Funcom put out a press release today about using the Highwinds content delivery system to dish out there online games. With The Secret World set to launch on June 19, and over 750,000 beta sign-ups, I guess they figure they’ll be needing top notch content delivery. What better way to get it than butter up your new provider with a flattering press release? I just found it interesting to know that over 750k have registered for beta, and that number will likely rise significantly once Funcom really starts some hardcore TSW pimpage.
Funcom is doing up another Age of Conan re-evaluation with a double experience boost throughout November. As an added bonus, if you continue subscribing after the re-evaluation then you will secure a spot in The Secret World beta test. Oh yeah, the re-evaluation is a two week freebie. w00tage! Other rewards:
- Subscribing for 1 month gives 7 days extra game time for no additional cost
- Subscribing for 3 months also guarantees a spot in open beta for The Secret World
- Subscribing for 6 months also gives a level 40 helmet with a 10% XP modifier
- Subscribing for 12 months also gives a free copy of the Rise of the Godslayer expansion
In addition, the rewards for the lower tier subscriptions are also included in the higher tier subscription, which means that you will get all these exclusive rewards if you choose to subscribe for 12 months. This is a time-limited offer only, and is also available to current players. Players who have signed up for these subscription plans in October have already secured their respective reward. The Secret World beta reward includes access to the later stages of the closed beta, and a date for access will be announced later. The free download of the expansion will become available when the expansion launches.
This is very unfortunate news as gamesindustry.biz reports on Funcom layoffs and the delay of The Secret World. Apparently Funcom will cut its workforce by 20% to cut costs. As a result, The Secret World will be delayed by a few months while they re-organize. This comes as fairly unexpected news considering the company recently announced it would be opening a new studio in Quebec, Canada. But apparently by shifting their workforce to the Canada, they will be able to take advantage of a salary reimbursement from the Quebec government.
Three cheers for PAX 2009! I’m really looking forward to finding out more about TSW, and I’m sure you all are too. Bite My Review notes that The Secret World trailer for PAX has come out a bit early on CVG. Also, on darkdaysarecoming.com Funcom has posted a new quiz for The Secret World. It will tell you what faction you most fit, the Illuminati, the Templars or the Dragons.
If you follow Ragnar on Twitter then you may have noticed that he has been teasing with “Three are here”. Hrmmm! I would assume he is talking about the Societies, which is probably what we will see most of out of PAX. And finally, CVG has slapped up a TSW preview which delves deeper into the three Societies.
According to EndSights, Funcom will be revealing new information on “The Secret World” at the upcoming Penny Arcade Expo. In fact, they have stated that they will “let quite a few secrets out of the bag” regarding their upcoming MMORPG. Funcom will also officially announce and show off their Age of Conan expansion at the event.
At VE3D, Andrew runs down the details of the latest Funcom financial report. They’ve reported a strong first quarter, revenue has gone up and Age of Conan subscriptions have seen a significant increase. There are currently 120 employees still working on AoC content and improvements, excluding customer service.
Additionally, in-game player time has also increased. Funcom plans to release significant enhancements in the coming months, and they are also developing ways to reduce the size of the game client download, to ease the burden on those wanting to check out the free trial. We’ll see yet another marketing blitz coming from them, focused on bringing back former players.
The Secret World development team is now up to 100 members, and a significant milestone was completed on May 7th. Included was the first iteration of the game’s combat system, character creator, dungeon, 11 near complete zones, content development tools and the first cut-scene.
Funcom also reported that the first Secret World trailer has been viewed by around one million gamers, and that the level of interest in the game is higher than Age of Conan received at a similar stage of development.
You can view the 89 page Funcom Annual Report for 2008 in .pdf form. We’ll run down some highlights for you.
- Age of Conan pre-sold more than any original PC game launch in history, with 1.2 million copies of the game shipped to retailers.
- Anarchy Online will celebrate its eight year anniversary in June 2009.
- A new Game Director for Anarchy Online was appointed, and his team spearheaded the development of the new booster pack, Legacy of Xan.
- By the end of 2008 over 300 full-time employees were working with Funcom, located in offices in Switzerland, Norway, USA and China.
- Some operations were scaled back after the launch of Age of Conan, including Customer Service and Quality Assurance, while other teams saw growth, most notably in China.
- In 2008 Funcom started development of two Free-To-Play MMOs, with continued development on The Secret World and Anarchy Online.
- In addition to developing two F2P MMOs, Funcom has begun the research phase on a third.
- Funcom aims to emerge as a leading independent developer of F2P games.
- Funcom continues to invest in Age of Conan and expect the next 6-9 months to show whether they can once again enter a growth phase with the game.
- Funcom’s next large scale MMO, The Secret World, has started PR.
- Free-To-Play MMOs in beta testing.
- Funcom continues to develop their DreamWorld Engine, and have about 30 programmers working on it.
- In 2008 Funcom sold its interest in Plutolife, which concluded its involvement in the mobile gaming sector.
- In January and February 2009 the Group launched localized versions of Age of Conan in Poland and Russia with positive gamer and press recentpion.
- On February 23, 2009 Olav Sandnes gave notice of resignation as CFO. Mr. Sandnes left the company to take up a new position in a different industry.
- On March 5, 2009 options to acquire shares were granted to key personnel in Funcom.
Financial Calendar for 2009
Monday, 23 February – Q4 2008
Friday, 15 May – Q1 2009
Wednesday, 26 August – Q2 2009
Thursday, 12 November – Q3 2009
All financial bits have been left out to avoid putting anyone to sleep.
Rock Paper Shotgun interviews Funcom’s Ragnar Tørnquist. They talk about Tørnquist’s involvement with Anarchy Online, storyline, learning from other MMOs, TSW class progression, the world for The Secret World and more. Here’s a little snip on guilds:
RPS: Any plans for guilds, player-built objects?
Tørnquist: We’ll have something called cabals, which is our version of guilds, and there will be something tied to that which allows players to make a permanent stamp on the world. I can’t say too much about it, but there are mechanics for creating networks and allowing people to feel like they are part of something bigger.
Quest for the Flag is a new site dedicated to bringing people together to raise $15,000 and win an auction for Roald Amundsen’s Expedition Flag. Roald Amundsen led the first Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole and is also the first person to reach both the North and South Poles. Amundsen was a central figure in the initial reveal and story for Funcom’s upcoming MMORPG, The Secret World. The auction is taking place on May 7th, and if the group wins the flag they will return it to Norway and present is to Funcom’s Ragnar Tørnquist, producer of TSW. You can read more about the community venture at Quest for the Flag.
Durham, USA – April 7th, 2009 – Dark days are coming. The words are now everywhere. After deciding to make the development its next massively multiplayer online game a little less secret, Funcom have now released information, artworks and the first ever trailer video for ‘The Secret World’. Journalists across the world recently had the chance to sit down and talk to game director Ragnar Tørnquist about the new game and hear his vision, thus generating reports on websites everywhere such as Eurogamer, GameTrailers, and MMORPG.com.
“It is great to finally be able to talk about The Secret World, after several years in the dark,” says senior producer and director Ragnar Tørnquist. “The real world is such a rich and fascinating setting for an MMO, and we are able to draw inspiration from ancient history, stories of lost cities and forgotten civilizations, folktales, urban legends, conspiracy theories and pop culture. We are building a game that mixes modern day Earth with terrifying monsters, dark and occult magic, cool weapons and awesome powers – and it’s unlike anything you have ever seen before in an MMO.”
‘The Secret World’ takes place in our own, modern-day world. Players can explore locations such as New York, London, and Seoul, as they unravel the mysteries, legends and myths that make up our world and its history. But the real and realistic will clash with the unreal and fantastical, as the darkness of the secret world approaches. Not only will ‘The Secret World’ offer a setting never before experienced in an MMO, Funcom is also expanding on the genre standards by introducing gameplay that is not based on classes or levels. Players will have the freedom to become whatever they want to be and play however they want to play, allowing them to explore the world at will and master anything from voodoo and black magic to martial arts and modern firearms.
By following this link you can download a fact sheet, artworks, and the first ever trailer video for ‘The Secret World’. These assets are meant to capture the spirit and vision of the game and its world, giving the viewer a small, but significant glimpse into what can be expected when the game is launched. Funcom have also made updates to the official website – www.darkdaysarecoming.com – and gamers are now invited to leave their name and e-mail. In the future, exclusive information will be provided to those who choose to sign up.