Despite praising its "innovation, atmosphere and charm", Phil felt Funcom's The Secret World was hamstrung by its weak combat and genre-typical MMO padding in his 2012 review. Later that year the developer's then new CEO Ole Schreiner suggested it "definitely had the tools" for a free-to-play-styled Secret World, and now it appears this will be realised: The Secret World is relaunching as Secret World Legends this spring and will be free-to-play.
Dubbed a "shared-world RPG", Legends will come with newly designed combat, an overhauled progression system, and improved visuals across 100 hours of "mature storytelling and surprises." Here's Funcom with the official word on what Legends is all about:
"Secret World Legends plunges players into a shadowy war against the supernatural in an adventure that crosses our world with the realms of ancient myth and legend. As players traverse the globe unravelling complex investigations into the unknown, they’ll need to uncover clues and use their own wits as much as their characters’ abilities.
"A highly extensive and customizable arsenal of firearms, weapons, gear and otherworldly powers will give players the strength to battle the forces of darkness as they dig deeper into these vast and mysterious lands. Players can go at it alone and enjoy the over 100 hours of story at their own pace, or team up with others as they explore the world and unravel its mysteries."
And here's a teaser:
Despite Phil's relative reservations at launch, Steven reckons The Secret World has since become one of the best MMOs available on PC today. Nonetheless, its shift in direction to Secret World Legends underscores a new direction—one which Funcom's CEO Rui Casais hopes will use the existing foundation to "mark a new era for the game."
Funcom executive producer Scott Junior, on the other hand, says this of the change in course: "One of our biggest goals in relaunching the game has been to reimagine the core gameplay experience in a way befitting a modern-day action RPG. Secret World Legends features combat that feels more natural, deep systems that are more intuitive, better structuring of the early game for new players, and improved mission flow to strengthen the pace of progression for players."
No exact launch date beyond "spring" of this year, however I suspect we'll hear more from Secret World Legends pretty soon.