Conan Exiles developer Funcom announced today that they now own all interactive rights to the worlds of Robert E Howard, which includes the likes of Conan the Barbarian, Solomon Kane, Kult and Mutant Chronicles. They've set up a new venture called 'Heroic Signatures' to manage the IP rights, which includes licensing them to other developers. Details below.
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Funcom have set up Heroic Signatures with Cabinet Group LLC (who own the overall rights) to manage the interactive rights to "the writings of Robert E Howard and the Swedish original pen & paper and board games". Funcom will obviously continue with Conan Exiles, which is set to come out of Early Access in May, but they are looking to license the various Howard properties to other games developers. Funcom CEO Rui Casais had this to say:
"Heroic Signatures is now the guardian and caretaker of a veritable treasure chest of incredible worlds, each of them ready to be brought into the interactive space. Any developer or publisher will be able to license these properties, and our ambition is to see a multitude of games grow from these worlds and to see the properties strengthened across the board to the benefit of everyone who works with them."
They already have one game from a third-party developer lined up, which Funcom will publish and will be announced in 2018. It will presumably be based on Conan The Barbarian, the most popular of Howard's creations, but Solomon Kane (which got a great movie semi-recently) is essentially Bloodborne, so that would obviously make a cool videogame.
Notably this deal will not include the interactive rights to Red Sonja, the popular metal bikini-clad warrior woman who's had a new movie on the cards since 2009, as despite being set in the Conan universe Red Sonja is a comic book creation and not owned by Cabinet.