VideoGamer.com: What will be the role of Conan? Will he only give quests?
JT: Quests, yes.
VideoGamer.com: Will you be able to play with him?
JT: Not at launch, no, but you will be involved with him. Actually there's a reason why we haven't shown Conan until today and there's a reason why we haven't spoken much about him. He is sort of like an enigma, a shadowy figure. You know he is the king but you don't quite know his role. But you will be interacting with Conan. The whole Destiny quest which starts at level one through to level 80, it interacts with Conan and Thoth-Amon, his arch nemesis. You as a player will find out, but we have put a lot of resources into making him accessible. We thought about in the beginning, what if you had a dream, you could play Conan and have his power for an hour, but at the end of the day we had to distance ourselves a bit from Conan. Everybody couldn't be Conan. So we had to find a way that makes him believable and we think that the place in the story right now is the right place to have him.
VideoGamer.com: Ever consider giving him an Austrian accent?
JT: Never! Never! A lot of people have asked us, and pushed us, and wanted us to do it and make him look like Arnold. When we looked at Conan we never looked at the Conan movies. They have done some amazing things, you know? The music is fantastic, some of the art direction is brilliant, some of the actors really stand out, at least in the first movie, but for us it was always back to Howard, back to the 1930s, back to the short, punctuated way of telling a story. You see this in everything we do. Even how everybody in the game speaks. Everybody speaks very direct, very Hyborian, or Conan-esque as we call it. Just the way that Howard created it. We just take away all the soap aspects of Conan and wanted to bring you this savage, dark and brutal world. That's what we've done.
VideoGamer.com: When will the Xbox 360 version coming out?
JT: Next year. When we launch we are splitting up into three. We have been working on the Xbox for a long time actually. But as we hit the last six months we were like, let's focus on the PC version. That's where we know the market is. We're trailing about a year. No longer than a year. As soon as we launch, stabilise and have everything up and running, all the systems going, we're going to have the live team fixing stuff, speaking with the players, what do you guys want? We have the expansion pack team and then we have an Xbox team. But we're pretty much Guinea pigging our way into the Xbox, just like Microsoft is. We are exploring frontiers on how to deal with the consoles and online games.
VideoGamer.com: Any ideas how it might be different?
JT: It will be the same essence and the same experience. We want for the people who want to do it, we want them to be able to play with their PC friends if they like to. It's not a force thing but we would like that to happen. But obviously the control mechanism, the communication, all this is stuff we are solving on a daily basis. The patching, the install, the footprint, the payment, the servers, the customer service... it's a challenge. But we will get there eventually.
VideoGamer.com: But you intend for it to come out max a year after the PC version?
JT: Yeah, maximum a year. But I don't feel comfortable about promising a date. We've been promising quite a few dates on this one. But you know things happen.
VideoGamer.com: No PS3 version?
JT: No. When we started development of Conan there was no PS3, there was no online plans for PS3, there was no environment for it. Xbox and Microsoft had a very clear strategy, they had a very clear goal, what they wanted to do, and shared our belief of what you could do with the console. So we'll see I guess. We're not ruling out anything except a Wii version. That would be hard with these graphics and technology. But right now the PC is the focus, then the Xbox and then we'll see what happens. It's hard to say now how this will pan out. We'll know in a few months and then we'll see.
VideoGamer.com: What were the specs of the PC running the game today?
JT: This was an 8800 graphics card from Nvidia. I would guess that it had 4gigs of RAM and that it was a dual core. OK famous last words, but I think people will be surprised about how good the game runs. If you have the lowest minimum specs you'll still be able to get a good performance out of it. I've seen it on minimum specs. If you have all your drivers updated, if you have your service pack, if you run Vista, if you have all that ready I think you will get a fantastic performance on it. And it will grow. We're going to run this game hopefully for many, many years.
VideoGamer.com: Thanks very much for your time.
Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventure is due out 23 May.