Guild Wars 2 Interview: Reinventing Tyria

Can't get enough info on Guild Wars 2? Interested to learn more about the Sylvari, Norn, Asura, and Charr? Read this interview to find out all sorts of little details about your favorite race!

ZAM: What kind of difficulties did you experience with writing out the lore of a newly created race – the Sylvari – compared to these other races that had existed prior to the events leading up to Guild Wars 2? You’ve definitely come up with some unique concepts for them, especially since they’ve only been around for a grand total of 25 years, compared to the “hundreds and hundreds” typically seen in fantasy.

Soesbee: They’re certainly not elves. As much as people think that they look like elves, they’re not elves. They don’t have that veneer of ancient history or that old weariness to them. The Sylvari have a very fresh look to the world; everything is very vibrant and interesting. They want to know how things work 

You know what Kryta looks like – you’ve been there a hundred times. But when you go with a Sylvari, he’s fascinated. It’s a whole new experience for them.

ZAM: From a world building perspective, what kind of efforts did you take in changing the world? Two hundred years have gone by in your world… what kind of “sacred cows” did you feel like you needed to sacrifice on the bloody alter known as “gaming fun?”

Soesbee: It wasn’t quite like that. We didn’t sit down and parcel out the game into what worked and what didn’t. We parceled out the game into what was a good story in the game. We looked at it with our minds focused on the areas that people loved; we didn’t want to destroy those. We wanted to find out why people loved them and bring those characteristics out more in the game.

We wanted a game where players could be a hero, so we wanted a world where a player could do that. When we look at Tyria as a whole, through all the expansions that we’ve released, it’s so rich. So full of content.

There was so much that we wrote right at the beginning of Prophecies… there was a background story centered around King Adelbern and how he claimed the throne and his son (Prince Rurik) and Althea and the wedding they were supposed to have.  There’s this gigantic amount of lore that we wanted to show and didn’t have a chance to show.

So now we’re going back and taking a look at things and really exploring how a lot of these situations and pieces of lore that we concocted would have played out over the span between Guild Wars 1 and 2.  We’re not going to come up with things out of the blue or slaughter pieces of the story just because we didn’t like it. We want to find a way to make it make sense.

Bobby Stein: With the bonus mission pack, for example, these were characters that we introduced that we weren’t able to get into all the rich detail with them. To be able to put in a few missions that told the stories of these individuals at that point in time gave us a degree of flexibility, because we could explore the entire story and gave players another building block – another piece – that built upon the Guild Wars story.

Since we’ve had so much time to invest in building Guild Wars 2, we can start to explore where some of these other stories will fit in the overall scheme of the story. Is this a part of history? Or is it something that’s happening right now?

Soesbee: The live team is continuing to do work on Guild Wars 1 content, and we’re constantly talking to each other about where certain elements of the Guild Wars story are going. We definitely try to have a back-and-forth to make sure every element of the story and game make sense.


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