For the past few weekends I’ve been playing in the open beta for The Secret World, a new MMO coming out in a month or so from FunCom.
The Secret World is different from most MMOs we have seen so far. It isn’t set in some fantasy world or on a distant planet. Instead, it is set here on Earth in the present day. But this is not the Earth most of us are familiar with. This is a world of secrets that have been hidden from the general population. A world of vast conspiracies and creeping evil. A secret world in which all of the myths and legends, all of the stories and tales you hear, everything is true.
You become involved in The Secret World when you swallow a bee. No, really. The bees are representations of Gaia and they are returning because “dark days are coming”. They are finding individuals that they can imbue with “anima”, magical energy, that those individuals can then use to fight the growing darkness.
You are one of the individuals that have been chosen. But you have no sooner become aware of and begun to control your newfound powers when you are contacted by one of the three organizations which secretly rule the world. The Templar, The Illuminati and The Dragon have been struggling behind the scenes for control of the Earth for centuries but now the “Filth”, an evil from beyond the world as we know it, has broken through. The three organizations have (publicly at least) put aside their struggle and are working together to stop the Filth. After all, if the world is destroyed it doesn’t matter who rules it, does it?
After you are recruited and trained you are sent to the latest hot spot in this secret war. The small town of Kingsmouth on the coast of Maine has been cut off from the rest of the world and no one knows why. You arrive to find the reason: the few surviving townsfolk have barricaded themselves within the police station while the dead walk the streets. But zombies are the least of the town’s problems. Something very ancient and very evil has awoken from beneath the sea and has come to the town, bringing strange creatures with it. But with these creatures come strange artifacts; artifacts of extreme power. You must stop the evil from destroying the town, but you must also ensure that the magical artifacts do not fall into the hands of the other factions.
This is the first MMO I have been excited about playing in a long time. I love the modern conspiracy angle and, as a long-time Call of Cthulhu player the entire setup could come from one of its scenario books. I can’t wait to see how this plays out.
Plus, like Call of Cthulhu, the emphasis of the game is not just on combat. The game is full of puzzles and mysteries to solve, more adventure game than RPG. And the game doesn’t just give you boxes of text when you discover a clue. It gives you this!
A horror/occult conspiracy investigation game set in the modern-day real world where you actually have to investigate what is going on! Sign me up!
Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go. Something in the town’s past has brought the Filth here and it seems to have something to do with some murders that occurred 10 years ago. I’ve got to get past the zombies to the town hall to see if I can find any records of what happened then. After that, who knows.
Anyone got an Elder Sign handy?