Years and years ago at PAX, I was covering a Guild Wars 2 event and I got to watch Colin Johanson tackle a succession of interviews. Pretty much every reporter asked him the same popular fan question of, “So, what about Cantha?” To which, Colin would visibly die a little more and give an evasive answer.
Hopefully, he survived, because finally nobody’s going to be asking that question any more.
Personally, I don’t get why Cantha was really all that in Guild Wars 1, but fans really, really seemed attached to the setting and have wanted the sequel to feature it since GW2 launched. Now it looks as if they’ll get their wish, as ArenaNet announced yesterday that it broke ground on a third expansion and teased the above picture to strongly hint that, yes, it’s Cantha-time. Beyond that, no details, no timeline, nothing. Just “please keep playing our game for right now and we’ll try to get an expansion to you… sometime. Just don’t go away.”
The response among my Guild Wars 2 friends has been extreme high levels of joy. I’m kind of Ben Wyatt from Parks & Rec who doesn’t get why the whole town is nuts about a small horse, but I’m glad that they’re glad. And they ARE glad. Like, jumping-up-and-down-squealing-like-an-F1-racer-burning-out-the-gate glad.
Setting aside, I definitely approve that Guild Wars 2 is committing to a third expansion. This weird “saga” stuff isn’t really lighting up fan enthusiasm and the game’s been languishing ever since last year’s layoffs and project reduction. Expansions are proven excitement machines, something for the playerbase to rally around. I wouldn’t be surprised if Guild Wars 2 saw its population spike up significantly this weekend due to that teaser image alone. Heck, I’m a bit tempted to play, maybe because it’s been stirring in my mind this winter.
But I guarantee you that even if you’ve never played the game, you have more than enough time to go through all of its content and expansions before this expansion releases. From the sound of it, Cantha is a long ways out — probably 2021, and maybe late 2021 at that. This is just a notice to say that ArenaNet is working on it, not that it has anything more than a single piece of concept art to show for it.