Since the February layoffs that reduced ArenaNet’s headcount by about 1/3, the company’s been mostly silent regarding its internal goings-on and the general morale in the studio. Today, Eurogamer published an interview with two employees who survived the purge, getting their takes on how things have gone over the past month-plus and what it means for the future of both ArenaNet and Guild Wars 2.
Along with the expected tales of losing friends and co-workers, lead Living World designer Linsey Murdock said that the team “had to make some adjustments.” That’s understandable from a general manpower perspective, but Murdock also said that the content of GW2 could also shift, due in part to a reassessment of how the game has been updated in recent years:
“This is an opportunity for us to assess whether we’re just doing this because we always have – or because this has been the pattern for the past two seasons – or shall we refresh things a bit and do something a bit different? Our fans have been asking for that – for us to do things a little bit differently and not be formulaic, so we took this as an opportunity to do that, to assess and make the right decisions for the game.”
Personally, I grew a little tired of what appeared to be stale and repetitive — though punctual — content in GW2 the past couple of years, so it’s refreshing to hear Murdock admit that things have been “formulaic” and that a change in that formula could be forthcoming.
Murdock and an unnamed PR rep stated that, while there have been some changes in the GW2 dev team, several who were working on other projects have returned to the MMORPG. While those projects are currently “shelved,” according to Murdock, the PR rep stated that “we’re always working on some other stuff.”
Senior Game Designer Andrew Gray also insisted that crunch wasn’t, and never has been, an issue at ArenaNet, even with the reduced staff. “Never even like, ‘OK we’re not saying you have to, but you see everybody who doesn’t, gets in trouble’ — none of that.” Murdock added, “Nobody’s ever asked me to work overtime.”
Overall, Murdock said that the game is “still bringing in great revenue” and “not going anywhere,” which might put anxious players at ease. Or it might not, because developers will always say that, even if their game is tanking. That said, the financials from NCSoft have, in recent quarters, painted it as doing OK, so I don’t think it’ll be going anywhere any time soon.