The Secret World stalls on consoles
Funcom says PC edition remains team's focus, but 360 version also in development; release depends on desktop-platform success.
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Massively multiplayer online role-playing game makers routinely announce their newest projects will populate Microsoft's Xbox 360 or Sony's PlayStation 3, but very few have been able to deliver. It appears as if the latest to be added to that list is Funcom's The Secret World, which was initially announced for the PC and Xbox 360 in 2007.
Speaking to Eurogamer, The Secret World director Ragnar Tornquist said that Funcom is focusing on the PC version of the game and that the release of a console version is predicated upon the success of the PC installment.
"We are focusing on the PC version right now," Tornquist said. "That is our primary market, and we want that version to be as good as possible…[A console version is] not something we're focusing on now. I think it will only happen if The Secret World turns out to be--as of course it hopefully is--a huge success. We will want to do things on other platforms; we will want to expand the universe."
However, Tornquist did say that a team at Funcom is working on a version of The Secret World for the Xbox 360. He emphasized that if a console version is released, it won't be the same as the PC MMORPG, which is being copublished by Electronic Arts.
"I've been very vocal in saying that when--I guess also if--we have a console version of The Secret World, it's not going to be exactly the same game," he said. "I don't think that fits. I don't think console gamers sitting on the couch in front of a big TV want to play the exactly same game as they would on their PC with a mouse and keyboard. That doesn't compute--that doesn't work."
"You need to create a different gameplay experience," he continued. "You can still have the same setting; you can still have the same philosophies, the same basic systems. But you really need to make a different game. How different that will be, it's hard to say."
This isn't the first time Funcom has backed off of console development for one of its MMORPGs. After adding the Xbox 360 as a platform for the Robert E. Howard-inspired fantasy MMORPG Age of Conan in 2006, the studio quietly backed off the effort, especially as the PC edition struggled to gain and retain subscribers.
For more on The Secret World, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.