If Joel Bylos set out to impress fans with a list of new features for The Secret World, he certainly achieved it. In a comprehensive livestream presentation, Funcom’s Game Director demonstrated reticule targeting in-depth, before showcasing the new Albion Theatre arriving in Issue #4. He also touched on PVP and animation updates, before hinting at new features and locations we can look forward to next year.
The idea behind reticule targeting is to create more immersive combat, particularly when using firearms such as rifles and pistols. This is done by using a third-person ‘over the shoulder’ view, with abilities aimed at whichever target is underneath the reticule. While this does bring TSW closer to that shooter feel, it’s mainly to aid with rapid target switching and selection.
Reticule targeting isn’t new to TSW, with the feature present in early builds up until 2009. It also became one of the most requested features on beta and live forums, encouraging developers to work in their spare time to bring the feature back. It’s even possible to use reticule targeting to transform TSW into a first-person shooter, although weapons are not currently shown in this view.
Bylos stressed that reticule targeting is a “beta feature”, encouraging players to shout about how they’d like to see it evolve. Funcom are also doing their part to respond to feedback, with Bylos urging members of the development team to take a greater role on the forums.
The Albion Theatre also opens in Issue #4, giving players the chance to hire the theatre and put on performances. A stage manager can adjust lighting, backdrops and even the weather, while group members act out scenes. A boon to role players and virtual thespians, the new stage is sure to create drama.
In a sustained art attack, the livestream also brought news to those who like to look good while dishing out the pain. Seventy PvP uniforms, which are currently in-game but unused, will be available in a future update. Bylos is also looking to improve the Fusang Projects large-scale battleground, but is focused on getting the match rules right before considering a cross-server approach. One upcoming tweak is to introduce an Underdog mission, where the losing side can win support from a giant mechanized guardian.
Bylos also expanded on the upcoming animation improvements, explaining why changes are needed to the Dreamworld engine that TSW is built on. It comes down to providing further freedom of movement between limbs and a more flexible skeleton, allowing for smoother leg blending and better upper body movements. While these won’t be completely new animations, there will be a long-term project to improve animations, once the technology has been implemented.
A mixture of further features were hinted at, including a magical auxiliary weapon, an expanded crafting system, puzzle raids, and further clothing. While the team is excited about opening Tokyo as a new playfield next year, Bylos also mentioned that even more locations are in the works. Something about dinosaurs, perhaps?
Gareth “Gazimoff” Harmer, Staff Writer