Imagine waking up nailed to a cross in the middle of the desert with nothing but your gnawing hunger, unyielding thirst and desperate desire for survival. That’s the premise of Conan Exiles, a hardcore survival game released on Steam Early Access earlier this week. Unlike most other survival games on the market, Conan Exiles also features customizable and totally unabashed nudity.

Bare flesh is far fom a brave new concept in video games. Rust, a similar survival game, features some nudity; BMX XXX is a PS2 bicycle game with topless women on bikes; the original Metroid on NES showed Samus in her bikini; and the abysmal Custer’s Revenge, an off-brand Atari 2600 game for adults, was openly about raping Native American women on-screen (no wonder Kotaku called it “Probably the Worst Game Ever Made”). As technology continues to advance and the desire for realistic gaming experiences increases, something like this was bound to happen. I’m just not sure the world is ready quite yet.

What’s surprising in Conan Exiles is just how far the nakedness goes. If you choose to enable full nudity on your server (or join an existing server with the options fully enabled), you can not only gaze upon the minutely rendered 3D breasts of female barbarians; you can also behold the glory of embarrassingly tiny or admirably long endowments on the guys. And you can design it all to your exact specs. The objectification of fictional avatars is, at least, equal this time around.

The nudity can be distracting, but it fits the setting and tone of the game. Conan Exiles isn’t a game for kids, nor is it one you should play as a relaxing jaunt through the sand. This is a gritty survival simulation-style game in which you play a barbarian who’s been exiled from civilization, strapped to a crucifix and left for dead in the desert wastelands. Without so much as a pair of pants to cover yourself, you begin the game with a completely blank slate. Find sticks and stones to make a hatchet, gather some plant fibers to stitch together a bedroll for saving your progress and seek out supplies to build shelter. The first few times you die, you’ll lose all of your materials. It’s unforgiving, but oh so rewarding when you find success.

In addition to fighting off other people and creatures, you have to fight off hunger and thirst. Run too much and you’ll be out of stamina and unable to adequately defend yourself against attackers. Use your hatchet too frequently and it might break, rendering it useless until repaired.

Before long, you can find the cloth needed to create a pair of pants and shirt to cover up your vulnerable genitals—but that isn’t going to save you from the harsh realities of life in the wasteland. Conan Exiles is unforgiving, and if you’re playing on a multiplayer server, be prepared to trust no one and watch your (probably bare) back.

When you’re not busy scrounging through the dirt and bushes for supplies to create a campfire to cook meat or crafting weapons to defend yourself, you can look down at your flaccid dong bouncing around between your legs. Stand still and you can even watch your scrotum lightly swaying in the wind’s caressing breeze. In a weird way, it’s almost beautiful.


David Jagneaux is the Games Editor at UploadVR and is a freelance writer who has an unhealthy obsession with buying games during Steam sales that he never actually plays. You can read more of his work in other outlets like IGN, Polygon, Gamecrate, and Motherboard. It’s dangerous to go alone, so follow him on Twitter: @David_Jagneaux.