I saw Guild Wars 2 at PAX East this year and it continues to look incredible, both visually and mechanically. Unfortunately I was not able to make it to ArenaNet’s panel on designing next gen fantasy MMOs because the auditorium filled up way before I got there. Thankfully, ANet has posted video of the panel for those of you who are in the same position. Good stuff, as always. Check it out here.
ArenaNet is one of those companies that never ceases to amaze me. They behave like an indie studio, in that they have almost complete creative control over their IP, hold innovation as central to design, and honestly don’t seem to mind freely sharing information about their games. However, they also have a fairly huge force of developers and no scheduling constraints to speak of. I embarrassed myself a bit when talking with one of Guild Wars 2’s developers by referring to them as a “smaller studio.” He basically responded by saying “dude, we have almost 200 people working on this game alone,” which completely took me aback. I would love to see more developers go this route, but as we know it is more financially dangerous than ever to take risks and innovate when developing games of this scale. Hopefully if Guild Wars 2 does well, it will send the message that innovation is marketable.