Funcom, publisher of The Secret World, today released a haunting teaser trailer for that game's upcoming-but-delayed Tokyo content issue. The video takes the form of a government press conference, warning the citizens of Tokyo to beware of a deadly pathogen, to remain isolated, and to avoid several locations where "undesirables" have been spotted. Players of The Secret World have been waiting for the release of the Tokyo expansion pack since launch, when the game's opening cinematic shows the iconic characters interacting together and fighting off a brutal supernatural invasion in a Tokyo subway.
In keeping with their horror / supernatural adventure genre, the video hints at the terrors to come. It includes several "cuts" in the audio and video feed by parties unknown, who show disturbing events being perpetrated by Japanese government authorities under the guise of "chapter 8 of the disaster countermeasures of 1981" (which are real!) as part of the effort to contain the spread of the pathogen known as "Filth". The Filth itself is something of a mystery, a malignant and Lovercraftian force often represented not only in corrupted creatures that attack mercilessly (and are a prime source of "grind xp") but as black tentacles with a darkly slanted ethereal quality to them. Current community theory purports that the Filth went from being the source of demonic legend to a full world-threat when the Orochi Group did something that caused the destruction of their corporate headquarters during the first Tokyo incident.
While players are eagerly looking forward to the long-anticipated Tokyo issue, and have been disappointed of late by the delays coming out of beleaguered Funcom's studios. Issue #9 - The Black Signal is the first of three known Tokyo content issues. In an update from February, director Joel Bylos had this to say:
Tokyo is still going to be later than we hoped by a few weeks. The reason is simply quality. In terms of visual quality – Tokyo would be “okay” by our original release date. But that isn’t what we are aiming for. Tokyo needs to be, just like all the other locations in The Secret World, better than okay. It needs to ooze (somewhat literally) personality and quality.
Issue #9 is a large content patch precisely because it frontloads a lot of what is coming in Issue #10 and #11. The playfield of Tokyo, for example, needs to be fully built before Issue #9, but that is an overhead we will not have for Issue #10. The same applies to many of the monsters, animations and systems like AEGIS. I do expect Issue #10 and Issue #11 to take less time than Issue #9.
This was updated and expanded on a bit in the April Game Producer's letter, where Bylos went on to add "Tokyo itself is coming! With Issue #9, we will be releasing the first part of the zone, the first chapter in the continuation of the main story, several side missions and of course, the AEGIS system.". Sadly, the date seems to have slipped again, as the accompanying photo shows a May date. While it may not be out on time, or even close to on-time, this release is still expected to the Funcom's biggest and best release for The Secret World.