A lot of people smiled when Funcom, makers of such Conan games as Conan Exiles and the recently released survival RTS Conan Unconquered, showed off their April Fools joke called Conan Chop Chop. Well, now we know that the game isn’t a joke, it actually exists, and will launch soon.
To find out more about the story behind Conan Chop Chop, we spoke to Kim Forrest, Executive Producer at Mighty Kingdom, the studio that develops the game for Funcom.
How did Conan Chop Chop come to be?
Shannon Cross and Harrison Gibbins created a student game called Dungeon Chop Chop. Shannon brought it to Mighty Kingdom to see if we could be a part of taking it further and helping him grow it into a commercial one with it already getting some traction on the indie scene. And so we took it to a convention last year in Europe and connected with Funcom to demo for them. They liked the look and feel of the original Chop Chop and then had the idea of taking Conan in that fun, chibi, cartoon direction. Funcom has always treated Conan in a fairly serious way, but what if we pushed it down the Chop Chop path with some couch co-op and dungeon crawling good times? We built a prototype with the cool stick figure art and Zelda-esque moments mixed with some comedy moments poking a bit of fun at the Conan universe and here we are today… close to launch of the cutest (but still barbaric) Conan game ever!
Tell us a little bit about the vision for the game?
First of all, we really wanted to have fun with the Conan universe, characters, locations and villains. Really push the the things in that satirical direction and get a bit silly with it. But we still wanted to be really respectful of Conan as well. To make sure we didn’t break the universe’s rules or mess with the lore. Then we wanted to deliver an experience that brought co-operative good times with that have-a-few-drinks-and-get-loud-on-the-couch situation, with a sprinkling of competitive edge where you can do your friends over a bit by stealing their loot and things. And then one of the real challenges we faced is keeping that sort of party fun alongside the roguelike meta that we have gone for. So we needed it to be fun instantly, but also hard with the players dying a lot with solid replayability. I think we’ve done a pretty decent job of hitting all of these!
This is quite a different style from your previous Conan games. The fans got a hint in the April Fools teaser video, what have they said thus far?
99% of the fan response has been super positive. You get the odd sad-sack, but people generally love it. When Funcom marketing said to us “we’re going to announce your game as an April Fools joke,” we were like, “OK” with the eyes emoji. But it turned out to be a stroke of genius. On April 1st the response was pretty crazy with people talking about how it was a joke, but they’d love to play it. Then when we announced that it was real at E3 the response was overwhelmingly positive. So good! Being at E3 to demo such a joyous game is one of the best experiences I’ve had in 20 years in the industry.
Tell us a little bit about the boss fights. What can we expect?
I don’t want to give too much away, but here goes… There are 5 bosses. We’ve tried to pay homage to the old-school boss fight. We love our boss characters even though they are baddies and they are scary, but is that really their fault? When I die and it’s game over in a boss fight I must suppress my rage.
Conan Chop Chop is out on September 3rd, for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. Get ready to start choppin’!