I signed off on the first episode of Living World Season 3, and we’re getting ready to announce the episode and its release date. I’m super proud of the team for hitting this milestone. Over the past few weeks the team has been processing up to a hundred pieces of feedback each day, working to get all the details right.
Reaching sign-off on an episode doesn’t mean we’re done. Now we integrate the episode content with the other updates that ship in this release, and with localized text and voice-over, and we do final testing of all that. To give a sense of the scope of this process, this update has about 1,500 distinct lines of new voice dialog, each of which must be recorded, integrated, and tested in each supported language. For the player character’s voice, we separately record each race/sex combination in each language, so that means 40 actors for each line.
With this release, we’re bundling a Living World episode with additional content for other areas of the game. You’ve seen that we’ve been following a pattern of releasing a bundled update each quarter; this is a content-focused continuation of that kind of thing. Of course, we’ll give this release a name, not “July Quarterly Update”. And we may be able to increase the pace, ramping from four bundled releases per year towards six, so we’ll move away from calling these “quarterly”.
Some of you may look back nostalgically at 2013 when we shipped updates every two weeks. That year we shipped a wide variety of things: nine or ten releases that we’d today call a Living World episode, plus updates to systems and content for other parts of the game, plus festivals. So it was the extreme unbundled version of this. It was nice that there was always something new, but I’m personally not wistful of that cadence, because we sacrificed so much to be able to ship that frequently. With Season 3 our goal is to deliver content sustainably, at quality, establishing a pattern we don’t have to take breaks from.
It feels great to be shipping Living World again. Thanks for your patience through the recent content draught. Having been through it, I’m sure you understand why I’m focused on sustainability.
Stay tuned for a more formal announcement, and for more details from ArenaNet and our partners.