Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The best new MMO may never launch

Reading news this morning, an alert came through about the latest information for Funcom. It seems they now are at a threshold in regards to the launch of their new MMO, The Secret World.

A link to Trading News has some dire reporting in regards to an MMO so fresh and new, yet full of a troubled companies woes. The report is called..."DnB Nor analyst says Funcom may need more funds before Secret World launch"

Several notes are included in the report which tells us where Funcom is in regards to their funds, thanks to this months financial report.

"Funcom's revenue has been constantly decreasing since the launch of its massively multiplayer online (MMO) game Age of Conan (in May 2009) and the company said it expects a further fall in revenue in the first quarter of 2010, without specifying an interval."

Thanks to a shoddy launch and then a takeover by another Game Director who changed the direction of Age of Conan, these all seem to be in line to make AoC a revenue killer.
The funds have slowly been whittled away, and monetary funds both on hand and intake all continue to fall.

As part of this, this next paragraph says a lot.

"No date for the launch of The Secret World has been set. The title is still under development. In his analysis, Thoresen has taken into consideration a launch in the fourth quarter of 2011."

That is a LONG way off for what could be one of the most exciting changes to MMO's since WoW launched it's casual friendly behemoth some 6 years ago.

The Secret World will incorporate Age of Conan's more action oriented combat, with no standard class system, no forced skills system, and a modern world setting with a horror flair. Thanks to the bad news, this just makes the game more of a hype and less of a want at this point. Especially with Guild Wars 2 and SWToR launching that year, it even makes The Secret World a game that could just be a flash in the pan by the time of release.

I had really high hopes for this game, and who knows...maybe the launch of the Age of Conan expansion could be the influx of cash Funcom needs. But, seeing the company continues to ignore it's player base and the population continues to stagnate, it may be a bumpy 2010.

6 comments:

docholidayj said...

This is disappointing news, I was looking forward to the Secret World for many of the reasons you mentioned. If nothing else, an MMO based in this time could've been very cool.

With all the issues new MMOs are having these days it makes me wonder when we'll see a "successful" one or if WoW will ever lose market share.

Scarybooster said...

I guess we should all petition to get people to subscribe to AoC for the sake of The Secret World oooor Funcom can sell it to a better developer

Matthew said...

Should be interesting to see what happens over the next 6 months.

This is strictly my opinion, but I think the AOC expansion will make or break Funcom. At a minimum it needs to be a modest success for the Secret World to happen at this point.

jeff said...

APB is still planning on launching this year. It seems like more of an FPS MMO, but has an interesting player driven content system that would influence new MMOs to do sometheing, anything different.

Latro said...

This "Last Great Hope of the Expansion and a new Game to Save the Company Revenue Stream" seems all too familiar to those who played Hellgate:London. I plyed AoC since release, quit for a while, then came back for a while, but realized the fundamentals just weren't being addressed in a mad desire to keep the hard-core end-gamers happy. That player pool shrinks and there is nothing more to bring in new players or keep them going through the grind. Sad really.

Longasc said...

I hope Secret World gets a better start than AoC. I know a lot of people who marked it as failure after the launch and never returned.

Funcom hopefully learned from that. If AoC would launch today with the current content, I bet it would be much more successful. Still, they need to address the gap after Tortage. This is where many people got lost, just like the Lone-Lands were and probably still are after the revamp a subscription killer for LOTRO.

It is nice to add new content to veterans, but I think there is still many things and opportunities to improve in the game between Tortage and the endgame.

AoC has much more promising game mechanics than the generic competitors and Robert E. Howard's Conan universe is a wonderful franchise for a fantasy themed MMO. The game still has not lived up to its true potential!

But unfortunately the cute styled generic subpar WoW clone with game mechanics older than the pyramids of Gizeh seems to be the popular choice of MMO for a lot of MMO gamers. I cannot understand that.

Allods Online has no mounts and won't have them in near future, crafting and gathering is even much worse than the underwhelming WoW crafting and the original developers left before they could include a proper radar map. Nobody has got an "astral ship" so far, and not many will get one - one will own the ship, but others are needed to operate it. Nobody knows if this will work well.

But every other game gets bashed for having no mounts or its crafting gets ridiculed - check Guild Wars or Age of Conan. Nobody seems to be excited about riding a Mammoth or Rhino in AoC, strangely enough. And Allods so far is the only game out there that is well received despite having no radar map. I cannot help, most other games would be bashed left and right for that.

After Star Trek Online runs out of steam/content (Cryptic is notoriously slow to add content, I fear they screw up like with Champions Online), I am pretty sure that I will return to Hyboria again. Or at least try to stay a bit longer this time. There are no major MMO launches in 2010 anymore that I am aware of, after all. Except WoW: Rebootism.

It is sad that designers with cool ideas like Ragnar Tornquist get dragged down by their companies and financial problems. It would be a total shame if Secret Worlds gets rushed out unfinished and early due to the project running out of money.

I hope the delay means they take their time to do it right, and not they have to slow down because they have no cash to finish the game properly in time. :(