Massively multiplayer online developer Funcom has announced that it is to offer a free-to-play option for Age of Conan, in parallel to a traditional subscription package.

The new option will be introduced this summer, as the game attempts to take advantage of the forthcoming new Hollywood movie and undergoes a name change to Age of Conan: Unrated.

"The time is right for Age of Conan now as we recognised the opportunity presented by the increased profile of the license, with the new Conan movie coming out this fall," said executive producer Craig Morrison in an interview with sister site Eurogamer.

The "freemium" option will work similarly to most Asian online models, with basic play being free but users having to pay for extra items and expansions.

"This is done by allowing free players [access] to most of the original content, and having the expanded content as premium content," said Morrison. "So free players will have access to all the original levelling quests and outdoor playfields that take them all the way to level 80."

Although the game will introduce content specifically related to the movie there is no expansion directly related to it.

In a separate interview Morrison explained that, "We wanted to do something for the movie. But we also knew that we couldn't do all the improvements that we wanted alongside a fully-fledged expansion pack on the side."

"We'd have to shut down everything else and only focus on that. And we really didn't want to do that," he said. "We wanted to provide content to tie into the movie and be able to do the constant updates and the tweaks and the fixes the players want."