The Secret World springs from the imagination of director Ragnar Tornquist, creator of legendary adventure game The Longest Journey (PC) and last year's sequel Dreamfall (Xbox, PC), as well as story writer on Funcom's MMO Anarchy Online (PC). "We started envisioning this contemporary online world more than ten years ago, and as the years passed the ideas grew and improved," explained Tornquist. "We always wanted a different kind of online world, something scary and contemporary, something deeper and closer to our reality. Our goal now is to create a detailed world where players feel empowered and part of something big, something mystical and epic."
Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas pointed to the high number of MMOs featuring similar archetypal settings as motivation behind the different direction being taken by The Secret World. "We believe there are millions of gamers out there who want to explore something beyond traditional fantasy and sci-fi games," he said.
Over the last week, internet detectives have managed to uncover the existence of the game via the Funcom-created website DarkDaysAreComing.com and the recent launch of an official forum. Previously, the project has gone by the working titles of "Cry Gaia" and "The World Online," with Tornquist having dropped hints as to the nature of the game over the past year. According to today's announcement, The Secret World has been in development since last summer and has reached a playable state.
Funcom sent along several pieces of The Secret World concept artwork. No release period for the game has yet been announced.
Update: Funcom sent over one more piece of artwork, a poster-style teaser image.