"fully branching single player storyline" in Guild Wars 2 is a "huge part" of the free-to-play MMO.
In fact it's "potentially the best RPG" we'll ever play, says Johanson, and that's "in the middle of an MMO." More solo games will embrace "light MMO elements".
"I think you’re starting to see everything headed more and more towards online connectivity, and elements that would traditionally only exists as offline components are slowly becoming online-orientated," noted ArenaNet's Colin Johanson.
"If you look at Guild Wars 2, we have a fully branching single player storyline that you can bring your friends along to experience it with you. That’s a huge part of Guild Wars 2. It’s potentially the best RPG you’ve ever played, and that’s in the middle of an MMO."
"Looking at games on consoles; there are more and more games coming out with light MMO elements like this," he continued.
Rockstar Games recently produced such a title with online connectivity. "Take Red Dead Redemption for example, when you got to make your posse and go out and play together. That’s a game that, traditionally, wouldn’t have had an online element to it."
"But studios are starting to add this kind of element to games, and the thing is, you’re going to see more of that as developers find new ways to take advantage of the online space." Online components for videogames today become a matter of necessity to survive.
"Games that have the highest retention rates are also the games that have online communities. These are games that you play with your friends, and that keeps people coming back for more," commented the lead content designer.
"This is also the same reason why people keep on coming back to MMOs. Many people say, ‘Well, I was going to play this game, but none of my friends are playing it. So I’ll play the game that all of my friends are playing instead.’"
"That sense of community and the bond that comes with playing among friends is powerful, and it keeps people invested in the games they play."
"You’re going to see more of that, as we already see it with phone games, iPad games, and all of that is turning increasingly towards online gaming too."
Guild Wars 2 will entered a closed beta phase before 2011 ends, affirms ArenaNet. Are you all tingly for the free-to-play sequel to hit your PC and circle of friends? Check out thebetween Colin Johanson, Theo Nguyen and NowGamer.