What CD Projekt Red could teach an Industry

CD Projekt red is a Warsaw-based game development company revered for its original title The Witcher. They cemented their place in history in 2015, having released The Witcher 3: The Wild hunt on the 19th of May. The company is known for being supportive and tailoring their content to the desire of the fans, a thing that many companies have failed to achieve in the form of overpriced Season Passes and empty promises. *cough* Star Wars: Battlefront *cough*.

CD Projekt Red propelled themselves to new heights when they released the third instalment of their famed Witcher series. The game itself received The Game of The Year award in 2015 and had over 120 critically acclaimed reviews.

The company provided a fully fledged interactive world with a world class narrative and incredible gameplay, the game was technologically innovative and will for years drive the development of future games a step further in hopes of achieving such a behemoth within the gaming industry like The Witcher.

The game itself was arguably the best of all time. Like the previous games, it follows the journey of the witcher Geralt of Rivia as he battles deadly monsters, overthrows kings and saves damsels in distress. An even larger example of their dedication to the fans and series is the fact that the developers themselves created more than 7000 new animations in 2016 for the released of blood and wine, the latest and perhaps final DLC.

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Many companies have sought to overcome game launch fails, such as No Man’s Sky, by cashing in all their chips and investing in preorder strategies in an attempt to grab the most money out of consumers that they possibly can, for example, Watch_Dogs. While the game itself was a considerable enough success to warrant a sequel, it barely lived up to half of the promises it made at E3. Instead, the game released to the consumer was a shell of its potential. This has not been, and probably never will be the case with titles released by CD Projekt Red, as they have constantly surpassed our expectations.

CD Projekt Red have also released their games on various platforms, most notably on GOG. This is an online game distributing platform that frowns upon DRM, game protection. While developers aren’t quick to tell you this, certain DRM’s have negative effects on the games they’re supposed to protect, in some cases, DRM can wildly reduce the frames you get in games.

There was only one case of DRM with The Witcher 3, and that was the mandatory steam DRM that is required by Valve to be integrated into your games if you wish to release and distribute it on Steam. Even then, steam DRM is not known for limiting FPS, in comparison to much stronger DRM, it’s relatively weak and has been crackable by scene groups for many years.

As a little fun easter egg, CD Projekt Red thought it’d be fun to include a little passage within the game about DRM while being as lore friendly as possible, it does include a few sentences about GOG, however, in the game it is referred to as Gottfried’s Omni-Opening Grimoire.

See for yourself:

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So while DRM can be effective in protecting games against piracy, CD Projekt Red have shown that if you develop a good game, it will sell and receive many accolades. DRM more recently is used primarily to protect the game from being cracked at launch, so people will buy the game instead of pirating it, realising it’s no good after they’ve paid for it and it’s too late to get your time and money back.

CD Projekt Red are now looking to transition from making hit RPG’s, to making a Sci-Fi game that will most likely be just as critically acclaimed.

CD Projekt Red’s co-founder  Michał Kicińsk has gone on to say that Cyberpunk 2077 could go on to become an even bigger commercial success than The Witcher 3, receiving as many accolades as The Witcher, and hopefully outselling it due to the Sci-Fi setting being more inherently appealing to some.

“I think it’s absolutely realistic. “The Witcher” was a fantastic material for a game, but it also constraint us. For startes, we’re working with a story set in a fantasy world. Secondary, we’re promoting a brand, that was mainly known in Central-Eastern Europe, and not in the west.

I’m confident, that Cyberpunk 2077 can be a much bigger commercial success than “The Witcher 3”. Futuristic world of the Cyberpunk is much closer to what we know from our daily lives. It’s also much more popular, massive as you can tell by its presence in the films, books, comics and games. You have to remember, that fantasy is a much more niche topic.”

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So not only have CD Projekt Red set an industry goal for all aspiring developers, they’ve also done it based on a little cult-following, No DRM or money grabbing scheme, a normal sized marketing campaign and all while being true to the fans desires and not selling out to make the most money.

I personally cannot wait to see what Cyberpunk can bring to the table in regards to an incredible narrative and technical prowess.







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