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[Interview] The Secret World: Funcom - About the Long Haul

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,637MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

During PAX Prime, we had the opportunity to chat with Age of Conan Unchained Game Director Craig Morrison. We covered topics including recent layoffs, what the future holds for Funcom and much more. Check it out!

During PAX Prime 2012, Bill and I had the opportunity to sit down for a face-to-face chat with Age of Conan Game Director Craig Morrison. Funcom had a very small presence at PAX though it was just curious circumstance that PAX came right on the heels of the company’s announcement that it had implemented cost saving measures including the ‘temporary’ layoff of employees. Craig was at the show to talk to press and to fans about what was happening and to give a bit of insight into Funcom’s way forward. 

Read more of Suzie Ford's The Secret World: Funcom - About the Long Haul.


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Comments

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,722Member Uncommon

    I know, it seems the direction nowadays, but as a content-oriented fella, this line:

    "With that in mind, he told us that the games in Funcom’s future will likely be less content-driven and more systems-driven."

    made me a bit sad...

  • MMOwandererMMOwanderer LisbonPosts: 415Member

    Hm, i remember reading FC's report and they apperantly have 2 other mmo projects in the works, if i'm not mistaken. Potential more sandboxy title in the future? Would love so, if they're not over by then that is.

    In this situation, i really don't know what Funcom is going to do. The 2nd update was suppose to have arrived last month. They said they'll keep to the schedule, but i don't see it happening. I wish the best since people losing their jobs is never good. 

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by MMOwanderer
    Hm, i remember reading FC's report and they apperantly have 2 other mmo projects in the works, if i'm not mistaken. Potential more sandboxy title in the future? Would love so, if they're not over by then that is.In this situation, i really don't know what Funcom is going to do. The 2nd update was suppose to have arrived last month. They said they'll keep to the schedule, but i don't see it happening. I wish the best since people losing their jobs is never good. 

    I'd love to see something with a more open world free-form kind of thing. I would have loved to see something more open world from TSW, but then I would have loved for TSW to be a single player/co-op game with the ability to run your own personal server.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,191Member Uncommon
    The problem with the Secret World, it is a decent game except it has all the typical Funcom eccentricities built into it.  Why I did not like AoC and why Funcom still struggles.  Be nice if they could break out of their mold.
  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,461Member Uncommon

    My initial thought was "what were they looking for" with regards to subs?

    Everything they said about the game screamed niche. At least to my thought. Why would a company sink a lot of money into a game that has a very specific audience and expect to pull in large numbers of mmo players?

    Maybe a millino signed up to their forums so they thought that meant interest in buying and sales. That might be a reasonable assumption. Personally, I never thought the game would get more than 250k sales. As it stood they had 200k or so?

    And then they have to keep these players?

    Game companies need to be more realistic. It's ridiculous that these games launch and if they don't hit a magic number they fold.

    I remember being told about what it took to open a restaurant. One had to have 3 years worth of operating money because tha'ts the time it would take to start and grow the business. This was years ago so I'm not sure if that still holds true but it seems that companies need to plan better if they truly want to succeed.

  • WeretigarWeretigar winifrede, WVPosts: 609Member
    These types of games have already come out they are called sandboxes. However nothing funcom has or will be released/created have nothing to do with sandboxes. So I guess what they are trying to say is they plan on pumping out mediocre games the same was korea has been with most of their ftp's that come out 10 per year.
  • SBE1SBE1 New York, NYPosts: 335Member

    Why I wont play TSW:  Because of the epic failure of AoC.   Simple as that.   Funcom will NEVER get another dime from me every again.  There is a very good reason LOTS of people refer to them as FAILCOM.   My entire guild and many others I know outside my guild (mostly PvP players) will never buy a Funcom MMO.  It is simply too risky because previews and what's on the box may or may not be in the final game.

    You reap what you sow Failcom.

  • 7star7star SeoulPosts: 405Member

    I'm having a lot of fun with TSW. It's a unique game and that in itself makes it hard to achieve a mass appeal. Also, it's more difficult than most other games I've played in this genre.

     

    There are some flaws at present, and I'm worried about the ability of FC to fix them with a reduced team. The greatest problem for me is pvp.  Of course, pvp is driven by population as well as good design. I hope those things pick up after a couple of months now that GW2 has released. I don't see a lot of crossover between TSW players and WoW, but MoP will obviously have an effect as well.

     

    Still, I really enjoy this game and I hope the pvp gets squared away as soon as possible.

  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member
    The reason I have not played the game is mainly because of it's greedy payment model. Buy the box AND pay a sub. fee AND have a cash shop. I don't care if it is vanity items only, it is content which should be covered by the box price and sub. fee.
  • Agent_JosephAgent_Joseph SarajevoPosts: 1,070Member Uncommon
    FC is  company with bad managment , but they make awesome mmorpg TSW

    only EVE is real MMO...but I am impressive with TSW

  • solarinesolarine IstanbulPosts: 1,203Member
    Originally posted by Sovrath

    My initial thought was "what were they looking for" with regards to subs?

    Everything they said about the game screamed niche. At least to my thought. Why would a company sink a lot of money into a game that has a very specific audience and expect to pull in large numbers of mmo players?

    Maybe a millino signed up to their forums so they thought that meant interest in buying and sales. That might be a reasonable assumption. Personally, I never thought the game would get more than 250k sales. As it stood they had 200k or so?

    And then they have to keep these players?

    Game companies need to be more realistic. It's ridiculous that these games launch and if they don't hit a magic number they fold.

    I remember being told about what it took to open a restaurant. One had to have 3 years worth of operating money because tha'ts the time it would take to start and grow the business. This was years ago so I'm not sure if that still holds true but it seems that companies need to plan better if they truly want to succeed.

     

    Pretty much.

    200K to me is quite a decent amount of players. Even 150K. Sub-based MMOs will indeed become a thing of the past if they keep shooting for 500K subs and thus failing. That sort of sub base was rare even when WOW was at full steam and everyone expected there to be subs in MMOs; it's probably going to be even more rare in the future now that there are a lot of quality F2P (and B2P) games.

    Besides, I have to ask: If you honestly expect a million subbers, why have a cash shop in the first place? You charge full price for the box, you charge full monhly subscription and *on top of that* you put a cash shop in your game? Isn't that a bit too much? 

    I do like Funcom for their creativity and their gameworlds, and I am resubbing to TSW, butwith oddities like, I dunno, 500K+ sub expectation for TSW, these guys can be really confusing sometimes. 

     

  • tharkthark FalunPosts: 1,148Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Sovrath

    My initial thought was "what were they looking for" with regards to subs?

    Everything they said about the game screamed niche. At least to my thought. Why would a company sink a lot of money into a game that has a very specific audience and expect to pull in large numbers of mmo players?

    Maybe a millino signed up to their forums so they thought that meant interest in buying and sales. That might be a reasonable assumption. Personally, I never thought the game would get more than 250k sales. As it stood they had 200k or so?

    And then they have to keep these players?

    Game companies need to be more realistic. It's ridiculous that these games launch and if they don't hit a magic number they fold.

    I remember being told about what it took to open a restaurant. One had to have 3 years worth of operating money because tha'ts the time it would take to start and grow the business. This was years ago so I'm not sure if that still holds true but it seems that companies need to plan better if they truly want to succeed.

    The Occult and Conspiracys and Horror in general  has always  had huge fanbase--Zombies and Vampires is always popular.

    Not a single clue what you are basing your "screaming niche" from..

     Besides, since when isn't battling monsters in a game popular ?

     
  • ste2000ste2000 londonPosts: 4,706Member Uncommon

    TSW problems are similar to the that of the majority of all recent AAA MMOs (GW2 included):

     

    1) Too solo friendly, no need to socialize  (Yes I keep insisting on this point but developers just don't get it)

    2) Way too easy, superfast  leveling (Again..........fast leveling = short subscription terms)

    3) No character customization (everyone look the same as anyone else)

    4) Combat, just ridicoulus. Even AoC was better, more challenging and fun.

    5) Fucom.........that should teach developers that players have a long memory. I didn't buy TSW because of the way they dealt with AoC launch.

     

    If Funcom will not survive this, I won't be crying.

    Developers need to take more risks and make MMOs for MMO players.......not single player games with MMO functions

    I hope SOE and Zenimax take note

     
  • eddieg50eddieg50 Tolland, CTPosts: 1,614Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by ste2000

    TSW problems are similar to the that of the majority of all recent AAA MMOs (GW2 included):

     

    1) Too solo friendly, no need to socialize  (Yes I keep insisting on this point but developers just don't get it)

    2) Way too easy, superfast  leveling (Again..........fast leveling = short subscription terms)

    3) No character customization (everyone look the same as anyone else)

    4) Combat, just ridicoulus. Even AoC was better, more challenging and fun.

    5) Fucom.........that should teach developers that players have a long memory. I didn't buy TSW because of the way they dealt with AoC launch.

     

    If Funcom will not survive this, I won't be crying.

    Developers need to take more risks and make MMOs for MMO players.......not single player games with MMO functions

    I hope SOE and Zenimax take note

     

      As someone who plays mmo's maybe 10-15 hrs a week I like my mmo's to be solo friendly, If I want to socialize I talk to people in chat or join a Guild,

    This game is more challenging than most especially if you challenge yourself by not using google to cheat

    I know some poeple love character customization- I could'nt care one bit about it

    AOC had some of the best, perhaps the best combat out there, In some ways I wish TSW copied AOC combat but apparently they could not, however the combat is good but not as good as AOC or Tera

    I never had problems with AOC at launch and I had a average computer, I loved Tortage. There problem was not continuing on with VO and production beyond Tortage and no craftting til lvl 40

  • eddieg50eddieg50 Tolland, CTPosts: 1,614Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by thark
    Originally posted by Sovrath

    My initial thought was "what were they looking for" with regards to subs?

    Everything they said about the game screamed niche. At least to my thought. Why would a company sink a lot of money into a game that has a very specific audience and expect to pull in large numbers of mmo players?

    Maybe a millino signed up to their forums so they thought that meant interest in buying and sales. That might be a reasonable assumption. Personally, I never thought the game would get more than 250k sales. As it stood they had 200k or so?

    And then they have to keep these players?

    Game companies need to be more realistic. It's ridiculous that these games launch and if they don't hit a magic number they fold.

    I remember being told about what it took to open a restaurant. One had to have 3 years worth of operating money because tha'ts the time it would take to start and grow the business. This was years ago so I'm not sure if that still holds true but it seems that companies need to plan better if they truly want to succeed.

    The Occult and Conspiracys and Horror in general  has always  had huge fanbase--Zombies and Vampires is always popular.

    Not a single clue what you are basing your "screaming niche" from..

     Besides, since when isn't battling monsters in a game popular ?

     

        I have to agree "screaming niche" what do you mean by that?

  • theniffrigtheniffrig DublinPosts: 351Member

    Well on the points of getting content updates out for TSW every month, that wasn't a realistic goal & imo, players of MMO's would be just as happy with content updates that game every 2 months, so Funcom really tied their own hands with that & are already once again failing to deliver on their promises which is why alot of people don't play their games or trust anything the company has to say.

    On the point of future games being less content driven, I think they know that Neverwinter is coming! Infact, the future of sandbox mmo's is going to be the addition of the tools that let players make their own content for the game. Once that becomes the norm for MMO's the possibilities are going to be endless for the genre.

    My final point is just on games-development in general. DLC is the future it seems. Companies want to sell you the boxed game (or have you download it) and then have day 1 DLC's or cash shop features. It's away of them getting more money for content that may have been free patch content afew years ago. All these companies care about is money. Never forget that.

  • DeeweDeewe Long Beach, CAPosts: 1,965Member

    Sad to see people being let go, best luck to all of them!

    Form all I read on the guy, Craig looks like a nice fellow for sure.

     

    While FunCom has a (bad) history with AoC, I'd say they did good in the last year.

    And it take some balls to build and publish a TWS type of MMO.

     

    Thing is TSW should have launched in 2011 or 2013. There is way too much good competition this year.

    TSW is an honest product, but for now people are expecting WoW quality and content with F2P model.

    Trion understood that and GW2 delivered.

     

     

  • DakirnDakirn Kansas City, MOPosts: 374Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by ste2000

    TSW problems are similar to the that of the majority of all recent AAA MMOs (GW2 included):

     

    1) Too solo friendly, no need to socialize  (Yes I keep insisting on this point but developers just don't get it)

    2) Way too easy, superfast  leveling (Again..........fast leveling = short subscription terms)

    3) No character customization (everyone look the same as anyone else)

    4) Combat, just ridicoulus. Even AoC was better, more challenging and fun.

    5) Fucom.........that should teach developers that players have a long memory. I didn't buy TSW because of the way they dealt with AoC launch.

     

    If Funcom will not survive this, I won't be crying.

    Developers need to take more risks and make MMOs for MMO players.......not single player games with MMO functions

    I hope SOE and Zenimax take note

     

    Your points make it clear that you have never played TSW, yet you feel compelled to give reasons why the game is bad even if those reason aren't real.

    I can tell you've obviously never played when you make the point about everyone looks the same.  Even standing in Agartha there is very, very rarely anyone who looks remotely the same thanks to the insane amount of clothing in the game.  As for facial/hair features, those are doubling with Issue 2.

    I hate seeing people bash ANY game with reasons that are fake and saying they are true. You are diluding any rational discussion when you make untrue facts true.

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,461Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by thark
    Originally posted by Sovrath

    My initial thought was "what were they looking for" with regards to subs?

    Everything they said about the game screamed niche. At least to my thought. Why would a company sink a lot of money into a game that has a very specific audience and expect to pull in large numbers of mmo players?

    Maybe a millino signed up to their forums so they thought that meant interest in buying and sales. That might be a reasonable assumption. Personally, I never thought the game would get more than 250k sales. As it stood they had 200k or so?

    And then they have to keep these players?

    Game companies need to be more realistic. It's ridiculous that these games launch and if they don't hit a magic number they fold.

    I remember being told about what it took to open a restaurant. One had to have 3 years worth of operating money because tha'ts the time it would take to start and grow the business. This was years ago so I'm not sure if that still holds true but it seems that companies need to plan better if they truly want to succeed.

    The Occult and Conspiracys and Horror in general  has always  had huge fanbase--Zombies and Vampires is always popular.

    Not a single clue what you are basing your "screaming niche" from..

     Besides, since when isn't battling monsters in a game popular ?

     

    the niche part comes from their posts about the puzzles, the solving clues, the going to outside sources on websites to figure out larger bits of story or clues to other clues.

    All of this was presented over the course of development. Finding bits on a website that would be overlooked by most people. This type of game play is not mainstream.

    as far as horror and occult having a huge fanbase: are you talking games or are you talking books/movies? Becuase "yeah" 100% agree, there is a huge fanbase out there for horror books/movies.

    Now let's talk horror games. The only games that immediately come to mind (and amazing games in my opinion though your mileage may vary) are Clive Barker's Undying, Amnesia, Possibly Vampire Masquerade, 7th guest is an old one... I"m sure there are others but I can' think of them.

    So which horror games that you know have a huge following? All the above games had a following and a deservedly devoted following but I don't recall any of those being blockbusters.

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    1) no you have to group further into the game
    2) yeah leveling 2 weapons and all your gear skills is quick, you have that done about half way through the pve quest content, filling the entire wheel and what have you takes much longer
    3) err no, there's all sorts of clothing options, and a huge variety of builds. Everyone is the same shape though, but I guess that's the price you pay for good performance with crowds as opposed to say swtor
    4) combat is better than normal mmo combat. It's not as good as gw2 (although its similar) or planetside though. Aoc melee was better, but ranged in Aoc was just normal mmo combat
    5) yeah I think how bad Aoc was did them for the sales of tsw, also swtor bring the prior example of a "story mmo"
  • SoandsosoSoandsoso Richmond Hill, ONPosts: 533Member

    When it comes to books and movies I think fantasy and horror/conspiracy are pretty much even.

     

    When it comes to video games I think fantasy has much more of an appeal. Specially when it comes to the RPG.

  • umcorianumcorian Boston, MAPosts: 466Member Uncommon

    I can't speak for the reason why TSW failed to reach a broad audience, but I'll tell you the reason I never bought it: Funcom released it. Funcom burned me once on AoC, releasing a very polished 1-20 experience... and then not even bothering to finish the game after that point.

     

    Why would I buy any other product from this company? 

  • kb4blukb4blu Fuquay Varina, NCPosts: 683Member Uncommon

    ..." Anarchy Online and our teams are committed to keeping to a schedule. We will continue to support our games on an ongoing basis.”

    The graphics update for AO was first announced in 2006.  What kind of schedule is that ???

    I still don't believe that AO will ever see an update to thier graphics.

     

  • MeliezaMelieza trabuco canyon, CAPosts: 269Member
    Originally posted by umcorian

    Why would I buy any other product from this company? 

     

    Because they're completely different games made by different development teams?

     

    That's like saying you refuse to buy Oreos because you hate Triscuits since they're both under Nabisco.  Sorry, thats dumb imo.

  • I absolutely love TSW. I bought it on the same day I started playing GW2. And, for me, I can honestly say TSW gets more hours.

    I'm an older player. I come from the Ultima and EQ1 mold. Playing back then and figuring out quests and crafting before there were even guides to look up on the web. So when it comes to some of the missions in TSW, I can appreciate having to actually research to figure something out on my own.

    I know they wanted more players, but I sincerely hope they don't change what make it so unique. A lot gets said about its limited number of abilities as far as action bar is concerned. To me that's what makes it fun, it's like a deck of cards and you have to figure out the best hand to play given a certain situation and depending on what build you are going for.

    I love the eerie settings and the music is fantastic. It's like X-Files, Men in Black, Dan Brown novels, and Walking Dead all rolled into one. But since I actually like it, with my luck, that means it'll prolly tank and go off life support.
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