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Guild Wars 2

Mike O'Brien Leaving ArenaNet To Form New Studio

Joseph Bradford Updated: Oct 3, 2019 5:48 PM Posted: Oct 3, 2019 5:34 PM
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Mike O'Brien, President of ArenaNet, announced this afternoon via a post on the Guild Wars 2 website that he will be leaving ArenaNet to start a new studio with "some of [his] friends." While the post doesn't mention who will be stepping into O'Brien's role as President, it does mention Game Direction Mike Zadorojny will take one a "larger leadership role."

In a statement on the Guild Wars 2 website, Mike O'Brien reminisced the origins of Guild Wars 2 and ArenaNet in general, while thanking the community for their support through the years. Now, Mike mentions, he's excited to experience the Living World seasons of Guild Wars 2 as a fan rather than a dev.

We couldn’t have known then the extent of the journey we were embarking on or all the wonderful and talented people who would join us along the way. For the past two decades we’ve gotten to work with brilliant developers and advisors, we’ve enjoyed an amazing relationship with the Guild Wars community, and were able to pursue the games of our dreams. I’ve appreciated every moment of it. But the time has come for me to take a step back. Next week I’ll join some of my friends in forming a new studio. We’ll go back to the beginning and make small games again.

I’ll always love ArenaNet and Guild Wars. Now I’ll get to experience Living World releases as a player rather than as a developer.

Mike Zadorojny, who took over the game director role from O'Brien two years prior, will be stepping into a "larger leadership role," and he took included a few works in O'Brien's farewell.

I took over the role of Game Director on Guild Wars 2 right after we launched Path of Fire. Assuming that role made me appreciate how passionate and amazing this community is, reminding me each day how important our work is. Since then we’ve aimed at making huge strides to the quality and cadence of content we’ve been adding to the game every year. I love the fans, I love this team and we’re all very excited for you to play the upcoming chapters of The Icebrood Saga. We’ve got some really fun content on the way.

According to speculation on Reddit, it looks like O'Brien's next studio will be ManaWorks, which includes some big names such as Brett Vickers, Tirzh Bauer and Isaiah Cartwright. You can check out the new studio's website where it lists the full team thus far, including O'Brien.


Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore