Despite a unique setting, inventive quests and genuinely creepy vibe, Funcom's supernatural MMO The Secret World doesn't get a lot of play, so they're taking all of the content from that game and putting it into a free-to-play online action RPG called Secret World Legends.
Funcom is calling it a relaunch, but traditionally relaunches involve shutting down the original game, then launching it again. That isn't the case here. 2012's The Secret World will continue to run, and players who still enjoy the more traditional MMO flavour of that game can continue to do so.
Secret World Legends, launching later this autumn (beta signups are open now) takes all of the content from The Secret World and presents it as an action RPG. The combat system has been revamped to feel more natural. Systems have been retooled to be more intuitive. The structure's been shaken up a little to make it more accessible to new players.
But at the heart of Secret World Legends is the same exact content that already exists in The Secret World. From the FAQ:
Secret World Legends will relaunch with the original eight adventure playfields, scenarios, and dungeons available immediately. In the time following the relaunch, we will release Tokyo, Nightmare Dungeons, Raids, and the rest of the content that is currently live in The Secret World.
Same shit, different game.
Otherwise there's no real crossover between The Secret World and Secret World Legends. There will be no character transfers -- everyone starts the new game fresh.
Unlike The Secret World, which did away with subscription fees a while back but still requires and up front purchase, Secret World Legends will be completely free to play. Once the game launches, anyone will be able to download and play. There's no game content locked behind a pay wall, though players will be able to use currency purchased with real money to buy cosmetic items, account upgrades and such.
The whole thing is just weird, which I suppose fits quite nicely. For folks who've played the original, it will be like visiting an alternate dimension where everything is the same, only different.