E3 2006: Funcom shows Age of Conan
05.13.06 - 4:38 PM

Funcom, creators of The Longest Journey and Anarchy Online are set to bring out the Age of Conan: The Hyborean Adventures for the PC in Q4 2006. The Age of Conan is based on the works of Robert E. Howard, and promises to follow the mature, gritty world laid out in the novels. The game will feature both and online and offline mode, although an internet connection will be required regardless of this. Players will complete 20 levels in offline mode before joining others in the online portion of the game. This has been done to ensure that the player will be familiar with the game's mechanics before engaging in the online world.

Character creation will be in-depth and will allow players to sculpt their character, male or female, based on major proportions of the body, right down to the fine adjustments of their lips and nose. Three major races will be available from the start, including Aquilonians, Cimmerians, and Stygians, each of which will have major proficiency bonuses in select classes.

Combat will be handled via the numeric keypad, allowing a wide range of combat manoeuvres. The "Dance of Steel", a familiar term to Conan fans, will be a running theme in combat, allowing players to execute more powerful combos as their proficiency improves. Other features of the system include mounted combat and the ability to decapitate your opponents with certain finishing strokes.

Siege weaponry will play an important part in the game, allowing groups and guilds to take on enemies in a PvE mode reminiscent of most major RTS titles. Players will build towns and weapons, defending them from enemy troops. Funcom also noted that PvP in this fashion will be available, although there would be certain changes. No information was available at this time as to the alterations in PvP.

Players will not be able to create Conan, nor any of the characters encountered in his adventures, but they will appear in the game as NPCs. Conan himself is king during this period of his adventures, and players will be able to interact with him when they complete certain quests or events.

Although no release date has been set, the Age of Conan: The Hyborean Adventures will reach open beta this summer, allowing new and old fans alike a peek into the virtual realisation of Robert E. Howard's world.

Mark P. Tjan