ArenaNet's global brand director Chris Lye remains tight-lipped about the future of Guild Wars 2 on console, but opens up about the state of free-to-play in the industry, and the studio's plan to keep Guild Wars running after the sequel hits stores.
Q: Community Manager Regina Buenaobra has stated there is a small team currently exploring the possibilities of a GW2 console port. Could you describe how that is going?
Chris Lye: Currently we are focussed on making GW2 the best PC MMO ever released.
Q: Even amongst PC gamers MMOs can have a slightly off-coloured reputation. Can MMOs appeal to traditional hardcore gamers?
CL: We certainly believe so – for us it's not simply about delivering a great MMO, we want Guild Wars 2 to be a great game – period! We think that Guild Wars 2's lack of a subscription fee and its accessible and more action-oriented combat will appeal to a lot of PC games who would not otherwise consider playing an MMO.
Q: What are your feelings on WoW's new First-20-Levels-Free scheme? Will the free-to-play trend result in all MMOs having a free element in the future?
CL: Guild Wars has always been a champion of free online play and we think you'll definitely see more experiments in free elements in the MMO space.
Q: Are modern MMO players less willing to pay for things compared to in the past?
CL: No I don't think that's entirely accurate. I think that this is reflective of web culture in general – MMO players are savvy and want a chance to try something for free before they're ready to start putting a lot of money into it. However, once they're convinced that you're delivering a valuable product, they are more than willing to open their wallets.