Three years after launching as a traditional monthly subscription MMO PC game, Funcom has announced a major shift change in its fantasy MMO Age of Conan. Today the developer announced that the game will soon adopt a free-to-play business model while still retaining the option for customers to pay a monthly fee to access extra content not available for the free players. Funcom will also launch an in-game store for all players to purchase in-game items.
In additions to the changes in how players will pay for Age of Conan access, Funcom has also announced that the game will go "Unrated" when it relaunches this summer. Age of Conan has always been rated "M" for Mature by the US ESRB ratings system. However Funcom states in its press release that "going Unrated gives the development team freedom to stay even more true to the original works of Conan author Robert E. Howard, and use even more of the barbaric, brutal and sexy setting that is Howard's Hyboria." It sounds very much that players can expect more blood and gore and also more nudity and sex in this Unrated version of the game.
In related news, Funcom has announced that Age of Conan will also have a tie-in to the upcoming new film version of Conan The Barbarian, due in movie theaters in August. The game will launch an adventure pack, The Savage Coast of Turan, that's set 20 years after the events of the movie's storyline. The adventure pack will feature "all new encounters, the massive new area of Ardashir, new dungeons and raids as well as new armor sets and monsters that moviegoers can already observe in the recently released theatrical movie trailer."