Nihilistic Software Q&A: Conan
PSXE: Just to clarify, are we following the story found in the original movie? And if not, is there any resemblance, or are you just using the character in an entirely new storyline/plot?
Huebner: No relation to the movies. We actually are catching Conan at a slightly different period in his life from those films, and the character himself is more inspired by the book’s character. The literary Conan is a bit more talkative and has a different sense of humor from the movie Conan most people know. I think Ron Perlman did a good job of capturing this Conan, but it’s not what a lot of people are expecting if they only know the movie Conan. Hopefully games like this will encourage more people to check out the Robert E. Howard stories. I think they’ll enjoy seeing a slightly different side of the character.
PSXE: We've noticed from the screenshots that there seem to be many different environments. Can you talk about some of the areas we'll be exploring in Conan? Also, how much of this exploring will be open-ended?
Huebner: The game takes place in some familiar locations that were made famous in Conan stories, like Kush and Stygia, so we’re tried to be true to the descriptions of those places. The player also visits other places that we’ve invented that fit into the land of Hyboria, including some cool “secret” locations in the world that Conan discovers for the first time, and some cool underground caverns below Kush that are new to our story.
PSXE: As a general question, where do you see the industry going in this new generation when it comes to the action genre? What clear advantages have you noticed in working with next-gen hardware, and is that hardware difficult to tap into at this time?
Huebner: Wow, that’s a tough one. I think the action genre is really healthy right now and has a huge legion of fans, so I think it’s safe to say, between all the great third-person and first-action action games being released or in development, it will be a healthy genre for a long time. This wave of hardware is even better than the last (of course!). I think one thing that is happening for the first time with Xbox 360 and PS3 is that you can get an action-game experience that can meet or exceed what you used to get only on a high-end PC. So that’s great; we can start to expose console buyers to some of the more complex and deep action gameplay that only PC players got to enjoy before. I think the line between a PC and a console action game is blurrier than ever. HDTV resolutions are a big part of that, but also having the horsepower in the machine to actually RUN in high-definition at 60Hz or 30Hz.
The hardware is pretty accessible; it’s certainly no trickier than PS2 was back in the day, but there’s still a lot of untapped potential on both machines, so gamers will enjoy seeing the bar go higher and higher for a while yet. I’m not even 100% sure people have tapped out the PS2 completely yet!
Anybody catch that statement right there...? The part about the hardware being "accessible" and "no trickier than PS2 was back in the day"? Yeah, so obviously, some developers aren't whining about how tough the PS3 is to develop for. Anyway, we appreciate Robert Huebner taking the time to answer our questions, and we certainly look forward to getting our hands on Conan. Stay tuned for our review!
10/5/2007 Ben Dutka