Shortly before the brimstone birth of PCGamesN*, NCsoft went and told all their investors that a console version of Guild Wars 2 was “in the preparation stage”. Woops.
Now ArenaNet can confirm that it very much isn’t. The reason? A familiar, potent brew of update restrictions and stifled iteration that simply isn’t compatible with the developer’s ambitions for their living world.
“Development for console was something that we did experiment with and try and see [if it would work],” lead content designer Mike Zadorojny told Eurogamer last week.
“But we were always committed to making sure that we were PC platform first. And especially as we move towards this living world strategy where we’re trying to release content as fast as we are – trying to do that on a console is extremely difficult.”
In a sphere where no update can be introduced to a game without the say so of the platform holder, ArenaNet’s strict schedule of timed events would quickly go to pot. Guild Wars’ PC version would be a living world, but its sister console ports would be banished to the sad stasis already occupied by Team Fortress 2 on Xbox.
Of course, there are recent exceptions: CCP somehow managed to persuade PlayStation to bypass its usual approval process for the benefit of Dust 514 players. And Zadorojny is “curious to see” how The Elder Scrolls Online will handle its multiplatform existence.
“The outstanding question is how fast can they iterate and develop new releases and content patches after the launch, because that is going to be the big challenge,” he mused.
“For us, we just develop so fast for the PC that it’s very easy for us to have these new ideas and bring them out and put them live in such a short, rapid development cycle. It’s easier for us to do it on PC than on Xbox One or PS4.
He added: “The other side of it is that since we don’t have a monthly subscription that’s a barrier to entry as well.” With Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus, every MMO requires a sub.
“I don’t think we would ever say no,” concluded Zadorojny on the possibility of a port in a star-aligned future, “but it’s not something that we’re actively pursuing – we are dedicated still to the PC experience and making sure that everything we’re doing has a viable strategy.”
Well, that’s good for us I suppose. Just a shame we can’t persuade our box-bound chums into a new life in Tyria, eh?