Yesterday, a number of news sources reported that players of Funcom's Age of Conan would soon be able to import their faces onto characters in the game using Big Stage Entertainment's technology that "maps the contours of the face from a few digital photos", creating 'realistic, animated 3-D model[s] called an @ctor[s]". Unfortunately, it looks like there may have been some confusion surrounding the press release from Big Stage as we are told that face importation into Age of Conan is not on the way.
"While Big Stage may be planning to implement the technology in games soon, it is not currently slated for implementation into Age of Conan", said a Funcom spokesperson when asked for a comment on the stories.
Here's how the confusion started:
Big Stage has teamed up with Funcom to do a promotional event that encourages players to create Age of Conan images or videos using the available software. The 17 people who share their images the most times will win Age of Conan prizes including subscriptions and in-game items. You can read more on the contest here.
The problem seems to have sprung from some confusing if not completely misleading wording in the Big Stage Entetainment press release announcing the event.
In the first paragraph, the company says that they "have teamed up to offer gamers the ability to put their faces into exclusive content from the Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures video game by Funcom."
A quote from the company's CEO contributes to the confusion:
"We're excited to offer fans of the popular Age of Conan game the ability to literally see themselves as part of the fantasy action," said Phil Ressler, Big Stage Entertainment CEO. "GGL Global Gaming clearly understands the future of immersing gamers into the entertainment they are most passionate about and letting them share the experience across their online life, from MySpace and Facebook to YouTube. Big Stage Entertainment looks forward to continuing to lead video game innovation by taking our personalization technology in-game soon."
While the beginning of the quote references Age of Conan directly, and the end of the quote promises that they hope to take the technology in-game soon, Funcom assures us that there are no plans to integrate the technology in their game.
A quote from Funcom VP of Sales and Marketing Morten Larssen at the end of the press release makes the relationship clearer saying that:
"We expect that not only will the current fans of Age of Conan love to put themselves into content featuring the game's characters, but that fans of the Conan character and Robert E. Howard's universe will do the same."
So, to recap: While Funcom is participating in an interesting competition with Big Stage Entertainment, there has been no agreement that would see players able to import their own faces into the M rated game, as much as we all might have enjoyed it.