Hi! Indigo here. I am the Narrative Lead on Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure™—one member in a team of passionate developers. Before Secrets of the Obscure drops in just a few weeks, I’d love to walk you through some of the questions we tackled as we started carving a new path for Tyria.
Disclaimer: We’re going to stay pretty high level here, but be mindful of some minor teasers ahead—and major spoilers for previous expansions.
After we wrapped on Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons™ and our ten-year saga of the dragon cycle came to an end, we found ourselves at a critical point in the story of Guild Wars 2. There were quite a few directions that we were really interested in pursuing—we’ve got tons of stories in Tyria left to tell (from mysteries we’ve hinted at in years past to completely novel ideas). After all, the world is only just finding its footing following the end of the dragon cycle, a global affliction that promised certain destruction until Soo-Won’s death in Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons. We had a lot to say, so the question was: Where do we start?
We’ve only explored a small portion of Tyria to date—and even then, a great deal of the world we do know has vastly changed over the events of the last eleven real-world years. We want to dig into that with more focused, self-contained stories, and we hope to bring each of these into the limelight as we see Tyria react and unravel to a future without chaos (well, without dragon-centric chaos). But before we slow things down and explore modern Tyria, we opted for something a little more mysterious to mark the beginning of this new arc.
We had a handful of frontrunners, but a franchise-long mystery quickly became our leading focus: the Wizard’s Tower.
The Wizard’s Tower
The Wizard’s Tower and its creator are some of Tyria’s best-kept secrets. Dating back to the original Guild Wars®, it’s taken up residence on the Tyrian horizon since the beginning. All Tyria knew was that it was supposedly owned by a wizard named Isgarren—although he’s never been physically seen—and that a few individuals had tried to breach its walls (looking at you, Galrath). During the Guild Wars 2 era, it rested above the hamlet of Garenhoff until we plucked it out of the sky in the June 27 update. Aside from a couple of teasers over the years, we’ve shielded the truth about Isgarren and his mysterious tower…until now.
The Wizard’s Tower provided the perfect canvas to tell a very different story&mdashone that spans thousands of years. Focusing on Isgarren, the Wizard’s Tower, and the Astral Ward allowed us to dive into some of the deepest crevices of our lore—we’re talking ancient beings, whispers of long-ago wars, and buried secrets. We’ll be fighting an entirely new enemy faction only subtly teased in content in the past.
It’s a story that lit a flame under the development team, too. Over the years, almost every team wanted to utilize the Wizard’s Tower—from raids and fractals to story. But no single idea landed where we wanted to take it. Giving the Wizard’s Tower an entire expansion felt like the best way to honor what is now a multigame mystery.
With the dragon story bookmarked at Aurene’s temporary departure, the team was eager to let off some steam and work on something a little wild. The Wizard’s Tower was just as exciting to us as it has been for the community to speculate about all these years. When we managed to wiggle it in to just about every pitch we had for the fourth expansion, we knew we had our topic.
The Commander’s Journey
Given that Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure is going to be something of a fresh start for us as a narrative, I worked with Matthew Medina, the expansion’s Narrative Design Lead, to send the commander on a journey absent their usual comrades. We thought that this would make the story as exciting and bewildering to the commander as a character as it would be for the player. At the top of the story, a mission goes awry and we’re pulled into unexplored territory (physically and intellectually). By isolating the commander from their support group—and thus, their typical problem-solving catalysts—we’re able to completely immerse the player character in this darker, more mystical facet of Tyria as the Astral Ward battles against the threat of the Kryptis.
More than that, the world state of Tyria is at such a critical turning point. With the threat of the Elder Dragons calmed and our prismatic utility knife Aurene taking a good ol’ nap somewhere secluded, all of our friends are busy with their lives now—and some of them are playing crucial roles in rebuilding the world. Kasmeer and Jory, recently engaged, have established positions in the Krytan political system. Crecia and Rytlock are facing the Khan-Ur election— and heck, they’ve got a lot to cope with following The Icebrood Saga. Taimi is burrowed in Joon’s lab, solving every crisis she possibly can with our Canthan inventors. Gorrik and Rama have the agency, and Braham is probably thriving in some much-needed therapy. All these characters have served as guiding lights to the commander, and they have shaped our journey. We’re excited to give you glimpses into their post-dragon lives when we dig into those local stories about Tyria’s revival, but before that, it’s time the commander took a journey of their own.
There is one exception to this rule, though…
Zojja is a character who has been mysteriously AWOL since the events of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™, where she endured some pretty awful injuries after being trapped inside of that blighting pod. While I don’t want to spoil her journey, I can say that it was an emotional one. We have years of lost ground to cover, and our favorite golemancer has been doing some serious soul searching. Like the commander will have in Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure, Zojja needed a journey of her own.
I’ll keep that story under my hat for now; getting to explore the depths of Zojja’s self-discovery was a delight. In the middle of our fight against the Kryptis, we’re going to have some incredibly tender and vulnerable moments with our asuran ally.
The Kryptis are one of the…meatier enemies we’ve fought to date. Finding a new enemy force that touched on past lore but was also fresh and exciting to long-term players was a significant goal of ours (and a very interesting challenge from a worldbuilding perspective). Creatures of the demon realm; it’s been a hot minute since we’ve faced off against foes from across the Mists. With the exception of a few Kryptis that have wiggled their way through Tyria’s back door in the past, we haven’t spent a lot of time with these guys before. They’re fleshy, they’re horrifying, and they’re eager to take us out. But they’re not necessarily a world-ending threat, per se, as menacing as they are. We just got done with the Elder Dragons, after all.
As you dive into Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure and fight back against the Kryptis, you’ll unravel a much more personal rivalry between some of our key players—one that has lasted for over a millennium. Better yet, after we’ve completed the first leg of the story high above the cloud cover of Tyria, we’re going to continue this journey in a much more…curious environment.
Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure will set the pace as Tyria looks to the future. There are whole facets of the world that we’ve yet to explore, much like the Wizard’s Tower and the fractured archipelago that we’ll be ascending to in just a few weeks. Beyond that, Tyria has a lot of healing to do. The sylvari need to recover from the events of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns; the charr and norn are on the mend following The Icebrood Saga. Cantha has been revealed to the world. Heck, the Pact needs a new purpose. And we’re about to meet the Astral Ward. Tyria’s at a turning point.
But before Tyria can truly heal, we’re going to take you on a cosmic journey. From one player who’s spent thousands of hours digging into Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 to our community: we’re excited to open a new door.
I’ll see you in the game!