The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Interview

Russian video game website (not to be confused with the German GameStar) has an interview with CD Projekt's co-founder and joint CEO Marcin Iwinski, with some rather interesting questions. I have to admit the comparison to Metal Gear Solid confused me greatly, but aside from that it's a solid interview:
There were news about you opening a new studio in Krakow. So how is it doing? How big is it?

The studio is over twenty people and it consists of experienced RPG creators who made games like Two Worlds and Two Worlds II. At a certain point we were contacted by this group of people from Krakow, some of them working at Reality Pump, some of them have already left the company, and they said «Guys, we'd love to join the studio, we love what you're doing, but you know, we'd really like to work in Krakow». We did suggest to move their studio to Warsaw, but it seems that it was important for them to set up in Krakow.

What is really great is that the team is really experienced. It's not so common, because there are not so many RPG oriented studios in the world and we're lucky to have one more group, and a great one, in our country, so we didn't think too long before opening the studio. Right now one of our producers is spending a lot of time there: they call us on a regular basis, set up streams of what they are doing and we strongly believe they'll deliver some kick-ass stuff.

So it was more about the people, who would like to join you, and wasn't a necessary business decision?

No, no. It wasn't a business decision like «Hey, we should expand», nothing like that. What we're doing is very much about passion. When you come for a job interview, we will expect a candidate to set us on fire, in a way. Whether it's marketing or finance or game development, we want to see your passion, and then we'll obviously ask what games are you playing, why you like them and things like that. And if it's a development position we'll be checking how deep is your love for games. Our job is about employing the most passionate people to create great games, and people from Krakow without a doubt have a lot of passion. I think it's a good match.


When you work with something for a long time you probably learn all its strengths and weaknesses. You've been working with big RPG titles for a while now. What are the common troubles with modern RPG?

Okay, it's very simple: it's closing the project! Closing it with a high quality bar and high playability value for a gamer at the same time. There is always a possibility that we will close the project and then some things will not work. In Eastern Europe that is a big problem with a lot of games, to be honest. They're unfinished, buggy or sometimes not working at all. All the elements must be perfected and at the same time you should finish it on time without exceeding the budget, and this is some hardcore shit. I remember there was some research from NASA in terms of difficulty of different industries. So the first and most difficult one was what NASA is doing: sending people to the Moon or Mars. The second place belongs to video games.

The problem is that all of the elements are constantly moving: the technology is changing, there are new platforms Mac, mobile, etc. They're connected and on top of that you're making a non-linear game where all the elements have already moved again. So the question when you're closing a project is usually «Where to stop?» These are the things gamers usually don't think about. And they're right, they're paying their hard-earned money to have fun. If it's so hard to properly finish the game, then you shouldn't sell it in the first place.

So we're always focused on finishing the game, polishing it to the highest possible level and then supporting it after release. You have to do it all the time, especially on PC, where there are a lot of issues with compatibility and things like that. We really believe that we should support the game heavily, you know, release enhanced editions, updates, free small DLC, etc.