Guild Chat - Episode 79

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Guild Chat - Episode 79

All or Nothing
Rubi Bayer
Kye Harris
Lily Yu
John Jarynowski
Cameron Rich
Clayton Kisko
Andrew Gray
Jason Wolford
Mike Zadorojny
January 11, 2019
Official video

The following is an unofficial, player-written transcript of the episode. The accuracy of this transcription has not been verified by ArenaNet.

The episode of Guild Chat aired on January 11, 2019. Join host Rubi Bayer and guests for a discussion about the newest living story chapter!

Guild Chat Studio [6:50][edit]

Rubi Bayer: Hi Tyria. Happy Friday and welcome to Guild Chat. I'm your host Ruby and we have had a week here. We have a lot to talk about, so we're gonna jump right into the show and our-the first couple of our eight dev guests today. I do want to let you know that we have-the spoiler doors are open. We are talking about everything today. If you have not played the latest episode "All or Nothing" and you don't want to be spoiled this is the time to stop watching. I won't be hurt. It'll be on YouTube. You can watch it after you play, but we are we are spoiling all the things here-we were talking about everything. All right? Everybody clear? Okay, let's start with our first two developers. I will let you guys introduce yourselves: talk about who you are, what you do here at ArenaNet and what you worked on for this episode.

Mike Zadorojny: Hi everybody, I'm Mike Zadorojny. I'm the game director on Guild Wars 2 so a lot of my daily tasks is just making sure that we're bringing you guys the most impressive, the most amazing unique experiences that we can do in the game. And so obviously with this episode of me talking a lot about the music, we're gonna be talking a lot about the sound design and everything else and that's just gonna segue to...

Jason Wolford: Alright.

Rubi: Jason, welcome to Guild Chat first.

Jason: Thank you. Hi, I'm Jason Wolford, audio lead for Guild Wars 2. Um, this was my first episode release here at ArenaNet and...

Mike: The bar you've now set is pretty high.

Jason: Yeah so...

Rubi: It's great.

Jason: ...we're going up from here, but yeah, I was responsible for just working with the team making sure everything was covered and hitting the quality bar that ArenaNet has set and yeah.

Rubi: Awesome. Well, thank you both for spending some time on here. Let's start out with the Zephyrite choirs since we just got to see that and you flew out and were part of that.

Jason: Uh this was actually Maclaine's first piece writing for vocals and he was super kind of worried going into it. Like the amount of key changes that he did going into the recording session. And the two of us flew down to Salt Lake City and we recorded with the 25 piece choir and it was just-it was phenomenal. Like the emotions that we were getting just from the initial recording. I'm like hitting just the the simple tunings for the the key that he had requested was just-it was fantastic. And so I know we recorded a bunch of that; they've got a bunch of pictures and stuff that hopefully we'll be seeing very shortly. But specifically with Aurene's theme and the piece itself Maclaine is defining the finishing touches because we did actually some changes on the fly down there and he's going back and changing the sheet music and we're gonna release that publicly-hopefully soon. So, all of our fans will get chance to take a look at that music because we're really excited about what we did with it, but we also want to see what fans can do with it as well.

Rubi: Yeah, I really love the fan takes on a lot of our music. So what were some of the highlights of going down there to watch all of this happen live?

Jason: There is a huge distinction from hearing something through a computer and then hearing it live. Whenever the there's a number of concerts that tour that will play Guild Wars music and it touches me in a very emotional way. And so hearing, you know, when you hear the culmination of what you've been working on brought to life-it is just-it's very powerful. It's a very touching experience and so particularly because we knew-and you'll hear a lot about this from Cameron when he starts talking about the instance later in the episode-the way that that final instance was designed was built around the idea of resonance, of tonal-you know-of the choir being a very important aspect of this. And so you know Mackaine was like "Hey look, I think I can't do this with samples. I need to do this with a live group. Can we do this?" And just all the dominoes lining up just right for us be able to pull this off and so you know in middle of November, the two of us went down there. Spend just one day with the recording session and, you know, you hear the end result andit's just-it's fantastic.

Rubi: Yeah. Having seen those videos while Mark and I were working on them, watching player reactions-watching all of you guys-hear this music in the game for the first time was just incredibly gratifying and knowing that it resonated with everybody playing too. And one of the things one of the immediate feedback that I saw after this episode released on Tuesday-so many people saying "If you don't usually have your game sounds on, turn them on, turn them up. Don't don't listen to anything else. Listen to the music. Listen to the audio because it is unbelievable." Which actually takes me over to you, Jason, because audio that's like Z said, you guys set the bar really high.

Jason: Yeah, this was a really good time. One thing we worked really hard on was the overall mix of the episode. There was so much happening-particularly towards the end of episode-8 to 10 to 12 battles happening at once, and they can get really noisy so we worked really hard to call that and make the mix as clean as possible. And we put a request in the notes with the release just saying play your audio on default and a few people have taken that direction and done it and have found some happy surprises.

Rubi: Yeah, it's super gratifying. There is a video that I think we showed on Guild Chat ages ago and you guys finally get to see what that was for. So do you want to kind of tell us what we're going to be looking at/listening to here?

Jason: Yeah so, as beautiful as the Zephyrite choir is, I was tasked with doing the sound for what we're calling the Kralkatorrik attack towards the end of the episode and he's bearing down with all his might. And it was an interesting piece for us because it's the first discreetly surround moment in Guild Wars 2. We authoried content specifically to be played in all four speakers and the recording itself that we used for part of it was the audio team went out and did the recording of an old railway turntable and it made this hideous creaking noise as you push it around and it was perfect for the crowd for the charge-up leading into Kralk's attack. Yeah it was a lot of fun to design.

Rubi: Let's take a look.

Caithe: We, um, have his attention.
Braham Eirsson: Behind me—I can shield us!

Rubi: I have to pull myself away from being distracted by the amount of sunshine in that first video. I was just watching-I'm like "oh, I remember that". Well, you commented that this was a lot of fun to work on so that was a huge project. How long did that take?

Jason: Uh, more time than I care to admit. It was my first big moment in Guild Wars 2 period, so I put a lot of time into it, stayed late and did a lot of iteration-getting feedback from designers and the person who did a lot of the VFX. Yeah but it's so fun. I can't believe that's my job.

Rubi: That's a good feeling.

Jason: Yeah, it's great.

Rubi: Alright, well I'll tell you what. I will let you guys get back to work and thank you very much for talking a little bit about the audio in there.

Mike: yes

Rubi: I appreciate it and thank you for sharing your Salt Lake trip with us.

Mike: Oh no.

Rubi: That was fantastic.

Mike: It's another way for us to look at how we can elevate what we're doing with Guild Wars 2 and I hope all of you take away from today's Guild Chat the passion that came from every discipline, from everyone coming together. This was a culmination of not just the episode 5 team, but this is a storyline that we've been building towards for so long. And to kind of have it all play out this way, you know, we've been touched by the reactions of the fans, we've been touched by the reactions of our partners and the streamers. And it's, it's, we know we've got something special here, and I keep saying this, but we're not done yet. So there's a lot more to come for Guild Wars 2.

Rubi: Yeah, alright. Thank you both. Stay put we will be back in just a minute

<Guild Chat we'll be right back>

Open-World Content [18:03][edit]

Rubi: Welcome back, you guys and thank you for sticking around with us. We have a whole lot more to talk about. Once again-and I'm going to do this at the beginning of every segment-we are spoiling everything. We are not holding back on any spoilers on today's episode. If you do not want spoilers, this is the time to not watch.

<spoiler alert>

Rubi: It'll be on YouTube later there after you've played the episode. It's not going to hurt our feelings; we don't want you spoiled if you don't want to be spoiled. So with that in mind, here we go with our next round of dev guests. I'm gonna have each of you do the same thing that Z and Jason did: introduce yourself, talk about what you do here at ArenaNet and what you did for episode 5.

Kye Harris: Sure. Hi, my name is Kye Harris. I'm the producer for this episode, which involves: making sure that we ship on time, making sure that everybody is collaborating well-to just bring all the pieces together for the episode.

Lily Yu: My name is Lily Yu. I'm a narrative designer at ArenaNet. I worked on open-world story for episode 5 along with Aaron Linde; Armand Constantine was a Golden Path writer.

John Jarynowski: I'm John Jarnowski. ... we're a team. I chiefly work on story instances and open-world story content.

Rubi: Awesome. Well, thank you guys all for being here. Um, I want to-I every time I look down at my paper, I have like a huge note everywhere that says "spoiler warning, spoiler warnings". I'm going to let you guys pass this around because we have a whole lot of pictures to show today. I want to start by talking about some of the highlights of creating this episode and let's start with some character and NPC design. How about some dwarves first?

Kye: Dwarves? Yeah.

Rubi: Lots to talk about dwarves and this is amazing to me.

Kye: The dwarves were pretty fun-I don't know if we actually have pictures for them.

Rubi: So we have that one for the end of this little group-we'll talk about him after the dwarves because...

Kye: Great.

Rubi: ...I don't why. I don't have a good reason.

Kye: That's fine. So with this episode, we knew we were going back to Thunderhead Keep-and obviously Thunderhead keep features the dwarves a lot-and so we had a bit of a task of-so far in Guild Wars 2 we've had Ogden and we've had Rhoban who is nearly a head, so we have part of Rhoban but not all of him. We wanted to get some more dwarves in there and this was a challenge that we gave to the art team to see, um, how we can work this out.

Rubi: Make us dwarves.

Kye: Make us some dwarves that we can fit in-knowing that we also have a large dragon that needs to fit in this and a lot to do with Aurene and and everything else, so balancing that and, uh. Our character lead, Adam Hogseth, came up with a-came to me once with a brilliant solution saying, "Hey, I made you some dwarves," and I was like "wow that was really fast. how'd you make us dwarves?" and he said "I scaled down the Norn".

Rubi: I don't know why that's so funny to me.

Kye: I took a look at the screenshot that he sent me and I was like "yeah, that looks like a dwarf. Wait, did you really scale down a Norn?". And he said "yeah, mostly." So thank you Norn for giving us dwarves for the first time in Guild Wars 2 and I hope that everybody's out there is enjoying them.

Rubi: I feel like everybody needs a minute to just deal with that, but didn't he fiddle with the proportions a little.

Kye: He did, he did. So it's not just like he took a Norn...

Rubi: A shrunken Norn.

Kye: ...and just shrunk it.

John: Their anatomy's very different.

Kye: It is different but he started with the Norn and made adjustments by scaling different parts of the bones and the model-and that's how we got our dwarves.

Rubi: That's fantastic because you commented that you went to them and you had this big art request.

Kye: Right.

Rubi: Well, we're a little busy...

Kye: Right.

Rubi: ...with the huge dragon.

Kye: Right.

Rubi: But we kind of need this and finding a way to make it work and make it work well because I was shocked when you said no it's just a shrunken Norn.

Kye: Yeah.

Rubi: That we fiddled with a little bit and it worked.

Kye: So kudos to the art team, uh...

Rubi: Yes, seriously.

Kye: ...for being creative in their problem solving there.

Rubi: Yeah, you guys are amazing. Really everyone really really really stepped up for this episode so while we don't have the entire team-there's no way we could have everybody who had a hand in this episode on-but all of you are unbelievable, all of you are incredible. I know we're not really supposed to have favorites but we do have some favorite dwarves and I'm looking at Lily because I think you wanted to talk about Frodak a little bit?

Lily: Okay, so Frodak. I think a lot of the credit goes to [Armand] Constantine here-he is this "gives no Skritts" dwarf that has a-has a graveling in his tomb and wants you to get in there and get it out. The story has Kralkatorrik in the mists, eating up the mist so ghosts start popping in and my favorite ghosts in the whole episode are the dwarven ghosts throughout the catacombs, courtesy of Charlie Engelhard, it was his design. Writing for them was fabulous. My favorite because it's really me is the librarian dwarf who just yells at the player for carrying torches around near books.

John: Don't try this at home.

Lily: Don't do that. Please don't do that. Please don't carry torches into your library. This is not a good idea-especially around 500 year old books. I don't know why people would do that.

Rubi: I'm sorry, I don't know why I'm apologizing, but I am really sorry.

Lily: But along with the dwarves, we also have-I'm not sure players have discovered it yet-but we have a room with 2 dredge ghosts. A long time ago, these dredge ghosts burrowed into this place, fell through the ceiling, and got stuck there because they didn't have the means to get out and you can hear them squabbling non-stop, and it was a joy to write.

Rubi: That sounds like dredge. So what are they bickering about.

Lily: Oh, sandwiches.

Rubi: As you do.

Lily: I mean they were tunneling together. One of them thought he had a pack of sandwiches, and they eventually starve to death which is why they're ghosts now and they've just been popped out of the Mist back to their old place. One of them is like "went to open up a pack and what do I see? Not sandwiches." It's the sweetest old couple afterlife argument that you can imagine.

Rubi: Oh my god.

Lily: One of them says "search me." The other one says "you're transparent" and he says "it makes it easy, doesn't it."

Rubi: I love it. I don't know-I actually don't know if anybody has found this this couple yet or not, but that's fantastic.

Lily: They just keep arguing for a very long time.

Rubi: And then you have Frodak and you have the librarian screaming at you. You mentioned Rhoban earlier, like Rhoban is just a head.

Lily: Oh, yes. Rhoban knows how to get ahead.

Rubi: Lily!

Kye: We love her. That was too easy.

Rubi: I feel like that was-that wasn't really chastising coming from me. It's kind of a big thank you.

Lily: So Rhoban is currently a head being held by a Priory charr. Thanks to Clayton over there-you'll see him in a bit-we figured out the tech for how to put two different voices on a single character, because that is what it is technically. I'm to fire off the two different dialogue voices from different bones in the charr. So if you go near Rhoban and the char who's holding him, you could hear them arguing. If you open up the conversation with them you can see them interrupting each other and it makes me really happy because that kind of really close-spatially close and intimately close-relationship, I mean it's pretty unique having a large cat scholar holding a giant dwarven stone head.

Rubi: You're not wrong. I mean, like, tell me if any of you have ever seen that before, because, yeah, that sure is...

Lily: We're breaking new ground.

Kye: Only in Guild Wars 2 - oh man.

Rubi: I'm honestly fascinated. I didn't realize that that was two different-those were two different dialogues firing off from what is technically one character. Is that something we've-I can't think of a reason we would have had to do that before.

John: We have before with-if there's conversation from a backpack or something for that...

Rubi: Oh, yeah.

John: ...will fire in places. Sometimes hard to tell because it's only a wee bit off on the model, but it was particularly great here because it really highlights the juxtaposition of what's going on and I think it's a great reason for the dialogue.

Lily: She threatens to drop him at one point.

Rubi: Yeah what are you gonna break me worse. Oh my gosh, I love that so much. So what about I'm just like running through my list because there are so many delightful things that you guys have put in there. What about Sergei?

Lily: Oh, Sergei. Steve Blum, if you're out there, we love you.

Rubi: Steve Blum, thank you for voicing Sergei.

Lily: He did the incredible voice for Sergei, being the extremely depressed dredge who is up there and has to shoot all his friends and family because they've been branded and turned into terrible monsters. And he's up there with his rifle and he's going, and he's saying things like "just wanted to make you proud mom. BAM". It was...

Rubi: Poor Sergei.

Lily: ...a joy and delight to write. Aaron [Linde] and I were in a room just riffing on this, improv-ing with each other and we were so happy with how that went.

Rubi: That is a room that I would have loved to be in because you and Aaron individually are a delight to talk to and riffing on something like this had to have been like the best meeting ever.

Lily: Together, we create a black hole...

Rubi: Yay.

Lily: aerospace. The challenge we were facing was how to balance the extremely, emotionally fraught golden path-and all the tonal and and thematic resonance of that-with the open-world content. How do we keep it from being overwhelmingly sad and tragic while not stepping outside the boundaries for what makes this a beautiful tapestry, like, how do we pick the right tonal colors for the characters, how do we pick the right dialogue to make people laugh and then hurt more later.

Rubi: Yay. Of course, as you do. Actually, I do want to-I want to pause for just a second because we have-I don't think we've explained it, in case people don't know, but we have referenced the golden path on there, so do you want to explain what that is and differentiate it from living world story?

Lily: Okay. The golden path is everything you do on quest steps where you have a green star, where you're going into these instances, where you're completing that kind of content chapter-by-chapter. It's tracked in the journal in the hero tab, and then open-world is everything else. It's where we get to be insanely silly and creative and dramatic and depressing.

Rubi: In the best way.

Kye: Yes.

Rubi: Yes. So, well okay. So we've been a little dwarven heavy. Do you want to talk about some Skritt?

Lily: Oh skritt.

Rubi: There it is.

Lily: Oh skritts. Probably my favorite species at this time. Again, Aaron and I would get into a room, we jam on stuff together. He reminded me today I forgot that I'd done the "skritt math" line and there's one point I was just like: you know what, you are going to write the first skritt poem, I'm going to write the second skritt poem. We're going to put them together, so it was not actually 30 skritt, in case you were wondering, it was me and Aaron, but I think one of the favorite things I've written here was that sequence of skritt poetry with Matthew, the Priory's Explorer, who's completely disillusioned about love, following the skritt around, and the skritt jsut believes in love. The skritt-the skritt are so innocent and idealistic and eager and they believe in all the good things and for so much of this episode you're walking around disillusioning them. Like you kick them to get them to go back to work at some point and they're like "no touchy" and also "skritt has worked 12-hour day."

Rubi: I do-I love that disconnect because they are like these idealistic little guys but and you go through the game and I see them treated so poorly in different places and I'm just like "Oh sweetie."

Lily: Social commentary.

Rubi: Yeah, well, now I'm really sad. Oh, speaking of really sad, I don't know who has the thing but.

Kye: I think I do.

Rubi: Okay. Okay, so this was another person who showed up and there was a lot of attention to Logan's armor so I wanted to make sure that we called this out and got a look at some of the design of his armor. This might-I don't know if this is any of you guys are if this is strictly an art thing but I wanted to make sure we threw it in there while we were talking about character design.

Kye: Well, I can tell you a little bit.

Rubi: I always look at the producer.

Kye: We knew that we wanted to bring Logan back because we're kind of rallying everybody together and we wanted there to be-we went through varying levels of like what that reunion was gonna look like when Logan coming back and him reuniting with Rytlock in order to fight Kralkatorrik again. And something that some of the art team and, I think, some of the commerce team wanted to do was bring in an updated armor set for Logan to show some of his evolution in the series, how he's changed.

Rubi: It's awesome. It looks really good. All right, so this takes us into the first instance, Scion and Champion, which I'm just-I'm looking at John because.

Scion and Champion [30:16][edit]

John: It was my child for a long time.

Kye: It's all you.

John: Um, yeah, getting into that it was we've clearly been to Glint's lair before, I mean, you were going back. There was a really poignant emotional beat for us to make sure that was involved in it and going back there, just working with the team and trying to figure out what were the highlights that we need to cover. It was-it was an absolute blast having so many people throwing their ideas there. Initially, we are going more of a Fortress of Solitude-thank you-a Fortress of Solitude-type feeling, but we knew that because we didn't have the late Marlon Brando, we were gonna go with something else. So we brought Glint into it, and we really want to actually have her be a physical presence here. I know a lot of people myself, I'm playing oh really tummy's[verification requested] emotional beats that was really impact for them resonates with folks. We had all these different ideas passed around how we were going to present her, we researched her old look and how she was in the-in how we'd stage her. I'm controlling this at the same time, so my brain is going in all different directions, here we go. And this is of course where she crawled and had her final moments here.

Rubi: It's a preview of what's coming.

John: Yeah, and so we looked into how she looked in GW1. You can actually go in to look at her model. Kyle Bash and a bunch-and the prop team-did a fantastic job with her. He was actually brilliant enough to take, uh, it's actually Aurene's model we based this off of and then he and I kind of threw, we dug into what Glint used to look like, and we built her a kind of porcupine-esque neck. She has got a fantail and you can see all that on her body and it was just fantastic setting this moment up. Also working with the animators and having Aurene so she's stationed in such a way that it feels like she's nuzzling up her mother and, and, trying to reach out to her for answers, which clearly also is an amazing pieceof concept art we use for this episode. But it was fantastic setting up that bit-a big kick at the beginning. We did want to have you walk into this gorgeous chamber you've been in before, very crystalline, but we wanted to have that emotional character moment that really kicks it off.

Rubi: Yeah, and having that-you commented about, um, having Aurene kind of nuzzle up to her mother, reaching out for answers.

John: Yeah.

Rubi: And having that moment of "we haven't really thought about this from your perspective, have we." It was just-that was a little gut punch that I guess was kind of leading up to a bigger blow and I appreciate you, I guess, softening us up for this. But yeah, Glint's design and to use Aurene's model, I feel like drew this character-drew this connection-between the two characters.

John: Right.

Rubi: That was an amazing idea.

John: Yeah, and it works wonderfully. At first we were so confused, like, what are we gonna do. We could build the model from source but it's clearly the old one from GW1-it is very outdated. Are we gonna update that. We thought why not take inspiration from her own-her own child? It makes perfect sense for us.

Rubi: Yeah. That was a good start out for that. Let's talk a little bit about Aurene's design, too, because there was a lot. I mean she's grown up from this tiny little hatchling, um, and she had a couple of different looks here.

John: She did. Um, we knew that going into these trials and that she was going to mature and change, we had to actually have some physical depiction of that. And beyond that was we also had the branded Aurene, which was the boss fight at the end of the trials. And so working with the creature designers, with Kate and others, it was just fantastic kind of throwing ideas or how she could change, how she could look different without drastically changing who she was and losing her identity. So, um, so the original Aurene. Here's what she looked like originally before we really finished the trials. This is the Aurene we know and love. We've seen her as a young adult for long enough, for a good while now and we decided to give her a little upgrade. This is after she's completed the trials, the chat she had with her mother, the ascendancy and on the fact that she has really embraced what she's, uh, what she's going into next. So we gave her an upgrade-she's got these energy flows through her. It was great just throwing these ideas around how we're gonna change her up, not change her identity. We'd originally an idea to give her eyes that glow, but realize she looks kind of alien, demonic and whatnot. Oh, that's not the right way for us.

Rubi: No thank you.

John: And it was just a blast working with the team to get this to work. Some people didn't notice it when you first when you finish the trials and after you get the prophecy, when she first comes out she actually has this upgrade, and it's highlighted as well throughout the rest of the story in the episode. You look at her knees see these shine points. And then there's branded Aurene, which was also a fantastic endeavor. We originally started and it was just kind of a purple-black Aurene, um, but we decided to amp her up. Make it look like truly a minion of Kralk. Her mouth is absolutely amazing and when we made her, when Kate made her, we thought "well, she looks-this looks so good, we have to make her larger," and so she's actually-that's why in the branded Aurene fight, she's scaled up because we want players to see this and the grand effect of her. You can't actually see it in the image, but the energy across her chest actually radiates, and it like flares up whenever she does big attacks and all that. So it was-it was a ton of fun to bring that.

Lily: No foreshadowing at all, right?

John: No, no. Not at all.

Rubi: Yeah, the first time she landed and just this-this enormously scaled-up creature was, oh, so that's okay I could see why you'd be upset.

John: Right, and it was when we first did that and we saw-I was working with the animators to sort of the with Matt and others to set up the roar that she had in the pushback. Originally, she didn't have that pushback and the wind. It's like this just doesn't feel right. She's twice the size of Aurene. She's this-this dark manifestation of who she is and all her power. Let's have her push you back and so players stand there just shoved up against the back wall. If you actually get around her she doesn't push it, so you can kind of get behind branded Aurene and have a laugh at her. But, it's-it was tons of fun setting up those really heavy moments to show this this fear <???> in the branded Aurene version.

Rubi: Yeah, pointing out that being killed isn't the worst thing that she should be afraid of.

John: Exactly. Right, it's paralleling Glint's on the fact that she was enslaved by Kralkatorrik and she knows that there is a fate worse than death and that Aurene hadn't recognized that yet. All she saw was her own-her own death and that's really becoming a minion of Kralk is, if anything, more frightening than that. And so we want to show that to you at fhe final trial here. She has to survive that and see how far she's come.

Rubi: Yeah, I think we have a few more images if we want we to indulge a little bit.

John: Here she is. I mean yeah, here she's flying just to show off the different colors that she has. She's kind of an electrical flow that goes through wings, um, that also has this little like a pulse beat to it as she's going around. There she is staring you down, looking like almost a baby Kralkatorrik.

Rubi: It's not at all terrifying.

John: No, not all. When she swoops by, there actually is a fly-by attack she does. It's one of her main attacks in the fight and you can look up and see her flying by. We actually put Aurene chasing her so you can actually see Aurene fly behind her in there and as it goes on she gets closer and closer to the final one, so she's getting stronger throughout the fight. If she has that energy, she has charged up. And this-this is the original version we had; so as you see, it's upgraded a little bit. Um, originally it was-she was more stone-like, dark purple. The original form's alright, but I think the final product is just that much stronger.

Rubi: Yeah, um, that was-doing that upgrade and it's-it's interesting to note her fly-by attack with our Aurene chasing her because, honestly, every time I've done that fight right now, it's just a lot of running and screaming.

John: Right?

Rubi: And I-and I haven't looked up.

John: Just chaos.

Rubi: But, and I don't know how many of you guys have, but I'm gonna need to run through that fight again and maybe let some friends carry me or something so I can just like huddle in the corner and take everything in.

Kye: Have John help you out.

John: Yeah.

Rubi: Please. Have you done it?

John: Oh, yeah.

Rubi: Okay.

John: I know all of the hidden places and all that.

Kye: He's probably done it too many times.

John: A couple times.

Rubi: Yeah. And putting that much attention to detail, and putting that much attention to story, and everything going on around you when it's chaotic and there's not a lot of time to look around, makes me want to go back again and again and make sure I can take everything in.

Lily: You know what, I still haven't spotted the skritt on pigs in the in the keep meta while you're placing mines and being swarmed. At some point a whole bunch of skritt come out on pigs and everytime I've played that, it's been so busy I haven't seen them.

John: Yeah, they drag the resonance crystal, right.

Lily: Yeah.

John: And if you can watch them, it's this glorious little triumphant band of skritt and Aaron's written the best dialogue-I know the dialogue goes like "heigh! ho!", and they're just like pulling the crystal-I haven't seen it yet. It's such a busy event.

Rubi: Oh my gosh. And that's in the keep?

Kye: It's the north section of the map, on the north side of Thunderhead Keep. There's one-I think one other event also where a skritt rides a pig but I don't remember exactly where.

Lily: Remember later and tell me.

Rubi: Like in this release or?

Kye: Yeah. This release.

Rubi: Because there's a skritt riding a pig back in Amnoon.

Kye: Right.

Rubi: So that's the only one that I knew of.

Kye: That is that probably the same guy that did it in both places.

John: Porcine mounting skill is innate to skritt. It's just typical.

Rubi: Hm?

John: Porcine mounting.

Kye: Yeah.

Rubi: Okay. Sure.

Lily: We love our skritts on pigs.

Rubi: There's going to be a children's book about that in an upcoming.

John: There has to.

Kye: We gave players mounts. Skritt needed mounts.

Rubi: Yeah. Lily's. Lily's putting all of these amazing little books and poems throughout the game and it's-it's so delightful.

Lily: No one's found the sequel[verification requested] to A Kralkatorrid Affair yet.

Rubi: What?!

Lily: As far as I know. I'm not telling.

Rubi: It's in here?

Lily: Do I tell you the name? Do I tell you the name? Are you going to throw something if I tell you the name?

Kye: Tell them.

Rubi: Tell me the name.

Lily: "Mist Connections"

Rubi: Really, I just want to praise you for that because...

Kye: She's great.

Lily: This is a Connor Fallon's brainchild to put that kind of book in every single episode.

Rubi: Thank you, Connor.

Lily: And he-and he does the first draft on them.

Rubi: That's fantastic. I do want to-I want to loop back for just a second and talk about a little more about Aurene's design because so much went into it and I know that, John, you had mentioned you called her more cat than dragon.

John: Oh yeah.

Rubi: Like all of this tinkering with her AI and working through bugs and fiddling with her movement.

John: Yeah, it was fun getting into knowing Aurene's gonna be right beside the Commander this whole time, fighting alongside you. And the second we started, I started poring through her animations that we'd done and, oh look, she doesn't actually fight on the ground very much. She sits there, she breathes fire and she goes on her way-she gets back to the sky. Well here she's actually romping around with you and we had to try to edit a lot and change things around; and, doing that, we found some really strange things in her AI. One of the moments we all found funny in the early testing was that her-when she would run to different places-like in the first trial-between the magic pools when she was going to consume them. Now she's got this beautiful movement where it's very fluid but, before, she was kind of like a sauntering cat and had her hands kind of stuck in front of her in this heavy movement. And she'd do it really fast and she would just do this hasty pace over to the different pools and then slam her head in the pool. And so she was somewhere between an over-energetic dipping bird and the most violent game of bobbing for apples we've ever seen. And you know, it was amazing because I just kept thinking it was like we gave a cat the this full platter of salmon and she just couldn't stop, and she had to go into that. But it was it was an absolute blast to watch and when we-and it was almost sad we started eyeing the polished animations.

Lily: You didn't save a video?

John: No, we didn't. I know it's sad. It's-it's in our memory. That's really what matters, um, but I...

Rubi: Always, always, always save a video.

John: I know ...

Rubi: Because, if anything else, I want it for Guild Chat.

John: It existed for months, too, which is actually the saddest.

Rubi: John!

John: I know! Well, next time when we have a petulant dragon, we're gonna go fast. Um but the other thing that happens...

Rubi: That's a plan.

John: ...when we are in the second trial, when you're fighting alongside her, assisting her in charging the crystals. Originally, her AI-she was really obstinate and would like to-and selfish and she would drag all the branded into corners and just hang there, and you'd sit there "hey Aurene, over here, come on. I need them over here. Alright, you do your thing. When you're done, we'll try this, right?" And it was great because we had to find a way to get her to be more synergetic with you, and so we set up an AI. Her-changed her AI so whoever you're focusing on, she's gonna focus on that, but, moreover, we also had that crazy cat skitter thing going on early on and it looked ridiculous when you're on one side of the field and she's coming after you, and she'd do this hustle run over to you. That doesn't look right for a dragon, she has wings-let's use it. And so I worked with Matt, one of our animators, and we created a lunge attack for her and some players have noticed this, um, when you're-when you're attacking enemy and focusing down someone, she'll on occasion-she'll lunge across the field and slam down, knocking things over and coming to your aid. And, and that was our little like pouncing cat, uh, thing and when we were working on her animation and there's this face she gives the right before she hits and it looks like a cat but going for a mouse. And it was-it was just tons of fun going into that and just changing her AI so she wasn't this-this dragon. It was-it was not only the story saying that she's mature and she's working with you, but we worked in her AI-in her animations to say "hey, look. She's the strong dragon fighting alongside you. She's getting in scuffles with you." And it was just so fun building that.

Rubi: That's awesome. I love the uncooperative AI thing because I-I just feel like you've got this. Okay, I know it's crazy but stay with me-what if we killed them in this circle right? I know it's wacky but I think it might work. And getting her to do that-kudos on navigating all of that AI weirdness and all of her complete selfishness.

John: Oh yeah. It was grand. We had a couple times where she'd get stuck in the crystals-the charging crystals. Like "where's Aurene? Oh". And she's just pinned to the side of it.

Rubi: No!

John: Whoops. So we had to change the collision after that.

Rubi: That's fantastic. Um, we've talked a little bit about the resonance crystals and they have a lot of different states and something that you had mentioned to me was that that was kind of difficult to navigate. There was a lot happening there.

John: Oh yeah.

Rubi: So do you wanna talk about that?

John: Sure I know, Kye, you have some-some perspective in this. When we were first going into this episode, we knew there are tons of crystals. We thought...

Kye: Yeah.

John: ...well, how do we differentiate two thousand different kinds of crystals? It's like looking into a kaleidoscope if we pull this off. And when we went to the resonance crystal, one of the big things we had-um, Lily, I'm not sure if you're involved in the story discussions on this one, uh, making it like a, um, a what's-it-called, a sound tong...

Rubi: A tuning fork!

John: Sound tong. That's a real word.

Rubi: You know what? It was real enough that we were like "yeah, we know."

John: Tuning fork. And we thought it was this unique way to have the sound resonate through this crystal. So we set up, as you see in the final image here, it's more of a tuning fork-like shape and, as it's developing, that's how it's going to amplify the sound and we worked with the audio team to kind of discuss that.

Rubi: I just want to point out that Clayton is like dying over there.

John: We lost someone.

Lily: Yeah, you pick up the sounds with the tongs.

John: But it was great just showing the different evolution through working with the artist. I believe Kyle Bash also worked on this with me on-Dana's well, um, and Cameron, who was also a major part of this. And coming up with how we're gonna show this development throughout. And that way, when you go into the episode, you see all these crystals-particularly in Scion and Champion-it's not just lost in a blur of color-blue and purple-um, so it was just great having these different stages. And a lot of people in the final instance, which I won't go into too much, but when it blooms folks were just really surprised by that. It's almost like a flower, um, blooming; the crystals around it. Yeah, it was just a blast.

Rubi: I have no idea if-and, Mark, just throw something at me if you can't actually do this-but if we can turn off our overlay and show all the crystals for a minute so everybody can get a good look.

John: Oh, that's not it.

Rubi: I'm just randomly asking Mark to. You really could've just thrown something at me, I'm sorry.

Lily: They're pretty.

Rubi: Yeah, that was-that was really a good job indicating all of their different states and teaching us the word sound tongs.

John: Sound tongs, yeah. Oxford approves.

Rubi: Thank you. That was fantastic. Also, I do want to-I got so involved in spoiler warnings at the beginning that I did forget to say all of these guys have said they are willing to answer some of your questions at the end of their segment, so if you have questions-and I can't see chat, so I don't know if you've already been doing it, but if you have questions throw them in chat and we will get to some of them at the end of this segment. Um, possibly not all because we don't want to actually make this our permanent place of residence and I know that is very easily how cozy it is.

Lily: It's nice. It's cozy.

Rubi: It is cozy, but I want to see my family.

Kye: Me too.

Rubi: I'm sorry. At some point. Okay, so moving on. We had a lot of different things going on in this instance and the trial puzzles were another thing that I wanted to talk about. Like, it's just the order that it fell in but if we can talk about the narrative scenes in the prophecy chamber, the branded Aurene fight and the broken portals. Go. Everybody pick something.

John: Alright, so I'll dogpile it. The trials was-a big thing which I worked with narrative on is trying to figure out these beats that were both describing what Aurene has to learn about herself and about the-to prepare for the final fight from Glint, but, at the same time, also trying to find unique gameplay that we would then resonate or reflect again in the final-final fight. And show again as it-to show the teachings of it and it was just tons of fun working with the puzzle design that, the pools for the first instance-one through probably eight different iterations. We played-I played a lot of Mario going back now; looking at it, you kind of get insight-spinning firewalls and all that-that's perfect. But, and, it was just grand fun building that out and then having people test and say "this is too challenging," this confusing", blah, blah, "oh, it's great," "it feels good," "I understand what's going on." And you're building out how there's a connection-there's a very literal physical link between you and Aurene when you're in there. Then the other one's the resonance crystals-once again, I would give to Lily on this as so far as the resonance narrative design on that.

Lily: That would have been Armand.

John: Armand...

Lily: And he didn't...

John: You speak through him can't you?

Lily: Channeling Armand. He did a masterful job.

Rubi: Do you have a stone head of Armand that you could hold?

Lily: No.

Kye: That'd be strange.

Lily: Well, I'll bring that up with him later. But he did a masterful job of-of writing out Glint's vision that went through many, many drafts.

John: Oh, yeah.

Lily: Um, how do you make a dead crystal dragon mother have a strong emotional connection with her daughter while speaking through crystals from like-it's basically in voicemail messages...

John: Right.

Lily: ...from the afterlife and I don't-I wouldn't have said it was possible. He made it possible and there's this moment between Glint and Aurene where she tells-where Glint tells Aurene whatever things there are that only dragons can know, and it's extremely powerful.

John: Absolutely agreed. Megan[verification requested], Glen[verification requested] and myself worked on the prophecy room a lot going through things and just trying to figure out the best way to present THAT and how these-these major emotional beats there because Carmen[verification requested] built that fantastic prophecy there and we just want to really work with the art team and make sure it was this big spectacle. Um, the-the ghosts that appear, the images up here. I won't go into too much details what that is, but I was-just a build-up and it was a really beautiful moment that we had. That chamber probably one through-Megan[verification requested] probably went through about eight iterations of that as well. It was great. We'd have a long stairwell you step up with lights and then we had this platform, then we had like multiple chambers. So it was-it was great fun building that.

Rubi: I'd like to actually hear some about the process of how did you decide how to get this-how did you get the Glint communication refined to where you were happy with it? What was that like? Where did you start? And that's more of a narrative thing, so...

Lily: That's more of a narrative thing. So we all get into a room together-the narrative team-and we read through the scripts together aloud. The skritt voices are the most fun.

Rubi: Yay.

Lily: And from what I remember of this process, it was months-it was months ago-we would read it through and we'd figure out what we wanted, what was working, what possibly needed to be changed. And I remember this scene just went through repeatedly and then you saw it in the game and we had to change it some more, but, yeah, Armand did a beautiful job throughout and-oh, yes, if your hearts were broken-that was Armand.

Rubi: Wow, how's that bus, Armand?

Lily: It's what we do.

Rubi: Awesome. So we get through that first instance mostly intact and now we're in Thunderhead Peaks, which is this like amazing nostalgia bomb for some of us, and we've got the Dragonsblood Forge and that, I mean there's a-there was a lot of collaboration there between the Zephyrites and the forge and two other things that I'm immediately forgetting. But you could help me with that, Kye.

Kye: Yeah, for sure. So like John was mentioning, even with the the process of figuring out everything on the different resonance crystals and how we're gonna differentiate those, we knew that this episode was going to be about these Dragonsblood weapons and how was the original Dragonsblood weapon-like what are all the details on how that was actually made? What are all the details on how we're going to make our new set to outfit our army, and we've got this Forge-we're showing some of the early concept art here-that was going to be a focal point of the map that players were going to to be gathering around and spending a lot of time around. And so lots of collaboration between narrative, between our prop artists, between our concept artists, environment art, our design, to build out like: what's the involvement of the Zephyrites, what's the involvement of the auditorium space where chapters 3 & 5 take place, and, and the resonance crystals. How does all of this play together to allow us to build these weapons? How do they interact with this Forge. Yeah, John's clicking through showing kind of the evolution of what that Forge looked like as we slowly honed in there. So that was a really cool process and just really cool to see like audio and environment art in a room together figuring out: okay we're gonna build this space but it's a space where there's gonna be a choir, but there's going to be singing, there's gonna be crystals and it's a space where we need to work out the acoustics just right so that things-that sound waves can bounce off of stuff just right and all get funneled into this one place-to this one primary crystal that focuses all of its energy into the Forge and then melts down the Brand. It was just a really fun process seeing these different groups who maybe don't get to talk to each other as much get to collaborate.

Rubi: Speaking of the Zephyrites

Lily: Speaking of careful audio-crafting, there is a section in the open world where Sayida is and one of her ships is crashed. Um, the Zephyrites are there, the Pact and the corsairs are fighting there, and if you listen carefully you hear Zephyrites practicing their music. They're singing ooh, they're singing aah, and the trivia tidbit for the fans is that those are a lot of devs in the audio room here singing, including Kye, I believe.

Kye: Yep.

Lily: And myself and Novera and a whole bunch of people.

Rubi: That is-that is awesome, so that's who you can hear.

Lily: So yes, you have the beautiful live choir doing the professional, incredibly beautiful rendering. The beginning's theme.

John: Right.

Lily: And then you have us.

Kye: Practicing.

Lily: Practicing.

Rubi: Well that makes perfect so keep doing it. Maybe you can be the next one.

Kye: Maybe.

Rubi: I don't...

Kye: We'll probably be too busy though.

Rubi: Presumably. That is-that is actually an awesome tidbit. So they're near Sayida.

Lily: Yep. It just-you walk-you walk around in the field in your sight; you can hear the Zephyrite singing not nearly as well as the Zephyrites in the Forge.

Rubi: Eh.

Lily: Devs.

J: They're learning. It's off-tune. It's only natural.

Rubi: It's probably fine. Um, we also have a little peek at some of the Dragonsblood weapons if we want to take a look at those because they're amazing.

Kye: Yeah, these went through a lot of iteration, going back and forth trying to figure out okay how do we-because we had the Dragonsblood Spear, but now how do we turn that idea into all of the 16 weapons that players can gain and can equip and work with. So what's the Dragonsblood version of a rifle, what's the Dragonsblood version of a focus, or a bow, and these are some of our early renders and some of the concept art as we were working through that, trying to hone in on what are the colors that we want to focus on. I think that they came out gorgeous.

Rubi: Yeah, they did. They are really, really beautiful.

Kye: Yeah.

Rubi: I love the little sketches. I'm sorry, John, I'm gonna ask you to go back one.

John: Okay, yeah.

Rubi: I like the sketches in the top right-hand corner of just: here's how this is going to work.

Kye: Yeah, showing some of the moving pieces and such there.

Rubi: Those-I'm with you-these turned out beautifully.

Kye: Yeah, this is really cool.

Rubi: So good.

Kye: That was-whenever we were getting this concept art back early on in development, it was really exciting for us. It was like, well, we're actually gonna do this, guys.

Rubi: Yeah, those are-those are super fun to look at, and again I-thanks to all of the devs who worked on episode 5 for sharing all of these images with us and giving us such good look behind the scenes because that was awesome. Alright, I have a question for each of you and then we will let the viewers ask some questions. What was one of the absolute high points of getting this episode in front of the players for you? And that could be Easter eggs or something that you put in there.

Kye: Well, the thing that I was looking forward to the most was seeing people's reactions to Kralkatorrik.

Rubi: Yeah, oh yeah.

Kye: That was a very, very long and arduous process for all of the art team-of fully building out this elder dragon-this very, very large creature-creature larger than anything that we've built and put into the game before, and making it work and, yeah. It's just looking forward to seeing how people were going to react to seeing him there, moving and they get a chance to interact with him.

Rubi: Yeah, he looked incredible and we're going to talk about that some more here in a little bit.

Kye: Yeah.

Rubi: How about you, Lily?

Lily: Seeing player's reactions to the ending.

Rubi: Yes, that was.

Kye: Yes.

Rubi: Yeah, I-I don't have a words at this point.

John: Neither did they.

Rubi: Yeah, they had some but we can't say that on this show.

John: That's true and I, of course, Kralkatorrik was was the big one, but also when-a lot of people I noticed had an emotional response to seeing Glint again with Aurene and some people didn't notice it-we bookended the episodes with a drag-you start by seeing a dragon who's killed by Kralkatorrik-you see the corpse crystallized and then we ended it with the same and it's her daughter who happens to have been near her for the first time. So it's it's a perfect little tease there.

Rubi: I am not okay.

John: ...the dark...

Rubi: Alright, well let's see what some of our viewers want to know and you guys can just take them out and answer them as you want.

Lily: Well, calamari, can we have some info if anybody else died during the last mission? Any of the NPCs we got at the start. The answer is no.

Kye: No, we can't have any info?

Lily: We-no, we cannot give you any info at this point.

Rubi: Alright.

Kye: You'll have to speculate.

Rubi: I'm pretty sure there's a question here. I'm curious who voiced Glint? I'm pretty sure that was the original voice actor.[verification requested]

John: Voice actress.

Rubi: Yep, same voice actor for Glint.

Kye: I don't have the name-not off the top my head, sorry.

Rubi: I will remember it five minutes after the show ends.

Kye: Probably.

Rubi: when that happens. Um, let's see what else. We have some overlap.

Kye: Okay, there's a question here. I know that there are several teams that work on new episodes in parallel. How far ahead does the farthest team work? I probably can't give you a very-a super-specific answer on that but we're we're staggered pretty well so that, um, usually whenever one team is approaching the end, there's another team kind of in the middle and then another team kind of at the beginning, so that we leapfrog over one another, and then some other teams around who are supporting those, and kind of supporting all of the teams at various levels of development.

Rubi: Yeah, I mean like episode 5 has been in the works for six-more than six months.

Kye: Oh, yes-a very very long time, yeah.

Lily: There's a core team of devs and then there are service teams like cinematics, narrative, localization who support simultaneous episodes at once.

Rubi: Yeah.

Lily: What about Logan? We love Logan.

Kye: He's great.

JJ He came back.

Rubi: He came by. He has new armor.

Kye: He had new art.

John: Kylo said Glint and Aurene had those bright blue crystals and Kralk had purple. Also Vlast had yellow ones. Does that have any meaning, say, corruption or evilness? I-I'll talk with Lily about this particular. I don't think so-I think it's just color distinction to these characters-these different dragons, so that when you do see-they're put there-what they've affected in the world or see them, it's very unique and they stand out because we've-we've had them against each other before, and when we do see them side-by-side, it's important to make sure we have distinctions there.

Rubi: Verticality has a question that we've actually already answered, but if you want an easy one.

Kye: Sure, was it deliberate?

John: Yes, yes it absolutely was.

Rubi: The question was: was it deliberate to essentially bookend the episode with the corpses of dragons?

John: And absolutely it was. First what-there was some idea that we weren't even going to show Glint's, but then the second I came around we knew it was happening, we absolutely had to do that. And that's why we want to start you with seeing Glint's corporeal remains and end you with seeing Aurene's.

Kye: Uh, was the charr serving food before the Kralk fight a reference to the Meowscular Chef from Monster Hunter? Uh, stay tuned...


Kye: ...for more information.

Rubi: Hold on to that question.

John: What was the most difficult part about deciding to kill a character-especially an important and/or loved one. The tissues in the office-we really ran dry in those.

Lily: So, I think what players should know is that any character death goes through a great deal of discussion at extremely high levels. So we take it very seriously and we look at what we gain from it, what the trade-offs are, what we can do with it, how we can add as much meaning to it as possible. So they're very carefully thought-out.

Kye: We have to make sure that it's worth it. That it's done right.

Lily: At this point in development, yes.

Kye: Yeah.

Rubi: And we'll talk a little bit more about that in the next segment but that was-I mean there have been conversations happening surrounding this for an incredibly long time. Let's see. Do you have any more that you'll be able to answer?

Lily: At the end of the last instance, Caithe kind of just collapses. Was that intended to make us wonder if she's okay? Okay, if you're not wondering if everyone's okay at the end of the chapter, then you are a monster.

Rubi: Wow. I mean you're not wrong.

Kye: And how far in advance was the writing of this episode done?

Lily: Open-world writing started in July, but a Golden Path was just about done by that point.

Kye: Right, but then we continued to go through many iterations.

Lily: Many, many iterations.

Kye: Many, many iterations, and then even beyond just the dialogue. All the voiced work and all the text goes through further iterations until just a few months...

Lily: The unvoiced text.

Kye: Yeah any-anything that's unvoiced-until just a few months before release.

Lily: Unvoiced text writing does not start until we have all the voiced writing in.

Kye: Right.

Rubi: Alright, well you guys probably have a lot to do.

Lily: Oh yeah.

Rubi: I really appreciate all the time that you've given us today. Thanks to all of you guys for hanging out and watching. We are not done. We still have another round of devs coming in. Thank you all very, very much for all of your work on this. You raise the bar so high and watching player reactions this week has been incredibly gratifying and I'm sure for you too.

Kye: Absolutely.

Lily: Thanks for having us, Rubi.

Rubi: Thank you guys. Stick around. Yes, again huge, huge spoilers. We are letting fly with spoilers and I'm saying that because it's going to be really, really important for the next five minutes. If you do not want spoilers-I'm just gonna keep saying this. It's-I've never actually told anybody to stop watching the show before but if you don't want really, really big spoilers: stop watching now, watch on YouTube later. We will be right back

Interlude: Player Reactions [1:03:05][edit]

oh no stop stop it
heavy breathing oh no whoa Aurene all
right yeah she's so powerful
don't touch my sweet baby wheel don't
touch my sweet baby Aurene don't you dad
I don't like those squelching noises no
no no no no no no she's fine she
protected us but she's fine because
she's strong girl what's happening what
are you serious he's just leaving no oh
no oh no we are not okay
Oh My gods hi early crap Oh a little
co-ed environment to Saget er as well
we're fine
it's not over yet you're okay you've you
just got caught in a blast
I don't know we're not even gonna stop
and help borrow a look at the stagger
animated like behind us this isn't
normal crepitus its Braham oh yeah yeah
Oh God where is she uh-oh is she don't
say it like that
oh don't say it like that Braham you tell
me she's fine no no no no sure they're
dead nope nope no no oh my goodness hey
net you monsters hi
we're screwed
dude no that can't be real they gonna
like go back in time like we've got a
reverse time with something right
there's gonna be like an alternative
reality okay like somebody does
dimension magic right
that's so Clara why did they do that
why could they do that so Carl is this
how it ends
you've got to be kidding me you've got
to be kidding me
I've gotten to a dark cold place inside
in my heart's no the episode caught at
night become just do that just like her
visions doing no she was Freud's I was
hard to watch
oh I felt a pit in my stomach
we lost okay for real though can I just
say how much I appreciate the fact that
we lost what's so sad

Game Designers [1:08:22][edit]

Rubi: Welcome back. We're sorry.

Cameron: That's-that is hard to watch.

Rubi: That is-that was super hard to watch, um. I've seen it about ten times now so I'm slightly less weepy, but the first time I was like "I'm not gonna make it. I will-I will not get through it," but, um, I don't-I don't want us to sound cruel like "yeah, we wanted to hurt you" because that's not it. Um, let's jump in, but I will have you guys introduce yourselves real quick. Talk about what you worked on-if you're willing to admit it.

Cameron Rich: My name is Cameron Rich. I'm a game designer and for this episode I worked specifically on the last chapter.

Clayton Kisko: My name is Clayton Kisko. I'm the team lead for this episode and game designer here at ArenaNet. I worked on some open world stuff, adventures, hearts, events, stuff like that.

Andrew Gray: I'm Andrew Gray. I worked on the two main metas on the map and the volatile magic nodes.

Rubi: Alright, well, let's start where we ended in the last segment with Kralkatorrik fight because that was-that was huge. Like that was a lot, a lot of work. And you still look a little shell-shocked.

Cameron: It's-it's a little hard to believe that it's out, right? Like, we've been dealing with this development for-for so long and he's been such a huge and-and rewarding challenge to work on, um, and it doesn't feel like it's out. Feels like there's more to do, but there's not. It's kind of mindbending.

Rubi: You do have other work to do, so please stay. But, well, tell me a little bit about what it was like getting this huge dragon and this fight up and running

Cameron: Well, man, I think the the hardest-hardest challenge that we had at the very beginning was how are we going to fight something that big?

Clayton: Yeah.

Cameron: And so we...

Clayton: Do you remember the original pitches that we had?

Cameron: Yes. Yes, I do.

Rubi: I don't.

Cameron: We we thought about like hey what if you like drawed him into this place and just like shot him in the head with like a huge, like, cannon or-or if you just like executed him with like a bolt gun or you dropped, like, these pillars on him. And every single time that we would, you know, just sit in a room and talk about this, we were like yeah but... time and money.

Clayton: Time, yeah. We also thought about, like, jumping on him. I don't know if you mentioned that. There is-we went through a lot of different kind of iterations and our main goal-one of our main goals was to just make you feel like you were definitely the one doing the damage. That you had-you were-had that face-to-face-the "face-to-face" with him as close as possible. Um, and yeah.

Cameron: Yeah, we definitely wanted to make sure that you didn't feel like there was some magical thing that was doing the damage to Kralkatorrik. That it was you and it was your weapons and anything that you interacted with was only possible because you were there and you were doing it or Aurene was there and Aurene was doing it.

Clayton: He's a huge elder dragon, right? So, like also needed to be believable that, like, enough damage was done to him that it felt like he could be hurt, right? So, like, thinking about all the different ways that the whole, like, team, like, the-the different heroes in our story, like, contributed to that damage. Yeah, that was a big factor.

Cameron: We really wanted it to feel like the-the all-out battle. You're bringing the best of the best to this and you're doing everything that you possibly can, and we wanted to show that a lot too with, like, damaged states to them and then seeing his body just starting to crumble, and the places where you're fighting him are breaking, and you're really getting that visceral feeling of taking down one of the biggest baddies of this whole franchise. Yeah, and I think it went well. Kinda well.

Clayton: People seem to like it.

Andrew: It didn't end so well, but.

Clayton: Yeah.

Cameron: Yeah, yeah. You know, you can't always get what you want.

Clayton: Mhmm.

Cameron: But we actually have a couple of pictures here from early in development. Marcus-Marcus Jackson was the-the creature artist for this and he had been working so long on trying to figure out how exactly Kralkatorrik was going to look for the first time that we were going to be up close in-person with him. At the end of path fire, we had a Kralkatorrik kind of up in the sky and he was a little bit more of his ethereal kind of stormy form and you saw his head, and you saw a little bit of his neck, but you weren't close enough to really get the details. And so for this episode in particular, we knew okay you're gonna be really, really close to him so let's redesign him from the ground up. Keep some of those, like, very important elements like his huge chin.

Clayton: Yeah, it got bigger from this picture, by the way. They, I think, to-I don't know-balance out his giant horns on the back. I just-I remember at some point, his chin just like clipping into the rocks, and we're like, uh, okay that's one way to tell they definitely increased the neck.

Cameron: Yeah, so we sent him over to the plastic surgeon and then yeah.

Andrew: All of his powers are stored in his chin. The more powerful he gets, the bigger his chin gets. That's the secret.

Cameron: Yeah, so that was one of hte first pictures that we got back of, like, one of the more detailed sculpts. And I just remember first getting that email with that picture and all of us just, like, crowded around each other's computers and looked at the picture and was just like "oh my god it's so cool," and then immediately "how are we gonna do this?"

Rubi: Excitement followed by terror.

Cameron: Yeah, and so...

Clayton: These are definitely the highlights of game development, right? Like because you're almost like the consumer who's like "hey art, we would really like this cool thing." And then like "here you go" and you're like gasp. <clapping> Yeah it's like crazy, you know. I mean you got the thing you want. right?

Cameron: It happened!

Clayton: Yeah, yeah.

Cameron: Yeah, and-and this was going to take so long that we knew that we were going to have to figure out how to develop his look and his feel in-game and through gameplay-through a different means. And so one of the first things we did was we kind of created a low-poly model-no textures really-and just kind of used that for animation, and you can kind of get a sneak peak here if you haven't seen it yet in-game-you should go do it. But this is Kralkatorrik's

Rubi: Why are you watching this show? I told you.


Rubi: Well that's what this was.

Cameron: He may have eaten a giant balloon and then traffic cone.

Rubi: I forgot that that's what this was. And then he blows a really big bubble.

Cameron: Yeah, and I-I remember working with Ron Harvey, the animator, on this and him shooting this over to me within like a day, right, of just like "hey you know, how's this look" and like, like Clay[ton] was saying earlier: it's a bit like, you know, opening up a Christmas present on Christmas morning. You'd just be like "oh, it just looks so good." Yeah, yeah and that is...

Rubi: That is terrifying.

Cameron: It's come so far.

Clayton: Yeah.

Cameron: And then another thing that we really wanted was-we wanted to have his-his mass and his weight really shown in the content, you know. This is-this is one of the biggest creatures ever in our world and, so, we weren't really content with just, you know, like, putting him into a cavern and having him, you know, just like move around. We wanted to show him crashing into objects and destroying them and so James Barr worked-the prop artist here-and I just kind of sat down and talked about this and James was like "yeah you know I can-I can probably do that with a-with a couple of, you know, tricks and tweaks and smoke and mirrors, and he-he sent this over to us, and this is another one of those things that's, like, I didn't even realize we could do this in our engine. Yeah this is just mind-blowing and he just really knocked it out of the park.

Rubi: Yeah, that looks incredible. Um, doing this-doing this boss fight, cuz you would talk to me a little bit about how this is a prop boss but on a much bigger scale.

Cameron: Yes.

Rubi: A terrifying scale.

Cameron: Man, prop bosses. So that is-that is our internal name. I don't know if-if players kind of call it that as well, but if you've fought the big creatures in our world like The Shatterer, Tequatl, the-the Ice Wurm at the beginning of the Norn starting area-those are all prop bosses. And the difference between that and a creature is that a creature kind of uses behavior intelligence to make decisions on the fly and prop bosses are very strict, and they follow a set of rules that they set themselves and they cannot break out of those set of rules. There's not a whole lot of, like, dynamic behavior. So one of the biggest challenges with Kralkatorrik is, you know, how do we make this really feel like a creature? Like it's this mad crazy elders right?

Rubi: Right.

Cameron: He's out for blood, and so Ron Harvey and I, again, the animator, we sat down and we just kind of plotted out all of the different animation states that Kralkatorrik was going to have and how he was going to move in the story of this instance. Kind of progressing through his movements and his animations, and in order to kind of chart that out and make sense of it, I ended up just making a flowchart of how this was going to work. So prop bosses work off of a set of states that they can be in at any point in time based on a number of conditions and the state has to play out to the very end before it can make another decision to go into another state. So we can't like have him just be in the middle of moving around and then just make a decision and do something and do an attack at the exact same time. So that was a bit of a challenge to figure out how to make it work and make it very responsive and feel like you are fighting this creature and he's fighting you back. So with this flowchart, this is kind of just a snippet of the larger picture we-we broke it down into his different major states which are these alerts. So his AlertA is the first thing that he does whenever he pulls into the cavern and that's your entrance at the very beginning. So he pulls into the cavern goes into his alert and then from there he can go into a number of other states where one of those might be "he pulls back and tries to break out of the cavern a little bit" and one of them might be like "he looks over at you and roars and lightning goes around." And we tried to keep those those interactions-those states-to about like four or five seconds or so-so that he could dynamically be moving through those and kind of just really feeling like a real creature. And so that then ends up going into okay you've got the resonance crystal charged, so you've got to hit that. And one of the first challenges we saw with the system was that going from "I am sitting like this and I'm roaring and blah" to "I am over here and just kind of stunned in the corner." We needed a transition animation to get over there, which meant that-that was also its own state because, you know, nothing's simple.

Rubi: Not this guy.

Cameron: So this-this very quickly blew up too like a huge proportion. I think, in total, he's got like 21 different states and in those states they could have, like, anywhere between, like, five to seven sub-states. It's crazy and somehow it works, right?

Rubi: You actually had to create new tech for him...

Cameron: Yes.

Rubi: work.

Cameron: So, fun fact, animation-blending-which is a really common thing that we do to make animations really smooth-whenever you're going from, like, a walking animation to whenever you're idle, or whenever you're like running around, and then you do an attack-that didn't exist for prop bosses. So the animator had to painstakingly make sure that each animation that was going to go into each other ended and started on the exact same frame.

Rubi: Oh my gosh.

Cameron: And we we were dealing with this for about like what like a month and a half, two months and then one of our programmers, Alina Chadwick, was just like "I can do that," and then just, you know, provided it and we were like, oh my god, because that saves us. This saves us so much time.

Rubi: Because she's amazing.

Clayton: Yeah.

Cameron: Yeah.

Clayton: Rockstar.

Cameron: They are wizards. I don't know how they do it. It's just magic and it did save us a lot of time, so we got new tech for that. We got the ability to kind of make sure that triggers fired even if the animation blending was happened-happening. It's a lot.

Rubi: Right?

Cameron: It's a lot.

Rubi: Worth it.

Cameron: Yeah. Oh yeah, definitely I think so.

Rubi: Yes that's a little bit of a closer look.

Cameron: Yeah, so-so we can see that he goes from his entrance to his alert. That sends him into his first loop of different alert variants that he can go through, and then that sends him into his Stun state where you're doing damage to him. And then that'll also take him to his "okay I'm gonna move further into the cavern and now I'm back at my alert" and this whole thing starts.

Rubi: And that's a whole other flowchart.

Cameron: Mhmm. Yeah.

Rubi: Um. Moving back a little bit from the technical side of that. The goal was to focus-something that you were telling me Clayton-the goal was to focus on more of the fight as a spectacle and that-like the spectacle of the fight-and feeling like you were actually having this fight and not just a thing you were watching and occasionally kind of half-heartedly contributing to.

Clayton: Right, yeah, yeah. Yeah, and I'm not sure like...

Rubi: There's-there's a lot that went into that. I mean this was just a whole different fight.

Clayton: Yeah, yeah. I mean, we had-we had Aurene branding him at one point. Cube stock[verification requested]. We had Sayida using her ships to attack him. You know, you have the spears being launched and attacking him. It was-it was pretty insane.

Rubi: Do you feel like it came out how you wanted it to?

Clayton: Yeah, oh yeah, yeah. We-it was a labor of love and I think, like, we-it hit our expectations if not more. And that's a credit to Cam and that's a credit to, like, all-everybody who worked on that. Like from cinematics to art to effects, creatures. Everyone just we had like a whole Kralkatorrik strike team and those those, like, set of rock stars just-they killed it and they did a really great job.

Cameron: Yeah we would meet like once every week or so while development was really hardcore and, uh, every now and then we would just come into the room and, like, things would just be on fire and we're like "we're never going to finish this. This is never gonna happen." But-but kudos to Kye, who was on here earlier, just keeping us in line and just keep chugging us forward and breaking things down and, you know, getting us through the hard times. Yeah, it's good stuff.

Rubi: You guys absolutely nailed it, so congratulations.

Cameron: Thanks.

Rubi: Seriously. Going back to something a little quieter but no less cool, um, I'm sorry but you have to have the thing now because we're gonna talk about Caithe's branding.

Andrew: Oh no.

Rubi: You can-you can click it one time that's all you need to do. It's okay.

Andrew: Alright.

Rubi: Frosty was like "don't give it to me."

Clayton: Alright, give it back now.

Andrew: Take it away. Uh, yeah, so in Chapter 3-I also worked on Chapter 3-I forgot.

Rubi: Oh god.

Andrew: We did a lot of things.

Clayton: We did a lot.

Rubi: You're busy. It's okay.

Andrew: We knew that we wanted-Caithe has a very close bond with Aurene and we knew we wanted to expand upon that, so early on in development we had the idea of: what if Aurene branded her? And that, of course, spawned a lot of conversations of like well is that technically possible? And it's funny, like, you actually hear at one point Taimi having a sort of internal debate, really, because nobody's responding to her, like, well-how is that possible? She's a dragon minion. Does that mean-is it because Modremoth?

Rubi: Oh yeah.

Andrew: That was basically our meeting


Andrew: communicated through Taimi and we definitely feel like-like all the pieces are there. Like, we might not go into the intricate details of it in an episode cuz it's gonna bring everything to a screeching halt but, yeah, like we wanted Aurene to speak but not just out and speak. So giving her a spokesperson and somebody who's she's so close to made a lot of sense.

Rubi: Yeah, alright, so there are a number of different looks on here.

Andrew: Yeah, um, so Bo-one of our character artists-went through a lot of iterations. We definitely wanted to play into the bioluminescence that the Sylvari naturally have.

Rubi: Yeah.

Andrew: But also add some Aurene flavours in there and the-the flowers were actually something that I don't know that we actually ever asked for initially, or they just were in one of the concept arts but we really latched onto that because it-it really sort of blends the two aesthetics together really well.

Clayton: Though if I remember correctly it was definitely like a core piece that we wanted from the get-go because that-that moment were we knew when Aurene died that the flowers were going to just like fall.

Andrew: Right, right.

Clayton: Like we wanted that to definitely be incorporated and foreshadowed when she was branded.

Rubi: Yeah, watching-watching those flowers crumble was...

Clayton: Right?

Rubi: ...that was a moment.

Clayton: I believe that was an all-new animation as well.

Andrew: Oh yeah.

Clayton: For Caithe to fall to her knees, right? Her falling to the knees and everything-all that was a custom animation.

Rubi: Alright, so that brings us to the hard part and we round that corner and we see "Oh things are actually not OK" and I want to call this out because I have been wishing that I remember-that I remember clearly enough and that I had marked it on the calendar or something, but Cam was the one who told me that this was going to happen and do you remember when that conversation in the kitchen was?

Cameron: Yeah, it's been a while. That that must have been back in like May or June.

Rubi: Yeah, it's been that long and I had this moment just like standing there-all the good meetings happen in the kitchen. Do you notice that?


Cameron: We're more at ease, you know? Talking, food, drinks.

Rubi: Yeah. And that's where we all run into each other.

Andrew: It's also less awkward than in the bathroom.

Cameron: That's for sure. Well, it's only awkward if you make it awkward.

Andrew: Sure, sure.


Rubi: I'm just-wow.

Cameron: Yes, that was-that was a-that was a rough scene. The impetus for that scene is pretty cool. We had a-we had this outline of everything that we wanted to do with the episode as a whole,. and as we were going through development, kind of earlier on, the cinematics team eventually got to a point of where they just came to us and told us: hey, there are so many cool things that we want to do in this episode and we just don't have the time to do them all. This episode would just-you know-take forever. And so the conversation initially was like "okay, well you know what do we cut?" Well, we can't cut Kralkatorrik. We can't cut that ending, so you know, is Caith's branding gonna have to get cut? Are we gonna have to show that in game? Um, you know are there things that we're gonna have to take out of the story as a whole? And there's a bit of a scramble for a little while and you know there there are a lot of really great games that came out in 2018 that really inspired me to try and put the narrative moments-the moments that are gonna like really affect you as a player-into gameplay so that you can experience them, so that you are moving forward and you're not just watching a movie play out. You are living that moment.

Rubi: Yeah.

Cameron: And so I-I talked to some of the narrative people. I talked to Clay and I was just like: let me-let me just whip up something in like a couple of days, I'll put something together that's really, really rough you know-no polish at all-and let's see if this is something that we might be able to do, right?

Clayton: And we weren't sure how much like budget resource we're gonna be able to put that on. I remember us having that conversation I was like: put this in the chamber because if we need to go this route like this is something really good as the safety net to have.

Cameron: And-and initially, we actually thought it was going to take a lot less work than it ended up taking because we just decided like we latched onto that and we were like "oh, this is awesome. How much can we push?" Right, you know how much can we-can we really make this a unique experience in Guild Wars 2 and so the first initial looks at it, like the narrative team loved it and Tom Abernathy, our narrative director, was just like yes this is awesome let's do it. That was really inspiring and-and so I worked really closely with the cinematics team, they helped out and gave a lot of resources for new animations like we were saying. Like when Caithe falls to the ground and flowers just kind of explode out of her hands and dissipate-that was all unique animation.

Rubi: Thank you, cinematics.

Cameron: Yeah. Da-Hee Im, Chelsey Shuder, those-those guys are awesome. That whole team was just incredible to work with and we had weekly reviews where we would just get into a room and we would just pick at it and poke at it and figure out, you know like, maybe this line's not working here and it just got down to the very nitty-gritty details of like: what if it was point eight seconds into this that the line was said instead of point eight five.

Rubi: Right, well, that level of detail and that was the thing that struck me when you were telling me about this because the thing that really resonated with me at that point was: you were saying this is going to happen and there's so much that needs to be done and there's so much that needs to be figured out to do this right and to do it well and to do it the justice that it deserves.

Cameron: Yeah, it's definitely one of those moments...

Rubi: That's such a huge weight.

Cameron: ...that can-it's easy to fail, right? It's a really hard moment that-this is a character that most of the community has really been invested in three years.

Rubi: Yeah, well yeah, that hatching was such a huge deal back in the day.

Cameron: Yeah, yeah. All the way back from like season two, right, you know? It was-it was daunting and we knew we were gonna make some people very unhappy but I-I'm very proud of the team and what we were able to do.

Rubi: You should be.

Cameron: Because watching those those day one reactions and seeing people genuinely feel the sorrow and the pain of that loss, uh, you know I made the joke earlier, like, yes... But honestly yeah, it's-it's just like: yes, we did it! We affected them!

Rubi: Well, and...

Andrew: I's not like reveling in their sadness. It's-it's having that sort of emotional response to a game is just what we strive for and then we strive for joy, but there are other emotions out there.

Clayton: It's interesting because like a lot of people-I think I was reading the chat earlier-they're like did you bookend the Glint's, like, death scene with Aurene's death scene? And yeah, that was-that was on purpose. And this episode was an emotional roller coaster and to see someone like Aurora Peachy like cry-kind of like sad but like it's because Aurene's cute and she's like cuddling up and then, like, we see her, like, the sorrow at the end, like, and all the different emotions in-between, like, we were watching the different streamers-like the whole, like, floor was-and just feeling that with them and it was a highlight of my career...

Cameron: Yeah.

Clayton: see people just like laugh all together and like just sigh all together and clap all together. It was-it was awesome.

Rubi: Well, that's the thing that we-and we say this so much but this really, really brings that out-we do this-all of this exists for you guys. We do this for you and, yeah, all of Tuesday was "it's finally in front of them. did we do it? did we nail it? did we get it right?"

Clayton: Yeah. So scary.

Rubi: Yeah, so much. You guys had to have been so stressed out on Tuesday. But that's like you said we had that conversation in May and June and it was already weighing on you guys then. How are we going to-how are we going to convey every split-second of this? How are we gonna get this exactly right for you guys. And spending all of-so many people spent all of Tuesday just watching all of you and watching reactions and I know I was-I was pulling reactions and sharing them with you guys and at one point I think all three of you were probably at the table and I was like: listen, I'm really sorry if I'm spanning-spamming your email. And there's like six devs going: more, give us more. It was-it was amazing to finally get it in front of the community and see I think-I think we got it right.

Cameron: Yeah, this was a labor of love from so many different people. From, like, FX artists like Scott Allan working on making sure that the the ambience and that scene was correct. To our map artists Megan Glinton[verification requested] working really hard on the the level design and making sure that the pacing was correct and that it was just the right amount of room that you needed to walk towards. To the amazing writing-when Samantha Wallschlaeger came to me with the first draft of the script I was just like: this is great. If you're asking me for approval this it. Done.

Andrew: Ship it.

Rubi: Fantastic.

Cameron: And-and it just, it-it was something that a lot of, you know, you-a lot of game developers will say is that games are greater than the sum of their parts and this was I think one of the highest caliber of that statement.

Rubi: Um, shoutout to our amazing voice actors, too, because...

Cameron: Oh, yes.

Rubi: ...they had such a huge hand in this and they knocked it out of the park.

Cameron: Yes, Debi Derryberry right?

Rubi: As Taimi.

Cameron: Yes, oh my gosh. When she-when we first heard her cry and saying "no, no, Aurene," I had to walk away from my computer.

Rubi: Yep, yep that was-I did not see that recording in person and I'm sort of glad because, yeah, I couldn't-I couldn't have coped with that. But Sam Riegel as Braham and we had you know Sayida and you've got this whole-you're doing this walk down the corridor, which I also want to talk about because there was a-the walk animation down that corridor.

Cameron: Yes, uh...

Rubi: Was a thing.

Cameron: So this-back whenever I said we didn't think that it was going to take as much work as it did-uh, initially we were just going to use the cripple animation and the-the more that we poked at it, the more that we looked at it: it just didn't really convey the tone that we wanted, especially for-for certain races where the animation was-it was almost comical. And so we tried slowing it down, we tried just like tweaking it a little bit and ultimately Da-Hee, the animator for this scene or the primary animator for this scene, just was like: "you know what, no. Let's do a whole animation set for walking down this path specific to this scene and she did a-an amazing job." We first tested it with a human female and we were like "yep, this is right."

Rubi: Seriously, thank you, Da-Hee.

Cameron: And that just added so much to the feeling of isolation.

Rubi: Yeah.

Cameron: And that you-you lost. You didn't quite know how badly you had lost.

Rubi: Yeah and that I-even down to like that fall and that painful getting back up.

Clayton: Yes, the amount of time it takes for an animator to get a suite like that done speaks to the volume of that moment's importance because it's not very long relative to the rest of the content in the episode, right?

Rubi: It felt so long.

Clayton: But it's impactful, yeah. And like you were saying, she has to do that for the female human and then every other combo, right? And, like yeah, that's-that stacks up real quick and we don't have the largest budget, you know? I mean, like, that is a thing that we have to consider when working with the new episodes like, okay, this is gonna be part of our animation budget right?

Cameron: Yeah, and it's-it's something that you-you see for like five minutes.

Clayton: Right, right, yeah. Yeah, it's-it was awesome. It's really well done.

Rubi: I wanted to shout out that just-shout out to the design of corridor as well. Because you can't-and this is a thing that I've done before. I found myself doing this [Rubi turns her head]. It turns out that doesn't work. But it was deliberately designed so you can't see until you hit that moment.

Cameron: Yeah, we painstakingly made sure that it was impossible to see Aurene until you were right there, until you already knew what was coming. Because we wanted to keep you guessing, we wanted to keep you kind of trying to convince yourself that no, this-no thing-things are gonna be okay. No, we're not done. No, she's not.

Clayton: But there was also like, in like, just that whole scene like a-and Tom [Abernathy] has a lot of-our narrative director-has a lot of experience with, like, staging and stuff like that for, like, Broadway shows and stuff like that.

Rubi: Yeah, Tom's very good.

Clayton: Amongst a couple other people. And like that was a huge thing to consider, like, where is everyone? How close are they relative to each other? Where's Braham? Where's Caithe? Like, how, when you turn this corner, what is it that you see?

Cameron: Yeah, and every little change and just where someone has placed was just a domino effect. Because we were like: okay, well, let's move this character a little bit more that way. Well, the environment doesn't really work for this but we really like this placement of the characters so, Megan, can you go back? I know you've been doing this a lot and we just did that over and over and over and it's just, like, that one little crystal that's pointing that way can you like-like turn it like this?

Rubi: Just a little bit.

Clayton: Such a trooper though. Yeah, it was awesome.

Cameron: I think we owe her a beer.

Clayton: A six pack.

Rubi: Well, I feel like Tuesday-Tuesday was so gratifying. It just. You guys, you did it. You really, really did it. Um, watching the reactions, the vast majority was "how dare you" and "thank you."

Clayton: Yeah.

Rubi: It was like this combined thing. Well, and I told Cameron-I told Cameron I think yesterday when we were tweeting like, hey, Guild Chat's coming. And somebody-one of the first replies was literally how dare you and I-I was like, well, we're gonna be answering questions so hopefully that answered your question of how dare you? With-with a ton of time and effort and love.

Cameron: Yeah, it's definitely one of those things. Well, first off, I want to give a-another shoutout to the audio team. Because they came in and brought that entire scene to another level. It was just-it was wonderful to see their work just make the whole space feel alive.

Rubi: Yeah, if you haven't-if you haven't listened to the audio and that absolutely painstaking crippled walk through the corridor, do so, because, well-and even before that, I mean, right from the moment where Aurene jumps in and takes on Kralkatorrik head-to-head is-the whole thing is just unbelievable. So yeah, if you haven't listened to that, make sure you do so.

Cameron: Set it to default.

Rubi: Set your audio to default-it's like the slogan of this episode.

Cameron: Yeah.

Clayton: It was just great, like, jumping in the world and, like, listening to players like like stuff and like with like and we just take it all to heart. Like, every little bug that creeps in-we're just like guh.

Cameron: It ruins the whole experience!

Clayton: We're like guh. And we're like-we're definitely giving praise to a lot of people, like, I just want to loop it also back to the players of, like, appreciating their, like, comments and their love and, like, their support throughout everything and during so like that that's what makes us feel like we're on a high right now. That feels really good, yeah.

Cameron: You know, I parked my character right outside of that entrance and I was just, like, okay now I wait.

Rubi: Here we go.

Clayton: I was like throwing fireworks everywhere. Like, as people were going, have fun.

Cameron: I know you're going to cry later and I'm sorry for that.

Rubi: Wait, were you in the Durmand Priory or did you go onto Thunderhead Peaks?

Clayton: No, I was in Lornar's Pass as people were jumping into that waypoint. Seeing them all like run through.

Cameron: And I was-I was outside of the entrance to All Or Nothing, or The Crystal Dragon.

Rubi: Okay, yeah. I do, yeah.

Cameron: Though we were shepherding players into that experience and then just like being there with cookies and milk and hugs.

Clayton: A lot of people would come out of that instance and instantly /cry.

Cameron: Yeah.

Clayton: Notice that there's a bunch of ArenaNet tags and be like "why?" Just like cause we're like up high. And we're just like we're sorry, /hug?

Cameron: Or just immediately just be like "Why?! That's not it. No!"

Rubi: We have seen, yeah, we've seen a lot of that in that compilation video we showed during the transition earlier. That was a huge thing but, yeah, congratulations.

Cameron: Thank you.

Rubi: So speaking of Thunderhead Keep and Thunderhead Peaks and this enormous nostalgia bomb, thank you. Let's talk about that a little bit-about bringing Thunderhead into the future, making it look good but still allowing for the passage of time because that was a whole big thing. I think you have to give him the thing back.

Andrew: Again?

Rubi: I know. Or you can just do it for him, but whatever.

Clayton: We can't have nice things.

Rubi: I mean there-but there was a lot of work put into that.

Andrew: Yes, our map artist, Dan. To back up a bit, when we first realized we were going to Thunderhead Keep, all these guys-I wasn't there that day-but these guys all grouped up and what was it that you guys...?

Clayton: Yeah, we we decided to play the old GW1 campaigns Thunderhead Keep and I-we all decided to role play as NYSNC because one of the characters that had like the cornrows kind of like thing, so I was Justin Timberlake, I think. Kye was Lance Bass and like we just made those characters. Melina guided us through because she's like an OG GW1 player and so she told, like, what gear to get and, like, toured us through the place-it was a lot of fun and Dan took copious notes and he even went back to like YouTube's and Let's Plays and watched it over and over and made sure that like he could get as close to one-to-one with our map as the original map with also, you know, even, like, also allowing to-to-the space to grow and evolve naturally, so yeah.

Andrew: So this right here is the the Dwarven city area if you played Guild Wars 1. Imagine some Dolyak Riders and some Stone Summit in there, and it'll look a little bit more familiar. And obviously, like, the-the graphics have-have evolved a bit over the years and you can see that there's more cloud cover and everything, but if you look through that you can see that the actual geometry is very similar here. Same here, this is the another part of the city-I should probably go a little bit slower, sorry. This is...

Rubi: Somebody take that away from-who gave him that?

Andrew: I told you about the button-pushing.


Andrew: This is another view of the city portion. This is sort of south of the city-this is the path you took to get to the city in Guild Wars 1, I believe this is down near the Zephyrite Docks in the Guild Wars 2 map.

Clayton: This is where basically the Troy Baker skritt-his event started.

Andrew: Okay.

Clayton: For those people who don't know, Troy Baker is the one that voice-that skritt and also a lot-he's got a really great range. He's so talented. People know that, right, but, like, yeah, he's that's skritt's voice.

Andrew: Yeah, there was a lot of good skritt stuff in this episode, I'm gonna say...

Rubi: So much good skritt stuff.

Andrew: ...and which was nice-there's obviously a couple dark notes in this episode if you hadn't noticed, so having some-some light-hearted stuff mixed in there was nice and the skritt are always a good comedic relief. And they are also part of the Pact and they were actually able to come here and help out a bit. Yeah, so here's another view. This is the bridge-the bridge has evolved a little bit. Props have gotten better as well, but you can see again it's the same general flow of the map and this one-this one really shows it, I think.

Rubi: Yeah, um, and we'll get to that one.

Andrew: Ooh, outtakes. That sounds exciting.

Rubi: Yeah, you guys you did a really good job with Thunder- I just I can't stop calling it Thunderhead Keep but you know.

Andrew: We had a big old thing about that.

Clayton: I don't even remember the first one but it was just placeholder right too. What was it called?

Andrew: It was Thunderhead...

Clayton: Range.

Andrew: Thunderhead...

Clayton: Thunderhead Crown.

Andrew: Yeah, there were like 8 different variationsand then at some point we would finally have consensus and then one person would come over and be like "uhhh" (disgusted face).

Clayton: I think Cam and I had like. We have a very great relationship so like when- I'll just start with that. So when Cam turns around with his face like "Cascades" and I go "NO!". And we go into this crazy fake battle at like 9:00 in the morning without coffee about why Cascades is a bad name. And then people just start overhearing and they slowly flood in.

Cameron: Just because it's the name of a place doesn't mean it's also not a noun!

Clayton: No, doesn't work! Thunderhead Peaks!

Andrew: There is a whole lot of trying to look up "Is that a proper name for a mountain or is that a descriptive name? Is that an adjective, or?"

Clayton: There's a lot, and every day just felt like someone would come over and be like, "I see you've changed it. I have this problem with it."

Andrew: And I'd still go over at least once.

Rubi: I think you guys are just like, "well, life is hard."

Clayton: Yeah, and as per usual, narrative comes in to save the day because they collect all the feedback and go "hmmm, Peaks" (decisively) and we're like yeah, right, that's great.

Rubi: We're extremely tired; that seems fine.

Cameron: It's such a nice juxtaposition to episode two, where the first name ever for the map, Sandswept Isles, we were like, "Yeah, that's good."

Andrew: Domain of Istan, pretty easy. Because it was Istan.

Rubi: Why couldn't you do that this time? Were you saving up all the angst for this one thing?

Andrew: The Keep itself is an actual part of the map. It's the actual Keep part in the north, and so that was named Thunderhead keep so we could use it as a point of interest. And you can't have a point of interest and a map of the same name, for reasons...

Clayton: Thunderhead Mountains didn't seem as grandiose or epic enough. And Cascades clearly is not the right one. Every other option had a problem.

Andrew: That, or everyone was just done fighting.

Rubi: Again, we are very tired.

Cameron: No more energy.

Rubi: We are done here, we are over this. I'm sorry, I'm stuck on "you can't have two things with the same name".

Andrew: The Keep itself a nice transition to that. We did want to make that as true to the original fight as possible because, more so than most other places I can think about, when you think about the location you actually more think about the gameplay from the original game, because this was the hardest mission in the original campaign when it when it was launched. I think we probably toned it down a few times since launch.

Clayton: And then hard mode!

Andrew: Yeah. This place was so hard that monks actually went on strike. The healers went on strike.

Clayton: The Monk Strike!

Andrew: They were like "We are tired of you guys overextending and blaming us because you go die. Stop shooting each other with the ballistas!" They just had enough.

Rubi: I've been meaning to ask you because I have not had time to look myself. Is there friendly fire with the ballistas?

Andrew: There is not. It's a hard rule that you can't have friendly fire in Guild Wars 2. Because it's a true MMO, where it's an open world you don't choose your friends that you go with. It's a little bit easier for unsavory folk to ruin other people's experience.

Rubi: You're looking at me like I'm the unsavory folk!

Andrew: No! No. I mean, you're the one asking if you can shoot your friends with a ballista, so. But yeah, the general flow of the Keep meta was deliberately made to to be reminiscent of the original flow. You start by retaking it, then you defend against a hold out. The element where you go out and kill the riftstalkers is a bit different because you know there's portals and and displaced Sylvari houses and such, but that was supposed to sort of be a tie-in to the original side objective, where you'd run out and try to save some Dwarfs that are off. Or, you know, shoot them with a ballista, if that's your thing.

Rubi: I wouldn't.

Andrew: So we wanted to stay true to that and then end it with a with a big epic boss fight. And then we got that new Wrathbringer model for that fight.

Clayton: Fun fact, Caithe was originally supposed to be in that fight, right?

Raw Transcript [1:49:10][edit]

Yeah, so originally we had hoped to have Caithe also be involved in
that because then it could be a little
bit more of all the present members of
Destiny's Edge to all go together but it
just sort of ended up being a problem
because we had actual open-world
story steps where you need to speak to
Caithe and we never really want to have a
situation where Caithe's not here right
yeah okay this is Oh or or like
somebody's like I'm talking to Caithe
over here and they're like wait a minute
Caithe's over here does that mean she's
actually a Mesmer clone you know we
don't need that there's a slice of time
I think it case would have had to been
branded at that point yeah there's also
that like she would you do a pre chapter
three or post chapter three so yeah it
didn't it didn't work out but but we did
get some good banter between Logan and
Kanak yes so it's great yeah Andrea and
rate lock now victoriously yeah oh yeah
it's Friday names one of his minds after
a red lock because he says I call this
one RIT Lock brimstone because he's it's
temperamental but effective oh and that
is the the meta where the scrit come to
help you out with the
screwed on tags yeah any time we can
have screwed on pegs that's a win
yeah yeah yeah the dialog there is great
like at one point I was like do I want
to set this dialogue to play for the
entire event radius and then I'm like
well most people are gonna be over by
the rift stalkers the only way they're
gonna hear it we gather here in it is a
very loud screech everyone everyone gets
to hear that moment I just need to say
any time you can have screwed on pigs
it's a twin it's like my favorite thing
from this whole show today oh really
really thank you the last segment you're
asking where that started from so I
think pacifiers launch was the first
time we had screwed okay I think right
because we had the race yes great was
yeah that was the first one I saw it I
was like hey we did that yeah that's
amazing well I mean I think it couldn't
have been before feather fire that's
right yeah it's great on a pig taunting
us with mouths ha
before he mouths confirmed yeah
well you mentioned um the flow of the
meta and moving players around and that
was really deliberate wasn't it
yeah it was
there's the flow for the entire map is
kind of deliberate where we want people
to have moments where they're hey
everybody come together to do this thing
and we do that both right around
midnight in game time and then also
right around dawn in game time for the
southern one but then we also wanted
moments between those where it's like
okay now spread out and do more small
group content or do your solo thing go
craft your dragons blood weapons just
just general downtime yeah but there's a
lot of connectivity between all of the
events during those down times I don't
even know people really I've realized
yet but all those events actually tie
together and then at the end of them you
unlock I believe it's a merchant or yeah
there's a vendor there's a vendor that
you can unlock in and the thing if you
if you do all that if you go rescue
pepper seed in the ice what's called the
Snow Valley yeah yeah defendants fwrite
doc help them keep their supplies so
it's not so much as unlock just because
I don't want people think that there's
not a guy there but like it's a vendor
that will not end up going away if you
if you start to fail those events
writing because then this if the city
gets taken over that vendor is gone and
that vendor sells an insignia which is a
key component to crafting your dragons
blood weapons and I I was on last night
talking to people like why would you and
like it's they want to know why we would
split that and the reason was to give
the city the feeling of weight and like
the need to not want it to fall among
that is like other heart tasks that will
just be increasingly harder if that city
were to fall and the corruptor was
branded and stuff like that so sorry any
danger oh yeah like you said we wanted
to put emphasis on the importance of
like supply lines because like a lot
there's a lot of supply lines in our map
but there's not usually a lot of
consequences of the supply lines are
broken right and in this case we wanted
a really show like no this is dangerous
out here you need to help these guys get
from point A to point B so we can keep
everything flowing smoothly yeah yeah
and it's good cuz like those downtime
that's when you want to be doing those
events are going the catacombs to like
getting your daily like chests and stuff
like that yeah I think I think it worked
out pretty well I like the flow a lot
yeah well knowing that it was that much
thought went into it and well like
there's anything in this episode that a
ton of thought didn't go into but yeah
having that and it feels like it worked
out really well and it feels like
everything's kind of flowing the way
it's supposed to yeah that was that was
awesome okay one less thing I want to
talk about and that's Easter eggs in the
game and then we'll take some questions
from you guys have them and you haven't
put them in do that now and we will get
to some of those at the end cuz there
are I think isn't there a jade armor so
I put a jade armor at the top of that
ice cave like destroyed whatever in a
mastery point there cuz like frosty was
saying like back in gob won one of the
things was the mursaat and they had jade
armor that was anything yeah yeah yeah
so I wanted like just throw that in
there for anybody and I've seen some
people on forums like mention that
they're like why is there a branded Jade
or whether that's not right yeah yeah
they're just purple yeah yeah why Jade
is purple
different time because hush
Clayton tell me about the white rabbit
yes okay so a little while back you and
I went to Gamescom and that was an
amazing experience because we got to
meet so many different yes so fun yeah
and I enjoyed it like all but there was
one a couple fans in particular guild
that like we're telling me a story about
gw1 they're like why don't you have this
like white rabbit wait really
what are you talking about he's like
well an argued then gee we won we would
tell new recruits as like their exercise
is to go follow that white rabbit and
they would go follow it and follow it
and follow it and then it would turn it
there's like giant monster and kill him
there look boy I killed me they're like
yes you died welcome to the table like
that yeah I was like that that's amazing
that you took something like that and
you incorporated in your own like guild
structure well and if you're not
familiar this is when I have the North
came out that was that was actually my
introduction today I of the North and
again I am NOT okay but you followed
this little white rabbit into the cave
and there were there were a bunch of
white rabbits I can't remember I don't
remember either
I didn't play and 250 it was like this
little winding path that you went down
you died that's for sure yeah yes until
you learned right but it was full of I
want to say innocent little white
rabbits I know I can't see chat but I'm
sure if I'm wrong you guys have this and
you get all the way to the bottom and
they all turn against you and it's awful
so yeah and in my house I was like
that's an amazing story in my head I was
like if I have an opportunity to like
bring something like that of a fan swish
right to get that in game definitely and
we got luck you know for this episode to
have the opportunity so I talked to
Charlie our programmer and I was like do
you like we have to find an area it has
to be white rabbit and like have them
like walk a path and then turn that
giant Jackalope okay yeah no I was like
I love it I love it alright see you guys
at Gamescom that was for you yeah yeah
you know who you are
yeah alright I lost track of who has the
thing I do it okay the power let's let's
look at the outtakes because we have a
couple and Cameron I love this please
first tell me the file name
the file name was okay so Kralkatorrik
is a big boy thank you and so one of the
first things we did is we tried to like
see how much room we needed in a giant
cavern to fit his model so you know I
went into our map at a program and I
just popped him down in there and where
I had placed him his teeth started
clipping into the props and I just I I
just burst out laughing
I just couldn't contain it so I had to
take a picture of this yeah this you
know maybe one day we'll have an elder
dragon that uh that may look like this
we have rough days it's like this stuff
that gets you through yeah yeah we we
respond with like probably more laughter
than it really should elicit but it's
just it's wonderful stuff like this bad
roll with no collision so uh so we did
fix this but we we really wanted to put
in some sort of like cot or bed roll or
something for all of the different
armies to sleep on and when I when we
went into the game and put the
characters onto them they they didn't
quite use them as they should be
I really wanted to put like a
tempurpedic logo on this or something
you know really feel but it incredibly
deep sleep but yeah the fun fact about
this is in our engine it used to be that
if a if a prop that you placed in the
map was small enough then the engine
would be like yeah we don't need to
alter collision at all that doesn't need
collision and so Megan Glinton went in
and ended up fixing this for us but it
resulted in a lot of good photos like
what is that Doran doing
like how how does that work you becoming
one with the bed roll yes I love it
what Dan our environment you've seen
Dan's pee
if you've been on the forums you've
praised him this is just one more thing
that Dan likes to do which is put giant
yeah which puts Giants into our map and
I don't know it was one morning and I
was like testing out that Porter put the
mask you know and I just was like Dan
can you come to my desk please
it's like oh yeah I did that that's like
cool we gonna remove this around Judy
yeah apparently was in there for like a
month until I finally found it yeah and
Judy's just looking over us judgmental
eyes it's just some kids marble yeah
right yeah so this was fun
oh man what happened so this this is
really early on in development we were
trying to figure out you know okay
we need to have something for you to
fight whenever you're going through this
instance so what if we did like a Hydra
fight and when we placed some of the
props into the map because we were
thinking like oh it's heads are gonna
burst out of the ground and then like do
things and then come back down they they
stuck in a weird animation state and
it's a bad seafood yeah it looks like
New Year's Eve this is really Owen like
yeah the Hydra was gonna be more like a
boss yeah it was gonna be like the focus
of the last instance to kind of allow
you to have something to fight before we
were like well you just fight as well as
long as we're all here and the Hydra
stick anyway okay what it's man died he
put these in oh this is great
I was wondering I was worried that okay
so on that page okay that's awesome
yeah so animation bugs are the best yeah
right throughout development when when
we start trying to like figure out how
things are going to move sometimes just
like next yeah okay okay what have you
done yeah this is my favorite bug cuz it
always it always gets me when you are
trying to follow a leader you have to
set the leader it's like it's kind of
convoluted in the way you said of in the
way we script it so oftentimes everyone
is the leader and so no one knows who
the leader is it so this is what happens
when you tell a group oh yeah it's like
who's the leader who's the leader you're
the leader they're all trying to follow
each other and then this is yeah this is
the result it's just a very complicated
series of musical chair plays yeah
they're all trying
oh my gosh it's amazing all right so
sorry Brooke we wanted to tell one more
bug that seriously broke Cameron
frosty and I oh really we were trying to
in the final chapter when you get like
risen and you fly over conquer toric we
had a bug where he would rise up and
fall back down and we had no idea when
this started he didn't touch the scripts
I don't touch the scripts and it took us
like a day of just digging into like our
script logic and trying to figure out
and taking things off and taking things
off and we realized that someone had
changed a buff that you that we have in
the game that buff was removing the wind
tech that we have but we had no idea
that that was the case yeah
and so when we finally I think it was
mean it was like oh yeah I requested
some stuff that we're just like how did
this happen you're just like dying
laughing we went through all of those
scripts like just trying to find the
logic break we're like all of this makes
sense yeah why is this happening
and just for a solid day we were we were
thinking we were all crazy yeah we had
all the programmers over there they were
looking at it they were like no this is
fine frustrating yeah and just just on a
whim we're like all right just start
throwing stuff out and then it just
worked more like wait yeah we're like no
way you can't be it can't be that buff
it can't be that Bob there's no saying
oh yeah
nobody was mad we were just we just
broke we just cracked laughter is way
out of proportion yes yes we found out
what's happening like a solid a solid
minute-and-a-half of us just like dying
okay so one final question for you um
what was your absolute highlight of
development what was what was the
absolute best you have to pick one Oh
Frost he's like yeah I get the most time
I need to think about this I'll pass it
over for a second oh no are you going
no what happened oh hi okay me I said
this before it I think I would just
reiterate like watching when it goes
live watching everybody's reaction like
that was like not only the highlight of
the episode again highlight of my career
just like everybody on the floor like
laughing and sighing clapping and just
has one watching this whole thing uh so
originally I thought it would be the top
meta that I worked on I don't because it
was reinventing the original but
actually I think I had more fun working
on the bottom meta the the oil boss yeah
there's a lot of iteration on that one
we're just sort of evolved like at one
point I mistakenly thought that oil was
sticky and not slippery so so that was
an early change when somebody told me
how oil works yeah that was short see
it's like you know what is why am i
sticking in a portal like well you also
mentioned the water - right he's good
that's right watch my back cleaning it
up with water no it was weenie catches
on fire your script looks great yeah
you're dumb yeah I don't start fires
again how do you not start first like
mark is thing about mark is that mark is
an excellent cook and this is literally
killing him right now I mean as soon as
he said it I'm like well I know that now
I know that well
I won't steal clays answer but
definitely the the launch day reactions
were wonderful but I just have to say
like working with such a talented group
of artisans just like everybody coming
together and and doing something that we
we all thought was was gonna be crazy
and possible and having the help from
the team during like some really tough
where it's just like I'm not gonna have
a whole lot of time to do this can-can
one of you guys maybe help me out yeah
and and everybody was there and
everybody provided a lot of support in
any way that they could so just a big
shout out to the team anybody who
touched this this episode and entirely
there's a labor of love and you guys all
did a wonderful job that's awesome all
right well let's answer some questions
and there's some up here but I have one
specifically for you first okay because
I don't remember if you were in the room
or not but we held it over from the
first segment because somebody asked and
I like looked over to see you and
everybody was like stay tuned
so the charr chef they wanted to know if
that was a nod to anything and I was
like Oh Clayton
ya know it sure was I think cam and I
one morning what he was working on the
chef and I was like and he was I think
really he's gonna be a chars like wait
can you have an eyepatch can he be the
muscular most muscular model we have
yeah and and we had been playing a lot
of monsters yeah so we I just
immediately was like yeah yeah yeah and
that was just amazing cuz like we loved
that game and this was just our little
like love letter
you know you mean and like that
characters is enjoyable too well and I
didn't I hadn't seen him yet and then a
player tweeted a side by side like side
by side screenshots and that's when I
popped into your I am window please cuz
I'm a huge fan - and I was like hmm
I hope it's not insulting if I ask and
Clayton's like yeah that was super on
purpose yeah absolutely made my whole
week yeah and there's but yeah there's
been plenty of players that are like I
wonder and totally yeah he seems very
muscular flexing and stuff I love it
great that absolutely delighted me so
but yeah I mean that's we've talked
about that on the show before we all
play games and we have games that we
love and it's just it's just a part of
who we are shout out to Monster Hunter
okay so here questions I will let you
guys answer however you want
uh.well the awakened sylvari that's a
carryover from episode three that we
showed them originally and the question
is why why did you put awakened sylvari
in the last mission so so actually they
were intended to go into episode three
and something about their models I think
they were through breaking or crashing
whenever it turned a nighttime because
of the glow on their character models
and so it was something that was
unfortunately we had a cut and and
Connor Fallon actually told me about it
if I remember correctly and convinced me
and and a couple of the other writers to
just put these guys in and add a little
bit of lore I like it for deck seal
source vaults with all the different
plates was it inspiration behind it and
its creation um wow let's I mean we knew
dwarves the doorman characters well okay
so first of all was gonna be a meta and
then I was like one of the first things
we cut for a decks vault just that that
whole area the doorman categories but it
was always going to be about like
there's grave wings and there's always
gonna be doors and and we just wanted to
give a really fun exploration um kind of
area that you would do after the meta
and so that's where this was always
supposed to be Charlie our programmer
you'll remember his work if you played
episode 2 he did all those puzzles there
he really likes doing puzzles so we're
like Charlie go ham and just like create
some really fun puzzles and that one
will like we'll interweave that with
like the dwarf plate technology that we
added in the path of fire expansion and
yeah you did a really great job and like
the ghosts are the ones that are like
you know resetting everything because
they've you know they're crazy
thank you yeah that's what they do yeah
and yeah and we knew we wanted like a
fun kind of not really like jumping
puzzle but like a mountain exploration
area as well in there so yeah that was
also a just completed that last night it
was wonderful yeah yeah it's really good
I'm gonna say no then and I'm going to
thank you guys very very much you did
incredible work on this episode this was
thank you absolutely fantastic from
beginning to end and the player feedback
we've seen is overwhelmingly in the same
feeling so thank you all you nailed it
thank you all for your time today thank
you guys for all hanging out with us
today and for spending some time with us
I will let you guys get back to work and
thank you all for hanging out with us
and we will see you next time on guild

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