The First Effect of Funcom’s Cuts?

I’m still playing The Secret World, still on a quite leisurely schedule. Most of that is due to the fact that I cannot commit to any more heavy schedule at the moment – I’m preparing for a business trip / vacation starting next week, and that leaves little time.

I still enjoy the game, to the point where I run every area twice before moving on. That’s also got to do with the fact that it allows me to invest points both for solo DPS as well as group healing. One thing I really like about the game’s plan is the regular updates, called issues. Just like a comic book, The Secret World gets an issue a month. When I was still collecting comics, the monthly schedule was my favorite release schedule. It allowed me to keep track of several different series without committing to the more expensive bi-weekly releases, which often were only temporary, anyway, until a series settled in on monthly cycles. Releases every other month, however, stretched the time in between a bit too much for my taste. For MMOs, a monthly update sounds like a very good deal, actually, an ambitious schedule, even compared to the master of continuous updates, Trion, and definitely compared to the more glacial speed of Blizzard.

Issue #1 was released on 31 July. It added half a dozen missions to the game. Now, for most MMOs “six new quests!” is probably not a very exciting deal. For TSW, that is very different, especially since all 6 missions were investigation missions, the crown jewels of TSW. There also were a couple of other things rolled into the patch, like hardmode versions of two dungeons, but… well, I can’t play them yet, and they’re just run-of-the-mill dungeons, I assume. Investigation missions is where it’s at, where a single one with its riddles can take you a night to solve.

I imagine this must be how the job cuts at Funcom must have looked like…

A monthly schedule put issue #2’s release on 31 August, or, if you commit to one day of the week, 28 August. That was also the date that was announced originally. But it seems that Funcom can’t keep up with this schedule:

As you may know, this week has been a challenging one for everyone at Funcom. We initiated a process of reducing costs after the launch of The Secret World and this has naturally affected the production schedule as we work on readjusting the team and our internal development processes. As such, we have had to give ourselves a little more time to wrap up Issue #2 and the new release date for this update is September 11th, 2012.

We appreciate your understanding and we apologize for the inconvenience. We are definitely eager to get this update out the door so that you guys can finally get your hands on that awesome rocket launcher! We will also continue to push out regular content like announced before. This small delay is merely due to the re-organization and assessment of processes that has been initiated. We are working hard to get back on track as soon as possible.

So the August issue won’t be released until mid-September. The cuts are getting a bit worrisome. Of course, they say that they want to get back on track, but, realistically speaking, that won’t happen, will it?

It’s sad that what I still think is far and away the best game released this year so far is struggling so hard.

4 thoughts on “The First Effect of Funcom’s Cuts?

  1. Is it really a worry? I think game companies always plan on post-launch cuts in the dev team these days. Plus, AoC is still afloat (and got an expansion to boot), and TSW has to have been a much greater success than that. I think a lifetime sub may be on my Christmas list, so I’ll be doing my part to give them a cash infusion this year, lol.

    1. It’s not time to panic, but I think it is time to worry a bit. If they cannot release their August update in August, and if the reason they give for that is that they “had a challenging week” and have to “work on readjusting the team”… then yes, that’s slightly worrying, in my eyes.

  2. Funcom exec to random code monkey:
    “Hello Peter, whats happening? Ummm, I’m gonna need you to go ahead come in tomorrow. So if you could be here around 9 that would be great, mmmk… oh oh! and I almost forgot ahh, I’m also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday too, kay. We ahh lost some people this week and ah, we sorta need to play catch up.”

    1. That conjures up an image in my mind of an exec with rose-tinted shades, a batik T-shirt, and a suspicious smell of grass about him. In short, that makes that company almost sound like a fun place to work! Not that I think it really happened like this… I like the mental image though.

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