The Witcher was a staff favorite when it was released last year and we were intrigued to see what CD Projekt had up their sleeves for the updated version of the game that was released a year later:
Can you introduce yourself and describe your role on the project? How long have you been in the gaming industry and what drew you to your current position?
My name is Maciej Szcześnik and I was the Project Lead during the development of The Witcher: Enhanced Edition. I’ve been working in the industry since April 2004. I worked as Lead Gameplay Designer on The Witcher, and as far as I can remember, since I finished primary school I’ve known that I would one day make games for a living.
The Witcher Enhanced is quite a tune up of an already award winning game. What made CD Projekt RED decide to release the new version of the game?
Our main reason was to give our players something more. They showed their trust in us by buying our debut game, and we wanted to reward them for that trust. We want to make games for players, not for publishers.
CD Projekt RED has put a lot of time and devotion into The Witcher and The Witcher Enhanced. Is this the kind of dedication gamers can expect from future projects or was The Witcher Enhanced a special case?
As I said before, we make games for players. We all play games, and we all want to play good games. The best ones. I am sure that every game we develop will be made with the same amount of dedication. We don’t really see the point of creating a game that isn’t up to gamers’ high standards; we wouldn’t play it, so why should you?
Many players enjoy games specifically because they can be modded. Are there any new features or updates for D'jinni in the works?
We are not working on D’jinni right now. We may work to modify/improve it in the future, but we’re happy with the Editor as it is. If we will plan anything new, we will let you know for sure.
Is CD Projekt planning on specializing in RPGs or are cross-genre games or even titles from a completely different genre possibilities?
At the moment we plan to stay with RPGs, but we aren’t shutting out different genres. As designers, programmers and artists, we play all kinds of games. Most probably we will try different genres, as well, but first we want to establish ourselves as a top RPG developer.
The Witcher is closely tied in with the music industry and has inspired and encouraged some excellent work. Will CD Projekt continue to work with musicians on future games?
We would like to do it, for sure. It really just has to make sense for the product, but we were quite happy with the Music Inspired by The Witcher CD.
Do you have any kind of statistics on how many owners of The Witcher have upgraded to the enhanced patch? How are you getting the word out to existing owners?
We don’t have any official stats yet, but there were about 30,000 downloads during the first weekend. We get the word out to our existing users via newsletters and different game oriented websites; hopefully that will reach most of the players who purchased the original.
Even if a player purchased the original game in 2007, there's a lot of incentive to purchase a copy of The Witcher Enhanced for all the extras included in the bundle. How many others like myself do you estimate have gone for that option?
We don’t know that yet. We are still waiting for initial sales. All we know now is that lots of people – whether first-time players or existing customers – have purchased The Witcher: Enhanced Edition at retail and online. In Poland it is on the top of the bestsellers’ lists in malls.
What of all the changes made to The Witcher Enhanced is the most important or satisfying to you personally?
I have three :). Loading times, new inventory screen and multilingual edition. I can finally play with English voices and Polish subtitles. Then I will play with Russian voices and Polish subtitles :).
Official modules and the first community mod from Red Flame have already been made available for download. Are there any plans for an official expansion pack or is the next step a full blown sequel?
Our plans are top secret. I would most probably die in a mysterious accident if I told you anything. So I will not :).
We'd like to thanks Maciej for taking the time to answer our questions and to Tom for helping to setup the interview