Delayed Responsibility

I Shouldn't Be Gaming Right Now… But I Am!

Stuff to Talk About (like no more White Wolf!)

Posted by deckard47 on April 30, 2009

First, the good news: Kotaku has 3 Mass Effect 2 screens to look at. And by screens I mean concept art. I know, it’s not too exciting. But it really is. One shows a ruined set of rooms, with palm trees outside. Mass Effect 2 will have palm trees. Sweet.

Second, it looks like The Witcher: Console Edition The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf is being put on hold, because CD Projekt ran out of money to pay the guys who they contracted to make it (if you listen to those guys) or because those guys (Widescreen Games) failed to meet deadlines repeatedly (according to a CD Projekt spokesperson. Either way, that’s too bad. I would have liked to see The Witcher reach a new audience that might have missed it the first time around. But since I have it already on my PC (and can run it), I’m not too broken up.

For specifics (if you care), why don’t you take a look at this (linked from Evil Avatar):

Details are sketchy, but the following facts have been confirmed: after the release of The Witcher, CD Projekt Red took the financial obligation of starting 3 projects simultaneously, a console port of The Witcher, and two more titles based on The Witcher intellectual property, one of which was The Witcher 2.

As the financial crisis hit, the studio was affected as well, finding itself incapable of managing all three projects and forced to lay off a significant portion of its staff. The third Witcher IP project was canceled, and its entire crew was let go or left of their own volition. A second round of layoffs followed as The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf was canceled, including around two dozen people losing their jobs yesterday.

Well shit, I hope that The Witcher 2 is still on track… That would be unfortunate if everything went badly over there. And I figured these guys were doing ok after selling a ton of Witcher copies? I guess no one is safe, not even the guys who spell “project” like badasses.

Update: From the EvAv forums:

“All funds and manpower have been redirected to a single project, The Witcher 2, which will be a multi-platform title for PC and consoles.”

YES! Kind of. Still shitty for all of the people who got fired. Huh, if you care to read, there’s some interesting PR work being done by Widescreen, the French company who was handling the port. After the break, if you are so inclined:

Thanks to EvAv’s sanitystream (and the next few quotes are all from GameIndustry.biz):

“The console versions of highly-anticipated RPG The Witcher have been put on hold by developer Widescreen Games after over a year of work.

French studio Widescreen had been developing Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the PC game, complete with new exclusive material, for Polish developer CD Projekt since March 2008, but a lack of payment has left Widescreen with no other option but to suspend development, claims CEO Olivier Masclef.

“Basically, after a few months of not being paid, we stopped,” said Masclef speaking to GamesIndustry.biz. “We’ve not been paid for a few months and we had a very nasty broken payment. We had no choice but to put the product on hold. We’ve not been able to find a solution.”

Masclef claims Widescreen was also kept in the dark and not informed of new milestone dates for the project, along with added features, which publisher Atari was expecting following discussions with CD Projekt.

“We were not involved in discussions with Atari and CD Projekt. The financial situation seems to have grown more and more difficult,” he said.

The game, The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf, was due to go alpha in June, but work stopped three weeks ago. A frustrated Mesclef told GamesIndustry.biz that the troubles have also harmed Widescreen’s relationship with distributor Namco Bandai, after early indication that the title would sell well at retail.

“It’s unfortunate because we have very nice technology, we’re replicated all the features of The Witcher,” he detailed. “Atari has validated the product and seen that our tech is working. And we’ve heard that the distributors have been committing a very high volume for the title, and it was extremely promising. It’s a very silly situation. I can’t disclose the budget, but it would be a profitable title if it hit the shelves. But at this stage it will not.”

He added: “I really don’t like the situation because we’ve also had a good relationship with Namco Bandai, and it’s a huge chunk of their portfolio. Historically we’ve always had extremely good relationship, we really respect them and we’ve worked with them in the past, they have a lot of time for developers. I feel sorry for them because they’ve not going to have this title.”

CD Projekt told GamesIndustry.biz that it would not comment on the situation.”

I really hope CD Projekt aren’t the bad guys here. I like them. Ok, and then here’s the full CD Projekt response:

The joint CEO of Polish publisher-developer CD Projekt has hit back at comments made previously by Widescreen Games boss Olivier Masclef regarding a financial dispute over the console editions of hit PC RPG The Witcher.

Masclef previously alleged that payments from Atari and CD Projekt had ceased “after a few months” and that as a result production on the title’s conversion had also been put on hold.

But now CD Projekt boss Michal Kicinski has spoken publicly about the situation, and asserted that “all payments were done on time according to [the] milestone plan”, and that while it was true that some payments were “later than originally planned but this was solely due to delays in production.”

He added, in a statement from the company received by GamesIndustry.biz, that CD Projekt was “evaluating all possible options to continue the production,” but that risks to the “planned quality” of the conversions were deemed “absolutely unacceptable” and so “this brought to an end in our cooperation with WSG.”

Kicinski also rued the fact that this ‘conversation’ between the two parties had to take place through the media, but that “we answer here as we feel forced to do this to clarify the unclear information.”

The Witcher, an RPG based on the books by Andrzej Sapkowski, was originally released in 2007 for the PC and proved a big hit for the Polish company, selling over 1 million units along the way.

The console editions of the game were announced at an Atari event in the UK late last year, and were expected to have seen a release towards the end of 2009.

Weird.

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2 Responses to “Stuff to Talk About (like no more White Wolf!)”

  1. Eric said

    I’m sad about this. I never read the books but I heard that the game was very intelligent and mature– Mature in the grown-up sense, not just the sex-cards sense. But I’m not a PC gamer, so I was looking forward to the console version.

    The news that there’s a Witcher 2 in production for multiple platforms is a bit of a consolation (console-ation), but then again you can’t count on a sequel living up to the original.

  2. deckard47 said

    Well, they’ve steeped themselves in everything Witcher for like 5 different titles since then, so the feel should be right. Honestly, if they released a game with a different story, different characters and different spells, i’d be happy. Everything else could stay the same, I like my sequels to be good, not full of “new features.”

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