The decision to start creating Guild Wars 2 began in a design meeting for Guild Wars Utopia, back when the company was releasing campaigns on a sixth-month development cycle. The team realised that they would not be able to do everything they wanted within the constraints of the scope that they had previously defined for campaigns and the limited amount of time available to them, and at the behest of Jeff Strain, found themselves discussing how the continued addition of features and content in stand-alone campaigns was leading to more bloated tutorials and difficulty in balancing the ever-increasing number of skills. Eventually, the discussion evolved into a blueprint for an entirely new game.
Work on Guild Wars 2 began in 2007. It was announced March 27, 2007 to coincide with the announcement of the final Guild Wars expansion, which was designed to act as a bridge, in both gameplay and story terms, to Guild Wars 2. The development team abandoned the early open alpha and beta testing which they had used for the Guild Wars game. ArenaNet considered that player expectations for open beta tests of MMORPG had changed, and the beta was no longer used to test the game but to trial a nearly finished game prior to purchase. Beta tests scheduled for 2008 were cancelled to ensure Guild Wars 2 had maximum impact and appeal to these players.
In August 2009, two years after the game was first announced, ArenaNet decided the game had reached a state where they were happy to show it to the public. A trailer which mixed animated concept art and in-game footage was released at Gamescom, followed by interviews expanding on the lore of the game world and information about the player races.
In November 2009, NCsoft CEO Jaeho Lee stated the game would most likely not release until 2011, but a closed beta would be made available in 2010. The Q4 2009 shareholders notes further supported this when the CEO stated that "the current development target was the end of 2010 but, Guild Wars 2 likely won't be released until 2011." A playable demo of the game was made available at Gamescom (19–22 August 2010), Penny Arcade Expo (3–5 September 2010) and Paris Games Week (27 October-1 November 2010). The game was developed for Microsoft Windows with a "very small team" investigating the possibility of a console version.
ArenaNet conducted small closed alpha and beta tests in 2011. On 23 January 2012 it was announced that Guild Wars 2 will ship this year. In February, select press were invited to participate in beta testing. In March and April, the size of beta tests was increased significantly as the beta was made available to anyone who pre-purchased the game. On June 28, 2012, ArenaNet announced the game would be released on August 28, 2012 and those who prepurchased the game will be able to play on August 25. On September 18, 2012, a Mac OS X client for Guild Wars 2 was released; it is currently in beta testing.
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