The studio don't want to "remove you from the universe," and having players die in a modern day set world that's "supposed to feel realistic would just be kind of odd."
“There is actually no player death in The Secret World,” said Tornquist. If you get overwhelmed then players will just end up in a spirit world, which lets us see things hidden otherwise.
"We don’t want to remove you from the universe, and having you die in a game set in the modern day world that’s supposed to feel realistic would just be kind of odd," he reasoned. Instead we fall unconscious and become 'detached' from our physical bodies in a shadowy realm.
"While you’re in the spirit state in The Secret World you might see things that are invisible to players who are conscious. You might have certain missions that might have to be solved inside this spirit world,” teased Tornquist. The Secret World embraces a 'freeform' character progression system which removes the need for alts, apparently.
Have you been following The Secret World, video gamer? It releases on PC in April, 2012.