Funcom's Rui Casais: From junior programmer to CEO

~ Some players of Age of Conan are under the misperception that Funcom does not know how to code AoC; they couldn’t be more wrong.

~ CEO Rui Casais began his career as a junior programmer on Age of Conan in 2004, extended his contract two more years to finish the game, and never left. One could even say he is married to the company, because his wife is also an employee. Leaving his home country in Portugal to move to Norway, is an amazing commentary on his passion for Funcom, AoC, and adventure gaming.

~ If there is anyone in the world you would want working for Funcom, to guarantee the game we love survives as long as possible, there is only one … Rui Casais.

Funcom’s Rui Casais: From junior programmer to CEO
We speak to the chief exec about his journey to the top, and why he has stayed with the Conan Exiles studio for more than a decade

In 2004, a young Rui Manuel Monteiro Casais joined Norwegian MMO developer Funcom as junior programmer. Ten years later, he was running the company (and still does).


Few complete such a journey - not only because there are only so many CEO positions in the industry, but also because many developers gain experience by moving to different companies throughout their career.

Casais’ lifelong service to Funcom began when he was a student in Portugal, finishing his Masters in Computer Science and Engineering. As he prepared to send his CVs to various gaming firms, a friend who played Anarchy Online noticed on Funcom’s forums that the company was hiring.

One position - junior AI programmer - tied in perfectly with Casais’ thesis on artificial intelligence for online games. He applied, was interviewed by Funcom managers who flew to Portugal, and three days after handing in his thesis, Casais was in Oslo, ready to start.

“I started with a one-year contract, but I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll be here two years and then I’ll move on’,” he tells . “But I wanted to finish the game - I joined as they were making Age of Conan, which was supposed to launch in 2006 but ended up releasing in 2008. After two years, I was promoted to lead programmer, and right before launch I was promoted to chief technical officer.”

“When I became CEO, I didn’t know if there would still be a company a year later because we were in such dire straits,” he recalls. “But now things are looking up, it’s very different to how it was before, and if anything we’re expanding into other areas to solidify our base even more.”


James Batchelor
UK Editor
Wednesday 22nd August 2018


but that does not bring us any bug fixes and updates.


Gratz for his level up without powerleveling in Khesh :+1:

But I would expect at least some love from this man going back to the game where he started - to AoC.

He has all feats needed, maxed AAs to the top, gear and exp. :crossed_swords:

We are ready to take you in our group/raid, Mr. Rui. The only thing we want in return is your heart beating for Hyboria once again :heart:

I wish you and Funcom all the best and looking forward to next week fin. report stream :sunglasses:


and why does not new content arrive?
only a small 6 man ini would be enough!

Nice spot. You can also tell us he is programmer also from 1804 before the computer creation, our situation not change.
Where are bug fix?
Where are new content?
Where is Funcom comunication with us?
Where is Funcom?
I Am happy he is experiencend in programming but i would prefer one less expert but more present. One company more present.
We are left abandoned at our destiny. Our moneys go in other games. 0 (ZERO) used in AoC

Not to be critical and I do not work in the gaming industry.
But I do work (and have worked in very large corporations with a worldwide presence) and my experience has been the CEO are far removed from the product.

Their view is the overall big picture, individual product lines distilled down by senior or middle managers to a spreadsheet or powerpoint. The new products get more attention and the older products roll along until someone convinces the right people to shine a light.

I hope this will happen someday but my doubts are growing daily.

Just discovered this, and totally suprised. Never knew a compatriot not only worked in the game since its origins, but that he actually became a CEO.

Working in one’s favourite universes… I’m rather jealous now (and a bit depressed to boot).

Unfortunately what Jarafin said in the post above it very true. It also depends of the size of the company, and the fact that a there is a certain distinction between programmer and game designer.

On the other hand, AoC did have a little-little love these last months/years when you analyse it’s recent history (Saga of this, saga of that, etc.). Boosted also by the release of Conan Exiles, it gained a little publicity in the gaming community and video-game journalism.

And publicity is one of the biggest weapons in any medium. As long as the game calls new attention to itself (gamers, bloggers, etc.), it can grow and have the opportunity to be evolved by the developers.

Even if some old players moved on, some new blood came to try the game (‘blood’ is the key word here :slight_smile: ). The small rise in YouTube videos is proof of that, specially now that Moriala and Henryx stopped posting there. Of course, much of the love is maintained by the player base, despite - and because - its squabbles.

I confess I was one of those who thought no one in Funcom still know how the game engine works, or didn’t have the time to read its ‘instruction manual’ anymore. I’m happy to know that there are still possibilites for the game to evolve (ahem… dx12, raytracing? :slight_smile: )

More development could at least sweeten that sour taste when Funcom released the news about the IP contract renovation, making us thinking of new things to AoC, and in the end it was for a different product (Conan Exiles). Kind of what the other company did to their fanbase with that fantasy action-rpg.

Not that more excellent Conan games is a bad thing. :slight_smile:

Please, keep it up, Funcom.


Hey, whats up men, zamora for expansion now pls, your dear Ken. Too much time playing and i cant see the wife of Conan :frowning:

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Kaeria is enough. ;D

lol ! she want to kill me noooo!!!
i hope play some day on a big map i love create maps drawing to hand im a commic manga maker and dj producer and i can help if you need a real lover user in aoc.

… a CEO needs to be a “much better mediator”.

# Customer Response Cards – No Longer An Option But A Necessity

“If you are going to be successful in today’s business world you had better fully understand how your customer sees your company….from their perspective.”