Conan Exiles will celebrate the 37th anniversary of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s breakout role in Conan the Barbarian with The Riddle of Steel, a new premium expansion for the game coming this week. Funcom’s survival adventure, which turns 1 year old this week, will also get a free update for all players, and a free-play weekend on PC for those who haven’t tried it out.
First the free stuff: The update will deliver two new dungeons, remake several locations, add some new NPCs and a new feature allowing players to summon undead minions. The free weekend will run on Steam until Sunday, May 12, so that newcomers may crush their enemies, see them driven before them and hear the lamentations of the women.
Separately, the forthcoming Riddle of Steel DLC ($6.99) will add several unique statues and figurines of Schwarzenegger as Conan, plus decorative items such as helmets and warpaint familiar to the movie. That DLC is not included in the year 2 season pass, Funcom said, which is why everyone is getting the extra dungeons in the free update.
The DLC will also pay tribute to the first movie’s evil snake wizard, Thulsa Doom, played by James Earl Jones. In the film, Doom and Conan presented both sides of the Riddle of Steel. Conan’s father (Mr. Barbarian) said steel was more trustworthy than any living thing; Thulsa Doom, the evil snake wizard, proved that flesh was stronger by coaxing a hippie to leap off a cliff.
The solution to the riddle is actually that one’s beliefs combine the power of steel and flesh to conquer all.
Funcom chief executive Rui Casais noted that Conan Exiles is based upon the canon created by Robert E. Howard in the 1930s, and the subsequent comic books and pulp magazines based on that. But “many of the Conan fans today would probably have never heard of Howard’s work if it weren’t for Schwarzenegger’s breakthrough role as Conan the Barbarian.”
Conan the Barbarian premiered May 14, 1982 and was the first major role in Schwarzenegger’s long career as an action-movie leading man. Its box office record for highest gross by a film starring at least one future governor was later eclipsed by 1987’s Predator which starred two (Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura; Sonny Landham also unsuccessfully ran for governor of Kentucky in 2003.)
Conan Exiles, a survival action-adventure title that launched in May 2018 for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. has pumped out five premium updates since its debut. Conan Exiles was free on PlayStation Plus for April, if you remembered to pick it up then.
Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously conflated several details of the free update and the premium DLC. It has been revised throughout.