Now that we have had a chance to plant our roots into the Sylvari race thanks to the final BWE, we now have a solid grasp of what the race is all about. What many of us forget is that the Sylvari almost looked completely different. Not so long ago, they looked like humans with plant accessories. Not willing to settle for anything less than their best, ArenaNet decided that they could do better.
From the beginning, ArenaNet’s goal has been to ‘innovate’ and in the process of that innovation comes the challenge to question everything. They decided that although they were already years into the development process, it was time for a redesign.
Kristen Perry talked about the redesign process on the official blog and stated:
“The solution was to create an illusion of anatomy. The figure was not formed from a human with leaves on top of it, but rather a human shape made from grown plant parts. This originates from specific growth sockets. The primary growth socket starts at the small of the back, where a tail might grow. Like many fruits and vegetables, there are two ends: the main stem and the opposing divot (which makes a really good belly button). Graceful leaves sprout from the growth socket, curving around and through the body to simulate the desired musculature. I used stems and broad leaves to articulate the carpal tendons and the flesh of the lower arms. Hosta leaves spiral out at the shoulders in a teardrop shape to form the deltoid “muscles,” while branches spring from the clavicles. Scientific anatomy turned out to be creepy, but garden-variety fantasy anatomy was just what was needed.”
It’s tempting to wonder how many other areas of Guild Wars 2 has also been ‘reimagined’ over the years of development. It’s that constant challenge to innovate that has kept pushing the boundaries and keep the game improving – down to every last detail.
I would say that it’s a safe bet that ArenaNet won’t stop pressing those boundaries long after release. Much like the Sylvari, the challenge to question and improve will continue on throughout the months and years that Guild Wars 2 carries on. There’s no doubt that they will continue to push the bar higher and higher. That’s the delicate nature of game development: nearly everything rises and falls through the courageous decision to do better.