Who are you? My name is Matthew Medina, and I’m one of the content game designers at ArenaNet. In my current role I’m the story team lead for the next expansion for Guild Wars 2. How long have you been in the gaming industry? A long, long time. I got my first break in the industry testing educational kids games in the summer of 1992. It’s hard to believe that I’m closing in on 25 years in the industry. I’m not *that* old. Really! What is your favorite profession to play? My main and favorite character is my mesmer named “Barefoot Contessa” (named after the classic movie starring Ava Gardner, NOT the popular TV chef – OK, maybe I really *am* that old). I enjoy playing mesmer most because I love cycling clones and dodge rolling my way through every encounter (staff mesmer FTW). What your favorite area of the game to play that you don't work on or have a hand in. That would have to be open world map completion. I love exploring our world and finding all the “off the beaten path” locations that the map artists and designers hide throughout the world. I get more than a little obsessed with “clearing the checklist” and completing each map. Of my seven level 80’s three of them have 100% world complete, and the other four are averaging about 35%, so yeah I’m a bit devoted to mapping every nook and cranny of Tyria. What other games do you play? Wow, this question is impossible to answer without a lengthy paragraph. Currently, I’m playing through Fallout 4…again. But I love any game that has a compelling and engaging narrative, such as The Witcher games, Dragon Age games, Mass Effect games, Elder Scrolls games, anything made by Telltale, and open world games like the Assassin’s Creed series, the Far Cry games, and the GTA series. My all-time favorite “Game that has earned a permanent spot on my hard drive” is Thief 2: The Metal Age, but all the Thief games are great in their own ways. Gosh, I’ve already listed so many and I feel a sense of shame for all the games I’m surely leaving off the list. Gaming is in my blood! What Elder dragon would you be? Steve, the Water Dragon. I can’t tell you why though, unfortunately. Not yet! Are you a Skritt or Hero-Tron :) ? Skritt, hands down. SHINIES! But I’m biased because skritt and I have a deep and abiding relationship because of the work I did with them in Brisbane Wildlands and Harathi Hinterlands. SHINIES! Can you out-drink a Norn? Not a chance. I’m a teetotaler as a matter of fact – partially because I can’t actually distinguish different flavors of alcohol; I think I must have a weird sensitivity to alcohol because adding it to anything makes it all taste like foul and bitter liquid to me. Now if we’re talking about root beer: Bring it on, Olafson! What is it you do in your job? As noted above, I’m the story team lead for our next expansion. That means I work hand and hand with our narrative designers to implement the story content that goes into the game, like story instances, open world story steps, and integration with the story journal. As the team lead, I am also the point of contact for any story-related design concerns, so I go to many meetings and write up many emails to ensure that the story is well integrated into everything else that we do for Guild Wars 2! What is something most folks don't know about you? Hmm, well if you’re familiar at all with my social media postings, you already know about this, but for those who aren’t following me, what most people are surprised by is that I’m a die-hard barefooter. Yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like…I go barefoot almost everywhere. I’ve been doing that for the better part of twenty years and I have never really had any issues with it. No my feet don’t get too cold, and I’ve never cut my feet or suffered any other injuries. It’s actually a lot less difficult and/or dangerous than most people think, once you get your soles used to it. I’ve been so dedicated to it that last year I became the president of the “Barefoot Alliance”, which is an organization that seeks to promote and educate others about barefooting as viable lifestyle choice. Do you have a twitter folks can follow you by or find? I sure do! Come follow me: @barefootmatthew

 Matthew Medina