Witcher dev avoiding "hit-and-run" strategy to releasing games

CD Projekt Red says relationship with gamers after release is what "defines us" as a company; publishers that lie will be exposed.

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The Witcher developer CD Projekt Red is actively avoiding the "hit-and-run" strategy to releasing games, CEO Marcin Iwinski has told Gamasutra in a new interview.

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He explained that what really matters is straightforward and honest postlaunch support. This is why gamers continue to come back to CD Projekt Red, he said.

"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."

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 downloadable content for the Witcher series being free on the PC as an example of CD Projekt Red's vision of relationships with consumers trumping monetary 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."

Being open and honest with gamers is more important now than ever, Iwinski argued, because the rise of the Internet and its various social networks will expose companies that 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 Red is currently developing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Cyberpunk 2077, and a "smaller" game, estimated to be about 20 hours in length.

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