CD Projekt Is Avoiding “Hit-and-run” Game Releases
What exactly is a hit-and-run release? Sounds a little violent and possibly illegal. Fortunately, The Witcher developer CD Projekt Red has explained it quite well. Essentially, they’re not the kind of developers to keep you up all night and then leave before breakfast without you even realising they’re gone. CEO Marcin Iwinski told Gamasutra in a new interview that the studio’s relationship with gamers, especially after releasing a title, is a big part of who they are.
“At the end of the day, what really matters is the experience which you are having with the game when it’s out,” Iwinski said. “And this is the one unique moment which defines us. If it’s an average experience, pretty much what we are doing every day doesn’t make sense.”
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Iwinski admitted that sometimes the “hit-and-run” strategy can work, in the short-term, but this isn’t a path CD Projekt Red is looking to take.
“For a lot of companies, from a short-term business perspective, the famous hit-and-run strategy, there are still a lot of people applying this. And sometimes it works!” he said. “And then they are probably telling [other companies about] what they do. I just don’t think it’s [the way we should run our business]. So we are really deliberately choosing what we want to do, and we will do it for as long as we are happy with the effect.”
Iwinski pointed to the developer’s continued post-release support with free downloadable content for The Witcher series on PC as testament to the vision of the relationship that can exist with consumers outweighing financial gain.
“And they appreciate it. Then they tell their friends we are doing a good job and we respect them. And ultimately it will result in a sale,” Iwinski said. “Some people are saying, ‘Why do you do that? You could have charged for it!’ Yeah. But I think the value in the whole proposition is that we are honest, straightforward, and fair, and this pays back. So you can call it a business model, in a way.”
CD Projekt also believes highly in transparency and being upfront with gamers. You have only to look as any number of forums or social networks to see how quickly people latch onto developers who skirt issues or are disingenuous.
“And I think that this will become even stronger and ever more important, because the way to the gamer is direct, so there is no place for a lie anymore. If you lie, you are a joke on social networks in seconds,” Iwinski said. “The liars from back in the day, their fate is pretty grim right now. We can see it all around. There is a statement from Company A. People say, ‘Hey, it’s not like that.’ And the whole Internet goes crazy. Ten years ago, it wouldn’t be the case, pretty much. People would talk between each other and it would die out.”
CD Projekt is currently working on Cyberpunk 2077 and The Wicther 3: Wild Hunt. Simpy put, I completely agree with this ethos and believe that the gaming industry is sorely in need of more transparency and a bigger focus on seeing consumers as people rather than profit points.