Originally Posted by bobisimo
A playable story was a part of the package at least as far back as the beginning of 2000 (which I know because I was the first designer hired on to work with the pre-existing story, and that was at the beginning of 2000), though NWN was announced in August '99 — so that does leave about 4 months where they may have been considering going without playable content. I'd love to see the link; too bad the forums got wiped.
EDIT: Actually, I'm going to guess that the idea of "no story included with NWN" was a myth or rumor or misinterpreted comment or speculation that may have been repeated enough to be considered a true statement. Back in August 1999, the week after the game was announced, Marc Holmes (who was the art director for NWN) wrote on the forums:
Rob and James being, of course, Rob Bartel (lead designer) and James Ohlen (design director).