The lights are on
The Witcher studio takes an unparalleled gamers-first position on everything from DRM to post-launch support. For this – and for their amazing RPGs, of course – I salute them.
CDProjekt RED stands apart in an age where cheat codes have been replaced with paid DLC and the $60 box for a single-player game you just bought has become nothing more than a ticket to stand in line while the developer fixes the servers that crumbled under day-one load. Kudos are due to the hard-working Polish studio for being on the right side of pretty much every issue of consumer rights.
Bought the game before all the cool DLC came out? No problem, download it for free. Want all the fancy rebalancing and new content going into the Enhanced Edition almost a year later? No problem, download it for free. Suffering from spotty Internet service? Who cares, you don’t even need to mess around with an offline mode because there are no authentication servers or accounts to log into (unless you bought the game on Steam). For saving us all those headaches, CDProjekt RED has my thanks.
We spoke to studio head Adam Badowski during the Witcher 3 cover trip.
When The Witcher 2 came out, the number-one most-common complaint against the otherwise excellent game was the brutally difficult (for new players) tutorial. I’ve been one of the game’s most enthusiastic cheerleaders since day one, and even I couldn’t say anything more laudatory than a reassurance that the first few hours are worth suffering through for the brilliant remainder of the adventure. However, because CDProjekt RED is awesome, the studio put out not one but a series of free patches over the first few months post-release that rebalanced the tutorial (and combat in general) into a more reasonable difficulty curve.
Of course, all the good will in the world wouldn’t matter much if the games sucked. CDProjekt RED is in no danger of that any time soon. The Witcher 2 is my favorite RPG of this generation, and it’s not even close – the world, the writing, the characters, and the combat all come together into a brilliant adventure that I hold above even Mass Effect. The Witcher 3 looks to raise the bar again next year, adding an open world to all of the things that CDProjekt RED does so well.
CDProjekt began its days as a humble translator and publisher of foreign games in its native Poland. Its success in shepherding the rise of its sister company, CDProjekt RED, into a triple-A development studio is remarkable – especially given how difficult the last decade has been for independent developers. I will be a happy gamer indeed if the next 10 years are anywhere near as kind to CDProjekt.