Funcom: "maze of challenges" ahead for cross-platform Conan

Age of Conan is not the first MMO to release on consoles as well as the PC. Phantasy Star Universe and Final Fantasy XI were among the vanguards there. Unfortunately, the existing precedents haven't made it look easy. There are a lot of issues to consider. Will Xbox Live (or the PlayStation Network, if the game ever lands on Sony's shores) download regulations prevent prompt bug patching? Will PC users be forced to use voice chat, or will 360 users be forced to buy keyboards? How does one design a user interface that will be equally effective with a console controller and a keyboard/mouse combo?

According to Funcom Project Manager Jorgen Theraldsen, these and other questions have been at the forefront of the development team's thoughts since the beginning. In an interview with MMORPG, he revealed that AoC's combat system has gone through nine iterations throughout Funcom's quest to make it appealing to console users. He admitted that the team still faces "a maze of challenges." At the same time, he assured PC users that the game will not be simplified or held back to make things easier for 360 players. A fine balance, that.

Choosing between the two platforms is probably easy, but many potential players only have one or the other. Funcom will have to keep them all happy if this is going to work. That won't be an easy task.

This article was originally published on Massively.