, the contents of the comments are much the same.

June 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMono

Mr. Ragnar, when will be out TSW???
Why it takes so much? At least the open beta when will be? ...

AND

will it be Free to play or Pay to play? Please let us know...

June 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMisterY

I will buy the damn MMO game only if a date for Dreamfall Chapters is announced.

June 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterInspector

Рагнар, выходи.

June 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKlava

Hello, sorry for bothering but there's a spam-bot invasion taking place at our dear TLJ forum again, and we need a little help with that :(

July 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTamuna

I am sure the game is amazing, but I refuse to buy anything else you've done until you resolve the intolerably frustrating ending of Dreamfall, somehow.

July 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteroverclocked

I must join all the people who are asking about continuation of Dreamfall.
Do we have even the slightest chance of seeing dreamfall: chapters?
It's been a very long time since you said something
and there's not even hint about it on the Funcom website.
And masses of people are still actively demanding it... so where's the problem?
No matter what sale surveys say the TLJ series is yours and Funcom's best work of all time :)

July 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVictorT

I think a lot of the more hostile comments are born of frustration because your work has been so moving. They're a freaky kind of compliment, I guess.

I wanted to come and give you a blast of grr too, because your last few updates have felt more about pushing Secret World than about you, or Longest Journey (which is what most of us want), but I swallowed that post; it wasn't a fair one and it's not me. If you do get chance though, even a little reaffirming you're interested in making another would probably soothe the faithful a little (though obviously more is good too :P, we're nothing if not voracious in our appetite for TLJ news.)

I hope parenthood is treating you well, watching my brother-in-law's young family has really opened my eyes to how life-changing the transition is. Take care.

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGriz

5 years of intense work for what? Another kill-million-mobs MMO. Why? WHY?
Yes, it got plot. So what, if I have to kill million mobs to progress this plot. On all gameplay trailers TSW looks absolutely BORING.
Why not make another GREAT game, like you have done before. And that means, of course, Dreamfall Chapters/TLJ 2/3, whatever you call it.
Those games were unimaginably amazing. Dreamfall was something no one has ever done! It was really innovative. Just look what people write all over the internet, they loved TLJ/Dreamfall and want more! And what they write about TSW? Mostly kids/nolifes write it so great.
So why? MMO make more money, right?
I think of you released Dreamfall Chapters on PC, X360 and PS3, you would make a really good deal. (just don't make it too console-style game - it means for idiots)

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June 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterabercrombie fitch

I know this response comes way late, but I wanted to chime in here anyway.

Having read the blog, I wanted to send a quick "Thank You" to you and the TSW team at Funcom, specifically for this bit here:

"Different, ambitious, creative - yes - but most importantly, we want to make an interesting game. A game that engages - mechanically, emotionally, spiritually - and a game that doesn't underestimate its audience. PC and MMO players are skilled, experienced, smart and creative, and a huge portion of them are actual adults. Not enough games recognise these facts. I hope ours does."

It's been a long time since I've felt that a company/developer understood, acknowledged or respected their market. I've been hoping that someone, somewhere, sometime would, as I put it, "bring gamers back into the equation", get us back into the game and let us actually take matters into our own hands.

I guess you could argue that it's all about reaching that "widest possible audience", and "accessibility" and all that. All I know is, I've grown bored with having everything spelled out for me when I play games.

I want to be challenged and engaged. Give me the info I need, provide some clues, and let me figure it out on my own.

TSW does this, and I am immensely appreciative of that fact.

So, for what it's worth, Thank You for respecting us gamers as being thinking, intelligent individuals.

If I could make one request regarding TSW's setup, it would be to implement an option to hide the distance markers in-game. You have circles showing the area of something on the maps and that's fine. I can choose not to look at that for the most part. The distance markers are a bit of an eyesore for me. So, a checkbox or toggle to enable/disable them would be great. Other than that... I'm having a blast.

All the best!

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