EA and Funcom to jointly publish The Secret World

EA and Funcom have recently announced a co-publishing deal surrounding the anticipated MMO The Secret World. Neither company needs an introduction, and the combined forces of these two gaming powerhouses is sure to hold to new surprises for gamers. Funcom is reporting that thousands of eager gamers have flocked to the growing community surrounding the game’s launch, with many already becoming active members of the game’s three distinct secret societies: The Illuminati, The Dragon, and The Templar.

“We are tremendously excited to be working with what is undoubtedly the world-leading games publisher for the past decade, and it is also a great testament to the fantastic work of our development team,” says Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas in a statement. “The experience and the knowledge that Electronic Arts brings to the table will be instrumental in allowing us to realize the full potential of ‘The Secret World’.”

If you’ve not already familiarized yourself with The Secret World, the game is billed as a “next-generation” MMO that allows players complete and total freedom to advance their in-game characters. Previous MMO standards such as character class and level no longer apply; the game’s wide open. Players pledge their allegiance to one of three secret societies (hence, The Secret World), and battle for world domination via various landmark locations around the globe. And it’s not the fantasy world of planet XYZ, The Secret World is based on our own modern world, with players adventuring through Egypt, New England (home of Dan Brown), London, New York, and Seoul.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Funcom, one of the world-leaders in the development of massively multiplayer online games,” adds David DeMartini, Senior Vice President and General Manager of EA Partners. “We are very excited to be able to take part in the growing online gaming category with such a highly anticipated title as ‘The Secret World’.”

The way I see it, this is a win-win for both Funcom and EA. EA, who’s man-at-the-helm John Riccitiello has been driving down boxed unit sales in favor of digital distribution, now has an MMO to add to the EA distribution list, and Funcom, who’ve had their own issues in the past concerning MMO success, now has the backing and partnership of one of the oldest and most respected brands in the industry. While no release date, or format, has been given, my guess is that Funcom will leverage EA’s distribution channels, with EA gaining an anticipated, and how quality MMO to call it’s own (of sorts). And while The Secret World has been in development for some time now, this publishing partnership with EA is certainly a sign that the development phase is drawing to a close, and that we can most probably expect the arrival of The Secret World sometime in 2011.

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