Since the start of 2020, I think it is fair to say that the amount of disappointment in what has been coming so far has been quite high in the Conan Exiles community. Of course, I do not want to generalize too much, as I have personnaly been quite happy with the few changes, just a bit disappointed by the lack of new DLCs and new content.
However, I do think that there are some strong events that happened in the past six months that seem to draw a pattern. All that is following is obviously conjectural and probably influenced on my own wishes but there are things that, taken independently, don’t add up if they are not included in something bigger.
The half-made announcements
The horses thralls and movement update at the end of 2019 was huge. But there was also a lot of movement around that time. Funcom saw the coming of a big investor and the livestream that followed this update was full of two things: apologies but also a lot of “we cannot talk about that now”. In this, was of course included the potential future map that might be coming at some point.
But just a new map for a game that is more than 2 years old (without counting the early access) seems a bit odd to me. And that is not the only thing that seem odd.
Not much DLCs either for now. And nothing announced. That is a bit odd. Why plan for a new map (probably a paid DLC by itself, which means probably dividing the online player base, of which I’m not since I have 1300 hours of gameplay only on Single Player). That is an extremely risky move! Does Funcom think a new map with mostly empty servers is a sound strategy after working on it for a long time? I don’t think so. They know what they are doing.
Let’s add to that that in 2019 (IIRC), they, several times, acknowledged that the current map has lots of flaws in its original design because of the short means they had back in 2016 and 2017. This was one of the reasons for not being able to implement horses at first.
This means that they are not simply working (allegedly) on a new map, but one with a better structure behind it to deal with all the problems of the current one.
The work on the live service
Now, we have this new live service. It has been in works apparently for some time now. At least in one, but maybe several of his videos, FireSpark expressed how weird he found this implementation since Steam already allows for all of it. It seems he now enjoys the new system and I think it’s him who speculated that there might be crossplay coming up through this system.
But what if there is something more to come of it? I’ll be back to that in a very short moment
Why so much work behind the scenes and such a try to improve for a game that is 3 and a 1/2 years old?
Yes, if you count the Early Access, this game is already three and a half years old! In the current video game market, Conan Exiles should probably be considered as coming close to the end of its life cycle and therefore being treated as a cash cow.
It could be that the developers are too passonate about their game and want to keep working on it even if its making them barely earn enough from it… but let’s be realistic… Even the most passionate entrepreneur stops himself when his product seems to be arriving at the end of his life cycle, or at least coming to it.
What all of this makes me think about
My background is in international business strategy, and I tried to put myself not only as a fan boy but also in terms of business strategy for all those little bits and pieces that seem, if taken independently, weird and like “too little too late” improvements or even not needed at all (like the “live service”, except if something bigger is coming up.
What if we should expect a sort of “Conan Exiles 2.0” relaunch in the coming months? A brand new map which by itself would deal with a lot of the current issues, a better AI that they are improving behind the scenes more than they showed us for now and a lack of a Year Three DLC pack because it would be replaced by a full turn towards a “Game as a Live Service” system? With an optional subscription at 5, 10 or 15 €/$ coming with the new map and a stronger behind the scene structure to bring more content and events on a regular basis which would remove the need to publish a “Conan Exiles 2” (therefore not make people buy a new game while still creating a strong new stream of revenues)?
At this point of what we know, this sound plausible (maybe entirely wrong I admit it ) and it seems to me that is would make good business sense as other similar games have shown.
And I have to say, I would be pretty excited by such a move I realize some people would be upset (but that’s the world we live in ) but I’m really hoping they go toward this route
What do you guys think?