It might very well all be PR BS, but I like what Tørnquist from Funcom said about The Secret World:
“We’re not going to play it safe,” Tørnquist assures players. “We won’t be introducing classes or levels, elves or dwarves, and regardless of the competition, we won’t back down from our original vision. We’re going to keep doing what we’re good at. We’ll continue to push the boundaries, and we’ll keep reinventing the wheel (quite literally). Five years ago, we set out to revolutionize the genre, and the revolution has just begun.”
Ok, that last bit is a little much, but the first part is something I wish everyone in the genre would do. It’s what CCP did back in 2003, and while things are not apple to apples between CCP then and Funcom today, the core design philosophy is correct.
The biggest problem for TSW has nothing to do with its content or systems (never played it, but those who do today seem very happy with it). It’s that Funcom designed a niche MMO on (maybe?) an AAA budget and expected AAA sales. 200k units sold is a very workable number if you plan for it. If you plan for 1m+, not so much.
You might like this, from the Crai Morrison interview on Massively, too:
” we do see more potential in system-driven game formats as opposed to purely content-based games. That though doesn’t mean it has to be a small game, EVE for example is a systems-driven game rather than a content-driven game. So it’s more about being efficient and trying to create titles that leverage the best part about MMOs, and that’s the communities around them! We have been crafting stories for a long time now, and we feel it’s also important to start to think more about how we can also let the players drive their own stories”
The unfortunate side effect from WoW’s success is that games since seem to believe they can and need to have a large subscriber base. Really what these games are proving is that WoW is an anomaly and that maybe developers and publishers should set their sights a bit lower. Just ask the people working on TOR.
I don’t think that’s an accurate representation of their goals. Funcom’s target was the sales and subscriptions of Age of Conan, their previous game.
I think that was a reasonable target to aim for. It’s certainly not the same thing as aiming for WoW.
AOC was based after a well-known IP, it was (well, is) a fantasy game and it came out at a time when lots of people were just getting tired of WoW and there weren’t many alternatives.
Contrast this with TSW which features a new IP in a unique setting, somewhat different mechanics, wasn’t particularly well marketed and was released at a time when MMOs are dime a dozen (not to mention just a month shy of GW2 juggernaut).
I really hope they pull through since we desperately need MMOs that try to push the genre into different directions, but Syncaine is essentialy right – there was just no way they could have met their AAA expectations.
I dunno, how many people have ever read a Conan book/short story compared to the number of people who have read urban fantasy about conspiracies (ie. The Da Vinci Code).
I never really felt that Conan was a popular IP, although it is well known.
Well, I guess its better than going out like Schilling
Good to hear. I never really liked AoC and don’t care for what I’ve read of the secret world, but I’m all for them going out and doing something different.
Anarchy Online was pretty cool though.
TSW is really a top notch game to play trough once, but sub model is wrong and its is not that great of an MMO
Really sad to see it being a failure, but imho its more fault of timing (gw2), positioning (subscription based mmo) and probably bloated budget
Well, if they keep churning out the monthly updates (Rift-style), then the subscriber base (however small) will be there for them.