Guild Wars 2 has been in development for the past few years and anticipation is very high now at the game’s official launch. The developer was very certain to not lock in a release date until they were very sure they could release a quality product on that date, and ArenaNet continuity designer Jeff Grubb says that’s why there wasn’t a specific date before they announced August 2012.
“We’d rather get it correct, and we received a lot of support from NCsoft, our parent company, who said, ‘When it’s ready’. We would go to conventions and people keep saying, ‘When’s it out ‘ And we would say, ‘When it’s done’. So many MMOs – and games in general, but MMOs in particular – have come out half-baked, they aren’t quite there yet, and the way the market is now you really don’t have the opportunity to grow,” said Grubb. “It’s not like seven years ago where you could come out, and if you stumble out of the gate and then make it grow and develop and say, ‘Oh, people like this content’ and slowly build your audience this way. Right now there’s a huge flow of people who come in the first month and you really want to have the table out and the buffet ready and everything prepared for them so they can enjoy it right now.”
“I think the market is a little bit more unforgiving, so that’s one reason. One of the reasons why it has taken us so long is because when we released ‘Eye of the North’ give years ago we said ‘we’re going dark for a couple of years’ and we’re going to start developing the new game, and this is also unheard of,” added Grubb. “You don’t usually say, ‘Hey guys, we’re not going to say anything for a while’. We did a lot of groundwork, a lot of preparation but we’re also an iterative company, we basically go back, we don’t leave well enough alone. We say that’s good, how can we make it better We have a new mechanic here, how does it change everything we’ve done previously
“The phrase I use is that we’re creatively fearless. We’re unafraid to go and rip up a few floorboards to make sure it’s a better game. I think we do have a better game but we also have been working very hard on this. To be honest, all of us back at the office are ready to be done!” he said.
The launch has Grubb and the rest of ArenaNet chomping at the bit. “It’s exciting right now. Everyone at the office is tucking bits in and doing final play tests and making sure that all the cinematics fire, and a million and one different things that have to be ready before we throw the doors open. I’m sure most of us would simultaneously like it to be done, but then we say, ‘Yeah, we need two more weeks to do three more things that are really cool’. It’s been a really good team; a very strong team, we’ve been together most of the whole time and I think it’s going to be a really good game.”
When asked about the beta weekends and how that’s helped the company, Grubb said, “It’s prepared us on the one hand from the idea of how our story and our dynamic events stand up to a huge number of people. We’ve played with QA, we’ve played with friends and family, but these are fairly small numbers compared to inviting everybody who has bought the pre-release copy into the game all at once and saying, ‘Here, go run some humans and tell us what you think’.”
“There have been changes as a result of the beta weekends; we learn how the story is flowing with a massive number of people, and how do we break that up How do we keep that as an enjoyable experience How do we build the scaling so it still challenges people and isn’t just a huge hoard of people just running from one zone to another ” He noted.