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The first prepper video game?

Conan Exiles

(NaturalNews) If recent trends in video games are any guide, then more and more people are interested in exploring the idea of what they would do if the infrastructure of civilization were no longer there to support them. "Open-world survival" games – in which players are free to explore the entire game world, and the goal of the game is essentially just to survive in a hostile environment – have begun flooding the video game market in recent years.

Where these games vary is in the nature of the challenges presented, and in the nature of the world your character must survive in. By presenting a hostile environment filled with both human and environmental hazards, the forthcoming Conan Exiles by game developer Funcom, comes close enough to nightmare visions of our own future, that it might honestly be called a "prepper" themed video game.

"There is no better setting for an open-world survival game than the world of Conan [the Barbarian]," said Joel Bylos, Funcom's creative director. "Hyboria is a harsh and unforgiving land where only the strongest can survive while the weak are swiftly cut down. Whether it is hunting animals for food, fighting monsters and other players, or building entire settlements, we want to make sure players feel like they are really fighting to survive and prosper in the most brutal fantasy world ever."

The lure of 'surviving' as a goal

One of the first games that could honestly be called an open-world survival game, was probably the highly popular Minecraft, which features a play option called "survival mode." In survival mode, the player must gather natural resources from their environment to craft certain items, while surviving hazards like monster attacks, starvation or falls. They can also craft items such as armor or weapons to reduce their risk of dying from hazards, or craft tools (such as shovels or axes) that increase their ability to do tasks like cutting down trees or digging for ore. Players can also trade for other goods.

The popularity of Minecraft sparked an explosion in open-world survival games. In fact, 2014 saw the beginning of a shift away from "first-person shooter" games, toward games that allow exploration of an open world. And even as players have demanded larger worlds to play in geographically, they have also demanded larger worlds in terms of population, with massive multiplayer online games proving the most popular.

Many so-called survival games have suffered from a lack of sufficient things to do, however, and have simply degenerated back into shooter games. Some games, such as The Division, have responded to this problem by giving players tasks that must be solved, often in cooperation with other players.

Survival ... plus monsters

Although analysts are already debating whether the open-world survival game has delivered all it's going to, the genre seems to be going strong. Into this field comes Conan Exiles, a new game by the developer of the popular Age of Conan. Like many recent open-world survival games, Conan Exiles is a massively multiplayer online game. The game is "first and foremost a multiplayer game that can be enjoyed on both private and public servers," the developers said, though it will also have a single-player option.

In the game's prepper-like premise, the player assumes the role of an exile in the world of Hyboria. Exiles must gather resources to build weapons, tools and shelter to survive, along with growing crops and hunting for food. Players will be able to work cooperatively to build settlements and fight off threats.

Conan Exiles is expected on PC over the summer. It will also be released on consoles, although the types of consoles and the dates of this release have not yet been announced.

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