INTERVIEW: CD Projekt Red on The Witcher 2: PART 2

Leigh Harris
INTERVIEW: CD Projekt Red on The Witcher 2: PART 2

Following on from yesterday, MCV continues its discussion with developers from CD Projekt Red on The Witcher 2 for 360.

Agnieszka Szostak, Marketing Specialist, and Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz, Senior Quest Designer on The Witcher 2: Assassin's of Kings, were on hand at Namco Bandai Australia to discuss their approach to CD Projekt Red's first ever console game.

When you were looking at the Xbox audience, was the target demographic significantly different?

MT: We were trying to make the Enhanced Edition have a more cinematic feel. To that end, we’ve added a lot of new movies and CGI between the acts. We’ve also changed the controls to make it more user-friendly for console players. But we haven’t had to downgrade the complexity of the game to bring it across in any way.

It’s not a completely changed game, but it’s a bit of an upgrade.

Does CDP have a specific focus on localisation from one territory to the next, given its beginnings?

AS: The best answer is ‘Well, we’re here, right’? I mean, we’ve flown 40 hours from Poland to be here, and we do think it’s really important, and is a part of our attitude towards gamers in general.

We do believe that (in terms of localisation and printed content you’ll get with the game) if you’re playing in Spain, France, Italy or wherever, you should never be forced to play an English version of a game.

The only real limitations we have are technical ones. Like, there’s a certain amount of space on one DVD, so you’ll sometimes have to choose whether to place one language over another. That’s the benefit of the Enhanced Edition for The Witcher 2 for Xbox, and on PC you’re going to be able to download every language pack which comes with it completely free.

Do you think this approach is driven by your status as a smaller, independent company which has to work harder to win gamers over rather than bombarding them with huge marketing campaigns?

AS: I don’t think we look at it this way, as much as it is about the attitude that we have. CDP Red began as a really small studio. Now, we’re a little bit larger and probably going to get larger again in the future.

The whole time, and since the company established around 2004, even though there was about 40 people starting it, the attitude was the same from the very beginning.

That attitude was that once you have the customer base, you have to respect it. It’s simply because it’s more important to have loyal customers than to win them once and forget about it. That’s not something that we want to do, and not something I could even imagine CDP Red doing at any point, just because we don’t believe in that.

We do believe that it’ll pay back in the future, and that if we’re loyal to our customers, they’ll be loyal to us. That’s what it’s all about for us.

Do you feel that you have a significant amount of creative freedom when selecting new projects, or does your smaller scale require you to cater to what you know can sell?

AS: If you’re asking if we’re one of those studios where there’s a big top-down approach and people dictate to developers the way games are going to be made, because there’s a belief that certain things are going to sell better, then no. That’s just not how CDP works.

There’s a whole bunch of very creative people who know their jobs very well, and we’re fortunate enough to work in a company which allows us to share our ideas. There’s a lot of trust within the team, so if you have a good idea and you can make the team believe in it, you’re free to implement. Of course, there’s one lead vision, because the world has to be internally consistent, but also there’s a lot of freedom for people working on the game.

You use the word ‘mature’ often when describing The Witcher series. Why is that word so important to you?

MT: The word ‘mature’ is primarily a reference to the plot we have in the game and our approach to storytelling. The plot we have in-game is really complicated. It touches on serious matters like politics and racism, and I believe that we have changed the things which were considered ‘mature’ in the past, like sex, gore, violence etc.

We don’t look at maturity that way in The Witcher 2. I think that, by the word ‘mature’, we mean that we’re treating the customer as a mature person. It’s not to treat them as stupid people, not oversimplify the plot, make players think on their own when they’re playing the game and not give them everything the game has to offer on a platter.

And we don’t want to make the moral decision too obvious either.

So something more nuanced than an option to either feed the homeless or kill kittens?

MT: Exactly! That’s just not mature in my opinion.

Thank you for your time!

 

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Tags: publishing , interview , dlc , Development , marketing , Xbox , 360 , Namco Bandai Partners Australia , Pre-order incentives , cd projekt red , Agnieszka Szostak , Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz

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