Without question, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was one of 2015’s biggest games. It won countless game of the year awards, sold millions of copies and made Geralt of Rivia (the titular Witcher) a household name.
And even if the recent Netflix series is based on the books of Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski (on which the Witcher games are based too), it’s likely people worldwide wouldn’t be enjoying the TV series starring Henry Cavill if it wasn’t for the success of The Witcher 3 a couple of years earlier.
Actually, The Witcher 3’s success helped turn publisher CD Projekt into Poland’s most value company for a time, becoming a stock market powerhouse, and studio CD Projekt Red one of the world’s best makers of role-playing games this side of Bethesda.
However, CD Projekt Red proved it wasn’t infallible last year, as Cyberpunk 2077’s botched release left many gamers disgruntled. The sci-fi RPG failed to live up to expectations, and was removed from Sony’s PlayStation Store. The game shipped with a plethora of bugs (including some funny nudity glitches too…) leading to many gamers requesting refunds and forcing Sony to change its refund policies just for the game, which is yet to return to Sony’s store.
Maybe Cyberpunk 2077’s failure was symptomatic of problems at the studio, maybe not, but the thing is that one of the top dogs at the studio, Konrad Tomaszkiewicz, has left CD Projekt Red for good ecently.
As reported on Bloomberg, Tomaszkiewicz had been accused of bullying by other studio members, something that CD Projekt had been investigating for months, finally clearing the former Witcher 3 director of guilt.
The man had been at the company since 2007, and aside from directing The Witcher 3, he also took a part in the development of The Witcher and its 2011 sequel The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. He was also head of production and co-directed Cyberpunk 2077 according to Bloomberg.
Nonetheless, and despite his track record at the company and CD Projekt’s investigation declaring him not guilty, Tomaszkiewicz decided to leave the Polish company.
“A lot of people are feeling fear, stress or discomfort when working with me”, wrote Tomaszkiewicz in an email to staff, also apologizing for the “bad blood” he had caused.
Regarding Tomaszkiewicz’s departure, the man’s decision to leave also led to a bit of trouble for CD Projekt in the Polish stock market, with the company having lost quite a bit of value since last summer.
There’s a bit of controversy surrounding Tomaszkiewicz’s departure too, as the man had been declared not guilty by CD Projekt’s commission, and yet he is forced to leave the company anyway. Funnily enough, the biggest game Tomaszkiewicz directed, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, was also controversial back in the day, being accused of sexism and racism, and also arousing controversy due to its portrayal of sex.
It also remains to be seen how much impact losing a key figure affects developer CD Projekt Red, with the company needing to repair its damaged reputation after Cyberpunk 2077’s botched launch last year.
Nonetheless, the company announced last month that it’s going to reorganize, changing the way it makes video games, something which will hopefully be for the better as it keeps working on next-gen updates for The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, and another Witcher game, which the Polish studio is looking to begin development on next year.