Brent Carr Ellison, Game Designer
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Dungeon: PolarisDungeon: The AnkhStory: Tokyo FlashbackOther TSW work


Tokyo Flashback



The Tokyo Flashback is the intro to combat in The Secret World. Shortly after making a character, players get sent back through time to see the origin of the recent events in the gameworld.

As the primary designer on this level, I designed the gameplay, scripted and implemented all encounters and AI, and worked with artists, animators, and sound designers to complete the experience.


The player takes on another character's role in this scenario, joining a group of Secret Worlders as they try to get to the bottom of an occult disaster in a Tokyo Subway.

These companions are important characters in the overall narrative, and here they bicker amongst themselves, talk to the player and fight at his side.


As this is the first combat experience, we wanted to focus less on the specifics of our system and more on getting players used to the overall feel.

Players receive a few different attacks and encounter foes against which certain abilities will work better, but we don't force them to play in a specific way just yet.


The Tokyo Flashback moves with the pace of a rollercoaster - we spent a lot of time on the story beats and drama with large-scale battles, explosions and screaming civilians.

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To avoid frustration while players come to grips with controls, however, a scaling script allows the player to appear to take damage while preventing their health from going below a certain threshold.


After a big conflict where the Secret Worlders team up with Orochi soldiers, the roof collapses behind the player, separating them from the rest of the team.

Close to the center of the chaos, the player finds a subway platform missing, and a mysterious planet floating in space beyond. The vision ends and the player returns to normal with this scene serving as a cliffhanger for the rest of the game.

Next: Other Responsibilities