In April, Funcom announced it was developing Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, a hybrid single- and massively multiplayer role-playing game based on author Robert E. Howard's Conan stories and novels. The promising-sounding game was music to PC gamers' ears, but it shut console jockeys out. Furthermore, the game will not let players take control of the titular barbarian himself--a disappointment to hardcore fantasy geeks.
Luckily, today brought news that will hearten those who yearn for the high adventure of the Hyborian Age. THQ announced that it has signed a pact with Paradox Entertainment to make games based on Conan. The rights to the franchise are owned by Paradox Entertainment and Conan Properties International, the company created to manage the Conan properties following Howard's death.
The THQ-Paradox deal is a multiyear agreement for PC, mobile, handheld, and current- and next-gen console games. "THQ's proven success with high-profile licensed properties will ensure Conan games deliver an interactive experience worthy of a truly legendary character," said Fredrik Malmberg, head of licensing and creative affairs at Paradox Entertainment. "Developing next-gen console games is a huge commitment, and we're happy to be working with one of the strongest companies in the video game industry."
Conan the Cimmerian, aka Conan the Barbarian, is one of the most enduring characters in fantasy fiction. The gruff, rough, and virtually indestructible warrior slew and stole his way through ancient realms in 20 short stories, published from 1932 to 1936 in the sci-fi magazine Weird Tales. (Howard committed suicide in 1936.)
Since then, Howard's complete works and unpublished Conan stories have been republished in numerous books and adapted into a popular comic series. They have also inspired two films--the classic Conan the Barbarian (1982) and the less-than-classic Conan the Destroyer (1984), both starring Arnold Schwarzenegger--and two much-less-than-classic syndicated television shows, both named Conan: The Adventurer (1992 and 1997-1998, respectively).
Conan's only previous adventures in gaming were Conan: Hall of Volta (1984, Apple II, Commodore 64) Conan: The Mysteries of Time (1991, NES), Conan: The Cimmerian (1991, Amiga, DOS), and the Europe-only Conan (2004, PC, Xbox, GameCube, and PlayStation 2).