Following Monday's reports that Guild Wars 2 was slated for release much later than expected - in 2010 or 2011, according to an NCsoft financial report - developer ArenaNet has explained to fans that this isn't actually a delay.
In an open letter to fans, ArenaNet boss Mike O'Brien underlined that the game has never had a firm release date, and still doesn't. He said that NCsoft's expectations were based on the understanding that the game would be released "when it's done".
"On Friday, NCsoft released investor materials that showed a very broad release window for Guild Wars 2, with the explanation that release timing is still 'to be announced'," O'Brien said. "ArenaNet has never given a release date for Guild Wars 2 other than 'when it's done'. NCsoft's investor materials are a reflection of that philosophy."
"I know some fans had hoped for a smaller gap between the launch of Guild Wars: Eye of the North and the start of beta testing for Guild Wars 2, but we communicated last summer that it would be some time before we could commit to any beta or launch dates," he continued. "Guild Wars 2 is a large and ambitious game, and we're going to take the time to do it right."
NCsoft also moved to downplay the date in a statement. "It is important to note that financial projections based on when the company expects impact from a product do not constitute a launch date," the company said. "We recommend that interested parties stay tuned to official announcements made by NCsoft West for product launches in NCsoft West territories."
O'Brien also addressed fans' concerns about recent restructuring and job cuts at NCsoft's US and European offices, stressing that these wouldn't impede the development of Guild Wars 2.
"In fact, the reason NCsoft West is restructuring itself is so that the company can put all of its focus into its top-tier games like Guild Wars 2," he said. "Our team continues to grow, and has the strong support and financial backing we need to achieve our goal of making Guild Wars 2 the best online role-playing game ever created."
Indeed, NCsoft's restructuring moved the balance of power in NCsoft West away from the company's Austin studio - formerly the Garriott brothers' Destination Games, makers of the failed Tabula Rasa - and towards ArenaNet and the highly successful Guild Wars, which has sold 5 million copies across its four releases.
Three of NCsoft West's new directors are former ArenaNet directors, so you can be sure that Guild Wars 2 development is a priority for the company. Even if getting it out soon isn't.