Age of Conan expanding in '09

Funcom tells Leipzig audience that it is "aiming" to release the first retail add-on to its popular fantasy MMORPG sometime next year; first teaser art raises possibility of Khitai addition.


Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures

Today at the Leipzig Games Convention, Norwegian developer Funcom showed off some new content updates for the Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. As outlined in GameSpot's hot-off-the-presses impressions, the presentation covered several new areas that will soon be available to higher-level characters in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

While interesting, the presentation was overshadowed by another announcement. Almost casually, Funcom reps on hand revealed the first Age of Conan expansion pack is currently in the works for a tentative 2009 release.

"We are working on an expansion and that we are aiming for a release next year," Age of Conan product manager Erling Ellingsen told GameSpot. (Emphasis in the original.) "We have released the artwork, which I'm sure you have seen, but we are not ready to reveal any other information at this point. We just want to get the speculation going at this point!"

The teaser art Ellingsen mentions (pictured) shows a masked warrior not unlike the Persian Immortals from the film 300. In the atlas of the Hyborian Age, the fantasy realm Age of Conan is set in, author Robert E. Howard created two realms based on ancient Persia: Hyrkania and Iranistan. However, the presence of pagodas, dragon motifs, Eastern weapons, and jade-like armor makes Khitai, Howard's take on the China of antiquity, a more likely suspect.

For more on Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, read GameSpot's full review of the game, which currently boasts over 400,000 subscribers. Released in May for the PC, the title is still in the "early stages" of being ported to the Xbox 360.

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