Editorials

Gamescom Screenshots: The Black Citadel

There has been a lot of speculation regarding the nature of the sphere known colloquially as the “Charr Death Star” since it’s appearance in concept art some time ago. That object dominates through today’s images, from which we may garner some clues as to its nature.

These first two images were included in a subfolder labelled ‘Main Entrance’, suggesting that this sphere is, in fact, the gatehouse to the Black Citadel. A group of the (apparently clockwork) charr buggies first seen during the Charr Week video can be seen next to the entry way – last I recall hearing these weren’t available for PC use, but if there isn’t an event or minigame that involves driving these around sometime (maybe the Guild Wars 2 equivalent of rollerbeetle races, although the charming little bugs will be missed) I will be very surprised.

The second image, while mixed in with the screenshots, is either concept art… or a very good example of the skill of the Guild Wars 2 design team in making their ingame environments look like concept art. Either way, when set beside the first, it presents an excellent demonstration of the quality of the Guild Wars 2 art team’s work.

The view from the other side demonstrates just how seriously the charr take their gate security seriously. Indications from Ree’s interview and Ember’s mentioning of the distrust from the charr of asura magic is that the installation of the asura gate is a relatively recent step, but the position of the gate – mounted on an overhanging gantry to the far right of the image that provides no shelter to new arrivals and which could likely be collapsed at a moment’s notice for a long fall to the ground – speaks volumes of the unwillingness of the Iron Legion to take risks that the gate might become the source of an invasion force or some other attack on their citadel.

Meanwhile, the large crane to the left further demonstrates the level of charr industrialisation, likely serving as a means to lift goods and personnel from the chasm floor to the top of the edifice and back.

Again, each of these look as if they might be concept art rather than screenshots – possibly misplaced in the asset pack? Or has ArenaNet’s dawn/sunset look just become that good?

The final two screenshots show closeups of the “Charr Death Star”‘s orrery-like face from different angles, the second showing the gantry upon which the asura gate is mounted.The glass structures might appear at first to be observation blisters, but a closer look reveals tubes protruding from the centre of each – possibly cannons ready to fire upon any attacker.

So, what do you think of what we’ve seen of the charr defensive emplacements? And do you have any insight on whether these are pieces of concept art mistakenly placed in the wrong forum, or whether ArenaNet’s ingame art team is Just That Good? Comment below!

Next, we’ll venture back into the dungeons of Tyria… but this time, they won’t all be haunted by ghosts. Until next time!

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