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Editorial Seeing Red: The Story of CD Projekt (and how they almost went bankrupt)

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Tags: CD Projekt; Marcin Iwinski; The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings; The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt; Witcher, The

    Eurogamer has an excellent article about the history of CD Projekt, as told by co-founder and joint CEO Marcin Iwinski. The most interesting part of the article, in my opinion, is the story of how the company nearly went bankrupt after the release of the first Witcher game - an event that surprisingly few people know about, although it's not quite a secret. I'll quote that part:

    White Wolf was to be a console conversion of The Witcher 1, and it was Atari's idea. Iwiński saw the logic in getting the brand established on console ahead of future games, so after initial reluctance he agreed - a mistake, but how could he know that then?

    CD Projekt Red didn't have the internal capacity to handle White Wolf development as well, so an impressive pitch won French studio Widescreen Games the job. CD Projekt Red wanted control, so Atari paid CD Projekt Red to get the game made.

    After five months there were problems, and CD Projekt donated a dozen developers to the French studio to help out. Then more problems, and Iwiński began to suspect Widescreen's heart wasn't in it beyond being paid for reaching milestones. Adam Badowski had to fly down to help the studio crunch to produce an important vertical slice of the game for an Atari conference in Lyon, and it went down a storm, to cheers of "bravo!". But two weeks later there was another problem, and Widescreen wanted to push White Wolf back four to five months.

    Enough.

    "I'm not mentioning all the tensions, all the hours of stupid discussions on the phone, 'you are guilty', etc. The thing is, what we realised was they had no idea how to make it." More money was being spent on Widescreen Games each month than on CD Projekt Red in Poland. It was time for crisis talks, and to assess how bad the situation was.

    "After five days of digging we sat down in a café in Lyon in the evening, we were probably five or six people, and said, 'What do you think?'" The answers grew increasingly worrying, one suggesting Widescreen would need another 30 people and an extra year of development to finish White Wolf. Then someone said. "Hey, let's cancel it and make another game! It will be easier than working with them." Eyes lit up. "The day after we told Atari we have to pull the plug."

    Atari wasn't happy, and it was none other than big Phil Harrison (once of Sony, now of Microsoft, with an Atari interlude) who flew to France to hear both sides of the story. Iwiński remembers the meeting. "We were sitting on one side of the table, Widescreen Games on the other, and Phil," he says with emphasis, "in the middle. And we started fighting - they started blaming us and we started blaming them."

    A stern Harrison took Marcin Iwiński and Michal Kiciński aside, into a separate room. "And he said a very British thing like," and he imitates the accent, "'We are in real shit here.' We were like, 'Yes Phil, we're sorry, we screwed up.'

    "I was ashamed at the time. We burned a lot of money - our money - and then the next time I was in touch with Phil he told me that he is very very sorry but they have to send us a Bridge notice and we'll have to repay them the money that they gave us."

    Iwiński flew to New York to negotiate and ended up signing over North American rights to The Witcher 2 years before the game had been made. "This would be repaying the debts for White Wolf," Atari had declared.

    In May 2009, CD Projekt Red confirmed that work on The Witcher: White Wolf had been suspended. In reality, everything had been thrown in the bin - nothing was reused. "We wasted so much time," laments Iwiński today.​

    While The Witcher 2 was on the whole a well-received game, mainly due to the quality of its writing, its branching storyline and its overall "polish", the game definitely had some issues. But knowing what CD Projekt was going through at the time, it's surprising that it came out as well as it did. Apparently, an entire location - Dol Blathanna, the Valley of Flowers - had to be cut from the game, in addition to much of the game's notoriously short third act. Hopefully, CD Projekt will finally be able to achieve their true potential in the upcoming Witcher 3.
     
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  2. Ninjerk Arcane

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    True potential of fully-scripted QTE experience
     
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  3. abnaxus Arcane

    abnaxus
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    Fucking Francesca Findabair would actually have been a valid reason to join the faggot Elves. Now, there's nothing.
     
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  4. Sergiu64 Arcane

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    Mmmm, the joys of outsourcing.
     
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  5. Rean Codex Grammar Police Patron

    Rean
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    Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy
    And I thought game journalism was dead. Great article. Its a shame that they had a whole additional area they had to cut for Witcher 2, the game actually felt too short for me.
     
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  6. Metro Arcane Beg Auditor

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    Almost? Don't tease me.
     
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  7. Haba Harbinger of Decline Patron

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    Have you ever considered killing yourself, Metro?
     
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  8. Metro Arcane Beg Auditor

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    :butthurt:
     
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  9. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Here's Brother None's post from April 2009 that revealed CD Projekt's predicament: http://www.gamebanshee.com/news/92658-the-witcher-rotww-cancellation-confirmed.html

     
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  10. Toffeli Atomkrieg, ja bitte Patron

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    A worthwhile read.
     
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  11. Mrowak Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Mrowak
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    Wow, I heard that story from rumours but to actually see it confirmed first hand...

    On the side not it's been months since I read so an interesting article in gaming "press".
     
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  12. Brother None inXile Entertainment Developer

    Brother None
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  13. Cosmo Arcane

    Cosmo
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    Project: Eternity
    Yeah, and a newfound respect for those guys...
     
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  14. Volourn Pretty Princess Pretty Princess

    Volourn
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    I don't. It shows how idiotic they are. All that money wasted because they are morans.

    Hell, BIO dealt with a loser small dev company too. They shitcanned them, then proceeded to do finish the game in a month while working on their own stuff, and enver felt the need to whine and cry about it on the internetz non stop.

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!


    P.S. Contrary to what the article suggests, Twitcher 2 sucks.
     
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  15. Rake Arcane

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    So does DA2 but i don't see you complain much
     
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  16. Explorerbc Arcane

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    It is always nice to read these underdog stories, where people with limited resources manage to create great games under difficult circumstances, in an industry that can waste hundreds of millions in a single game and still manage to make it suck.

    Only played the first Witcher and I loved it, glad to see them doing well.
     
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  17. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    Guess those taters aren't all bad.

    Setting up DOSbox, using cracks without giving credit to the groups who made them (props 2 drog 4 digging up this info)....

    lol potatoes

    This is the sound of my being right about European game developer cargo cults. The Witcher plays very much like something created by people who had no idea how to make a game.

    :bounce:

    Looks like Widescreen Games was the spiritual predecessor of Corpseplay.
     
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  18. Humanity has risen! Arcane Patron Repressed Homosexual

    Humanity has risen!
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    Whose decision was it to make a game with such horrible combat?
     
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  19. Chaotic_Heretic Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    Chaotic_Heretic
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    So trying to suck console cock almost got them bankrupt..

    And they are targeting next gen toys for witcher 3?
    Should be interesting. ..
     
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  20. cherry blossom Arcane

    cherry blossom
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    Certainly not anyone's from Troika whose two games out of the only three they made had shit combat so much so that even though I want to, I dread to play Arcanum again even because of what a piss poor experience combat was and both Arcanum and Bloodlines loses out on late-game shenanigans with combat encounters.

    TW series, on the other hand, I'm not a big fan of, I would have no problem playing through multiple times if only the series had solid replay value on similar grounds to Troika RPGs.

    It is interesting to note that what makes any part of both TW's and Arcanum's combat sufferable (and more often in the former's case than the latter's, even enjoyable) is the preparation phase. Reading up on monsters, learning the tactics and preparing potions before going into combat and then your effort paying off was very satisfying despite the unimpressive combat. Likewise with Arcanum, crafting equipment, potions, scrolls and whatnot and getting a good tactical use out of them made combat bearable and ever so slightly enjoyable despite the generally unpleasant experience of combat itself.
     
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  21. Ninjerk Arcane

    Ninjerk
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    I'm the last person to defend Arcanum, but come the fuck on. You could pretty much just level Igni and win TW.
     
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  22. cherry blossom Arcane

    cherry blossom
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    Do you really want to go down that route, son? Arcanum has many times more win buttons in it than TW. Harm for breakfast, Tesla for lunch, Pyro Axe for dinner and that is the course just for the first day.
     
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  23. Ninjerk Arcane

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    It seems you didn't read my post, here it is again with emphasis:
     
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  24. cherry blossom Arcane

    cherry blossom
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    And I was saying that the point you brought up about exploitability in TW applies even more so to Arcanum and I'm not defending TW here either.
     
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  25. Ninjerk Arcane

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    OK! FUCK
     
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