FiringSquad: What other features will make Age of Conan stand out?
Jørgen Tharaldsen: This is not a feature, per se, but I believe the feeling and ambience of the world will truly make the game stand out. When you are there, inside the world of Conan, sword in hand, with the blood rushing through your veins, delivering damage and death, then you should truly feel like you are there, out of this world, and inside a realm of danger and death.
I can sum the features in all their brutal glory :)
Conan! A great license and a really deep and interesting universe
Brutal, bloody and mature
A unique mix of single-player and MMO
Combat innovation: Unique hands-on combat with brutal finishing moves and combos, Mounted combat on camels, horses and mammoths , Epic and massive siege PvP battles, PvP mini-games, Drunken brawling PvP, Formation combat, Ranged combat with direct aim (like an FPS), A really cool magic system
The most advanced character creation system ever seen in a MMO
Large player-made cities with fortifications
Advanced raid encounters
Great quests and quest presentation, with speech on key NPC’s
Deep and interesting RPG system with lots of unique classes
RTS-like AI where player cities are attacked by in-game mobs
7.1 surround and a diverse soundscape
Need-based AI system which makes for a very dynamic world
The only MMO which is a Showcase game for Windows Vista (=cool tech and DX10 graphics;)
…there is so much which make Age of Conan stand out, and I feel certain we will deliver a special and compelling online experience upon our launch.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the art style and graphics for the game and how will it look compared to those classic Conan book covers?
Jørgen Tharaldsen: First of all the Art Director on the game is Didrik Tollefsen, who in recent years has worked on masterpieces like The Longest Journey (Art Director and co-creator), Anarchy Online – Shadowlands (Art Director) and Dreamfall (Concepts). This means that we have one of the best art directors in the world, in my opinion, when it comes to color, light, balance and ambience and that intense attention to detail and consistency. Together with a vast team of talented artists and animators, and our own proprietary Dream World Engine, we are truly pushing the envelope on graphics and animations in MMO’s, and I believe our screenshots and videos prove that.
That said, we are not trying to mimic anything out there, but rather create our own “magical realism” version of Hyboria, and how it looks in 3D. We naturally draw influences from the many, many great Conan artists of the past and present, but the demands of a 3D world compared to a 2D comic means that we must carve our own path.
FiringSquad: What is the current status of the game's progress and when will it be released?
Jørgen Tharaldsen: The game is shaping up in a great way, and we recently won the E3 award as the “Best MMO of Show” Gamespot, IGN, Gamespy and Yahoo Games. The closed beta is scheduled to start this summer, and the release is set for Q4 2006. If you drop by our community portal on www.ageofconan.com we will let everyone know more about their chances to join the beta when the time is right. Oh, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and on the forums, that might very well increase your chances of securing a beta spot ;).
FiringSquad: After Age of Conan's released, what plans does Funcom have for content updates?
Jørgen Tharaldsen: We are 100% committed to the prolonged life of Conan, so much that we recently extended the MMO rights for the license up to 2023. We plan to support the game with exciting and fun content updates, expansions and improvements from the get-go. We are in for the long-run when it comes to Conan, and we aim to deliver our players tons of cool new content as the game progresses. The great thing about the Conan license is that it lends itself so well to further updates, I mean, 70 years or lore and background means we have an almost limitless well of lore to dive into.
FiringSquad: Finally is there anything else you wish to say about Age of Conan?
Jørgen Tharaldsen: Every once in a while a game comes along which tries to push the boundaries of its genre, not just for the sake of it but to bring something brand new and exciting to the table. With Age of Conan we are doing exactly that. It will be a brutal and exciting journey filled with dangers and thrills, and we are working hard and dedicated to bring a great world of entertainment to all the fans out there.
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