The last couple of years have been kind of rough for ArenaNet, makers of the Guild Wars series of MMOs. ArenaNet president and co-founder Mike O’Brien left the firm in October of 2019 to “make small games again”. The company has been slowly struggling to keep things moving forward through 2018 and beyond.
Stiffer competition in the MMO scene has led to the company even laying off a large number of staff. Those layoffs happened in February of last year, and it appears as though things are still pretty tight. With all of the changes at ArenaNet over the last couple of years, things look uncertain. Parent company NCSoft said that the “restructuring, cost-cutting, and strategic realignments are all being done to secure our tomorrow and to provide the foundation that will allow us to grow and acquire.” But don’t count them out yet, as they’re apparently staffing up for a new project.
Here’s the listing that set the whole thing off:
ArenaNet is seeking an Art Director to drive art development for an unannounced third-person fantasy action console title. As Art Director, you will work collaboratively with project leadership to drive the look and maintain visual quality across all art disciplines with both internal and external partners.
There are some quirks with the listing, and with ArenaNet, that suggest this new project is not related to the GuildWars franchise. For one, this new project uses Unreal Engine 4. The Guild Wars franchise uses an in-house proprietary engine developer specifically for those games. Also, ArenaNet has never even considered porting Either of the mainline titles in the MMO series to another platform beyond the PC. Though there is probably some significant ground to be made in terms of new exposure with a Switch or mobile port, the company has remained firm in their commitment to the PC.