Funcom’s Joel Bylos steps down as creative director for Conan Exiles


There’s been a changing of the guard over in Conan Exiles world: Joel Bylos has left the creative director’s chair of the survival sandbox MMO, which is now being taken up by Alexander “Alex” Shumeyiko, the game’s former senior designer.

According to the stream recap, Alex’s promotion was mentioned before, but this recent stream is the first where he has been formally introduced as lead director. When asked about his feelings on the stream, he admitted that he’s nervous about taking the job even though he’s held the position a couple of times before. As for where Joel Bylos is, he’s still reportedly “hiding and busy with other stuff at Funcom.” Or, as Bylos’s own Twitter profile puts it, his current project is everything. MMO players will recall that Funcom has a number of new online games cooking, including a Dune title, which may be what Bylos is up to. Prior to his work on Conan, of course, Bylos was well known for his role on the Secret World franchise.

The rest of the livestream focused on a couple of new weapon types arriving to Conan Exiles with the Blood and Sands DLC as well as several updates to weapons, a new PvP flagging system, and new weapon oils and kits. Be sure to check the source link below for the synopsis or watch the stream in full in the embed.


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The “PvP flagging” feature is more interesting than the label on the tin would lead one to believe.

It’s for PvE servers, and lets you set up a PvP zone on the server using “battle standards” to specify the combat area. Think arenas. They’re opt-in, and can only be put where you already “own” the land.

Being able to have a combat arena on a PvE server seems like it would be something folks would want to do, and that you can customize the area with the placement of the battle standards should lead to some fun builds.

As for Joel stepping down as Lead Designer, that doesn’t so much cause me to think it’s “the end times”, as that the game is largely designed now – what they need going forward is someone more focused on making the game as it is better, not a wholesale rework.

It’s a very different skillset than the one needed to bring a game from “Hey, wouldn’t XYZ be a cool game in the Conan universe (or Dune)?” to something that can actually be written and played. If that’s where Joel’s passions and skills lie, makes all the sense in the world for him to be on to something new.

John Mynard

Meanwhile, the only original(ish) idea to come to MMOs ever, The Secret World languishes in the same hell they left it in before only arguably in worse condition. That’s the tragedy of Funcom.


That originality is the double-edge of Secret World unfortunately. Some people love the horror/conspiracy angle, but a lot of people just want their elves and dragons


Aight. I guess Funcom is finally getting bored with Conan Exiles and is about to drop it like a hot potato to work on the “next big thing”. I don’t want to sound too negative but that’s the impression Funcom left me with.

Hikari Kenzaki

Yeah, that’s been coming. Joel is known for putting that Fan Energy into projects so he’s probably diving deep into Dune like he did Conan.