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LONG BLOG

"Se7en Things to Learn From the New Secret World Trailer" or "Secret's Out!"

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The new trailer for The Secret World, as seen by attendees at the GDC this month, is finally public. Rock, Paper, Shotgun also published Project leader Ragnar Tornquist's thoughts on the trailer.

It seems Tornquist both mind-read my frustration with the painfully slim stream of information coming from Funcom, as well as my threats last week to set the Funcom offices on fire. I am glad we see eye-to-eye on this Mr. Tornquist, and it didn't have to come to arson. I won't even know where to get that much gasoline! Moving on...

Watch the YouTube video below in case you haven't yet.



So what can we glean from the trailer?

One: Graphics
The graphics will never compare to Cry Engine 3's ridiculous capabilities (I mean come on, the engine looks like it could reasonably simulate the freaking Matrix!), but they sure do look pretty! Swirling mists, a derelict boat swaying in unsteady waters, dilapidated ruins, quintessentially cliched suburban quiet towns, The Secret World seems to feature them all and then some.

Two: Atmosphere
The game will be highly atmospheric. The environments radiate with an ambiance of a world similar to ours, yet concealing something just behind the veil that makes it not quite right. The game lore suggests three cities, New York, London, and Shanghai: starter towns for the game's three factions. Yet the trailer did not feature any urban metropolises (unless I missed something). I thought this was a bit peculiar, since the three cities are central to the game's story, and battling out demonic abominations in the middle of Times Square sounds like a blast.

Three: Characters
The character models are sufficiently detailed, but they look a little off, and the animations look a little rigid. For all of it's flaws, Champions Online excelled in the character creation, detail and animation department. I suppose I am now spoiled in a manner of speaking, trying to find flaws in reasonably well-detailed models because I have seen what an MMO could achieve the year prior. This propensity for well-detailed character models is even more perplexing considering I am used to the character models from WoW, and the character-less ship avatars of EVE Online. At the end of the day, the character models and animations look decent, but it must be said that the MMO isn't even in beta yet, so there is a lot of room for tweaking and improvement.

Four: Enemies
There will be a very wide variety of monsters in the game, ranging from humanoid zombies to the lightening-infused squishy-looking, octopus-squid-Captain-Davy-Jones-from-The-Pirates-of-the-Caribbean-movies-resembling... uh, things. I am also excited by the prospect that the enemies in this game look unlike any monsters we have seen before. Sure the developers have delved into the familiar with zombies and werewolves and the like. But there are several beasts that look and feel original.

Five: Voice-Acting
The voice acting is top notch, and decidedly ominous-sounding. Once again, although I am used to playing MMOs that smack you repeatedly in the face with enough quest text to fill the Encyclopedia Britannica and every crappy Star Trek novel ever written, I find myself irritated at the prospect of having to read any more quest text in any future MMOs that I invest in. I guess BioWare is to blame for that, what with their fully and meticulously voice-acted recent RPGs: Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2. So when I see an upcoming MMO that I am genuinely excited about, and then I get the briefest whiff of quality voice-acting, I am excited. That being said, the voice acting seems a bit rushed in places. Almost as if the voice artists were hired on a per-hour basis!

Six: Script
The above is a nice transition into my sixth point. The scripts seems well-written, and from what we have seen the lore facilitates and enhances the story and background elements. The cowboy has stood out in both the gameplay trailer and the teaser for the gameplay trailer. I wonder what his story is, but I sure am excited about it!

Seven: Black Frames
Last but not least, and completely unrelated to the game itself, Tornquist loves his carefully positioned black frames. Good god man, the screen went black about 42 times during that trailer. I know you are all about the secrets and the atmosphere, but my eyeballs hurt from rapid contractions over 90 seconds!

I haven't been this excited about an MMO for quite some time, and I can't wait to get my hands on it.
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About Bronteone of us since 3:13 PM on 03.08.2010

Why “Are We New At This?”
It’s an inside joke more than anything else. I led a guild for a very long time, and one of things I’d say whenever we wiped on an old encounter was: “Come on guys! What are we new at this?” That sort of stuck, and soon became a catchphrase for literally any sort of failure. Even when I accidentally stammered or misspoke on vent, someone else would simply say: “Come on Bronte! What are you new at this?” Narcissistic? Maybe. But its a fond connection I have to old friends and good memories.

Why “Bronte”?
No idea. For as long as I can remember, whenever a game asked me to create a profile, or create a character, or enter a name, my first choice was Bronte. I also use Pantheon and Prometheus on occasion.