The Final Game Developer’s Letter: In-Depth

The latest (and last) Game Director’s letter for The Secret World makes for interesting reading. The big story is obviously that Joel is no longer going to be the Game Director but worried about what Joel’s departure meant for the game, it’s possible people may have missed some of the more positive aspects of the letter. So lets take a look.

First up was Enhanced Player Experience. It’s a topic that has often been discussed on the forums and even more so on the Test Live forums (were these things get, well you know, tested…). There have been many changes to the games initial introduction (including the often requested two weapons before leaving the training room) and it’s well worth checking out. Joel highlighted some things that he didn’t mention in his previous GD letter about the EPE. Some of the lesser used Elite abilities have been tweaked to make them more useful and have also been given new animations. So hopefully we’ll see some more new and interesting builds being developed. There’s also a new (or old depending on how long you have been around the game old 😉 ) splash screen on the login page which makes a nice change.

Although there was no fixed date on the roll out of EPE to the live game it was suggested that it would be “Quite Soon” ™

As with Test Live the more people who try the content out and feedback the more information the team get. So if you have an active subscription of are a Grand Master head here for more details on how to get access to the Test Live server.


After the update on the EPE there were a few more tidbits on Issue 11. Content Designers have been working behind the scenes to flesh out the various floors in Orochi Tower (for more information on that see the previous GD letter) while the cinematic team has done the mocap and is now editing it together.

There was also hints of a separate story for the dungeon that would add to the existing one that is being wrapped up with the upcoming release. So what about the actual story? Well needless to say there are spoilers so if you may just want to skip ahead to the next paragraph. But I know I’m looking forward to finding out more about the company that gave up offering life insurance to their employees some time ago, as well as meeting some old (albeit sometimes changed) faces from the past.

Due to the time that the EPE has taken issue 11 won’t be launched until after the EPE has gone live but that hasn’t come as a huge surprise.

Screenshot 2015-03-10 08.08.45

So that still leaves us with the big question. Why is this the last Game Director’s letter at all? Well it seems someone at Funcom is so impressed by Joel’s work over the past couple of years that they have decided to whisk him away to a super secret posting. But all is not lost. The game is not falling by the wayside. Since the beginning of the year Joel has been working with various key people within the team to help transfer his current work between them. He and Scrivnomancer have already cooked up years worth of scripts (he posted in the forums that the roadmap he had in place is still alive and kicking) and we’ve already seen increased activity by community managers. In fact that looks set to continue with Sezmra set to take up the mammoth task of putting out the monthly update, not to mention the suspicious goings on that Tomium is planning. While it will be sad to see Joel leave, the plans he has set into motion are far from dead. Even if they were with Scriv and Tilty at the helm you can be sure that there will still be plenty of evil plans to resurrect them.

So was the letter that bad? I don’t think so. I wish Joel the best of luck in his new position and hope to see him around the forums, but I’m fairly certain he’s left us in capable hands. Diabolical ones. But capable nonetheless.

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