CD Projekt Red outlines plan to develop multiple AAA titles simultaneously

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,965   +785
Staff member
WTF?! CD Projekt Red is restructuring so that the studio can develop multiple AAA games at a time. Some of you may be wondering, "How can it focus on more than one title when it could not even launch Cyberpunk 2077 on time and without bugs?" However, it is because of the CP2077 fiasco that the reorganizing is taking place.

On Tuesday, in a 24-minute corporate "strategy update" (below), CD Projekt Red outlined how it would ensure growth going forward.

"The launch of Cyberpunk 2077 did not meet our quality standards, and we made a commitment to improve going forward," said CDPR's CEO Adam Kiciński. "First and foremost, we want to do right by gamers to ensure we stick to all our values in the future. With that in mind, we have created a strategic development framework."

The company intends to use this framework, dubbed "RED 2.0," to streamline operations and enable the studio to work on its two core franchises—The Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077—simultaneously. Work will include AAA console and PC development as well as mobile IPs and other media, including several TV series and merchandising.

The plan includes bolstering its triple-A production capabilities, to which end it has picked up Vancouver studio Digital Scrapes. The studio is to become CD Projekt Red Vancouver and help create future CP2077 expansions and sequels. This extra staff will enable CDPR to work on The Witcher and Cyberpunk properties in parallel.

The company realizes that it blew the hype train off the tracks with CP2077 and said that part of its restructuring would be to change its marketing strategy by "taking lessons from past marketing campaigns." said Kiciński. Future marketing efforts will be reigned in closer to launch time.

"We have learned many things from our marketing and PR campaigns for Cyberpunk 2077 and see things that need to change in the future," said Senior Vice President of Business Development Michał Nowakowski. "Going forward, future marketing campaigns will be much shorter. We'll wait until much closer to a game's launch before we start showing things like trailers, demos, or going in-depth about mechanics."

CDPR will also be centralizing its RED Engine so that it can seamlessly serve both franchises. Modifying the game engine to fit both properties without compromise will cut down on time spent tweaking code for situations unique to each game.

Centralizing the game engine will allow the studio to form cross-functional teams that can work on either IP, which should alleviate bottlenecks and enable staff to shift when needed. The studio will also deploy cross-project experts to assist and advise either development team. These changes will permit much more agile project development.

CD Projekt Red has been all-hands-on-deck trying to fix all the flaws in Cyberpunk 2077 and recently released its biggest patch yet. Hopefully, its new strategy will help it avoid such costly mistakes.

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Dimitriid

Posts: 535   +893
So their solution is "Try to be Bethesda"

Well you know what the issue becomes then? You become Bethesda: You *will* compromise overall quality and end up sacrificing features over not doing engine improvements and then letting that be the justification as if it was a creative decision to end up with bare bones action games with about as much RPG elements as any Call of Duty games has today.
 

brucek

Posts: 802   +1,104
TechSpot Elite
Glad to hear they've found something for their many currently idled, bored developers to do instead of twiddle their thumbs. Vacation's over boys and girls!
 

Hexic

Posts: 955   +1,334
TechSpot Elite
With all that hard work, and minimal bugs in Cyberpunk, definitely the next logical step!

You'll be Bethesda and EA in no time, churning out more games with definitely no bugs or lack of content.

CDPR leadership sure learned their lesson from this last launch!
 

Namtrooper

Posts: 113   +60
This does not sound like a good idea.
Shouldn't all of the developers be helping sort out existing complaints of their new open world system, finish all free and paid for DLC's and then possibly head back in full force to the Witcher franchise?
Finish the tools for making your open world so called gta killer and when you return to the franchise your developers could work faster if their toolset is as polished as your Witcher 3 toolset? I dunno I'm just spit balling since I know nothing of game development myself.
 

Irata

Posts: 1,437   +2,318
Maybe concentrate on PC going forward. The console fiasco will never be lived down IMO.
Or alternatively they could rethink the value of their sponsorship deals and try to concentrate on creating a good game rather than creating a GPU tech showcase for their sponsor.
 

R00sT3R

Posts: 421   +1,120
Why? Is the downfall from Cyberpunk not enough?

Their Reputations may have taken a beating over CP, but financially speaking, they've made a killing on it.

..So the shareholders want to know what the money is going to be spent on.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,347   +2,625
TechSpot Elite
This does not sound like a good idea.
Shouldn't all of the developers be helping sort out existing complaints of their new open world system, finish all free and paid for DLC's and then possibly head back in full force to the Witcher franchise?
Finish the tools for making your open world so called gta killer and when you return to the franchise your developers could work faster if their toolset is as polished as your Witcher 3 toolset? I dunno I'm just spit balling since I know nothing of game development myself.
You can have more than 1 gamedev team (they certainly have the resources to do so), which means working on other stuff in parallel.

Which, you can only have so many people working on something before efficiency plummets, especially late in development.
 

jpuroila

Posts: 332   +183
This does not sound like a good idea.
Shouldn't all of the developers be helping sort out existing complaints of their new open world system, finish all free and paid for DLC's and then possibly head back in full force to the Witcher franchise?
Finish the tools for making your open world so called gta killer and when you return to the franchise your developers could work faster if their toolset is as polished as your Witcher 3 toolset? I dunno I'm just spit balling since I know nothing of game development myself.
In addition to what m4a4 said, developers aren't interchangeable. You can't just tell someone who never touched the graphics pipeline to fix a visual bug in the engine and expect them to get it done any time soon.
 

BSim500

Posts: 793   +1,745
Excessive crunch time + multiple delays + obviously cut content + nowhere near enough QA testing is an open admission their development team size for CP2077 was already too small just for that one game. CDPR's future lies in doing one thing at a time right rather than making two more half *ssed attempts wrong.

Lol. Just tweak skins and sell the same game twice. Genius!
Well it works for EA & Ubisoft... ;-)
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,446   +3,596
In addition to what m4a4 said, developers aren't interchangeable. You can't just tell someone who never touched the graphics pipeline to fix a visual bug in the engine and expect them to get it done any time soon.
Well clearly CDPR didnt have the resources to do this properly on one game, adding multiple games to that formula is a disasterous idea. Show me ONE instance of a company releasing a broken game, then deciding to take on multiple projects, and it working out for them. I can point to plenty of examples of the opposite (Bethesda, Interplay, THQ, ece).
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 535   +893
Their Reputations may have taken a beating over CP, but financially speaking, they've made a killing on it.

..So the shareholders want to know what the money is going to be spent on.

You might be on to something but maybe for a bit of a different reason: Yes they made a lot of money with the game, but their stock took quite a beating.

This puts the shareholders in a unique position: They made a lot of money but they're basically stuck with their stocks for a while.

This is, as we're seeing from this news article, a recipe for disaster: The shareholders now want their money reinvested to get their stock values back up and above pre-2077 release levels so they're going to be forcing the company to make business decision, not artistic ones: Do more of the things that ruined our stock values, only do em better this time.

This will end up either bankrupting the company or turning into the Polish EA. Both are just terrible outcomes at this point.
 

neeyik

Posts: 1,877   +2,190
Staff member
Their Reputations may have taken a beating over CP, but financially speaking, they've made a killing on it.

..So the shareholders want to know what the money is going to be spent on.
Indeed and they'll want to know that CD Projekt aren't putting all of their eggs into one basket. One of the many problems with Cyberpunk 2077, during the last 5 years of its developments, was that the management just threw people at the project to ensure the hype train could still choo-choo down the line. It started around Witcher 3 size (about 250 or so) and towards the end, it was double that size internally, and almost 6 times as large globally.

Pinning all of that associated cost on one title is an enormous gamble and while it paid off with CP2077, I should imagine the numerous issues and overall reception it received has made it necessary to provide public reassurances that should a future project look increasingly problematic, they've something else they can turn to.

The largest development teams often have multiple projects on the go, so this isn't unusual nor automatically worrisome. Triple A titles don't all have to be another Witcher 3 in size and scope, after all. I'd be more concerned about how CD Projekt manages its ambitions and projects.
 

Nobina

Posts: 3,045   +2,840
The Witcher 3 is the only top-tier game they've made. Cyberpunk didn't live up to the hype and it was(still is)a disaster in terms of bugs. People gave CDPR too much credit for no reason and they though CP2077 was gonna be impeccable and got burnt.
 

UdyrL

Posts: 19   +27
The Witcher 3 is the only top-tier game they've made. Cyberpunk didn't live up to the hype and it was(still is)a disaster in terms of bugs. People gave CDPR too much credit for no reason and they though CP2077 was gonna be impeccable and got burnt.
Watch out! The CDPR purists and followers will want your head on a pike.

Witcher 1 was a horrible, unplayable mess when it launched and they had to relaunch it with an "Enhanced Edition", which is what the game was supposed to be in the first place, then people went apepoopy praising them for this. Witcher 2 was a stale bread with a share of issues as well, but barely anyone talks about it after the 3rd... and the 3rd started as a mess, just like the first, then fixed little by little with the free DLCs as a "sorry" letter. Because of this, CDPR becamea cult for many.

I'm not saying the games are bad, but this developer has a reputation of "toss it in and then we'll sort it out". CP wasn't the exception to this and people kept praising the game as "the best next thing that will ever exist for the rest of eternity". Crash and burn.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,256   +1,385
TechSpot Elite
Oh hell, EVERY game released these days is full of bugs. I called it back when Cyberpunk was released, stating that I wouldn't get the game until it had been on the market for at least three months. That's not because of CD Projekt Red, that's because of greedy (and stupid) executives with their unrealistic deadlines.

To this day, one of the greatest games ever made (IMNSHO), Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, STILL has the odd bug in it (like winning a Naxos Island conquest battle for Athens and the game gives it to Sparta. :laughing:).

The point remains that the great games, the ones that push the envelope with innovative content (which means NOT the games made by EA or Bethesda), are always rushed and buggy when released. The way that a lot of developers are treated by these studios is the reason why I NEVER want to be one.

Before Ubisoft Montreal started winning awards as a great place to work, I had just figured that all gaming studios were digital sweatshops because, for the most part, they are. Badly managed by people who don't understand the industry they're in who are only there because they have a degree that says they know how to read a balance sheet, these companies are mostly trash. I hope, for the sake of these overworked and underpaid developers, that Ubisoft will force other companies to follow their lead.

I figure that they probably will because when you're the only gaming studio that treats the actual developers like human beings, you're going to get the very best from all the other studios that don't.
 

BradT

Posts: 15   +6
The thing is they've tried this before and it's failed miserably. Like a young child with ADD, they can't quite focus on anything other than blowing smoke up their own butts and spending money like a drug addict.

What they SHOULD focus on is just making ONE DAMN GOOD GAME. The Witcher 3 certainly wasn't it. It's a marvel of advertising, marketing and bribery. It's a good game but a rather mediocre one in that it offered nothing innovative or creative whatsoever but snowed people into believing it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Without at least 30-50 mods, the game is unbearable. Six years after launch, it's still riddled with bugs and glitches, many of which were addressed and remedied by mods by not by the developers.

Cyberpunk 2077 was an effort in stupidity. They oversold it years ago with a recruitment trailer (which they didn't even make themselves) and then allowed the public to believe it was somehow representative of the finished game. About 3 years ago, they began making public statements that the 2013 video was in no way, shape or form anything like the then present game. They kept people believing they had been working on the game for over 8 years when the truth is it's been less than 4 and even at that, they still were trying to release it in 2019, which would have meant less than 3 years work.

They're consummate liars and frauds. They wouldn't know how to create a video game if their lives depended on it and they still believe if they spend enough money, hire the right people and spin it just right, they'll continue to make billions. Only thing is they've got incredible morons heading the company. Case in point: the head of studio, who appointed himself as game director despite having zero experience in the job who then proceeded to toss out over 3 years' worth of work on the game because he "didn't like it". Then wasted even more time creating a new game engine that still doesn't work and entirely inadequate to do what they wanted to with the game. So, compromise became the word of the day and was meant to carry them through to launch.

This doesn't work? No problem. Cut it from the game. That doesn't work either? Okay, cut it too. The story must now revolve around an actor who's stuck in his own adolescent fantasies but is a mega superstar and now wants more game time? Hey, let's toss out the entire story and have it center on this actor who couldn't do voice acting to save his life. Maybe his fans will buy tons of copies of the game.

Who cares if it's boring or doesn't make any sense. People don't buy games to have them make sense, right? Just look at Death Stranding's sales figures and the fact that no one even bothered to mention the game a single week after its release. CP 2077 was a disaster. It ran better on PC than on the consoles but it still had a mediocre story, horrendous combat and gameplay, laughable AI and wonky progression. It was an embarrassment for the hype that surrounded it for over 8 years as feature after feature was cut because they couldn't get them to work.

They should have listened to their investors and stuck with The Witcher franchise. Mediocre as it was and is, it's still runs circles around Cyberpunk which only served to make 2000's Deus Ex shine by comparison and that took some doing. These guys couldn't pat their heads while simultaneously rubbing their stomachs. Hell, they wouldn't know how to change a light bulb without using three guys. One to hold the bulb and two others to turn the ladder. THAT'S their mentality. That and lying like hell to everyone.
 

BradT

Posts: 15   +6
Oh hell, EVERY game released these days is full of bugs. I called it back when Cyberpunk was released, stating that I wouldn't get the game until it had been on the market for at least three months. That's not because of CD Projekt Red, that's because of greedy (and stupid) executives with their unrealistic deadlines.

To this day, one of the greatest games ever made (IMNSHO), Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, STILL has the odd bug in it (like winning a Naxos Island conquest battle for Athens and the game gives it to Sparta. :laughing:).

The point remains that the great games, the ones that push the envelope with innovative content (which means NOT the games made by EA or Bethesda), are always rushed and buggy when released. The way that a lot of developers are treated by these studios is the reason why I NEVER want to be one.

Before Ubisoft Montreal started winning awards as a great place to work, I had just figured that all gaming studios were digital sweatshops because, for the most part, they are. Badly managed by people who don't understand the industry they're in who are only there because they have a degree that says they know how to read a balance sheet, these companies are mostly trash. I hope, for the sake of these overworked and underpaid developers, that Ubisoft will force other companies to follow their lead.

I figure that they probably will because when you're the only gaming studio that treats the actual developers like human beings, you're going to get the very best from all the other studios that don't.

The problem with CDPR goes deeper than that. They treat their devs like garbage. They often assign them tasks for which they've had zero experience or training. They don't offer that training either. They just expect results. And they often place those same devs in leadership positions on teams where it's the blind leading the blind. That's why their games have so many of the same bugs and glitches.

But management is the worst because they don't know how to create video games and really believe if you through enough money at something, you'll get what you want. They delivered a broken game and knew it but lied about it because they figured they could just snow everyone over just like they did with The Witcher 3, which was also quite broken but at least the damn thing was finished, which was not the case with Cyberpunk. I was truly amazed that no one even bothered to question most of those "awards" that Witcher 3 got before it was even released. Many were from tiny web sites in Germany, Hungary and Poland that no one had ever heard of. But hey, "over 200 awards" sounds impressive, doesn't it? Who cares if someone's uncle or cousin was actually behind it, right?

Most of the very early reviews too were suspicious. It was clear that many of the writers hadn't even bothered finishing the game before posting their reviews. But 10/10 and Game of the Year kept popping up everywhere. So what if it would take the devs another full year after launch to address some of the issues. Early forum threads were filled with some extremely angry gamers but most of those threads were deleted once CDPR put up their new forum following a security breach and hack which they failed to inform anyone about until a month later. But suddenly their forums were filled with glowing praise and love thanks to free DLCs and all of the bonus materials given to pre-order customers. Nice to see how easily and cheaply most people were bought off with.
 

BradT

Posts: 15   +6
Watch out! The CDPR purists and followers will want your head on a pike.

Witcher 1 was a horrible, unplayable mess when it launched and they had to relaunch it with an "Enhanced Edition", which is what the game was supposed to be in the first place, then people went apepoopy praising them for this. Witcher 2 was a stale bread with a share of issues as well, but barely anyone talks about it after the 3rd... and the 3rd started as a mess, just like the first, then fixed little by little with the free DLCs as a "sorry" letter. Because of this, CDPR becamea cult for many.

I'm not saying the games are bad, but this developer has a reputation of "toss it in and then we'll sort it out". CP wasn't the exception to this and people kept praising the game as "the best next thing that will ever exist for the rest of eternity". Crash and burn.

Totally agree with you. But I'll go further. While The Witcher 3 is a nice game, it's nothing spectacular. There was absolutely nothing groundbreaking or earth-shattering about it. Nothing innovative. It followed a tried and true formula and even went about most things in the oddest, most backward way possible. Everything about it was unbalanced, from gameplay to how experience was earned. Many things were and still are broken as hell. Mods addressed many of them but most things are still quite loopy.

That they wanted to do something even bigger with Cyberpunk was troubling because it was clear that they hadn't learned a damn thing from all of their past mistakes. They just compounded all of them and went for broke. They honestly believed they could get away with it a second time. Release a buggy mess of a game and fix it (kinda, sorta) later on. Hell, the whole world loves them, right? It'll be fine. We can fake our way through this again. Only TW3 was at least a complete game, from start to finish, whereas Cyberpunk is a joke. They tossed out the story as late as 2019 to accommodate Keanu Reeves' ego and then began realizing how much of what was left was completely unusable. Cut this, toss out that, patch this in with placeholders for something later on and offer up a ton of different endings. Well, not really all that different but they'll SEEM different enough. And that'll buy us some time until the multiplayer where we'll really make some money off of this turd.

Oops! That's right. They couldn't get that to work either. They even outsourced it to another company, Digital Scapes, who apparently couldn't deal with their game engine and the downward spiral continued. Now CDPR has bought up Digital Scapes. I really feel sorry for those guys. They're going to regret ever dealing with CDPR.
 

BradT

Posts: 15   +6
The Witcher 3 is the only top-tier game they've made. Cyberpunk didn't live up to the hype and it was(still is)a disaster in terms of bugs. People gave CDPR too much credit for no reason and they though CP2077 was gonna be impeccable and got burnt.

And Gwent Online was a fabulous disaster. Has not made them any money. In fact, it's cost them plenty. They've sponsored more than a few tournaments which the media didn't even bother to cover. Most of them were incredible disasters due to lack of interest from convention attendees to missed flights which were organized and arranged by CDPR themselves for the top invited participants. The single-player campaign, Thronebreaker, which was supposed to be a part of the online game and free, turned out to have a $30 price tag which many were quite upset about. GoG was to sell the game exclusively for the first 6+ months but it suddenly turned up on Steam after only 8 days due to abysmal sales.

Has everyone forgotten already about that quite suspicious and latest breach of their secured servers where tons of data was stolen and offered for sale at auction when CDPR refused to pay the demanded ransom? I'd laugh except this sort of thing seems to keep happening to CDPR. Their official forums got hacked back in 2016. Their servers too around that time and some early CP 2077 art work was stolen and also ransomed. None of that was ever leaked despite CDPR's refusal to pay.

This time, some rather inconsequential assets for Gwent Online was the only thing that was leaked. LOL. Yeah, their LEAST profitable game got some of its assets leaked online. And nobody cared. CDPR issued a DCMA to have it taken down but seriously, did anyone even want to download that stuff? Then, just as suddenly, the auction ended. Someone paid a large sum of money and the auction was canceled due to a private transaction.

I still believe it was all a fraud. CDPR set the whole thing up themselves to elicit sympathy and to buy themselves some time. It kind of worked but many did question the whole thing. It was all just too bizarre. Then came word that the patches for CP 2077 would be delayed because devs couldn't log on to servers which were still being rebuilt after being locked down thanks to the hackers.

I'd say the whole damn thing was karma coming back to bite them in the butt for all the times they ripped off other game publishers by hacking, cracking and stealing their work and selling it as their own. But then I figure, it couldn't happen to a more appropriate company. Years of lying about nearly everything and now they're in the shitter. I hope they get nice and comfortable because they're going to be there for quite a while.