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What excites us the most about Funcom’s upcoming MMO, The Secret World, is that it's the first MMO to fully explore modern day real-life locations around the world. How often do we get to wander the streets of Seoul and NYC, fending off creatures that we thought only existed in urban legends? The Secret World blends reality and fantasy, blurring the line between what’s real and what isn’t in hopes of drawing a crowd that may be growing tired of swinging swords against elves, orcs and Sith lords.
The original setting and backstory of The Secret World contains real and fake history, urban legends, pop culture and myths that all exist in our world - but with a twist. Vampires may have undergone a transformation in recent years (thanks to a particular sparkling one) but demons, zombies and other forms of undead have been embedded in our culture for generations.
Funcom has shared their version of popular myths, but how do they compare to what exists in our world? What myths and legends would you want to see appear in The Secret World? Descriptions are by Tor Egil Andersen of Funcom.
The Real World: Secret societies have existed in our world as organizations that maintain a public presence, but their movements and activities are kept secret. The Illuminati were a secret society founded in 1776, and conspiracy theorists claim that the society has survived and that major world events are orchestrated and controlled by the Illuminati. The Templars were a well-known Western Christian military order that lasted almost two hundred years during the Middle Ages and was endorsed by the Catholic Church.
The Secret World (Tor Egil Andersen): Suddenly gifted with wondrous powers, the players have caught the eye of three old and powerful secret societies. Locked in a deep struggle amongst each other, the Templars, Illuminati and Dragon now also face the onslaught of the rising evil. A player enlists with the secret society which lies closest to his heart, to take part in the ferocious battle ahead, and to stem the tide of the coming doom.
TRW: Before Twilight, vampires and other vampiric entities have been recorded in many cultures dating back to prehistoric times. There was a period in the 18th century when people thought vampires were real and staking corpses was actually a thing. It wasn’t until Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula in 1897 when these enigmatic creatures of the night really started to invade our culture - in books, television, film and cereal boxes.
TSW: Most cultures contain myths about vampires. They all touch upon the truth, but all of them fail to understand the true significance and purpose of these demonic creatures. Ancient beyond comprehension, vampires have been twisted and mutated far beyond their original human form. Many different kinds of vampires exist, but all are deadly and relentless in their hunt for blood. They are terrible weapons created by a sinister mind – a weapon which now threatens to overrun Transylvania
TRW: Agartha is supposed to be a legendary city that is located in the Earth’s core. We’re pretty sure science has proven that this one is highly unlikely.
TSW: The world is so much more than what people know. There are entrances to vast caverns in the hollow earth, kept hidden and safe by those who need them. This realm is called Agartha. In its center you find the great world tree – the tree of life. With the right knowledge and access you can travel at blinding speed along its branches to reach far away destinations. The mystery and power within Agartha runs deep – too deep for almost anyone to truly fathom.
TRW: A council with the power to create new laws that was established between 1172 and 1797 where members would gather in the hall of the gothic palace, Palazzo Ducale in northern Italy. It eventually elected the Council of Ten, a major governing body of the Republic of Venice that is often involved in some “secretive” dealings.
TSW: There are times when war needs to be prevented. There are times the truth needs to be hidden. There are times issues need to be discussed. For these times there is the Council of Venice. The Dragon, Illuminati and Templars all have their delegates on the council, but so do several other secret societies as well. This Secret World machinery of diplomacy seldom agrees on anything, but when a threat is great enough for agreement to be reached, it does not bode well for anyone.
TRW: There are some scientists out there that do not discount the existence of Bigfoot, described as a hairy, walking ape that’s about 6 feet tall and more than 500 pounds. But reported sightings and footprints are generally the result of elaborate (or not so elaborate) hoaxes. No real evidence has been found to prove that a prehistoric ape-man is still wandering around the Pacific Northwest.
TSW: They are reclusive and mysterious, but the sasquatch definitely exist. They are neither beast nor man. They are powerful creatures and can channel the anima of the earth into magic. Though they have long been hunted by the enemies of Gaia, and driven further into the wilderness by the expanding human civilization, they are wary of people but not enemies of the players. They can in fact be useful allies if treated properly, and be helpful in the struggle against the ever growing darkness.
TRW: In Japanese mythology, the Orochi is a legendary eight-headed and eight-tailed dragon that was killed by the Shinto storm-god Susanoo. There’s no secret underground movement known as the Orochi…that we know of.
TSW: Even in The Secret World the strength of the corporation cannot be denied. The Orochi Group’s long tendrils reach into virtually all aspects of business as the largest corporation in the world. But its influence and interests goes far beyond mere worldly profit. The trade in information, secrets and the occult can be immensely lucrative if true power is your goal – and for the Orochi power is the only goal.
Some myths explained…