Official Release Day

Today was the official release day for Guild Wars 2. Wow. It doesn't seem real. After working on this project for almost three years, it is so weird to think that it's DONE. People are playing it.

And apparently liking it.

The response has been generally positive, but some people have leveled harsh criticism at the game—some of it legitimate. It's difficult to read criticism and not be able to explain what really happened. For example, when I hear people say that Guild Wars 2's story is "lame" or "terrible," I want to say,"Yeah, some parts aren't successful. Some storylines we had a lot of time to work on; some storylines had to be rewritten and handed off with just a cursory review. Some parts of the story were given the green light without writer approval." There's so much that happens with game creation that players don't see or know about.

Overall, I think the story is successful—ALL the stories: the story of the player, the story of Destiny's Edge, and the chaotic, changing story of the world. The writing team had more input in some areas than in others, and I'm not saying there aren't things I would change if I could. But I'm proud of all the work we did. GW2 has enough voiced text to make 90 full-length feature films. And even more unvoiced text. Maintaining high standards across such huge tracts of text is harder than you know. I think we did okay.


Telling the Story

Great article from IGN that discusses how complex our storytelling system is in Guild Wars 2.

" ArenaNet uses a personal story system threaded throughout each zone, which takes you to instanced areas and uses voiced dialogue sequences to tell the most important parts of the story, more in the style of a single-player game. These stories won’t be the same for everyone, but tailored to the decisions made through character creation as well as decisions made at crucial moments throughout leveling and questing."


Occasionally, a bit of content gets added at the last minute and somehow slips by the writing team without an editing pass. That happened recently, much to the glee of our fans.

As embarrassing as the charrtender is, I'm kind of glad we missed it. It shows how rough the text is that we start with. Sometimes we start with only the barest bones: "[INSERT LORE ABOUT THE REGION HERE.]" Then we have to research what's happening in that part of the game world, who's there, what points of interest there are, and then dream up a history for it. I love telling stories about the people and places of Tyria. It's the best part of my job.