Conan Exiles - Release Date, Trailer, Gameplay and Latest News

Survival, Sandbox, Conan Exiles, 2016, 2017, Funcom
This grizzled guy can survive in the sandblasted wastelands of Hyboria, but can you? Are these scars battle wounds, or markings of shame? And more importantly, what conditioner does he use? All crucial questions, ready to be answered.

Conan Exiles Release Date

Conan Exiles aims to put the player in Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian universe for a brutal and exciting battle against the elements (as well as other people and players). The game itself is a striking parallel to the world it is set in, in that it’s uncompromising, vulgar, and at the moment, a tad rough around the edges.

Survival sandboxes are commonplace in the gaming world, so Funcom aren’t taking any risks with Conan Exiles. However, Robert E. Howard’s Conan universe is a natural fit for the genre, with its desolate and harsh environments… and characters, so if Funcom deliver on their promises, Conan Exiles could be the next survival game bestseller. If you are a veteran Age of Conan player, this must be a very exciting prospect for you.

In January of 2017, PC gamers can expect to start playing the early access edition, with a complete console and PC release still TBD. This has already annoyed some fans, as it was originally supposed to be in the summer of this year, oh dear Funcom. Although, having only started this year development is still in early days, and mistakes like this are to be expected.

It really says something about a game when you can’t be sure who the enemy is in a combat screenshot. Is it the woman, with her raised club; the scaly armadillo looking creature, with its bad posture; or the sand? It’s coarse, and rough, and irritating…  it gets everywhere!

How to Keep up to Date with Conan Exiles

For those of you with easily piqued interests, or an investment in AoC already, you can learn more about Conan Exiles in a few places. I would start of by going to the official website, the first place to find any news, screenshots, and general information (after this article, of course). Or if you prefer social media, head to the official Facebook page, official Twitter page, or official Instagram page. Despite the admittedly meagre amount of information available, already Funcom have put a lot of effort into communicating with fans, and other developers would do well to learn from their example.

It’s scenic shots like this that Instagram was made for. Even though this is a pre-alpha screenshot, it does a good job of showing off a harsh and destructive sandstorm. #coarse #rough #irritating #everywhere

Conan Exiles Trailers

There are currently only two trailers available, but be sure to keep up to date with Funcom’s YouTube channel. Any news is good news, and you’ll be among the first to see it.

This is the reveal trailer for Conan Exiles, in which we see very little (and what we do see is pre-rendered anyway). We can glean a little info though, the tone is set and the violent themes are evident. Hyboria does not look like a peaceful place.

There is much more to go on here, and graphics to criticise too, praise Crom. We can see that combat is a focus (obviously), however a more polarising feature is the building mechanic, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea. What do you think?

Conan the Builder, can he fix it? Well, that remains to be seen. We are pretty sure he could destroy it though, in quite a barbaric fashion, likely.

The World of Conan Exiles

Conan Exiles is set in the fictional universe of Conan the Barbarian, created by Robert E. Howard, and set during the Hyborian Age, in an area consisting of prehistoric Europe and northern Africa. It’s a highly savage society, where religious fervour and animalistic violence are the two powers that be. Crom, a grim and bitter deity, is considered the highest power in the land, but reviles weakness and prayer. Human sacrifices are commonplace to gain the favour of various other gods, who will then bestow strength to the acolyte. I mention this not because I like human sacrifice, but because it will be a large part of the game and how you play it. But more on that later.

You will be put in the shoes of a recently exiled barbarian, who was just saved from certain death by none other than Conan himself. You are then given the sole task of survival, which would seem relatively self-explanatory, one would think. The quicker of you will already see many parallels to other games with similar settings, such as ARK, The Forest, and even Minecraft. During your time in Hyboria, you will need to adapt to several scenarios, and will end up doing many things in the name of survival, such as: fighting, worshipping, or even building. You may even need to co-operate with other players in an effort to conquer shared enemies. NPCs and animals will do everything they can to try and cause you suffering, and I can already tell that the Hyenas are going to be the bane of many new exile’s short life.

As to what plot or story there is here, either there isn’t one, or we just aren’t privy to it yet… Both are equally likely. Lack of an overarching story never slowed down Age of Conan though, still considered Funcom’s crowning achievement.

Is that sand, or water? What we can tell from this is that Hyboria either has very shiny sand, or very milky looking water. But can you trust an image that actually makes a Conan game look peaceful? I wouldn’t.

How The Game Works

After chewing through the vegetables, we now get to the meat of the information, what you want to know. How does it play, what can we do, will the graphics look nice at all? And unfortunately, I can’t answer the first two very well. I can tell you that graphics and animations are nothing special though, but we are still going off of pre-alpha footage, and certain textures have shown a lot of promise. No definite statements from me yet, though.

What do we know, then? Funcom have kept quite tight-lipped about specific mechanics, but we can figure out a few things, such as you will have the option to play in either third or first person view, which I think is a prerequisite to a game like this. As with every other survival game you will start at the bottom with nothing, and must scavenge, craft, and build your way up to the top of the food chain. There is little evidence of a levelling system at present, but as with many societies, the man with the biggest stick is the king.

This means that you are likely to have to progress through different levels of weaponry to advance, and there will be swords, shields, axes, crossbows, hammers, as well as a host of other weapons that can be looted or crafted. Whilst society will be savage, filled with violence, nudity, and some other stuff that we should consider truly barbaric, humanity won’t be your only threat. Weapons can then be used to destroy your enemies and conquer. But survival elements like food and shelter are present too, and good luck trying to fight those off with a pointed stick.

Luckily, this thing can be fought off with a pointed stick. It looks like it would be a good idea to always keep a stash of freshly sharpened ones near you, in my opinion.

If you consider yourself quite pious, you’re in luck, as players can choose to appease certain gods in order to gain bonuses to stats, which is what I was talking about earlier when I discussed human sacrifice. Enemy players and NPCs can be sacrificed to a deity of your choice, and we have been promised that there will be no shortage of enemy NPCs for you to strap to an altar and go to town on.

Where will this supply of NPCs to brutally sacrifice come from, then? Well, due to your status as an exile, you and other players will be vilified by townsfolk as one. These NPCs will then send out parties of warriors to try and end your collective existence. This is a mechanic known as a purge, and is maybe something to be on the lookout for, as warm bodies are otherwise hard to come by. These NPCs can be defeated, captured, and stored for use when the gods appear to be having a bad day. This is an interesting idea, because it may necessitate teamwork in a PvP game, something that could work spectacularly, or fail outright. Due to the bloody nature of Conan Exiles, I will be surprised if players don’t tear each other apart at the seams.

This is the kind of stronghold you can expect to have to hold against a mob of angry NPCs. Definitely not a one-man job. If it does turn out to be, then chances are the difficulty needs to be upped.

There is another incentive for co-operation, however, as players can choose to create factions and build massive strongholds. One of the most overdone mechanics in gaming at the moment is arbitrary crafting, and since 2010 you would be hard pressed to find a survival game that doesn’t revolve around cutting down logs, mining stone, erecting walls, etc. Conan Exiles is no exception, and from what footage we have at the moment, we can tell that building your own house or shelter is going to be pivotal to your survival in Hyboria. But then again, so is cutting someone in half, so there’s definitely some variation, and a distinctive Conan feel.

The combat looks reminiscent of Chivalry, with a dash of Skyrim in it for good measure. It’s going to have to be impressive to appease the bloodthirsty Conan fans, a group of fans I certainly wouldn’t want to offend. Savages.

The Cost

There is no pricing information present at the moment, which has put fans on edge a tad. My guess would be that we’re looking at a classic buy to play model here, there isn’t any information to suggest that there will be a world as alive and massive as Age of Conan, thus no reason to have a subscription based model. I wouldn’t hold up much hope for getting the early access in January either, so keep an ear to the ground if you’re interested now, but there is no reason to rush if you’re not too fussed.

Why does this woman have a shiny Khopesh, golden jewellery, and what appear to be fine silk clothes, yet a shield that looks like it would fall apart without the slightest provocation? Are shields some form of luxury item? Is that what Conan Exiles will cost? Your guess is as good as mine.

To Wrap Up

Deviating from Age of Conan’s straight low fantasy RPG formula may prove to be disastrous for Funcom, but maybe dragging Conan kicking and cursing Crom to the modern era of PC gaming via the survival sandbox route is the wise option. Hopefully more information will come soon, and we can get a clearer idea of what to expect.

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Student, Brit, music & video game lover.
Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Hammerwatch
Top 3 Favorite Games:Fallout 3: Broken Steel, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth, Resident Evil 4 Ultimate HD

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