C is for Conan Exiles


The aim of my Blogging From A to Z Challenge is to find the origins of online games, some relatively modern and some with ancient roots. Gaming might well be a modern take on an art that is almost timeless – storytelling. A perfect excuse for a writer to delve a little deeper. [Visit here for links to other A to Z participants.]

Game: Conan Exiles is an open-world survival game set in the fictional prehistoric Hyborian Age.

Release Date: May 8, 2018

Developer/Publisher: Funcom

Genre/gameplay mechanics: Sandbox; open-world; survival; exploration; action-adventure; 3rd person; single or multi-player. Wiki: https://conanexiles.gamepedia.com/Conan_Exiles_Wiki

Setting: Realistic rendition of an area within Robert E. Howard’s pseudo-historical Hyborian world of Conan the Barbarian, with the starting area being a harsh desert landscape, titled The Exiled Lands and a northern biome called The Frozen North with sub-arctic forests and mountain snowfields.

Storytelling: The custom playable character is an exile, one of thousands cast out to fend for themselves in a barbaric wasteland swept by terrible sandstorms and besieged on every side by wild beasts and other exiles in their fight to survive, build and dominate. There is no quest line but there are secrets to be discovered.

Releases: n/a

Formats: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Origins (Chronological):

  1. 2008 – Funcom’s Age of Conan: Unchained is a brutal and bloody massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) set in the Hyborian Age with multiple race/class combinations.
  2. 1932-36 – Eighteen Conan stories were written by Robert E. Howard and published in his lifetime. Three more were published after his death, along with fragments completed by other writers.
  3. 1930s – Robert E. Howard’s essay The Hyborian Age set down the mythical history behind his Conan stories between the time of the sinking of Atlantis and the rise of the known ancient civilizations. According to Howard himself (in “The Phoenix on the Sword“): “…between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas…”

Adaptations set in the ‘Conan’ universe: [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptations_of_works_by_Robert_E._Howard]

  1. Novels and Short Stories: In total, more than fifty novels and dozens of short stories featuring the Conan character have been written by authors other than Howard.
  2. Films: Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer (1984) with Arnold Schwarzenegger; Conan the Barbarian (2011) with Jason Momoa.
  3. Television: There have been three television series related to Conan.
  4. Comics: Conan has appeared in comics nearly non-stop since 1970.
  5. Video Games: Conan Exiles is the eighth Conan-related game released.
  6. Other games: Conan has appeared in various forms in the gaming community from simple board-games to the above-mentioned high tech multiplayer online games.

Recommendation: Good with potential. Conan Exiles has a flourishing player-base despite being an Early Access title, and, according to MMOS.com, “it follows all the survival genre bullet-points…is one of the best looking survival games available.” Player-created mods demonstrate that the community might encourage the game to evolve and survive. See also: mmorpg.com.


3.75 Stars: Having enjoyed Age of Conan: Unchained, I have played Conan Exiles in Early Access. The setting is immersive and survival a challenge, but there were oddities like the wildlife ignoring their natural rivalries to target me. It’s not my favourite survival game – I prefer ARK: Survival Evolved where predators rule – but I will keep playing and building.

  1. Setting: 4*
  2. Storyline: 3*
  3. Gameplay: 3.75*
  4. Entertainment: 4*
  5. Genesis: 4*

Alternative ‘C’ thoughts:

C could have been one of my childhood favourites, C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, but I haven’t yet encountered the right game, although there have been a few.

+ ‘C’ Games played: Corum Online [my first MMORPG], Civilization II, and Cabal Online.

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