The Witcher’s developers don’t like publishers

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Most of the big, AAA games you play are developed by studios, and then marketed and distributed by a publisher, who may or may not have also had a hand in funding the game. It’s far easy for a studio to get its game out if it has the help of an agency or mega-publisher behind it. Only according to The Witcher developer CD Projekt RED, it’s a recipe for disappointment.

Stopping just short of calling every single publisher a jerk, CD Projekt RED CEO Marcin Iwiski says developers sacrifice their vision when they sell their souls to publishers.

“There are good publishers and there are bad publishers,” he warned, “but only the developer can change their reality. They are the vision holders, they are the passion holders. With a middle man, they tell your story and you lose, what, 50 per cent of that message. If you’re doing it through a bigger company you might have two layers of those people.

“I want to demystify one thing, because a lot of people out there – including us, back in the day – are thinking, ‘We’ll take the publisher, co-publisher, agency’ – the magical solution guys. It’s bullshit. There’s nothing like that, and you’ll be very disappointed in nine out of ten cases. we were.

“You have to learn it, and then you can use external support when you know how it works. Because then you can judge what they’re doing. You won’t be buying their crap, or their lousy work, and you’ll be able to make a more fruitful, useful and meaningful cooperation. Don’t be like a sheep going out there: ‘Do everything for me.’ They don’t understand your game. You’re the passionate one. You’re the creator.

“People should consider getting the message out there as part of the development process. You can develop a game and think it’s the best in the world, but if that’s it? You’re going dead wrong.”

If you want to get your physical, boxed game released globally, you have to go through publishers though. The last Witcher game was published in Europe by Namco Bandai, and by Warner in North America – a status quo that’s set to continue. Here in South Africa it’s bypassing publishers, and being distributed by Megarom.

Last Updated: May 19, 2014

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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