October is finally here. That means Halloween is this month! I can't even describe how excited that makes me. I know I'm not alone in having been waiting with bated breath for any word about The Secret World's Samhain holiday event. So when Romain "Titly" Amiel, game director, started teasing chunks of an image, many of us thought it would an announcement about the best Halloween celebration ever. It turns out it wasn't, but maybe it was. The announcement is related to TSW. However, it might also be a tease for what will actually await us in TSW as well. It's all about a new Secret World spin-off game.
Can Funcom's upcoming Halloween title Hide and Shriek top last year's The Park? Does it even need to? And what will it have to do with The Secret World? If these questions are floating around in your head, you've come to the right place for answers. They are:
OK, so maybe you'd like a few more details than that. Can do! Of course, we mainly have speculation at the point, but following the path that the past has laid out brings us to these very answers.
Funcom's annual report is out, and there's a whole lot to glean from the document about the company's state and its future plans. In summary, Funcom is about breaking even in its finances, is banking hard on Conan Exiles being a big hit, and will probably be letting LEGO Minifigures Online go later this year.
One surprise is that there appears to be yet another Secret World spin-off in the works after the success of last year's The Park: "The company has started internal concept development and protyping for a smaller game based on The Secret World IP [...] There is no target release period yet as the project is still in a very early phase."
The report doesn't bode well for the underperforming LEGO Minifigures Online: "As of the time of this annual report, [Funcom] does not find it likely that any of the game metrics will improve, and has adjusted its investment in the game accordingly. The license agreement with LEGO for the LEGO Minifigures Online game ends October 2016."
Funcom is a busy little bee this month, with patches for most of its MMORPGs, teasers for its upcoming survival sandbox, and now a console launch for last fall's thriller The Park.
"Funcom is excited to announce that the company's latest game, The Park, will be available to horror fans around the world on both Playstation 4 and Xbox One next month, on May 3rd," the studio wrote today. "The Park will be Funcom's first console release since Dreamfall: The Longest Journey in 2006."
The studio is expected to announce two more games this year. MOP's MJ played the game on Halloween for those looking for a full walkthrough!
We've finally left 2015 behind. And while it is perfectly natural to want to glance back in the rearview mirror over the last 12 months, in the case of The Secret World you can't help yourself; there's that odd sensation of something following you. While peering back, I half expect some shadowy figure to materialize in the corner of my vision and make my heart skip a beat. This is, after all, the king of creepy MMOs that we're talking about.
Paranoia aside, the year was not a bad one for our favorite horror game. Sure, it had some downs tossed in with the ups, but that's how life goes. And I think the year ended positive overall, with new content, new kinds of content, and the promise of even more content to come.
Watch out world: Funcom is cranking up its game factory for 2016.
In the studio's Q3 2015 report, Funcom said that it would be announcing the creation of three new titles -- one "large" and two small -- next year: "In line with the company’s strategy, prototyping and concept development for new titles is underway, with the first new game to be announced during early 2016 and two additional games throughout later that year."
Funcom needs a good future source of revenue, as its earnings continued to decline to $2,195,000 for the quarter. The decline was attributed to "a gradual and expected decrease in sales from the current live games."
Was Funcom’s Secret World-inspired single-player experiment successful? It would seem so as The Park will now be released on console, the first non-PC release for the studio in nearly 10 years. Funcom noted that The Park play-through videos received more than seven million views on YouTube during the first week after release, and come Q1 of 2016, both XBox One and PlayStation 4 players will have the chance explore the eerie Atlantic Island Park. For fans, this move hopefully also signifies that subsequent single-player experiences utilizing the setting of The Secret World will follow.
If you can't wait until the console launch to experience the tension and horror as you walk (and run) through the amusement park as Lorraine, a mom frantically searching for her son, you can watch our full play-through below. Or, if that contains too many spoilers, you can also read up on our impressions of the game.
In the beginning, there was surprise. Funcom is making a single-player experience based on The Secret World?! After a few seconds that shock melted away into excitement. Oh heck yeah -- sign me up! Who hasn't thought that TSW could make a killer single-player game (if not already be one, heh)? Then came the eagerness and anticipation as I waited for The Park, compounded even more by getting a taste of the game during my tour, then made nearly unbearable as I stared at the game on my Steam list while waiting to stream it. Finally, Halloween came and I was able to dive headfirst into the experience, full of hope, excitement, and even a little nervousness. And why not? It felt like a first date with TSW's future. If things went well, the studio would be in a better place, which would mean more security for my favorite MMO. Success could mean good things for TSW, from more exposure to more development resources. First impressions were important.
I'm not normally one to kiss and tell, but The Park was not a disappointment. Everything about that date was awesome. I spent three full hours alternating between running and tiptoeing while exploring every nook and cranny, examining every single scrap of paper. (How I missed one achievement, I still have no clue!) It was a roller coaster ride -- at one point literally -- of emotions that was worth every second. And everything about the game tells me it is a portent of good things to come.
What better way to spend Halloween night than wandering through a shadow-filled amusement park? MassivelyOP's MJ is diving into The Park, the single-player experience based on The Secret World's own creepy Atlantic Island Park. She's sure to be startled by spooky sounds as she scours the world for clues to suss out what all is going on. Tune in live at 9:00 p.m. as MJ plays through from start to finish.
This stream will contain nothing but spoilers, and possibly even some ear-splitting screams. You have been warned.
What: The Park
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, October 31st, 2015
This week sees a big Halloween sale over at Steam, which includes several MMOs that you might want to pick up while they're at a discount. The sale ends on November 2nd.
Both The Secret World's basic and ultimate editions are half-off at $15 and $30, respectively. The ultimate edition includes all of the content from issues 1 through 11, making it a much better prospect than buying the DLC piecemeal.
Other sales include ARK: Survival Evolved, H1Z1, The Park, TERA, Shroud of the Avatar, War Thunder, EVE Online, Otherland, and Eldevin. Speaking of things to play for Halloween, check out our guide to all of the events running rampant through MMOs right now!
Let's just put our cards on the table: The Park is not the single-player offering that The Secret World fans have been clamoring for since more or less the dawn of the game. But I think that's honestly a good thing. In fact, I'll say that the connection to The Secret World is probably the least positive aspect of The Park.
I don't say that as someone who dislikes The Secret World; quite the opposite. I'm not an active player in any of Funcom's games, but I'd still consider myself a fan insofar as the company does put together interesting projects with lots of nifty bits around the edges that I can appreciate. There was never a setting in which I was not going to buy a copy of The Park because I want it to do well. But the bits of horror surrounding Atlantic Island park, those nods to the greater overarching plot of the MMO - those are diversions from the central horror, which is wholly self-contained and far more open-ended.
Because it's a story about loss. And about the lies we tell ourselves as adults.
Funcom's cross-promotion between The Park and The Secret World has raised controversy in quarters, with some players accusing the studio of opening the door to pay-to-win practices.
The controversy in particular is over a pack of quality level 10.9 talismans that is exclusive to TSW players who purchased The Park. Concerned players said that this amounts to paying money for powerful gear that has made a significant impact on the game's PvP scene.
The first single-player spin-off of The Secret World is finally here, as Funcom's The Park is coming out today.
Players in the game visit the MMO's iconic amusement park in a prequel of sorts, taking on the role of a mother looking for her lost son after hours. Of course, since this isn't any ordinary park, she's in for a world of horror and psychological terror in her quest. The Park offers improved visuals over the MMO and even the ability to go on more of the rides.
The Park is 23% off right now for a sale price of $9.99 on Steam. You can watch the launch trailer after the break, and stay tuned later this week as our Stream Team will be exploring the game in front of a live audience!
Decisions, decisions. When you are invited to a special sneak peek of The Park, the upcoming single-player game based on The Secret World's own Atlantic Island Amusement Park, guided by Joel Bylos, the very guy who created said park, it is hard to say no! On one hand, you really want to be completely surprised by every little detail when you get to play the horror game for yourself. On the other, you get to pick the brains of the man behind that amazing park and learn all sorts of juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits that aren't available during a personal playthrough. In the end, it wasn't much of a choice: Talking with Bylos totally won out. The result? I learned the origin story of The Park, tasted the atmosphere, and experienced a few fun moments in the game. Now I am even more excited to play it than before!
Thankfully, Bylos promised to not reveal many spoilers (though one accidentally popped in), and I in turn will avoid them here as much as possible. Instead, I'll focus on the story behind the story, the goals of this thriller, and the possibility of more projects in the future.