Age of Conan interview of Erling Ellingsen---Product Manager of Funcom.
You can visit http://www.ageofconan.com for more information on Age of Conan.
Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, winner of multiple E3 awards as the best game in its genre and one of the most anticipated PC games currently in development, is an Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO) set in the fantastic Conan universe as created by Robert E. Howard. In Conan the players will encounter a brutal, lush, violent and sinful universe, presented in fantastic graphics and stunning 7.1 surround audio.
In a world filled with cruel gods, mythical creatures, lost civilizations and a struggling human race, the mighty barbarian has finally seized the throne as king of Aquilonia. But Conan s rule is on the brink of chaos, spiraling towards the doom of ancient evils. In this twisted fantasy world, dark magic and brutal combat lurk around every corner, and each man and woman must carve their own unique destiny under Conan s reign. In the true vision of Robert E. Howard s dark universe it s now time for you to become a messenger of death.
MMOsite.com: First, can you say something about yourself? What s your function in Funcom and what are your game-related backgrounds?
Erling Ellingsen: My name is Erling Ellingsen and I work at Funcom as a Product Manager. Generally I work with the press and community, traveling the world showing the game, working on material to be released, writing things, arranging things, planning things and so on. I also work with other sort of marketing matters. I m sort of a marketing jack of all trades! I ve been a gamer since as long as I can remember, and before I came to Funcom, I worked as a gaming journalist for several years. I ve also been making some of my own games outside of work, as I m sort of a hobby programmer. Well, used to be, anyway. I m one of those creative marketing people, if you can believe they exist.
MMOsite.com: And I would like to congratulate you for Age of Conan won the Most Anticipated award from MMOsite 2006 Reader s Choice Awards. Is it an unexpected surprise?
Erling Ellingsen: It is certainly a pleasant surprise! We re thrilled to know that so many people are waiting for Age of Conan, and though we ve seen interest for the game build itself up steadily, I guess you could say it is pretty unexpected. We re yet to really go in-depth on the juiciest parts and we ve only skimmed the surface of what the game has to offer with what we ve been presenting to the public up to this date. I think people are going to get really impressed with what we re showing in the coming months, so keep your eyes peeled!
MMOsite.com: Many AoC fans are expecting the release of the game. Do you think it will meet their expectation? And do you feel any pressure working on this project?
Erling Ellingsen: I definitively think we will meet their expectations. That s a bold statement, because expectations among gamers tend to be incredibly high. But everyone on the team feels like they are working on something very special here, and we re proud to be one of those who dare to push the genre in new and exciting directions. Sure, there is a lot of pressure associated with that, but we re confident in success and we know that success will mean a lot to both Funcom and the gamers who decide to give Age of Conan a try.
MMOsite.com: What kind of community can we expect in AoC? Are there any kinds of support for guilds or teams?
Erling Ellingsen: Community is tremendously important in online games, and we re doing everything we can to give players the right tools to create such communities. Right off the bat I can mention guilds, of course, that players can create. Guilds can even build their own player cities, and they can even build and fight over so-called battlekeeps with rivaling player guilds. Guild leaders have lots of tools for running their guild, like applying taxation to members and so on. Players can also choose to form short-term groups and face challenges together.
MMOsite.com: With Direct10, will the game look much better compared to Direct9? I mean, is there any room for the game to perform better in different aspects?
Erling Ellingsen: It will look better, but Age of Conan is still an incredibly impressive game on DirectX 9. That s one of the things we aimed for with this game, to bring a graphics experience unlike any other MMOs before it. The environments, the characters, and the equipment – it s all so incredibly detailed and realistic that you really feel that you re being pulled into the world. DirectX 10 does enable us to do lots of fancy graphics stuff, like improved lightning and shadows, greater view distances, improved parallax mapping that makes the ground look bumpy and so on. But generally, DirectX 10 can do well what DirectX 9 can t do well. So while it was possible to pull off many of these functions on DirectX 9, it wouldn t run very well. With DirectX 10 it does!