Conan The Barbarian TV series in the making at Amazon

After years of hiatus on the new Conan movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger, we finally have some movement on small screen Conan. Amazon is going to produce a Conan The Barbarian TV series based on Robert E. Howard’s original tales. The project is helmed by Conan enthusiasts writer Ryan Condal and one of Game of Thrones episode directors Miguel Sapochnik.

Condal – according to deadlines exclusive article on the Conan The Barbarian TV series – says he is obsessed with the source material and waited for this opportunity to come along.

So far we don’t know anything about cast or further details on the production, but it seems to be in capable hands, with the right people watching over the beloved character of Conan and his representation – one of them Fredrik Malmberg.

CONAN EXILES – a journey into a virtual Hyborian Age of possibilities

Funcom, the creators of the award winning MMO Age of Conan have done it again. Their dedication to the Hyborian Age and the CONAN license is at this point no secret to Robert E. Howard fans, and they have a track record to pushing Conan to new audiences. Their newest creation CONAN EXILES, a survival type game in the vein of ARK, Rust and even Minecraft entered into Early Access on Steam today!

All would be barbarians be warned though, Early Access is not for the faint of heart. It’s a step into an unfinished version of the game, a version that will twist and turn and change with each update. Depending on your view, this can be a thrilling and interesting experience or a frustrating one, with server wipes (where your progress can be lost), broken characters and the like.

But if you are like us and you can’t wait to explore the newest virtual iteration of the Hyborian Age by Funcom’s creative minds we say: Crom laughs at your bugs! Bring ’em on and we’ll slay them together.

Conan Exiles drops something big!

The newest trailer from Funcom’s survival game Conan Exiles has dropped on Youtube and across the web. It shows more impressive scenes from the recently visual upgrade Conan Exiles received after having run roughly on basic Unreal Engine shaders since the beginning of the development. It certainly paid of and the game seems to coming to its own.

Aside from general combat in glorious slow-mo, flying limbs, spraying blood and all that jazz, it shows something huge. A metal figure stands up tall and huge, walks through walls and seems to battle some other giant snake curling around a temple. We can only make an educated guess, that this is an avatar of Mitra fighting a giant personification of Set the Great Snake.

Animations still seems to be a bit rough, but the game is still Pre-Alpha so there is ample time to polish those some more. Overall the game looks like a lot of fun already and I personally can’t wait to check it out in January 2017, the timeframe Funcom plans to start their Early Access program on Steam for Conan Exiles.

Conan 2d20 rules introduction with an animated story video

The Kickstarter campaign for Mödiphius’ Conan 2d20 Roleplaying has been on a roll since it’s beginning, barbariously slaying stretch goals left and right. But we felt something was missing from the campaign, a visual introduction to the quick and savage rules of the Conan 2d20 system. To illustrate the world aspect of the Hyborian Age we’ve used Screenshots from the first quest of the MMORPG Age of Conan, animated and underpinned by a narrator telling a short story.

If you were still on the fence about the project because of the rules, check out this video and you’ll get an easy, visual grasp of how simple the rules really are in practice compared to how complex they sound on paper. We hope you also enjoy the short video and leave us a comment on the video.

Explore a world undreamed of – CONAN RPG

It has been a while since we heard news from the Conan RPG front since Mongoose lost the license to make Conan RPG products and Modiphius got the rights to take over. They had to push the start of their Kickstarter a couple of times, because they wanted to get it right from the start. Judging by the rooster of talented people working on the project now, they certainly did. Now their Kickstarter for the Conan RPG has started!

3803344_origSimply titled CONAN, this project is one of the most ambitious and well set up RPG projects we’ve seen to date on Kickstarter. An impressive list of incredible art talent, combined with a list of established and experienced RPG writers – some of which have already shown their passion for Conan working on the Mongoose titles, like Vincent Darlage – bodes well for all supporters of the Kickstarter campaign.

Unique is their approach to product design. Instead of doing the well known approach of releasing a sourcebook, that holds all the core classes and stuff to start the game and later extending the universe with regional sourcebooks, they’ve chosen to create sourcebooks – of course there is one central sourcebook that is all you need to start playing – based on the careers that Conan went through in his own life. A thief, a reaver, a slayer is what players will also be able to be in their adventures; all sourcebooks supporting, explaining and furthering a certain type of gameplay, from thievery, piracy, military to being a king by their own making. This twist to product design has us intrigued.


Another central design philosophy is the focus on Robert E. Howard’s Conan exclusively. They aim to construct their world, their stories, adventures and regional descriptions as closely as possible to existing REH material and extending only from that base, instead of using the plethora of pastiche, that has been created over the past decades. This approach was chosen not only as a sign of respect for the author’s creation, but also to create a cohesive world, harking back to one solid, core idea and tone, which made Howard’s stories so great and his character so interesting.

If you’ve read this far, it should come as no surprise that The Hoard is ours 😉

A first glimpse into a much bigger world

Yesterday Funcom announced that they are going to build an open-world survival game set in the time of the Hyborian Age. Today they’ve already talked to IGN about Conan Exiles, giving them some more exclusive information on the details and the structure of the experience, that Early Access players will be able to experience in the coming summer.

Naturally the details are still vague and sound grandiose, but that is to be expected in a game, that is trying to carve its niche and build the hype for Conan Exiles Early Access release. Here are the bullet points we’ve extracted from the well written piece on IGN:

The World

  • Conan will only be in the game at the beginning, setting/leading the players into the patch of land that is the game world
  • The game world is not part of the known Hyborian Kingdoms
  • It stretches from Cimmeria to Stygian lands (with jungles and other areas in between)
  • The map will be 53 square kilometers big (twice as big as Skyrim) and grow from there
  • There will be old ruins and mysteries
  • Nudity will take place

The Crafting

  • Players will be able to craft buildings and items inspired by different Hyborian Age cultures
  • Different buildings will use different materials found in the different areas of the game world
  • Focus on freedom, you can build anything, anywhere, but it will be harder – due to different resources available for “unfitting” types of buildings

The Combat

  • Fast paced, supposedly First Person with an external Third Person view existing
  • Bloody and brutal
  • Focus on production values of the combat (animations, sound etc.)
  • With something like combos, but not Age of Conans combat system

New to the survival genre

  • Gods gameplay mechanic – sacrifice players on the altar of the different gods to gain advantages
  • NPCs attacking this “border kingdom” from the outside trying to purge the up comers
  • Storytelling through items, locations and mystery (comparison: Dark Souls)

The Tech

  • Servers can be configured by the hosts in detail
  • Most likely Unreal Engine (we guessed that ourselves from the screenshots)

All in all we think these details outline the potential for a great open world game. One that might even achieve, what none of the myriads that live in the harsh worlds of Steams Early Access have done: longevity. Most of the games there ride a hype wave, drag players with them and when the boredom kicks in they wander to the next game.

We can only hope that Funcom has the game design chops to solve the dark mystery of the Second Day Problem, that plagues all the Indie titles. Crom, I’ve never prayed to you before… and because I don’t want you to ruin the game out of anger, I will not start now. Leave the game alone, let the game designers carve their own niche with the strength you’ve given them at birth. Make it so! (I hope we have enough movie references in this article to make everyones eyes roll)

Conan takes care of future exiles!

Funcom, the company behind the acclaimed MMORPG Age of Conan, has announced that they are working on a new game in the Hyborian Age, featuring our most favorite barbarian: Conan. In Conan Exiles, the players takes on the role of a survivor in a barbaric wasteland. The game very much sounds like a more brutal version of ARK – a famous open world survival game and this guy couldn’t be happier about the news.

If you are not familiar with those types of games, they are mostly about the experience of being thrown into a – usually – unforgiving world, that you have to survive against all odds to succeed. Your character starts off as a fragile, often naked, understaffed, nameless creature in a random place of a virtual world. You have to fend for yourself, fight off increasingly more difficult enemies and harvest resources to basically survive. That is the jist of almost all survival games (Savage Lands, The Forst, ARK and even Minecraft, although it’s technically not only a survival game).

Most of those games were inspired by Minecraft, which offers much more than the sub genre of survival games, but its core design is what brought the sub genre – by now a genre itself – to live.

Conan Exiles now wants to bring a barbarian perspective to the table, and I am sure will also sprinkle the otherwise very free form open-world game with pieces of lore and background – why else would you make a game based in such an amazingly detailed and rich world without using some of its splendor.

The first screenshots and an introductory trailer look pretty good and my wild guess would be, that they are using the Unreal Engine, just like they did with their other MMORPG spin-off The Park. The game is supposedly coming to PC and consoles in the summer of 2016 and I am sure, I will meet many of you on the sandy hills of Conan Exiles, to SURVIVE. BUILD. DOMINATE. *wink*

Honest interview with Fredrick Malmberg (CEO Conan Properties Holder)

Howard enthusiast, author and general nice guy extraordinaire Patrice Louinet got together for an interview with the newly crowned CEO of all things Robert E. Howard and all things Conan – Fredrik Malmberg. Mr. Malmberg was once the CEO of Paradox Entertainment, the company that held the rights to Robert E. Howard’s works and was the mother company of Conan Inc. He also was one of the producers of the Conan The Barbarian film from 2011 and was involved in the creation of several prestigious Conan licensed projects like the new line of Dark Horse Comics and the MMORPG Age of Conan.

The goal of the interview was to get down and dirty with the facts of the newly formed Cabinet Holdings – that took over the REH rights from Paradox – and their plans for our beloved Barbarian. Patrice couldn’t help but to wink at TheArnoldFans reporting every second week that the film Legend of Conan will finally happen. Thankfully Mr. Malmberg was quoted in full and we have a definite – albeit vague – answer on the state of the film.

Fred Malmberg: The fans are really supportive of the idea of this new Conan film, and have been since we announced it almost two years ago. Until we have a greenlight from the studio, there are no solid facts as we are still in the development phase. The script needs to be finished. Of course the whole team behind this project is working really hard to make it happen. That includes my producing partner Chris Morgan and his entire team, Arnold and his people, as well as Jeff Kirschenbaum and Universal who have been big supporters from the start.

It gives me hope to see Mr. Malmberg up and about with the license, because even though I wasn’t the biggest supporter of the 2011 Conan the Barbarian with Khal Drogo – Jason Momoa – as Conan, I see a genuine interest in the works of Robert E. Howard in his actions and I hope that he will succeed in his quest not only to build a strong, sellable Conan license, but also in bringing to life a pre-ancient Hyborian Age in all kinds of formats, that we all yearn for.

Arnold Conan movie script is finished!

According to, the new Conan film has taken the next step to becoming a reality. One of the producers and Conan license holder Fredrik Malmberg told TheArnoldFans that the newest iteration of the script – which already had three different writers assigned to it – was met with great excitement at the production company Universal. There is no shooting date set yet, but understandably Mr. Malmberg wants to start earlier rather than later. Although Arnold recently said in an interview about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s future plans, that he is not sure to have time to film it this fall as it was planned by the studio.

The film officially has no director assigned to it yet, nor is there an official shooting date planned. According to different sources there has been location scouting in Spain, NewZealand, Colombia and other locations, but since Universal has experienced scouts, it is hard to tell where the movie will ultimately take place. The original Conan the Barbarian from 1982 was shot all across Spain, utilizing the unique aspects of the landscape and even some medieval cities as the background for model extended scenes (entry of the first city Conan and Subotai enter after he has freed him from his shackles).

At this point the talks of a great script have been going on for more than two years and it is hard to tell if this is just yet another interview of the producers trying to keep the hopes up and the excitement pumped so the studio doesn’t lose hope or interest in the projects realization, or if they really reached a level of script quality where the project can be fast tracked and be on its way. As usual with Hollywood there is a lot of speculation and it will be some time until we have official word on if, when and how the project will come to live.

On a related note: Check out this well done Conan The Barbarian fan film from the eastern part of Europe! We would like to seem more honest efforts like this to bring our favorite Barbarian to the albeit smaller screen. Keep them coming guys!

Arnold Speaks on Conan, Sequels, and younger action stars

Arnold’s getting a fair bit of play. Shortly after the MTV interview, has its own piece, with more details – such as the interesting statement that Universal are interested in doing multiple movies:

While it appeared for a little while there that Terminator 5, directed by Justin Lin, would be the first famous character Arnold would reprise after dabbling in politics, that project doesn’t have the requisite momentum.  Instead, Schwarzenegger will dust off Conan’s sword and go on another adventure across Hyboria as Robert E. Howard‘s pulp hero.  Tentatively titled The Legend of Conan, the new film would act as a successor to John MiliusConan the Barbarian and its less popular sequel Conan the Destroyer.

Schwarzenegger singled out Milius’ 1982 film as a model for the new effort in explaining just how the new Conan came about at Universal, saying,

“Let me just say that a lot of it has to do with timing. That’s what show business and politics have in common. It’s a lot of it is timing, and I think that I would’ve chosen to do Conan already if it would’ve been ready, but the Universal studio just bought the rights to Conan, they have an executive over there that happens to be a big believer in bringing back that character, and Universal was the first one to do the movie with Dino DeLaurentiis, and now they want to be back and do a bunch of Conan movies, but do it high-quality, not as a B-movie, to do it high-quality like the first one was John Milius directed and Dino DeLaurentiis produced and Universal has presented. So they want to go back to that. So that will be ready by sometime this year.”

Despite the invocation of his work, there’s been no indication that Milius will be involved in this new movie.  The driving creative force behind The Legend of Conan is Chris Morgan, the Fast Five screenwriter who created the new story and may or may not be writing the script, depending on his obligation to write the seventh The Fast and the Furious installment.  Morgan is executive producing alongside Fredrick Malmberg.

After some discussion of Triplets and other projects, there’s a brief mention of a certain other action star whose name is frequently brought up in the “who could play Conan/his son” debates:

In 2003, Schwarzenegger made an uncredited appearance in The Rundown, in which he figuratively handed off the action-hero baton to erstwhile The Rock, Dwayne Johnson.  As to the possibility of starring alongside the younger actor, who will be seen shortly in both G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Pain & Gain, Schwarzenegger replied with a laugh,

“I think it would be great for him, for The Rock to play the earlier generation and me the later generation. I’m looking forward to that.”

… OK.


Last year, I wrote a piece on The Legend of Conan for my REHupa fanzine “Elephants, Figs, and Lobsters with Wigs,” which ended up being relevant to several topics here, particularly the idea of forming a new Conan franchise around Arnold. To exercise my extremely presumptuous armchair businessman, I presumed that this was a stop-gap for Paradox. It doesn’t fit into their actions for the past decade, where they’ve actively shied from the Universal Conan outside a few deals like the Blu-Ray release and sword replicas. Their goal was to expand Howard’s existing characters and develop new franchises from them: characters they understand, characters they own, characters they control. They don’t control the 1982 Conan nearly as much as they’d like, and they’d likely always have to deal with Universal when it comes to that corner of the franchise.

This, then, was the result of Paradox being backed into a corner, making a deal with the elephant in the room they’d avoided so long. There’s simply no point now in seeking for anything remotely Howardian in the film, for not only would it be unlikely, but counterproductive, since the more Howardian elements in the Ahnold franchise, the more the Ahnold franchise is undermined by the comparison. As such, criticizing the film for its lack of Howardian elements is, at this stage, largely a moot point: why would it be Howardian, when it’s set in the Kurosawa-Ford-Nietzchean parallel universe of John Milius’ concoction? You might as well complain about a film based on the Adam West Batman series for eschewing the grim, gritty tone of the Detective Comics.

I initially thought that The Legend of Conan was a swan song for the Milius Conan, closing the story that began 30 years ago, a curtain call for a 1980s stalwart, the grand finale of an action movie legend. And frankly, it didn’t seem like it could be any other way: depressing as it is, Arnold Schwarzenegger is in his sixties, and he cannot be the big badass action hero forever. I believe iconic literary characters like the original Conan are too great to be tied to any single actor, but the fact remains that the version of Conan created by Stone & Milius is inextricable from Arnold Schwarzenegger, because the part was effectively tailor-made for him. There is no point in a Milius-Conan movie without Arnold. There simply didn’t seem to be any cinematic future in The Legend of Conan, for without Arnold, what could be done with the franchise? If Universal is indeed considering making multiple Conan films, what could they be about?

There are possibilities, of course, but none of them are remotely satisfying to me. The obvious one is that they will all star Arnold in his later years. The problem here is that films with the high quality Arnold and company are suggesting take quite a while to make, and Arnold doesn’t have much time on the clock: injuries, operations and health problems are already affecting him, and while it’s certainly possible he could be as spry in his old age as Jack Palance was in his ’80s, it would nonetheless relegate him into a supporting role in his own series. Alternately, perhaps they want to go have it both ways: a new, younger Conan, but this time based on the 1980s film. A prequel starring Roland Kickinger, bridging the gap between Barbarian and Legend? Jason Momoa had a bad enough time of people erroneously suggesting he was trying to fill Schwarzenegger’s shoes or take over “his” role, how bad would it be for a new Conan who is explicitly replacing Schwarzenegger?

Another possibility is that Conan’s son – and it will be a son, Hollywood isn’t imaginative enough to cast Antje Traue or Gina Carano as Conan’s daughter – will carry on the adventures in the Hyborian Age in a spinoff franchise. That’s even worse, as it not only has no Arnold, but no Conan: assuming that Kon or Conn or whatever he’s called is charismatic and compelling enough to justify a film based on his exploits, there’s still a pretty significant gulf between a character based on one of the most influential and enduring characters in 20th Century fantasy fiction, and a character with none of that cultural resonance.

But why are Universal looking for a movie franchise now? You’d think after the 2011 film’s returns that the Conan franchise was going to be shelved for a long time. Yet not only are they apparently looking for one film, they’re looking to start a new series. Perhaps they’re trying to combine the successes of The Lord of the Rings and A Game of Thrones, to make a big-budgeted adult fantasy film series that can be farmed yearly. Given The Hobbit being bloated into three two-hour-plus films and the final books in The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Twilight being split in two parts, this seems a possibility. But then, all those properties are based on pre-existing source material: I sincerely doubt Universal is going to give us The Hour of the Dragon, Part One in 2015 and concluded the next year.

The Legend of Conan seems to be, from my limited perspective, a means to an end for Paradox, but a franchise for Universal. It’ll hopefully get them some money and drum up interest in REH and his characters, and put them in a position to boost their own projects like Kull, Dark Agnes, Vultures, Bran Mak Morn and the Solomon Kane sequel they’re jonesing for. Knowing our luck, of course, it’ll probably end up a massive success, with Paradox revitalizing the product accordingly: phoned-in novelizations and tie-ins will clutter the shelves alongside the Del Rey Howards; the Dark Horse Conan the Barbarian and King Conan are cancelled due to poor sales, and relaunched as The Legend of Conan, abandoning Howard and based entirely on the films; The Legend of Conan: The Video Game will be bombarded upon game shelves after four months of development to lukewarm reviews despite twice the budget’s worth of advertising. Maybe we’ll even get a bone thrown to us with The Legend of Conan: The Stories That Inspired The Film, collecting the three King Conan stories and whatever else they inevitably mine for the script.

As ever, I look on this as an opportunity to further promote Howard and the original Conan, but in an inclusive sort of way. To return to the Batman comparison: I like the Adam West show. I also like the comics. Crom help me, I even like Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which makes the ‘60s show look like The Dark Knight Returns. The trick is to treat them as their own separate beings in their own separate universes. There’s still a lot of headway to make there, since people still seem to think that Milius’ Conan and Howard’s Conan can possibly be the same person. I came across someone on IMDB who claimed exactly that, and suggested Howard fans didn’t seem to understand that Milius’ Conan was supposed to be Conan before he “became” Howard’s Conan: when I brought up the matter of how that could be when several Conan stories happened at the same time Konahn was pushing the Wheel of Pain, he didn’t have an answer for me.

It just makes things easier to say Arnold is the Adam West of Conan.