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CD Projekt interested in multiplayer components, but insists single-player games are still king

"It's not about slicing the single-player components even thinner just for the sake of adding multiplayer."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

April 11, 2024

3 Min Read
A figure ponders a neon cyberpunk skyline
Image via CD Projekt

CD Projekt has made a name for itself building massive solo adventures like The Witcher 3 and Cyperpunk 2077, but where does the company see its future with other major players looking to cash their own proverbial 'live service' and 'metaverse' cheques.

Lately, it seems even the most accomplished single-player teams aren't immune to the relentless scythe that's carving through the game industry.

Both Naughty Dog and Insomniac Games, known for their work on the likes of The Last of Us and Marvel's Spider-Man, were hit by Sony during the PlayStation maker's latest round of layoffs. Over at EA, Ridgeline Games was shuttered before it could even debut its single-player Battlefield experience. And that's just the tip of the iceberg where layoffs are concerned.

Does that mean multiplayer projects that can be sustained and monetized ad infinitum are the answer? Experiences like Fortnite, Apex Legends, Grand Theft Auto Online, and Call of Duty: Warzone might have you convinced, but others like Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, Skull & Bones, and Anthem also serve as cautionary tales.

Of course, CD Projekt itself has previous experience when it comes to multiplayer development. Gwent: The Witcher Card Game ran for a number of years before being handed over to its community to prevent a permanent shut down, while the studio also flirted with the idea of bringing multiplayer elements into Cyberpunk 2077. Though it ultimately chose to focus on finessing the core single-player experience, which launched in a fairly rough state.

What makes a compelling case for multiplayer games?

What, then, would it take for the studio to commit to a multiplayer experience in some of its bigger worlds? Joint-CEO Michal Nowakowski told Game Developer it's about finding elements that can support the studio's core design philosophy, rather than trying to figure out how to capitalize on market trends.

"For years we've been saying that we do want to continue what we've been doing so far. So that means making big RPG games. Story-rich, story-driven, open worlds. We may at some point have some multiplayer components, but again, it's not about slicing the single-player components even thinner just for the sake of adding multiplayer. That's definitely not going to happen," he says. "If we're going to add something, we're truly going to add something as an extra."

Nowakowski reiterates that CD Projekt isn't about to jump on a bandwagon out of fear of being left behind.

"I believe strong that there's definitely a space for the games that we make. For really, really big open world games that offer you an epic experience. That offer some artistic experience," he says. "This is something that's always been very important to us as a studio, and we'll continue to make them. The hard facts. The business speaks for itself and confirms there's room for games like that. People don't necessarily want to follow whatever is the newest trend."

To hear more from Nowakowski, including why CD Projekt had to change how it makes games, be sure to read our full interview with the studio boss.

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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