The Secret World First Interview with Producer Ragnar Tornquist

Updated Wed, Apr 08, 2009 by B. de la Durantaye

This week Funcom has unveiled its first screenshots, video and fact sheet to tell us about their new upcoming MMOG, The Secret World. The game is set to take place in a world within our own, where monsters and magic exists. And now, for the first time ever, Senior Producer and Director of the game, Ragnar Tornquist, was able to answer some of our questions about the game in this exclusive Ten Ton Hammer interview.

Questions by: Garrett Fuller, Ten Ton Hammer
Answers by: Ragnar Tornquist, Senior Producer and Director of The Secret World, Funcom

Ten Ton Hammer: Our first look at The Secret World reveals some amazing footage. Tell us about the trailer.

Ragnar Tornquist: It’s one of (at least) four trailers that will show off various locations, monsters, clothes, items, powers and weapons you’ll find in the game – and which will also introduce some of the characters you’ll encounter in the story, both in the game…and outside.

Ten Ton Hammer: Talk about the demon, is it even a demon? Also what ability is triggered from the girl’s tattoo? It really is amazing stuff.

Ragnar Tornquist: Thanks! Yes, it is a sort of demon, but I won’t tell you exactly what sort of demon it is. (It’s not a very friendly kind. Yes, there are friendly demons. Or at least friendly-ish.)

And I can’t really divulge the precise nature of the girl’s powers – although you will be able to gain those powers yourself in the game. Eventually.

Ten Ton Hammer: In your fact sheet you talk about not having to level a character, that characters will be free to choose the skills they want in order to fight monsters. Can you tell us about the freedom you are giving players?

Ragnar Tornquist: As much freedom as we possibly can. We’re getting rid of classes and levels, and we’re going completely skill based.

Players can be exactly who they want to be. They can develop any kind of character they want to develop – combining powers and abilities how they see fit, whether that’s sticking to a template or creating a unique hybrid.
Even better, you’re never stuck with the choices you’ve made. If you want to reinvent yourself at any point, you can. You don’t have to make a new character and start from scratch – instead, you pick up some new skills, shuffle the deck (so to speak) and keep playing. We don’t want anything to get in the way of having fun, and we believe in empowering players from the moment they start playing – making sure there’s no steep entry barrier or endless leveling curve. In that sense, and as we’re fond of saying, The Secret World begins where other MMOs end.

Having said that, we’re putting a lot of focus on character progression, and someone who’s played the game for six months or a year will be (and look) a lot more powerful and have a lot more gameplay options and cool gear than someone who just started playing. And there are places and situations where only the most experienced are welcome. But new players can quickly get to a point where they’re reasonably skilled and can join in on the fun almost anywhere in the game world.

Also, you’ll be fighting kick-ass demons and hordes of undead using cool weapons from the moment you create a new character – I swear to God, no dinky swords and diseased rats.

Ten Ton Hammer: You chose the modern world as the setting for the game; can you tell us about why you made this choice? What areas will players be able to explore?

Ragnar Tornquist: The real world is a unique and wonderful playground. There are so many true stories, ancient myths and folktales, urban legends and conspiracy theories, so many mysterious and exciting locations, monsters and demons and gods, forgotten cities and lost civilizations, strange creatures and mystical lore, so much reference material to draw on – it really is the perfect setting for an MMO.

The locations we’ve revealed so far are the three hub cities where players create their characters and start playing – London, New York and Seoul – and two large ‘adventure zones’: New England and Egypt. There are more locations, and after the game goes live it will keep growing. The original codename for The Secret World was ‘The Entire World Online’, and that’s my ultimate goal: twenty years down the line, I want us to have covered all the greatest locations in the world. And beyond. (There’s more to our world than just this world.)


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