WarTower.de recently interviewed Lead Writer Bobby Stein – discussing characters, personal story, voice over and more.
Regarding voice over:
The idea for voice-over stuff in Guild Wars 2 came at the very beginning of designing the game to make it a living world. The players should have the feeling, as if they were part of the world of Tyria: through cinematics, sound effects, in-world conversations, combat, chatter, text bubbles etc. There’s a huge difference, if you just see a character or if you hear him. So the team was split up to different regions of Tyria to deal with the races and cultures that live there and give them appropriate stuff to talk about. In the great cities are also characters from other cities to have the feeling of a metropolitan with different talking at every corner.
Part of the community has felt that having to level more often to reach the next part of their personal story made the experience disruptive:
Feedback from the beta was also that some people lost their connection to the personal story line, because they had to level up for a longer time and so lost track. The journal can help to refresh ones knowledge. It was discussed that personal stories should be replayable or players could get character bios, but decisions had to be made in developing the game what to cut out. Information will be given to the player without making him confused.
Non-player characters will appear more often and as the interview reveals:
A lot of characters in the personal story come and go, which means easy work for a developer, because then he can be put aside. But on the other hand a character isn’t understood and evolved, if he’s only shown for a short period. One of the improvements in the personal story was to develop characters much more and let them appear more often, so you can feel with them. What the team will do with the characters in addition will be shown after release.