On Funcom’s developer blog, The Secret World Lead Content Designer Joel Bylos took time to reflect on the challenge of creating a world beyond one that is already tangible and what we know. Synergizing mythical creatures and legends is easier said than done.
In the process of creating content for the Secret World, we search for ways to contrast the mundane with the exciting, the everyday with the extraordinary, and the conformity of reality with the gritty discordance of conspiracy.
Bylos relates the synethesis to that of layers, with players able to associate typical areas in the real world, and adding a twist.
To start with, it is all about grounding the world in the modern era. You aren’t just exploring something torn from our imaginations, you are exploring the cities and towns where you live or have visited. It starts with identifying those common elements and then… adding the twist.
For example, above ground, New York looks just like the New York you have visited in real life. If you really wanted to, you could find the exact same area depicted in the game on Google Maps. But beneath the streets sprawls the corporate-industrial juggernaut of the Illuminati, known only as the Labyrinth.
To conclude, Bylos adds that content should empower players, and coerce them to use their surroundings and look beyond their envirnoment for further meaning.