The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Interview

Article Index

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Namco Bandai
Developer:CD Projekt RED
Release Date:2011-05-17
  • Action,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
Despite the fact that The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings senior producer Tomasz Gop isn't with CD Projekt RED anymore, we managed to catch up with him before his departure for a quick post-release interview about the game's reception, sales figures, DRM-free nature, future modding support, and more.

GB: How does it feel to see The Witcher 2 released and know that gamers all around the world are finally getting to experience the game after nearly four years of development?

Tomasz: As you can surely imagine, we are very happy that The Witcher 2 has been released so gamers around the world can see what we have been working on. We believe we have created something truly different and special. Of course, it's up to the players to judge for themselves, so we're also very pleased that the initial feedback from them and also from the game media has been highly positive.

And naturally, we would all love a few days off.

GB: We know that well over 100,000 copies of the game were pre-ordered, but what sort of sales numbers are you seeing since the game's release? Are the numbers meeting your expectations? How does the sequel's sell-through rate compare to the original game's?

Tomasz: We're glad to tell you that the final pre-order total was over 150,000 units, which is one of the highest numbers in recent memory for a PC-only game. The sell-through figures so far have been very satisfactory.

GB: How scary was it to go DRM-free with the Good Old Games version of The Witcher 2? Was it difficult to convince Atari that releasing a copy devoid of any DRM would ultimately be a good decision?

Tomasz: The CD Projekt group of companies does not believe in DRM. We believe that if we treat people properly, they will treat us the same way. So the decision was not scary at all. Atari's first reaction was along the lines of (Guys, you're crazy), but we think things worked out in the end.

GB: Studios often times find it necessary to cut features and content from a game in order to meet budget and time constraints. Is there anything you were forced to cut from The Witcher 2 that you would have preferred to flesh out if time and money weren't an issue?

Tomasz: It's hard to answer hypothetically because time and money are always considerations. If they weren't, no game would ever ship because there's always room to improve, add and polish things. One possibility that comes to mind would have been to make the game even less linear.

In practice, we did the best we could to balance two desires - making the game even better and getting it into players' hands.

GB: Beyond the Troll Trouble DLC, what other downloadable content are you working on for the game? How many add-ons do you intend to release for it, and have you decided whether or not you'll pursue a full-on expansion pack?

Tomasz: As you might expect, since we plan to release our DLCs over time, our basic plan is to announce them individually. What we can say right now is that we have a couple more coming within the next few weeks, and also that we will have more after that. And they will all be DLC 4 Free, meaning no charge to registered users.
GB: Do you plan on releasing an editor for The Witcher 2 in the same vein as what we saw with the Djinni adventure editor for the original game? If so, when might modding enthusiasts expect to get their hands on it?

Tomasz: We were impressed with what our community members were able to do with the first game. So, support for modders is definitely on our wish list although we're not prepared to commit to anything at this moment. At best, the current outlook is probably not this year.

GB: Both CD Projekt and Widescreen Games have had conflicting things to say about the cancellation of The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf. Have you gotten to a point where you're able to talk about the circumstances surrounding its cancellation? What lessons did you learn from that experience and how would you pursue a console edition of The Witcher 2 differently?

Tomasz: There is nothing more to be gained from discussing details of this situation. After a lot of thought, we felt it was best to cancel the project. As for what we learned, let's just say it was a lot. One big thing would be to give more consideration to doing it in-house.

GB: Has Andrzej Sapkowski had a chance to see The Witcher 2, and if so, what were his thoughts? Is he pleased with the direction you've taken both games and the success they've enjoyed?

Tomasz: Sapkowski isn't much of a gamer, so the main thing we can mention is that he reportedly likes the new, improved Geralt. Obviously, he's happy the first game introduced his creation to a wider international audience. We're sure that, just like the rest of us, he's keen to see The Witcher 2 become an even bigger success.

GB: The RED Engine has to be one of the most impressive engines we've seen on the PC, particularly for a role-playing game. Do you have any plans to license it to other developers or perhaps even to develop other non-Witcher titles in-house with the technology?

Tomasz: While ideas like the ones you mentioned have come up, we have been completely focused on getting The Witcher 2 out the door. So we have not taken any steps in either direction.

GB: At this point, I doubt there are any Witcher fans who wouldn't want to see a third installment to the series. Are there any roadblocks that would keep you from developing The Witcher 3? Are there further negotiations that would have to take place in order to give you the green light to pursue such an endeavor?

Tomasz: The main potential roadblock is the obvious one; i.e. if The Witcher 2 somehow fails to warrant a third game. It's still a bit early to be certain, but the indications so far are pretty favorable. Pre-sales were very solid, the sell-through so far looks strong, and the feedback from our players and from the game media has definitely been positive.

Thanks for your time, Tomasz, and best of luck in your future endeavors!