It's a very rare moment of quiet and calm here at the office, and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past year of my life.
I've shipped a few games in my time in the industry. I'm no stranger to the late nights, the final sprints, the feverish excitement around completion - and the inevitable celebration when it all comes together and goes out the door. But in the past, I've worked on single-player games that had long retail lead times. It was many weeks after we went gold when people finally started getting ahold of their copies of the game and enjoying the worlds we had made. And there was always a vast gulf between the people playing the game and us as developers; we had forums and chat rooms, sure, but we rarely got to sit down and just watch someone enjoy the game itself.
Today is a very different experience.
In a dizzyingly small number of hours, we will be opening up Guild Wars 2 for live public access. This will be a three-day "head start" period in which prepurchasers of the game get to jump in and start playing before the "official" opening on the 28th.
There are already a phenomenal number of people lined up (figuratively) waiting for this moment. And for the first time in my career, I will be able to sit down with them and rush into the world with that first surge of players, all exploring and adventuring and reveling in the massive virtual creation that we have built.
I can't really describe what it feels like to know that so many people are anticipating something that I've had a part in creating. Sure, most of what I've done is behind the scenes and hardly visible, but deep in that machinery are my fingerprints. I have no words for the sense of pride and accomplishment that go with being part of such an incredible team, working on such an incredible game, and watching such an incredible community ready to burst with anticipation for their opportunity to finally immerse themselves in the digital universe of Tyria.
My time with this team has been shorter than many others; some of us have been here for years, pouring out endless supplies of energy and dedication to creating this masterpiece. I can only imagine how much more intense it must be for them, to see this long and often hard road finally reach its goal. Even after just a year of my own time, I'm overwhelmed by the whole experience, and could hardly be more excited to see our project go out into the world.
And yet in many ways, we are just beginning. Once again, unlike anything I've ever done before, launch day is more of a start than a finish. The story doesn't conclude with opening the floodgates; on the contrary, there is still much to come.
I can't say too much about what we have in store; that will start being revealed slowly in the coming weeks and months, and for the long term, it's anyone's guess how things will play out.
But I can say that it's been a hell of a ride, and we ain't done yet.
The future is very, very bright indeed.