Guild Wars 2 isn't out and doesn't have a release date, but already developer ArenaNet has "development plans in our back pocket for literally years to come".
That includes knowing what "a number" of high-level features will be, "and expansion content for years to come", senior vice president Randall Price revealed to Eurogamer (as part of our larger tour of Guild Wars 2 developer ArenaNet piece, published today).
"You may not realise this," he said, "but we have development plans in our back pocket for literally years to come."
Short-term goals include things like the "very important" pre-purchase program that began on 10th April, which presumably gives NCsoft and ArenaNet a rough idea of how many people will buy and play their game.
The beta weekends are also important short-term goals, and there's another one this weekend.
"And then we've got medium-term goals," expanded Price, "and the medium-term goals will relate to things along the line of the patches that will come out post-release of the game, and the cadence that we're going to get into around that, and the way that we're going to be dividing our team between different disciplines to be able to continue to punch out incredible content for people."
"Look, even from our standpoint we've got years of work, of great work, that players are going to be able to enjoy."Randall Price, senior vice president, ArenaNet
And then there are the long-term plans.
"We today know a number of the high-level features that we're going to do, and expansion content for years to come," said Price. "No, it's not drilled down in a way that is - it's all at the five-thousand foot level and above, from a big picture [perspective]. But every month we go through time, we get closer and it gets down and, OK, now we're actually creating content for it."
"Look," concluded Price, "even from our standpoint we've got years of work, of great work, that players are going to be able to enjoy.
"We're launching a service - you don't launch a box and be done with it. We have years of awesome, fun work ahead of us."
The question of when Guild Wars 2 will launch in 2012 depends on the results of the beta tests. That was the official line from ArenaNet co-founder Mike O'Brien, given to Eurogamer during our recent invasion of Guild Wars 2's home.
But it's hard to believe ArenaNet doesn't have a rough or indeed pin-point idea of when release will be, given how far in advance other dates are laid out. Randall Price said of beta events and pre-purchase timings: "Those are laid out - ages ago we've been laying out those plans." He also said, "I'm proud of the fact that we do think realistically and organise ourselves, making sure that we lay out our runway for the future."