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Here it is, folks: The first official videos of Guild Wars 2. The clip starts out with a voiceover on top of a motion comics-style animated sequence, but about 1/3 of the way in, transitions to actual game engine footage and it is amazing.

All of the creativity that went into Guild Wars to make it one of the most beautiful and wonderfully explorable games, ever, seems to be back and even bigger and more grand. Hit the clicky thingie for a link to the video, as well as some info on the game itself.

IGN had a little sit-down with some of the GW2 team from ArenaNet, who revealed the following:

The story takes place 250 years after the events of Guild Wars, and there are now five playable races: Humans, Norn, Asura, Charr and Sylvari. While the five races aren’t exactly buddy-buddy, they’ll ultimately have to band together to defeat GW2’s new primary adversaries, the Elder Dragons. These new types of dragons, led by one called Zhaitan, have an army of soulless undead that aim to destroy the world as we know it.

And speaking of that, while the game still takes place on (in?) Tyria, the lands have changed somewhat and aren’t all human-controlled anymore…far from it.

GW2 features a fully-persistent world with free-form movement and instanced quests, as well as co-operative gameplay elements based on a new events system that sounds pretty cool. The game engine is more detailed, and adds new lighting and shading models, but should still be playable on a wide variety of hardware thanks to ArenaNet focusing on the beauty of their artwork rather than purely on poly counts. There are also new systems for interior and dungeon environments, too, which is great.

No real word yet on game mechanics, other than that the skill deck system will be simplified somewhat. I hope this ends up being well-balanced…somewhere between the huge overabundance of stuff, a lot of which never got used, from Guild Wars and the near-dearth of skills in games like Aion (at least at low levels). There was also no word on things like player housing (not sure if it’s that type of game) or crafting, so we’ll have to stay tuned.

Personally, this video has me really excited about GW2, even more than I was before. It just looks gorgeous.