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Conan Exiles Saved FunCom From Going Bankrupt

At last week's Game Developers Conference, FunCom creative director Joe Bylos told Engadget that despite the success of games like The Park and the MMO Age of Conan, the veteran studio was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and that it's latest hit, the fantasy-survival game Conan Exiles, saved the company from going completely under.

"We were basically loaning money from our investors for wages," Bylos said, and the FunCom staff needed their next game to be a big, big hit if the studio was going to survive. In order to maximize the return on their investment, Bylos says that FunCom executives looked at the website SteamSpy to figure out what kinds of games performed well on Valve's digital marketplace, and noticed that survival games were particularly big sellers.

"These games sell a lot, but they're not that high quality.... We could definitely hit that bar," Bylos said, and FunCom quickly rushed Conan Exiles into development. Thirteen months later, FunCom released Conan Exiles in Early Access, where it became an instant hit, recouping its development costs in a mere week. Bylos and FunCom vice president Lawrence Poe credit the streaming and YouTube community—who went crazy for Conan's customizable, physics-driven genitals—with making Conan Exiles into a viral sensation.

The main takeaway here? Sex sells, big time.

Bylos also discussed FunCom's future plans for Conan Exiles, which will see some major improvements going forward. Eventually, players will be able to partake in siege warfare, in which they'll be able to use trebuchets to lob boulders and corpses at enemy bases. Black magic and mounted combat will shake up the game's player-versus-player battles, while a new "settlement" system will fuse open-world survival with elements of Civilization and The Sims. Finally, a player-versus-environment event called The Purge will introduce characters and items from Conan the Barbarian's deep and varied lore into the game.

Finally, Bylos detailed Conan Exiles' rumored castration system. Apparently, genitals and other body parts will be available as semi-randomized loot when you kill another player. Eventually, players will be able to collect pieces of their victims, which they'll be able to turn into jewelry and other trophies.