A retrospective is an agile development term for a team meeting at the end of a development cycle where the team determines what things were done well, what things could have been better, and what things they were going to try to do better in the next cycle. It's a great way for teams to celebrate what they did correctly and identify the things that they need to improve on.
Given the state of flux that the video game industry is in right now I thought it would be an interesting idea to do several small retrospective with folks from around the industry with the end goal is to develop a holistic view of the state of the video game.
We've got a nice variety of opinions ranging from game developers to publishers to hardware manufactures and everyone in between. This is one of the more ambitious projects we've ever done and we think you'll enjoy seeing the wide spectrum of opinions on the industry. You can see our previous retrospectives here
Today we are talking to Przemyslaw Wojcik the Head of the QA Department at CD Projekt. Over the last five years or so CD Projekt has been slowly growing one of the best new IP's in the business with the Witcher franchise. Later this month they will bring the franchise to the Xbox 360, giving console owners the first taste of this PC gem.
Looking back at the last year what were the things that you did right? What things could you have done better?
Well our greatest success is of course The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. The game was well received both by critics and gamers. This was great joy for all of us, because most of the team spent a bit part of their lives working on. We were also very surprised that the Polish Foreign Ministry gave the Collector’s Edition of our game to president Obama, when he visited our country.
What could have been better? We could have launched the game as polished as it now. That was impossible, cause we spent almost a year working on The Enhanced Edition, but imagine if we did it back then!
What do you think went well for the game industry in 2011? What do you think the industry could have done better in 2011?
2011 was a great year for gaming. Many great titles came to all platforms and it was really hard to choose which title was the best in almost every important genre. What could be done better? It’s hard for one man to say on behalf of the whole industry. We had really good sequels last year, but there were few good innovative original games released. I have nothing against expanding the series, but mainstream gaming could use more originality.
Looking ahead, what are you most excited about from CD Projekt in 2012? What’s the one thing you’re planning on doing now that you weren’t doing in 2011?
Of course the most exciting thing is the launch of the Xbox 360 and PC launch of the Enhanced Edition. It’s our first console release and also a large expansion of our title. 4 hours of new gameplay, 35 minutes of new cinematics so this will be something we are looking forward to on the 17th of April.
Our further plans for 2012? Game development doesn’t sleep. We have still a lot of work with our old products and our future projects, but we can’t go into detail now.
What are you looking forward to most in 2012 from an industry standpoint? What should the industry do better in 2012?
Probably the announcement of the next generation consoles, because nobody suspects that they’ll come this year. What could be done better? Assuming nothing goes wrong, the industry should improve what went wrong last year.
In your opinion, what can game developers and published do to mitigate the impact of software piracy? Is it strictly a quality issue or is price a factor?
First of all we won’t force anyone to buy our products. We have to convince them that’s it worth it. That’s CD Projekt RED’s policy. We try to attract gamers to our titles with rich additional content and fair post-sale service – the free DLCs. This isn’t a form of charity, but normal consumer support. This is something pirates won’t offer and we think our fans appreciate that.
The additional content is publishing the game in the richest format possible. Look at The Witcher 2 for Xbox 360. The standard edition of the game comes with an quest handbook, map and an audio CD. Which other Xbox game does that? This way we try to show the player that’s it worth it to buy an original game.
What’s been the biggest factor in your rapid growth over the last few years?
The launch of the new title, that’s for sure. This is a main internal factor- we introduced our franchise to many people, who haven’t played The Witcher 1 and also showed what kind of great products we can create. The growing number of mature gamers – our target audience – has helped a lot as well. We want to give ambitious entertainment and more and more people are attracted to games like ours.