How The Witcher 2 almost never happened

The Witcher 2 is one of the most highly-rated big-budget role-playing games in recent years, but according to developer CD Projekt, the game might never have happened.

In an interview with Eurogamer today, CD Projekt joint-CEO Marcin Iwińsk reveals how, in the aftermath of its success with the first Witcher game (2007), the company squandered millions of dollars on a doomed attempt to create a console version, stretched its resources with the launch of online distribution site GOG, and suffered from the severity of the global economic recession.

"It was looking pretty grim back then. It was very edgy," he said. "We had probably a year where we were scraping money to make the payroll at the end of the month.

The Polish company's biggest problem had been a partnership with Atari to create White Wolf, a console version of The Witcher, which had sold a few million copies on Windows PC. But the development, outsourced to French company Widescreen, ran into problems. CD Projekt took the difficult, and expensive decision to kill the project.

Atari's investment needed to be repaid. The Witcher 2 had to be developed. GOG was in its infancy, just at the time when the economy went bad.

"This was a few months of horror," Iwiński said. "And I don't know what happened, but at a certain point I realised that if this doesn't work I'll just do something else. Maybe I'll restart the company."

Despite difficult economic conditions, the company raised money on the Polish stock exchange, where investors liked its plans for The Witcher 2. The game series is based on a literary fantasy franchise that is much-revered in Poland.

"Overnight the stress just went away and I had new power to do things," said Iwiński. "People can make mistakes, OK, but we have to learn from them and we cannot repeat them."

The Witcher 2 was released in 2011 to positive reviews and strong sales. The Witcher 3 is currently in development and is due for release on Windows PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2014.

More from Polygon

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Old Iron King Overview

  • Pillars of Eternity builds on role-playing classics

  • Tour the 1 KB hard drive built inside Minecraft

  • Diablo 3 - Xbox One vs. PC comparison

  • Enemy Starfighter: Homeworld from inside a fighter

Latest Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.
Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5353_tracker