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Funcom | Play Now
MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 05/20/08)  | Pub:Eidos Interactive
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Age of Conan: Developer Profile - Elliott Kingdon

Each month, MMORPG.com brings you a profile of one of the developers working on Funcom's Age of Conan. This month, it's Loremaster Elliott Kingdon who answers our questions.

MMORPG.com:

Tell us a little about your childhood. How did school and where you live influence your choice to join the video game community?

Elliott Kingdon:

Fantasy gaming has been part of my life since I was twelve years old. A book called Warlock of Firetop Mountain came out and soon after I discovered Basic Dungeons & Dragons. I've been playing D&D ever since. At school I organized a lunchtime gaming club where we played the Dune boardgame, Judge Dredd boardgame and Nuclear War cardgame incessantly.

I got into PC's because I wanted to play X-Wing and went on to a degree in Information Systems but I spent a lot of my time at university playing Command and Conquer, King of Dragon Pass and Alpha Centauri, as well as Call of Cthulu and good old D&D.

I'm from the UK but was already resident here in Norway when I got the job at Funcom. It's the only job I ever saw with 'dungeon master' in the candidate requirements. I moved across the country to work here and it's been well worth it.

 

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MMORPG.com:

Besides games what other influences brought you into your career? Whether it is books, movies, or artwork everyone has different tastes, tell us about yours.

Elliott Kingdon:

It's great working in an environment where a taste in cult movies, sci-fi films, classic comic books and passion for gaming is an asset. Being able to riff ideas off incarnations of the Avengers, a Star Wars scene or show a Frank Frazetta image to embellish an idea is awesome.

MMORPG.com:

Can you remember your first video game? How often did you play, what other games had an influence on you?

Elliott Kingdon:

After Pong came a ZX Spectrum. Horace goes Skiing was one of the first, Jetpac was one of the first greats followed by the Way of the Exploding Fist and Elite. I've always played far too many computer games from consoles like Playstation to arcade games like Street Fighter 2 or my personal favorite Marvel Super Heroes. I'm a strategy fan on the PC with the occasional space fighter sim (ever since The Last Starfighter movie), RPG or FPS. I'm a sucker for Star Wars games.

I've always played pen and paper RPG's, they're a great way to meet people and I currently run a D&D campaign here at Funcom.

MMORPG.com:
What is your job at Funcom? How did you get your foot in the door?
Elliott Kingdon:

I'm a loremaster here on Conan. I look after continuity on the game and act as a resource for designers. I started off as a quest designer and because of my English skills I'm currently working on the character class descriptions, writing about how they exist in Hyborian society

MMORPG.com:
Take us through a typical day of work on Funcom while working on Age of Conan, what is it like when you show up at the office?
Elliott Kingdon:

Empty. I'm an early starter and have the aid of a baby son who loves waking up at 5am. I get a lot of work done in those few hours of quiet. My work involves a lot of writing plus reading and researching huge amounts of Conan material from pastiche novels and classic black and white comics to the modern Dark Horse graphic novels.

MMORPG.com:

Are there any friends or family who had a major impact on your career or chasing dreams that you’d like to talk about, do they play games?

Elliott Kingdon:

At my first evaluation here at Funcom I was told they were pleased with my progress but felt I needed to play more computer games, particularly MMO's. I finally had a legitimate reason for my girlfriend to let me play more video games; it was actually good for my career.

MMORPG.com:
The video game industry continues to grow very quickly. What are your hopes for games in the future?T
Elliott Kingdon:

Innovation continues and exciting new genres are created. I want Age of Conan to become one of those well-respected long term persistent games like Anarchy Online or EvE. Playing in a game that has developed along with the players is very satisfying; it makes me as a player feel part of the creative process because often the greatest epic events are community made.

MMORPG.com:
How have things been progressing with Age of Conan? Have you enjoyed working on such a strong IP as Conan?
Elliott Kingdon:

It's been great to see it develop and really fun to watch people play. I've sat in on design reviews and just been blown away by some of the sweeping epic landscapes, half buried ruins or tropical jungle. You can almost feel the cold as the north wind blows snow particles down a ravine or feel the humidity of the cannibal infested rainforest.

The IP is great for any adventure fans. Robert E Howard was an exciting, dynamic writer and the Conan character has a life of his own.

MMORPG.com:

Is there anything you would like to write to the readers of MMORPG.com that we have not spoken about?

Elliott Kingdon:

I hope you'll savor the experience of exploring the world of Conan because it's a rich and awe inspiring place. I've been playing the game for a long time and I'm still regularly blown away by the spectacle and majesty of this MMO Hyboria. Throw danger, action and sorcery in too and it's a heady mix of high adventure.

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