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The Secret World “should’ve gone more commercial” – designer

Tuesday, 9 October 2012 07:19 GMT By Brenna Hillier

The Secret World gambled on the pursuit of a design vision rather than commercial concerns – and lost, according to original lead designer Martin Bruusgaard.

Speaking to the the PA Report, Bruusgaard said a developer’s original vision almost never makes it to market.

“It’s a shame to say, but I think it’s very, very few cases where you can sit down and make the game that you really want to do, and it turns out to be a success,” he said.

“Unfortunately I think that in order to be a success in today’s market, you need to make the game a bit more commercial.

“You have to consider what sells. You just have to. Not doing it is a huge risk. Yes, you might get lucky and everything works out great, but I would not do that again,” he added.

Bruusgaard feels the end product might have benefited from even more mass appeal tweaking, noting that the famous level-free progression system is problematic.

“I think we probably should’ve gone for something that was maybe a bit more familiar,” he said, noting the MMO’s unusual lack of classes and suggesting that having levels might have helped.

“It’s all familiar, but with a twist, and I don’t think we should’ve twisted that many things,” he said.

“I have to stress I really like the game the way it is now, but if I’m thinking about making the game a more commercial success, I think we should’ve gone more commercial.”

In fact, Funcom did compromise on its vision; according to the former staffer, the team was aware that it had to make a game with wider appeal, not just the one it wanted to play, personally. The Secret World went through a significant amount of playtesting and iteration, becoming less “intricate”, “complicate” and “convoluted” until it had been “commercialised”.

The Secret World is turning a profit but at the cost of a significant portion of Funcom’s staff.

Thanks, games.on.net.

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8 Comments

  1. TheWulf

    Or how about no? It would have been more successful if it had been a single-player (or co-op) game. Actually, I’d love to see more co-op puzzle & adventure games. They’re rare, before Portal 2 the last good one was probably Uru, but I digress.

    The thing is is that the dialogue writing of TSW was lacklustre, and the combat was brain-numbingly mediocre (and that’s being generous)… so what would you have left if you remove those? A somewhat decent setting, and some pretty great puzzles. This would, on its own, have resulted in an above average adventure game.

    But if it had been single-player, more focus would likely have been put on the dialogue, and the terrible combat could have been removed entirely.

    The problem with TSW as an MMORPG is that the only good part of it (the puzzle solving) is something that you either want to do alone or with a friend. However, in TSW you had random strangers spoiling things for you, or ruining things. It was a game where being a hermit and a loner is encouraged as much as WoW (albeit for different reasons), because if you encounter a random person, chances are they’re going to ruin something for you or about your experience.

    To be honest, I’m positively glad TSW failed. That’s not to be nasty to Funcom, but it’s a lesson that they needed to learn, because many people knew off the bat that it was something that should never have happened, when they could have been developing a title for one or two players, max, instead.

    So with that sordid affair set aside… how about The Longest Journey 3, eh?

    #1 2 years ago
  2. roadkill

    LOL!! I don’t know if these guys are retarded or completely ignorant.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. dsr

    To be honest, TSW in not THAT unfamiliar. Its basically WoW with Cthulhu. But instead of grinding levels to get to the new stuff, you grind skills. Adding the wheel in place of the talent tree is a bold move, but hardly as revolutionary as they want us to believe.

    Same quests(In addition to sometimes brilliant investigations, there are still “kill 10 rats” type of quests), same “endgame” with dungeons and raids but instead of bows you shoot rifles at the huge boss. The graphics, while technologically advanced, look horrible and lack any kind of proper art direction but “add pwetty textures on boxes”. Player models look like ones from Sims 3, but unfortunately, animated like its Morrowind times all over again.

    As the poster above me noted, if they’ve made it into singleplayer adventure or maybe even coop game, they would probably get a fair amount of fans.

    But now in its current form. Not a chance. Maybe F2P will help them to get some extra money, but it won’t be any more popular.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Hobz

    They tried to make an MMO with dumb questing and combat when they could have made a great adventure game. How is that not a “commercial” decision ?
    The best content of the game is the more original and least “commercial” bit.

    Yet instead of acknowledging the failures that made his game a mediocre one, he prefers to blame gamers for being too dumb to appreciate a so-called non-commercial game.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. SplatteredHouse

    “While outwardly Funcom has remained confident about the game’s player numbers, Bruusgaard described the internal reaction to the game’s release.

    “I could tell by the sort of frequency of certain meetings and certain people talking. You sort of get this vibe that something is wrong,” he explained.

    Bruusgaard also reported that almost the entire team were placed on furlough, an enforced leave lasting 30 weeks that comes with minimal pay. “I think it was five people who weren’t put on forced leave.” Bruusgaard quickly found a job with a software company.” – gamesindustry.biz report, tying in to the above piece, suggesting of a publisher putting a brave face on in the wake of a bad situation.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. TheWulf

    That doesn’t surprise me. I have nothing against Funcom, at all. To the contrary, for the Longest Journey and Dreamfall I have much love for them. But they did grate on my nerves with tying Ragnar into this nonsense.

    The problem with an MMORPG is that you need fresh ideas. The WoW franchise is dying, it’s only really big in China any more, and people are just getting sick of the formula. It can’t work, now. TOR proved this, and TSW proved this, and so many other games will probably continue to prove this.

    People are sick of WoW. Bolting half of a good adventure game onto a WoW clone isn’t going to work. Did Bioware learn that? Maybe. Has Funcom learned that? Maybe. You need to come at it from left field, you need to provide an experience which is unique in the MMO space.

    If they’d done it like Uru with instanced areas where only your party is present, and large player hubs, and no combat… then it could have been good. But instead, they bolted WoW onto it. And yes, that’s a commercial decision. It’s a bloody stupid commercial decision.

    And frankly, I’m hoping it’s taken money enough away from them that they won’t try another MMORPG for a bit. There are a lot of old adventure gamers who’re clammoring for a return to The Longest Journey’s Universe. A new game, there. Look how popular the Doublefine KickStarter was, that proves that the genre is healthier than ever.

    They just have to do it right and not be cynical. If anything, if Funcom hasn’t learned anything from this, then they need new management. They clearly can’t be original with MMORPGs and everything ends up being a bloody WoW-like hotkey experience which no one wants. So stick to single-player games.

    You have a fantastic IP, Funcom.

    USE IT.

    Yes, I’m more than a bit exasperated by this. I don’t want Funcom to die off before they create their magnum opus, which will be the last The Longest Journey game, which ties everything together. And hopefully has the walls between Stark and Arcadia falling and the two realities mingling together, if what’s been hinted at with prior games is any indication.

    Whuf.

    Please Funcom, put this stupidity behind you.

    I think this is one of the reasons I’m most angry at WoW. It’s cancer. Everyone wants to be WoW, but in doing so they bring about their own ruin. Instead of working on new IPs, Bioware wanted to be the new WoW and it ruined them. Instead of working on The Longest Journey, Funcom wanted to be the new WoW and it’s ruined them. It’s a fucking cancer.

    When will they learn? If you touch it, if you even think about it, then you’re going to meet a miserable end.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. DSB

    @3 I don’t totally agree. It’s not WoW with Cthulhu, it’s Champions Online with Cthulhu, played through random anonymous looking yuppies from the 21st century.

    Imagine if they had gone for a turn of the century feel instead. Old revolvers, rifles, that depression era muck and gloom. Maybe instead of grinding monsters by burning them down with virtually the same procedural mechanics as the last three MMOs, the challenge would be in reloading and actually hitting them with the old weaponry instead. A little suspense and drama to go with the good idea.

    It would have been a lot more appealing. Lovecraft knew how to set the scene for his stories, I don’t think the same can be said for Funcom.

    It was like a Lovecraft themepark, not a Lovecraft experience, and the gameplay was so stale it couldn’t make a difference either way.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. YoungZer0

    “It was like a Lovecraft themepark, not a Lovecraft experience”

    Exactly that. Such a pity if you look at the fantastic art-direction. Some of the creature design is nothing but unique. If i had to use one word to describe the secret world it would “Waste”. Such a huge waste.

    I knew exactly that the game would fail when they said it was going to be another MMORPG. That’s what they do; they fail.

    Just imagine what the Secret World would’ve been if they insteadn decided to make it a singleplayer game.

    Seriously, how many Hellblazer-Like Games do we have? One: Constantine. Based on the movie that had little to do with Hellblazer. And it’s not good. It’s an action game.

    So few RPG’s use our time as a setting. Right now i can think of only one: Vampire Bloodlines and that game was good. Not excellent. Just good.

    All we get is the fucking Dark Ages. That’s exactly why i don’t care about Obsidians new game: Boring shit we’ve seen a thousand times before. No i don’t care about your story. There’s nothing this setting can deliver and it’s your fault.

    Fucking Elves and Dwarves, Elves and Dwarves, Elves and Dwarves, Elves and Dwarves, Elves and Dwarves, Elves and Dwarves, Elves and Dwarves, Elves and Dwarves, Elves and Dwarves, Elves and Dwarves, Elves and Dwarves, Elves and Dwarves …

    ELVES AND FUCKING DWARVES.

    I can’t bare this shit any more. USE a new Setting and NOT for MMORPG’s. You have no chance against WoW and definitely no chance against Guild Wars. Do something new, go back to making Singleplayer Games.

    How about an Adventure with multiple layers and dialog choices and paths based on Secret World? Wouldn’t that be interesting? Kind of like The Walking Dead Videogame but bigger?

    The best thing about John Constantine is that he never used guns to win. He always used his wits and his charm to get where he needs to go. Magic in Hellblazer isn’t just throwing fireballs out of your hand. It’s so insanely awesome and unique that it would be impossible to use it as some kind of skill to fight monsters.

    For example:

    Constantine picks up a piece of tree branch from africa that has information for him. He picks it up and it throws him into a dusty world, drenched in yellow. There, he meets an old guy who tells him that he’s being hunted by an african warlord, but that this man saved all the information he had about Constantine in this tree branch, so he’s save for now, but the tree branch is also a beacon for the Warlord.

    The Warlord seeks to capture Constantine, to manifest his soul (and with it, his magic) into his brain and devour it, so he can gain his magic. But since the soul is trapped inside the brain, it can never be free and the person will endure horrendous suffering until the Warlord is dead.

    That’s fucked up and totally awesome.

    Why can’t we have that in videogames? Why is it always Elves and Dwarves and a huge dark evil that is totally not Sauron that’s just out to get all good? That is so. Fucking. Boring.

    #8 2 years ago

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    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has received a new patch that gives season pass holders early access to a new weapon and everyone else a myriad of fixes and additions. The patch went live today on Xbox 360 and Xbox One, without any official notes. CharlieIntel reports that among the new additions is the new […]

  • Destiny’s end game and raids explained

    Destiny’s end game can be a bit obtuse to those not used to MMO games. Fear not, we’ve got a few quick tips on how to crack it. Arekkz Gaming has a video for new players of Destiny or those who are looking to brush up on their knowledge of the game. Today’s theme is […]

  • Capcom adds local co-op to Resident Evil: Revelations 2 on PC

    Following fan outrage over lack of local co-op support for the PC version of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Capcom has now added it. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 now officially supports split-screen local co-op in both campaign and raid mode. The update is currently in beta on Steam, but anyone can opt-in to try it. Capcom […]

  • New Destiny glitch spawns infinite Thralls on Earth

    Destiny’s latest glitch spawns infinite Thralls to help fuel your bounty hunting and loot lust. The glitch is simple to replicate. You’ll need to start The Dark Within mission on Earth, on any difficulty. Then follow the steps in the video below (Via DualShockers) to get to an area out of the map. You’ll then […]

  • Battlefield 4 Winter Patch is here with new game mode, netcode improvements and more

    DICE has released the Winter Patch for Battlefield 4. The patch brings an eSports focus with new game mode Squad Obliteration and plenty more. Battlefield 4 Winter Patch is now live on all platforms. It’s just over 400MB on PC and 1.34GB on consoles. The patch adds new game mode Squad Obliteration and more customisation […]

  • HTC hopes to see Half-Life on VR headset Vive

    Vive manufacturer HTC said that it hopes to see Valve games, including Half-Life, on the virtual reality headset. Speaking to the BBC, HTC chairwoman Cher Wang said that Valve is keen on having its games available on the VR headset. “I think Valve’s best game is Dota, right, and Portal and [Team Fortress] and I […]

  • Make money easily in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

    If you’re looking to buy a fell set of armour for your character in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate but keep falling short on Zenny, this video will show you an easy way to make lots of it. Arekkz Gaming has a very handy tip for all Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate players: how to make Zenny […]

  • This is how you claim free Xbox One games from your Xbox 360

    Microsoft is giving everyone the ability to claim their free Xbox One Games with Gold titles from their Xbox 360 console, even without owning an Xbox One. If you don’t yet own an Xbox One and want to make sure you don’t miss out on all those free Games with Gold games, you’ll be pleased […]

  • Destiny weekly reset for March 3: Heroic and Nightfall detailed

    Bungie has reset the weekly cap of Crucible and Vanguard marks and added new Heroic and Nightfall strikes, now with burn. From now until next Tuesday, the weekly Heroic strike will be The Devil’s Lair with Heroic and Lightswitch modifiers. As for the Nightfall, you’ll be fighting Sepiks Prime with the help of Arc burn. […]

  • Few Mass Effect FemShep cosplays are as elaborate as this one

    The internet is full of Female Commander Shepard cosplay from Mass Effect, but very few are as terrific as this one. Visual artist Freya Willia has spent over two years painstakingly creating the perfect suit of armour and the best weapons to make her cosplay of Female Shepard as authentic as possible, Omni tool and […]

  • Deals with Gold: Assassin’s Creed Unity, Red Dead Redemption and more discounted

    This week’s Deals with Gold titles for Xbox Live subscribers is a good mix of modern games and old favourites. The list of discounted games through this week’s Deals with Gold is live with discounts on Assassin’s Creed Unity, Amazing Spider-Man 2, Red Dead Redemption, Max Payne 3, and more. The deals are live now […]

  • Destiny guide: how to maximise your Grimoire Points

    Destiny players regularly compare the size of their Grimoire Points. Learn how to make yours the biggest. Destiny guide: how to earn Grimoire Points In Destiny, earning most Grimoire cards is just a matter of playing the game, maybe a little more attentively than usual. You’ll either need to complete a certain number of actions […]

  • Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows will let you play as a baddie

    Shovel Knight owners will benefit from the generosity of Kickstarter backers quite soon. Because Shovel Knight was overfunded during its Kickstarter campaign, developer Yacht Club Games committed to releasing free content updates. The first of these, Plague of Shadows, has now been detailed. The expansion stars baddy Plague Knight, who turns on his former allies, […]

  • GTA controversies, from Hot Coffee to PR manipulation

    GTA has a long history of controversy. The latest Did You Know Gaming tells the full stories behind the sensational headlines. Grand Theft Auto is such a byword for controversy that it’s easy to forget the full context of what actually happened to bring mainstream press, politicians and interest group awareness to the Rockstar series. […]

  • Infamous 2 one of five new PlayStation Now additions for March

    PlayStation Now will expand to the tune of five new games this month. The March PS Now additions are Infamous 2, Twisted Metal, R-Type Dimensions, Alone in the Dark: Inferno and Operation Flashpoint: Red River. PS Now will set you back $20 per month or $45 for a three month subscription. It offers all you […]

  • Final Fantasy 10/10-2 HD Remaster gets PS4 release date

    Final Fantasy 10/10-2 HD Remaster hits PS4 in May. The PS4 release date for Final Fantasy 10/10-2 HD Remaster is May 12 in North America and May 15 in Europe. Gematsu reports a special pre-order bonus calendar with art by Yoshitaka Amano is available through the Square Enix Store and participating retailers. In Europe, pre-ordering […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare getting 15 new Prestige levels

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare players can now aspire to the ranks of Grand Master Prestige. Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games will add 15 more Prestige levels to the latest Call of Duty, giving players at max XP a chance to grow even further. According to the Sledgehammer Games blog, when you enter Master level […]

  • Destiny: Crota’s End recreated in Minecraft

    Destiny’s toughest challenge gets even nastier if you throw Creepers into the mix. The ultimate Destiny challenge – for now – is the Crota’s End raid. Taking place in an alternate dimension accessed through the Hellmouth on the Moon, the Raid takes Guardians through a pit of darkness to the resting place of Crota himself. […]

  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3D trailer introduces the Heir to the Monado

    Xenoblade Chronicles 3D protagonist Shulk is the Heir to the Monado, his distinctive red sword. Let this trailer fill you in on what that means. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D releases for New 3DS on April 2 in Europe and April 10 in North America. As well as all the content of the Wii original, it has […]

  • The Elder Scrolls: Total War mod covers Morrowind, Oblivion and more

    The Elder Scrolls: Total War is a terrific mod allowing you get get intimately involved with the history of Bethesda’s detailed fantasy universe. The first release of The Elder Scrolls: Total War dropped on the weekend, giving players their first chance to try out LoRdNazgu1‘s creation. This version runs from 3E 427 to 4E 45, […]

  • Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 out now on Steam

    Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 is out now. Yes, we’re surprised too. You can grab Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 on Steam for $8. Developer Scott Cawthon really doesn’t mess about; the game was only announced in early January. Here’s the blurb: Thirty years after Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza closed it’s doors, the events that took […]

  • EVE Online heister makes off with $13,000 worth of goods

    EVE Online is a hotbed of villainy, espionage and backstabbing, but one intrepid corporate thief has made waves even in this setting. The thing about EVE Online is that it’s a true sandbox: the game’s rules are very loose, and allow players to make careers out of theft, piracy, assassination and espionage in addition to […]

  • Marth Amiibo getting a stock refresh in North America

    Nintendo of America has announced a fresh supply of the difficult to find Marth Amiibo. The Marth Amiibo will be back in stock in the US in late April, the platform holder said on Twitter today. Planning to pick up Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. and don’t have a Marth amiibo? More are headed to stores in […]

  • Skyrim beta update upgrades creation kit file size

    Skyrim has been granted a new beta update – more than three years after launch! – to improve the experience for modders and those who use them. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim released in November 2011. I think that’s worth noting before we discuss the beta update that dropped today, even as Bethesda is working […]

  • Paradox’s next epic RPG is, uh, Knights of Pen & Paper 2

    Knights of Pen & Paper 2 is very serious business so please enjoy this very serious trailer. “Return to the dicey world of Knights of Pen & Paper for a new turn-based adventure, where players get to take on the role of players, and also of the game’s encounter-designing, rules-laywering GM in a fully customizable […]

  • Amplitude looks amazing in new gameplay trailer, has a team multiplayer mode

    Amplitude may have been delayed but we still get something this March: a fine new gameplay trailer. Amplitude is coming to PlayStation 3 and PS4 sometime in northern summer. It’s a reprisal of Harmonix’s classic rhythm action game, a forerunner to its later efforts with Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and was crowdfunded. Update: Turns […]

  • DayZ creator’s “crazy”, “esoteric” next game developed with Improbable

    DayZ creator Dean “Rocket” Hall has dropped the first vague details of his new game project. “I do not want to make safe games. I do not want to make games the way we have been making them. What if the most experienced video game staff in the world collaborated on the most esoteric and […]

  • Battlefield Hardline will support AMD’s Mantle

    AMD has confirmed what most Battlefield fans thought. Battlefield Hardline will indeed support Mantle. Battlefield Hardline will support Mantle, AMD has confirmed. Some players weren’t sure whether the retail version of the game will support AMD’s API, due to its absence from the recent PC beta. AMD did not say whether the feature will be […]

  • Unreal Engine 4 GDC 2015 sizzle reel shows what the tech can do

    Unreal Engine 4 is a pretty versatile bit of tech, as this new sizzle reel shows. As one of the more ubiquitous engines, Unreal will be on show at GDC this week. Developer Epic produced the following sizzle reel to quickly demonstrate what it can do – cutting edge graphics (there are very few games […]

  • Survarium’s latest patch removes limit on battle ammo, rebalances experience gain

    The latest Survarium patch has readjusted the value of experience and reputation points gained and removed the limit to the maximum amount of ammo you can use in combat. Survarium developer Vostok Games has released patch 0.27a to the public, having recently finished testing it. The patch is a major one and covers changes to […]

  • The Hunt Begins in new Bloodborne TV spot

    Bloodborne is so close you can almost smell its coppery tang on the wind – and also you can watch commercials for it. Bloodborne arrives on PS4 at the end of this month (March 24 North America, March 25 Europe, March 27 UK) so excitement is starting to build. Sony isn’t helping keep us calm […]

  • World of Warcraft: you’ll soon be able to buy game time with gold

    Blizzard will soon allow World of Warcraft players to exchange in-game gold for game time and vice versa. Blizzard has announced a new system that will launch soon for World of Warcraft. The system is called WoW Token. Using this system, players will be able to buy game time using in-game gold. Here’s how it […]

  • 3D Realms’ Bombshell returns with the first gameplay trailer

    Remember 3D Realms’ Bombshell? The isometric ARPG that was announced last year? Well, it’s back, and we get to see gameplay footage. The game stars Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison, a bomb technician turned mercenary with a mechanical arm. She will embark on a quest to rescue the president and save Earth, all while shooting aliens. The […]

  • Unreal Engine 4 is now free for everyone to use

    Epic Games has made Unreal Engine 4 available for anyone to download and use, for free. Unreal Engine 4 is now free. Anyone can download it and start using it, the developer announced today in a blog post. The download features the the full set of tools used by Epic, and includes 100% of the […]

  • Call of Duty European Championship winner announced

    The winner of the European round of the Call of Duty Championship has been announced. This past weekend, 28 teams representing UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, the rest of Europe and Middle East attended the final of the European round of the Call of Duty Championship. UK team Epsilon eSports was crowned […]

  • GOG brings back Insomnia sale with discounts up to 90% off

    GOG.com is bringing back its Insomnia sale event with even more games. GOG’s Insomnia sale is back with double the amount of games. This year, there will be two sets of games available at once. The sets are seasoned classics and fresh new titles. Each set will feature games with discounts up to 90% off, […]

  • 2K is shutting down NBA 2K14 online servers, won’t affect career save files

    2K will be shutting down the servers for NBA 2K14 this month. The publisher revealed yesterday that online servers for NBA 2K14 will be turned offline on March 31. “You will no longer be able to play ranked games/online association,” reads the announcement. NBA 2K14 relied on online servers to store save files for MyCareer […]

  • One Dead or Alive tournament organiser is proposing ban of “over-sexualised” costumes

    A Dead or Alive tournament organiser has suggested a soft ban on some of the game’s “over-sexualised” costumes, and not everyone is happy. Tournament organiser “The HuBBs” took to the FreeStepDodge forums to suggest a list of rules that other offline tournaments can follow. The list goes over stages, characters, moves, which is certainly in […]