"Quality determines a game's success"
When it comes to anticipated next-gen games, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt tops many an RPG enthusiast's wishlist. Promising both exquisite storytelling, an open world to explore and serious graphical grunt, CD Projekt's upcoming sequel has us slavering like madmen.
However, we'll now have to wait until next year to play it, since CD Projekt has now delayed The Witcher 3 to thoroughly polish and playtest their baby. They apologised to both fans and shareholders in an open letter, but won't be budged on their mission to deliver a quality product by stockholder pressure.
"Ever since we started working on the third installment in The Witcher franchise, it has been our aim to produce a title that would take our 11 years of experience in creating RPGS and distill them into a quintessence, into a game that would effectively crown those years," wrote the CD Projekt board. "At the same time, we have wanted The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to expand creative boundaries, set new benchmarks, develop the genre as a whole. Ultimately, you, the players, must get an unforgettable adventure to experience in a vast, open world – and that’s most important."
"We’ve created a story that flows naturally, cinematically, rendered it in amazing sound and visuals, while preserving full freedom of choice – all for you. We knew this to be an ambitious plan, but believed we could achieve it by bringing together our team with its creative energies and current gaming platforms with their technical capabilities. A project this vast and complex would inevitably require special care in its final stages, manual fine-tuning of many details, thorough testing time and again."
However, after re-examining their current position, CD Projekt took the tough decision to delay The Witcher 3 from its vague "2014" release date into February 2015. "The decision we made was difficult, thoroughly considered, and ultimately clear and obvious," they explained. "We could have released the game towards the end of this year as we had initially planned. Yet we concluded that a few additional months will let us achieve the quality that will satisfy us, the quality gamers expect from us."
As an independent studio, CD Projekt took the move unilaterally, and ask their shareholders to remain patient - arguing that excellence is worth waiting for. "Dear shareholders – we are aware of the responsibility that rests with us and thank you for the trust you have granted us thus far," they concluded. "We firmly believe that quality – more than any other factor – determines a game’s success, and that the decision we have made is thus equally valid in business terms."
You know what? Good on you, CD Projekt. We've seen so many games release too early to satisfy publisher and shareholder-set release windows, yet launching incomplete or unfit for task. Just take a look at EA's 2013 lineup. If delaying the game will result in a truly superior RPG, then so be it. We're willing to wait.