QFT: Daniel Dociu

April 6, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 3 Comments
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I wasn’t going to write about the Tap Repeatedly interview with Daniel Dociu on my blog. I write a lot about interviews, and getting to skip one once in a while is a gift. The writer did make it quite hard to not read however. Well researched, good questions, and quite lengthy. Still this blog has a sharp focus on Guild Wars 2, so there isn’t a whole lot to go over that is relevant.

You can find part 1 here, part 2 here, and part 3 here. I endeavour to find the interesting points and present them on my blog, but if you’re more interested in reading about art, go read the interview.

The development team has grown a great deal, with the size of the art department having more than doubled. We’re currently in the mid 80s as far as number of artists on the team and that has lead to my role evolving into more of an oversight role.

Wow, 80 people. Every time I hear about how Arenanet has grown, and the number of employees I’m surprised. I’m sure that 80 people includes UI, 3d modeling, and various other production jobs, but that is a big staff.

Guild Wars 2 has cinematic sequences designed around concept art, instead of around CGI animation. Here is why.

We proposed it from a pragmatic angle: the reality that we could not afford to put together a cinematics team that could compete with Blizzard in terms of size, nor did we want to spend a huge portion of the budget on cinematics. Rather than going the realistic route with high production values in a conventional, traditional sense, we stepped back and looked upon our strengths and weaknesses. We’d always been known for strong concept art and having a really accomplished team of illustrators and digital painters on staff. We might as well make the most of it by going in the opposite direction and differentiate ourselves from our competitors.

From what I’ve seen of Arenanet cinematics, I think they compete quite well. For me the most interesting aspect in the interview is that he also says they proposed it for Guild Wars. One of those ‘what if’ moments.

Probably the biggest news in the interview is this.

Right now I’m more and more thinking of the next races to be introduced in future expansion packs and that’s what I’m all excited about. But I’m not revealing any secrets yet!

Playable races? There is room for debate. In the context of the interview he seems to be talking about playable races. If I had to guess, I’d say we get to play a new race, but it isn’t a certainty.

About the sylvari.

The sylvari were one of those cases where one of the artists on the team — she really came up with a new vision of what they should be and how to go about it and was itching to give them a re-work.

Sylvari certainly are getting their fair share of attention just because everyone knows they’re being redesigned. There is this mysterious swirl of enigma around them since we have a fair idea of what asura and the other races look like. Sylvari are one of the last complete unknowns in Guild Wars 2.

Anyway there is a lot of interesting talk about artists in the gaming industry, influences, art schools, so go check that out.

In part 1, Daniel Dociu briefly discusses this piece.



  1. I personally am very impressed with Daniels style of management, his thoughts on his best works and his interactions with his staff and work. As I’ve grown older I’ve come to accept a certain limit to how much I can get into my work since I have a family which is my number 1. I find myself wishing to be more like him the more I read of his work. I am not an artist, more in IT but I find many of his methods would do IT a world of good. He takes his work so seriously, yet seemingly so calmly for someone in his position there is an ernormous amount of responsibility. His direction well make or break GW2 in so many areas. It’s up to him. I know people like him don’t see that as stress, just the challenge but this challange and the way he works is highly impressive.

  2. Oh and did the bit where he said “time is running out for development” not exciting too? bit vague i know but he also said that he was working on expansions now so thats good news for us who want to play.

    • i’m not going to read too far into it, its nothing we don’t already know. they’ve announced a beta for some time this year after all, and we all know the game is coming along.

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