Mike O’Brien, the co-founder and president of Guild Wars 2 developer ArenaNet, is leaving the company after 19 years, and is forming his own studio to "go back to the beginning and make small games again".
Kotaku reports, via an anonymous source, that O'Brien is one of eight developers leaving the studio, and that collectively the team were laying the groundwork for a new Guild Wars game, potentially Guild Wars 3. A second source told the publication that Guild Wars 3 had not yet received the green light, but that O'Brien's work could have turned into a full sequel to MMO Guild Wars 2.
In a post on the Guild Wars 2 website, O'Brien said that he'd moved away from the game two years ago to focus on new product development, but didn't say what he'd been working on.
"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," he said.
"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."
Kotaku reports that O'Brien will form the new studio alongside other departing ArenaNet developers.
ArenaNet laid off 143 staff, a significant portion of its workforce, in February.