Thursday, May 06, 2010

Caveat Lector

Those who come here seeking clues about what we’re up to regarding Guild Wars or other projects I am currently involved in tend to leave bitterly disappointed. I don’t talk much about what I’m working on, particularly in the office. I prefer to tell you when something is done, out, and available. But this time I relent in service to a greater cause.

In front of me sits the final galleys for Ghosts of Ascalon, by Matt Forbeck and myself. Four drafts, three galleys, a set of proofreading notes and all. And it is done. Checked, cross-checked, updated, revised and finally to the printer. It should be in your hands by the end of July. And I have to say that it is correct and complete, based on where the world and the game as it stands right this moment.

And that is an important set of weasel words - “right this moment”. Guild Wars 2 is still in development, and we will continue to grow the world and its stories as we move forward. We are a creatively fearless company, and we iterate and re-iterate a LOT. So if tomorrow we discover that hat color is a major component of the game, we will see charr wearing crimson sombreros by the end next week. But not in the novel. That boat, as they say, has sailed.

This would not be the first time I’ve seen the world change beneath my feet. Many years ago, I wrote The Last Guardian, for Warcraft. This was set in Azeroth, but in the Azeroth from before WoW, and the map I used was not the map that most people are now familiar with. Imagine my surprise when I started playing WoW and found that Stormhaven had been moved, and that Dalaran (then on an island, and known for its purple-tiled roofs) was now under a big dome (and now has been moved somewhere else entirely).

I’ve never written anything that was at Splinter of the Mind’s Eye level of disavowal (Luke and Leia have a love affair, which left everyone who saw Empire Strikes Back shuddering in revulsion), but I have seen that when you work with a living license, it will continue to evolve and grow and get better. What is here is a snapshot, beautiful, well-crafted, deep and meaningful, but a snapshot of a creative locomotive hurtling along the track, draped with asura all making additions and changes as it goes.

And one of those asura will be me, stressing my allusion-generator into the redline.

More later,