GW 2 The Franchise

In an as yet unpublished interview with IGN, Guild Wars 2 director Colin Johanson offered grim (if diplomatic) news for those hoping that the game might see an expansion pack in the near future. “Expansions are definitely something that we’ll potentially look at in the future,” Johanson states. “We don’t have a timetable on it. We’re open to it, but I think our major focus as a studio is making the living world concept as strong as possibly can for the players that we’ve got.”
Everything you know about MMOs is wrong: how Guild Wars 2 subverts expectations
“We want to be able to have teams that are literally developing new, innovative features that change the way that you play our game and grow that experience so it literally feels like you don’t leave Guild Wars 2; Guild Wars 2 becomes Guild Wars 2.5 or Guild Wars 3 and it continues to grow,” Johanson claims.

The overall message of Johanson’s words (outside of his annoyingly constant misuse of “literally”) largely depends on how cynical you are with regards to the massively multiplayer online gaming genre, but there are undeniable facts here. First, as we stated above, no expansions are currently planned or in development for Guild Wars 2. This stands in stark contrast to the first Guild Wars which saw three expansions prior to the release of its sequel.

Secondly, as Johanson states, ArenaNet has no real plans to make a Guild Wars 3. Instead, it will continue to add content and features to Guild Wars 2. How long that might last is anyone’s guess, but we have to assume it isn’t the firm’s indefinite plan. What happens when the game’s engine is so dated that players turn up their nose in disgust at the title? That only takes three or four years in our modern era (especially given the semi-realistic art style of the Guild Wars franchise), and what then? ArenaNet could go the EVE Online route and release aesthetic upgrades for the game, but those are generally huge additions found within expansions for the game, which Johanson already stated were not being planned.

Does this mean Guild Wars 2 is dying? Not necessarily, but it doesn’t bode well for the game’s future either. Then again, maybe we’re just wildly cynical. The free-to-play business model seen in Guild Wars 2 has enabled far too many objectively terrible games to hit the market and at some point it simply must become oversaturated. We’ve got a soft spot for the Guild Wars franchise and would hate to see it became a victim of the economic realities it helped usher in.

When the Guild Wars franchise made its debut with 2005’s aptly titled Guild Wars, it was hailed as a World of Warcraft killer. Fast forward to the present day and Blizzard’s MMO is still king of the heap, while the latest Guild Wars title seems to be stagnating at the very least.