Guild Wars 2 developer ArenaNet has shed light on how it crafted an overarching narrative that is consistent across all races, players and motivations. Short answer: It wasn't easy.
Speaking with PC Gamer, ArenaNet's continuity designer Ree Soesbee explained how it kept all player narratives flowing in tandem.
"The way I tend to write a story in a game – same way that I tend to gamemaster for an RPG – is I build a world and I make it as detailed as I can and then I just turn the players loose." Soesbee revealed."
"I know within the story that these points are going to happen – this place will be attacked, that good guy will die, you’ll eventually have to fight that bad guy – but I don’t know how the players are going to get there. There are eight different ways they could get there," Soesbee added.
This thread must apply to all players in the role of different races, but cannot be exactly the same for a sake of the world's consistency and lore.
Soesbee explained, "In Guild Wars 2 you could be an Asura, you could have an invention and it could go wrong and you could realise that it went wrong because that bad guy did it. You could come from the Sylvari and be in the forest and find several murdered Sylvari. When did that happen? Oh, that bad guy did it. When you and the Asura decide to go into the dungeon, you’ll find that you’re both fighting the same bad guy but from very different motivations."
"That allows us to tell a singular story about the dragons that are trying to take over the world, but depending on your motivations the story might be different, the NPCs coming with you might be different."
"The things you’re able to bring in, whether its a magic item from the Priory or siege items from the Vigil can be very different while we’re still telling a singular type of story."
Guild Wars 2 is out on PC August 28.