Here’s ArenaNet’s Aaron Linde to make the case:
“[I]f you look at something like Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones has a hugely expansive political backdrop. […] It’s a really complicated story, right? But at all times it’s anchored by the characters and their motivations and what they want. When in doubt, we bank on characters. When in doubt, we make sure that the kind of story we’re telling is anchored in really good, character-driven storytelling. […] The lore is hugely expansive, and it’s intimidating. When I came on board at ArenaNet, I was just like, ‘Oh my God, there’s so much.’ But then I realized the lore isn’t central to the storytelling. It’s the scaffolding that enables the storytelling. It’s the material with which we build character stories. It’s supplementary, but it’s not the focus. And that is part of what makes it so accessible. When you dive in, you’re diving into a character-based story. It’s okay if you don’t know what something is or where a location is. It’s fine. You’re going to find a story you can relate to and characters you can relate to.”
“If you didn’t play Guild Wars 1, you can look at the characters,” narrative designer Alex Kain adds. “If you’re intimately familiar with all the details of who the gods are in Guild Wars, there’s stuff for you too, there. Maybe there are characters in the open world who are talking about something that you’re really only able to get the deeper meaning of if you’re familiar with the lore. But if you’re not, it’s still a good conversation and it still builds on the characters and builds on the situation. That’s always the line we’re trying to walk when we’re building out the world.”
There’s quite a bit more to the piece exploring ArenaNet’s process, from how the game’s storytelling is akin to writing for TV to how the studio worked mounts into the game without disrupting its design process. GIbiz’s piece confirms that the game’s pulled in 11 million players over its lifetime, too.
A Star To Guide Us, the fourth episode of the game’s fourth season of living world storytelling, is due to hit tomorrow. Stay tuned for more coverage from MOP tomorrowday!
— Guild Wars 2 (@GuildWars2) September 17, 2018