The Witcher Dev’s Think Creative Freedom Is More Important Than Sales
Oh CD Projekt RED, you just make us love you more and more everyday don’t you. Yesterday the Polish developers, famous for their incredible work on The Witcher franchise and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, quelled rumours about the studio looking for a buyer, saying that creative and financial independence is a core component of its development strategy.
Studio head Adam Badowski explained in a recent interview that the studio was more concerned about creative freedom and integrity that sales, saying that business principles often get in the way of developing a great game.
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“Independence is a crucial part of a our strategy. That means we need to be independent in both ways. First, financially and secondly creatively; they’re both crucial for us. So as a company we’re listed publicly on the Warsaw stock exchange, which gave us financial independence and creatively we own all our IP so we’re free to invest in our own business with total creative freedom. This gives us a fresh eye in the studio, so it’s very important to us. Maybe we could get extra money or experience, but it wouldn’t make us happy.”
He then went further, explaining how CD Projekt RED had ensured that business decisions didn’t decide the future of the studio, allowing their games to speak for themselves rather.
“I believe that if you want to succeed, creative vision has to inform business policy and not the other way around; that’s crucial for us. Sometimes business will decide a company’s creative policy, that’s very bad for a studio.”
On the topic of the growing free-to-play market, Badowski said that the model presents a great way to make money fast, but expressed hesitation at entering it. CD Projekt Red ultimately sees free-to-play as “strange and awkward” and the Badowski has no plans to engage with this market anytime soon.
“Financial and business concerns shouldn’t decide which path we take or the creative aims of the company. For example, right now we are not dealing in the free-to-play market and this is why; the market is far from perfect yet, I think there’s something strange and awkward in this business model.
“So we’re not getting involved in it, even if everyone is excited by how much money can be made using this model. Maybe we’ll change our minds in that regard, but not yet. To succeed you have to believe in your project first and then do your job 100 per cent. So the creative side and your heart comes first. Business should be based around your vision.”
With this type of approach to game design, it should come as no surprise that CD Projekt RED produces some stellar titles, with The Witcher franchise being one of the best RPG franchises ever created. Development principles like this are rare in the industry, and the sole reason why a lot games are releasing with more business than creative vision. The gaming industry should take a hint from CD Projekt RED; this is how to create incredible games that will ultimately sell because they’re giving gamers what they want. A good game leads to a strong developer following, which results in a lot more sales down the line. Who would’ve guessed?