The Secret World has never played by the book. It's always been dogged in its determination to be different, either in game mechanics (setting, ability system, quest system), subscription model (remaining subscription based in the face of a free-to-play movement) or indeed marketing.
One example of different marketing is the current alternate reality game, The End of Days (which I am having a real blast getting involved in). I've not seen anything like it before in the MMO gamespace. I'll be doing a full write up on the ARG later, but for now back to Joel Bylos and his nervous breakdown.
So, things started this morning when I noticed a tweet from Joel Bylos, TSW Game Director in my twitter feed. It read:
Rough weekend... End of the world a literal truth. Hard to go to work today. What is the point?
I didn't think anything of it at the time other than it looked like Joel had suffered a bad weekend. Happens to all of us (this weekend my son threw up four times and my car got broken into - yay!).
It wasn't until the following video popped up that I realised the tweet was just a precursor. It seems Joel has got a little obsessed with the impending end of the world and is feeling a little down about it. He's decided to make a video diary of his last days on the planet, and has posted the first instalment.
So first of all, kudos to the Funcom marketing department. This is one of the most original ways to make a big announcement about a game as I've seen. Secondly, the video had me chuckling all the way through. Turns out Joel is a pretty good actor!
I love how TSW does things differently. The developers are not scared to take the piss out of themselves or the game, and have an open and refreshing honesty about things.
Finally, what does it all mean? The current ARG points towards 12th December being an important date. Looks like there will be some kind of announcement in a couple of days time, but what? Will the game be going free-to-play? Free for a period (say 12th December until the end of the world on 21st December)? Something else?
Well, we'll find out in a couple of days.