Guild Wars 2 Halloween Pretties

Bigger version below

My eyes might be my favourite part of my body. I tried touching this concept art for the Guild Wars 2 Halloween update, but all I could feel was a flat monitor and dried snot. I tried listening to it, but it was cunningly silent. Upon sniffing it all I managed to ascertain was that I needed a shower. Tasting it was utterly pointless: it tasted of light and electricity, and nothing like a richly designed concept art I was licking. No, the eyes have it. I’m currently attempting to go without blinking, so I get maximum use out of them. A nano second of darkness is waste when I’m trying to absorb all this.

It’s all in preparation for Halloween. The Shadow of the Mad King update will bring a new four-part story based around the returning trickster. The figure of folklore will be spreading insanity and mayhem through Arenanet’s lovely MMO from October the 23rd all the way to the 31st. In addition, there will be themed costumes and items to buy, as well as a Costume Brawl event. I suspect if the art is anything to go by, Guild Wars 2 will be the gaming equivalent of the man down the road who spends all year planning his holiday scares. There won’t be an inch of space not covered in cobwebs or fake spiders.

Arenanet managed to do a really good job of matching the striking artwork in-game, and while I’ve been distracted by Borderlands 2 and Dishonored, I’m going to make the effort to pop in and see what they do to the world. It should be worth it. The links below will launch massive-versions of the concept art. I’d right-click and open them each in a separate tab.


  1. Vinraith says:

    Arenanet always did know how to throw a party. I used to love the holiday events in GW1. I’m sure, despite the massive departure in design philosophy, that the event stuff will still be great.

    • Grey Ganado says:

      I just wonder if that Shadow of the Mad King is the same guy who got me drunk in Lion’s Arch all these years ago.
      Or was that on Christmas?

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        They gave out absinthe and witch’s brew, both of which got you drunk. IIRC, absinthe was stronger.

  2. Jim Rossignol says:

    Those guys sure know how to do some art.

    • abigbat says:

      Some of the best concept artists in the industry.

    • zeroskill says:

      Daniel Dociu, the Chief Art Director of ArenaNet, is one of the most renowned concept artist in the industry. Already his work on the first game was superb. He also has a striking resemblance with Father Grigori from Half-life 2, which isn’t by accident, his face was used as reference for the character. I think his son works as a modeler at Valve.

    • Duffin says:

      I’ve got the GW2 artbook, you can get it from the NCSoft store, and it’s packed full of amazing concept art.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      You can view a bunch of concept art on their wiki.

      link to

      It’s nice to be able to sort through by artist, as well. You get to notice the different feel of each artist and see how some styles weren’t really embraced, like Hyojin Ahn’s. They mainly stuck with Dociu’s style, which is rather painterly. You can also tell that Richard Anderson’s style had a big impact and Kekai Kotaki’s character drawings are just amazingly spot-on for the races.

  3. sdancer says:

    The problem there is that it’s concept art. There are many, many highly talented artists in the industry who excel at concepts, and Arenanet snagged a bunch of good ones; however, they did not quite manage to find people who could actually transfer those concepts into the game world.

    Artistically, pretty much everything surrounding the game is stunning, but up close it loses much of its luster. The game world is unpersonal, stuffed too full of stuff, and entirely disconnected from any major direction the design might have wanted to take.

    • Bobzer says:

      Have you ever seen the festive events in gw1?

      I think they’re going to do great and I don’t think the problems with GW2 are artistic, just technical, like the absurdly low fov they refuse to allow you to change, it’s hard to appreciate the art when all you can see is your characters shoulders and your enemies feet.

      • rawrty says:

        Totally agree, I think it looks great but that fov is quite annoying. So much so that I have considered using a third-party add-on that I found that allows you to zoom out further than the default UI.

        But, I’m not sure if such a thing is liable to get you banned or not….does anyone know? I’m still a little unsure what constitutes an add-on that is allowed (like wow add-ons) and something that is considered a hack, or if GW2 even allows add-ons at all.

        I just really want to increase that fov but not at the risk of getting my account banned.

        EDIT: Here is a nice video showing the difference in GW2 by increasing the default FOV for those who are wondering:

        • Wivelrod says:

          FOV issues were mentioned on the recent Programmer AMA on Reddit at: link to

          We’ve heard players loud and clear on this one. But we’re not prepared to answer yet because we just convened a team to investigate, on Monday in fact, and we want to give them time to investigate. For example, there may be a bug affecting FoV calculations in widescreen resolutions. We want to know what’s a bug and what’s by design before we change the design.

      • Grey Ganado says:

        Can’t you just zoom out a little?

        • Caerphoto says:

          Unfortunately no, you can’t really zoom out all that far. I don’t find that in itself to be much of a problem; more awkward is being unable to look up at things without your character practically filling the screen and getting in the way. Makes it tricky to get to some Vistas.

          • Flea says:

            What do you mean you can’t zoom out that far? You can zoom out quite a bit (certainly a lot more than the video above shows), there’s even an option where you can choose how far you can zoom out if I’m not mistaken.

          • Caerphoto says:

            I mean in comparison to WoW, for example, where the maximum camera distance is quite a bit larger, so you can get a better overview of a fight, can see what’s behind you better and so on. A wider FOV would achieve much the same thing, mind.

            The downside is that it makes it harder to see what the enemy is doing, and since a lot of bosses in GW2 are no larger than normal characters this can be a problem when you need to dodge or otherwise react to certain abilities.

          • Flea says:

            OK, I didn’t realize you were comparing it to WoW. And yes, the game would certainly benefit from the wider FOV, I just thought you were trying to make a point that zooming out significantly more than the video shows was impossible, cause it can be zoomed out quite a lot. I don’t know if there is anyone who plays the game zoomed in like it is on the video, so maybe it isn’t the best representation of what the gameplay can really look like.

          • ElvisNeedsBoats says:

            The inability to clearly look up is very apparent as an engineer. When trying to aim grenades at players on the walls, you get a face full of polygons.

    • Wodge says:

      You are mad, really, the game looks sumptuous. Divinities Reach is amazing, Ebonhawk’s grand entryway is tremendous, the Honour of the Waves instance is delightful, and the entirety of Orr looks like it was plucked from a corrupted sea floor, as it should. GW2 has fantastic art, from concept to in game it works.

      • Somerled says:

        Yeah, the architecture and environment design in the game really is astounding. There may be no zones where I don’t find at least something that takes my breath away, if not the entire zone itself.

        But I still have this stupid nagging feeling when i see all the loading screen art: a very small disappointment over how little of what’s depicted made it into the game. Most of that art is on par or better than the concept art in this article, and the flavor of it is just not there in the game.

        Maybe that’s asking too much. It’s just the wrong kind of teasing to me, I guess.

        • zeroskill says:

          Well there is just so much you can do in an MMO visually. Or in a video game at all. Give it 20 years and those pictures will come to life before your eyes.

    • Enikuo says:

      I’m just gonna have to disagree with there… The game is stunning.

    • Yosharian says:

      Yes, absolutely. You nailed down the exact problem with this game. It only surprises me nobody else can see it.

      • Wreckdum says:

        Get a better system IMO. I have everything on max resolution/super sampling and all effects turned up. Looks exactly like the concept art. Throw away your WoW computer and get a real mans system. The days of meeting the min requirements are over.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          The days of meeting the min requirements are over.

          Unless, you know, you have a computer that only meets the minimum requirements.

          You should totally check out my MLG as fuck pr0dawg Galaga vids, tho, bro.

          • jrodman says:

            While that link was funny, I hope it’s not you, because I just reported that user for institutionalized and pathological homphobia to youtube.

          • stupid_mcgee says:

            No, this is me.

            link to

            Actually, it’s not. But it’s hilarious as hell.

        • Yosharian says:

          I don’t think you understood the OP’s comment. It’s not the art that’s the problem. FYI I have a pretty beastly machine and I run GW2 mostly on max. The game looks amazing… the problem, like the OP said, is that it’s just a painting. The interaction with all these pretty elements is minimal at best, making it an impersonal experience.

  4. Yosharian says:

    “dried snot”

    Um, ew?

  5. Squirrelfanatic says:

    I am really looking forward to this. The holiday events in GW1 were great, let’s hope that they nail that sense of festivity once more in GW2.

  6. Foosnark says:

    Google “prague astronomical clock” to see the inspiration for that third one. But yeah, their art has always been lovely.

  7. Shooop says:

    This is one of the very few games I want an art collection book of. I purposely look for all the vistas just to admire the work they did in that department.

    • Flea says:

      Well you should look for all the vistas (and waypoints and POIs etc) anyway cause you can get really sweet rare or exotic items after completing an area 100%.

  8. Draco18s says:

    I played Pathologic before RPS did the article on it.
    I was able to stomach the creep factor.
    I just wasn’t good enough at the combat (or avoiding it) to get very far.

    You can be sure I’ll look into this game as well.

  9. straechav says:

    Oh my god. My eyes are bleeding, and not in a good way. It’s neat CONCEPT art but as an actual art it needs about 5+ more hours of work. The random pieces of photographs skewed, scaled and stitched together don’t really work for me. I’m sure it look great if you can look past the hulking pixels and mismatched perspectives. I just can’t. Sorry.

    I do love GW concept art usually, but this is far away from the actual good stuff.