June 9, 2016
'Conan Exiles' Early Access Dated, Devs Talk Religion, Purges, Combat, And More

Funcom released the first Conan Exiles gameplay trailer earlier Thursday and has now followed up with a planned Steam Early Access release date. The developer also took the time to answer fan questions in a Reddit AMA for the upcoming PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One open-world survival title.

Conan Exiles will be released as a Steam Early Access title for PC players first on September 13, 2016, just making the summer release deadline. Pricing has not been announced yet.

The developer currently has no plans to release the game to the Xbox Preview Program, which is similar to Steam's program, but says it is "still on the table." Both consoles will receive Conan Exiles sometime after it completes its run through Early Access, otherwise.

"We're very excited (and a bit nervous) about launching our first Early Access title," said Funcom CEO Rui Casais. "The team wants to give the players the best possible experience, and while we are used to working on a game for several years before letting players in, this time around we will let players in just nine months after development started! As with any Early Access games, some features and content will be more finalized than others, and players will be able to help us focus on what's important to them so that we can improve the game and flesh out content and systems before full launch."

As previously covered, Conan Exiles comes with all the trappings of open-world survival games in the same vein as ARK: Survival Evolved, Rust, DayZ, and others in the genre. Players will be able to gather resources to build tools, weapons, and bases in a vast landscape based on Hyboria from the Conan franchise. Funcom does have a few things that will differentiate its game from others, though.

Religion

Conan Exiles (Funcom)
[Image via Funcom]The different religions from the Robert E. Howard novels will be represented in Conan Exiles and play an important role. The game will have two religions available when it launches in Steam Early Access and another six planned before the full release. Individual players and clans can join more than one religion, with the exception of worshipers of Mitra.

The different gods provide perks to worshipers, but will come with some form of restriction. For example, Set worshipers will gain poison resistance and snake arrows at the cost of not being able to kill snakes. Additionally, worshipers will need to continue to sacrifice other players to their god. An example provided by Funcom was that a giant snake will wreck what you own if you stop sacrificing people to Set.

The religion system also provides a form of sorcery for Conan Exiles players. Players will be able to craft and enhance weapons based on the god worshiped and rituals performed.

Purge System

Conan Exiles (Funcom)
[Image via Funcom]Survival games have been known to get stale as certain tribes or clans come to dominate a server and all players get into a routine. Different titles have different ways of dealing this, such as a monthly wipe. Funcom is electing to go with what it calls the Purge System.

This system will occasionally introduce invading NPC armies to the game world that will come through and attack players and their structures. Players can choose to defend their villages or trick them into attacking enemy villages. This system is also used to encourage players to group together, but can be turned off in the server settings for those that do not enjoy it.

Human NPCs

Conan Exiles (Funcom)
[Image via Funcom]Yes, Conan Exiles will have NPCs in the game world for players to interact with. The game will be filled with NPC factions "who you beat to death and then build your own kingdom on their ashes."

The list of NPC enemies includes Darfari Cannibals, other Exiles, Stygian Relic Hunters, Degenerate Humanoids, and other groups based on the Conan fiction.

The AI controlling the NPCs will be relatively dumb when Exiles first launches on Steam Early Access, but will be improved over time.

Combat

Conan Exiles (Funcom)
[Image via Funcom]Funcom is focusing on skilled-based combat for Conan Exiles. This means something closer to The Elder Scrolls series with multiple attacks based on the weapon used, plus the ability to block. The developer provided the example of a one-handed sword that would have a light attack and power attack while a two-handed hammer will come with a light swing, heavy swing, overhead swing, and haft push.

Players will also have access to different armor types, debuffs, a "decently balanced stamina system," and the ability to break through shields.

Additionally, Conan Exiles will feature "fatality" moves. This was briefly demonstrated in the trailer when one female warrior was cut in half at her waist. More fatalities will be introduced to the title with their own special animations, "like walking around looking for their heads."

The Game World

Conan Exiles (Funcom)
[Image via Funcom]Obviously, a setting in fictional world of Conan will be unique as well. Funcom is targeting a world size of 53 km for full release, but it will be smaller at launch. The desert biome will be the first introduced with highlands, snowy mountains, jungle, forest, swamp, and more added later. These new biomes will expand the game world and give players new places to explore versus re-purposing existing areas.

There will also be underground places to explore. Players will likely not be able to build there, as they are meant for discovery and treasure hunting.

The map is not meant to be an exact recreation of the Hyboria landmass from the Conan novels or films. Instead, it is a "microcosm" of all the different cultures and areas thrown together for story reasons not yet explained.

Additions After Early Access Release

Steam Early Access provides Funcom with the opportunity to continue to add new content and features to Conan Exiles while also getting feedback from players. Some of the items mentioned in the Reddit AMA that could be released later include the ability to tame creatures and ride them, a classic soundtrack option, support for mods, a companion system, and stealth mechanics.

[Image via Funcom]