Last night’s devastating news that NCsoft was forcing Guild Wars 2 developer ArenaNet to make major layoffs definitely shook me, even more than the Blizzard layoffs, which at least seemed tuned to redirecting staff into content for games. Everything I’ve heard suggests to me that ArenaNet got Paragonned – that Guild Wars 2 was doing fine for itself but wasn’t able to carry the financial weight of so many unannounced projects, hence the axe.
Of course, Guild Wars 2, unlike City of Heroes, is at least escaping with its head.
I saw a lot of folks last night bemoaning the death of MMOs or the bubble bursting for video games, but how many times have we heard that over the last decade? At least every month? Addressing the AAA bubble and race to the bottom was one of the first things I did when we re-founded this site four years ago, and it’s on my mind always because obviously without online games Massively OP doesn’t exist.
But games like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2 are still here, still counting solid playerbases, and still getting updates, even if they’re not as fast as we’d like. Maybe I’m just being optimistic here, but Guild Wars 2 isn’t going away, and I’m curious to see where it will go next under a leaner studio that maybe isn’t so burdened with side projects that fizzle out before recouping costs. I’m heartbroken for those bearing the brunt of what I suspect will eventually be proven to be studio mismanagement, but I’m also looking forward to support those will will continue on with the game in the future too. And while I definitely think we’re due for an industry shift, I thought that years ago too when EverQuest Next went under, and I don’t think it’s necessarily mobile doom all the way down.
How worried are you about Guild Wars 2? What about the rest of the industry?