Now there are many reasons to look forward to an MMO. New Mechanics, character customisation, sandboxing and of course, settings. Now for me setting plays a huge part of whether or not in am interested in a game. Being facinated by the characters and the places keep me playing. WoW sadly lacks this to some extent in the early content I am in at the moment, it is only the critical mass which makes partying possible that keeps me going.
The vogue for the moment is Steampunk/Post Apocalyptic. While these games are not prolific by any means they certainly are where many fans have declared thier interest. Allods, Fallen Earth and even in elements of the WoW and eq2 cataclisms show that people are facinated by the aftermath of world shaking events or the intergration of technology into games.
The Secret World has for sometime promised us somthing unique. A modern day setting with fanatastic elements. Myths who have stepped fromt he shadows of obscurity, celestial beings who have begun to stir and ancient, cyclopean monoliths will no doubt rise to threaten humanity.
While details are not abundant at the moment i thought I might take a few mintues of your time to introduce you all to what is currently one of the major themes that Funcom are using in the current releases of production art and screens. the nefarious Cthulhu Mythos.
This is Cthulhu, the defining force of the Lovecraft Mythos which Funcom is using to flesh out the Port Town of Kingsmouth. He is an aeons old celestial being whos very presences theatens the world. In one instance his watery tomb rose close to the surface and without the sea blocking his psycic presence many of the more artistic and sensitive people around the world began to have nightmares, and in some cases psychotic episodes. This event is chronicled in The Call of Cthulhu
So, what does a Lovecraftian setting mean? Lovecraft was famous for his Nihlistic depictions of the universe which held such horrors as to even behold them would send a man into the depths of madness and despair. Perhaps a quote here will do my work
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human
mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance
in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we
should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have
hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated
knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our
frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation
or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
As Ragnar says in his interview, Dark Days are coming…
As for Kingsmouth itself, it is clearly akin to the dark and dilaptated town of Innsmouth from the book by lovecraft, The Shadow over Innsmouth. it is a dark and brooding place where sometime ago the elders of this village made some secret pact with unknown creatures who dwelt in cities below the sea. Demonic and evil things which required human sacrifices in return for ensuring the fishing industry of the town stayed profitable. However the local towns avoid Innsmouth inhabitants and the streets have become silent as a new religion floods the old churches and older citizens stay locked indoors, heard only at night as they shuffle around.
While the undead of Kingsmouth do not appear in the Shadow over Innsmouth it does fit in with Lovecraft mythology as far as stories such as Herbert West: Reanimator and the Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadeth. The change is a sign that Funcom will. certianly be adding a new flavour to these old stories at any rate.
One thing that does worry me is Ragnar does state that in other areas they will be using local mythology and urban legends which I fear will disrupt the very dark and sinister feel they have so far given Kingsmouth. mention of Chainsaw wielding maniacs and Sasquatch do not inspire the type of fear and excitement that Cthulhu mythos does. I can only hope they remain as Dark and sinister as they can and the Jack o Lantern Boss turns out to be less The Nightmare Before Christmas and more threatening.
One thing I can and do hope for is a few elements being taken from the Lovecraftian Dream Cycles, which are books which focus on the exsistence of a world where we exsist in our dreams where fantastic and exotic places and creature dwell. it would certainly make for some exciting and beautiful endgame zones. if you want to see what other themes they could borrow then I suggest reading The Cats of Ulthar and as previously mentioned, The Dream Quest of unknown Kadeth
So with the descion that I will be going to the Motherland (Australia) in April I will hopefully get a new beefy PC in a few months so I can get excited about this new game. Specs willing I will be in Kingsmouth on Launch day I believe.
Sorry but this was a gushing post about Lovecraft lore thinly veiled with the Secret World news… ^^ Forgive me?