Two articles over on Massively over the weekend hint at the future of Age of Conan.
The first speculates on how, exactly, Funcom is going to try to use the new film to get the game some marketing exposure. Certainly, it’s a golden opportunity to raise the game’s profile. The film release would be the perfect time to either launch a new expansion or to move to some kind of free-to-play deal; either would give the game a big injection of new interest. Funcom’s annual report stated that there will be “significant content and story tie-ins with the [new Conan] movie.”.
The other rumor deals with the aforementioned possible expansion, sparked by the sudden and magical appearance of two new region names in the game’s player finder tool. Although I have to wonder where “Ardashir” might be found in Hyboria. But Turan… well, I’d happily ditch my current Ranger for a Turanian archer a la Subotai.
One of the posts over on the forum thread speculating on new developments states that 2011 will be a make-or-break year for AoC. With this I have to agree. Even if the film is not a huge hit, it’ll get some mass-market publicity that’s tough for a video game to get unless it’s a high-profile console title.
AoC is on a cusp right now. Numbers are still fairly strong but the population is very topheavy and there’s a need to get a new influx of people into the lower levels beyond Tortage (which is fairly well-populated thanks to the Unlimited Trial.)
Personally, I’m rooting for both an expansion and a move to free-to-play. With the movie starting to spin up its marketing and the rumors flying, I would hope we’d see some kind of announcement out of Funcom in the next couple of weeks.