Before his untimely suicide in 1935, author Robert E. Howard said the "Hyborian Era" that his stories featuring Conan the Barbarian was set in took place about 12,000 years ago. Ironically, the period following the 2005 announcement of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures has also felt like an eon, thanks to several delays.
In the end, though, PC gamers will end up only having to wait three years and 10 days for the massively multiplayer game. Developer Funcom has announced Age of Conan has gone gold and is already in production. The game will launch the US on May 20 for $49.99 with a $14.99 monthly subscription fee. In Europe, the game will cost €49.99 ($79.38) with a subscription fee of €12.99 ($20.62).
[UPDATE] Citing a Funcom report to investors, GameSpot originally reported that Age of Conan would retail for $59.99 in the US. "The Standard game SKU will have a Suggested Retail Price (SRP) of 59,99 USD (sic) in North America and at 49.99 Euro in the European markets," according to the report. (Emphasis added.) However, most retailers list the game as selling for $49.99. GameSpot regrets the error.
In a memo to investors, Funcom outlined its launch strategy for Age of Conan. The company is prepared for up to 600,000 "active subscribers" to be on its servers during the launch period of the game, which begins as a traditional role-playing game before segueing into an open-world MMORPG. As the title suggests, the game will be set during the Hyborian Era, during the period when Conan the Cimmerian had gone from being a warrior, thief, and pirate to the king of the fictional state of Aquilonia.
Funcom has made provisions to add servers to Age of Conan over the two to six weeks after launch, should there be sufficient demand. The Norwegian studio believes it will, saying "the pre-order numbers in some important retail chains track as among the highest for any MMOG launched." However, Funcom did not give specific numbers of preorders, saying it only had "some pre-order data" from "different retail chains in various markets."
With its distribution and publishing partner Eidos Interactive, Funcom "expects to spend from 12 percent and upwards of [its] anticipated gross revenues from the game on marketing and related activities." Again, it did not give any specific estimate as to what those revenues would be--nor did it offers any updates for the Xbox 360 version of the game, which is still officially scheduled for release later this year.