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CD Projekt: The Witcher: Enhanced 'All Based On Feedback of Fans'

Next week, CD Projekt will release The Witcher: Enhanced Edition, a Criterion Collection-like update to last year's successful PC RPG -- and all the new content is coming in a free patch. Senior producer Tomasz Gop tells Gamasutra how and why it ma
Polish studio CD Projekt gained international notice with the release of last year's The Witcher, and senior producer Tomasz Gop tells Gamasutra the decision to release an upcoming major enhancement for the game is largely a response to the company's new, substantial fanbase. Produced by development arm CD Projekt RED, the PC RPG was based on a series of literary works by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, and was noted for its gameplay repercussions based on players' moral choices -- and its unapologetically unvarnished language. Next week, CD Projekt and publisher Atari will release The Witcher: Enhanced Edition, a Criterion Collection-like package that will include a soundtrack CD, a printed map, a short story, and other items. More significantly, it will include a number of improvements to the game itself, including new adventures, increased variety in NPC and enemy graphics and animations, better loading and stability, and the ability to use any combination of localized voice recordings and translated subtitles. All of the changes and additions to the game itself will also be offered as a free 2GB update to owners of the original release. Fan Demand "It's all based on the feedback of fans," says Gop. "Close to 300,000 people registered on our forums and community and are still active, and they're requesting new features and changes and whatever. We took the most-demanded stuff." Some of that "most-demanded stuff" included undertakings that likely required considerable expenses, such as re-recording the entirety of voiceover work for the German version of the game ("because they wanted us to," the producer says). The team has been working on improving the game since it shipped last October. How could the studio justify that investment when the very gamers who demanded it would not be required to expend any more money? "We sold over 600,000 copies," Gop responds. "We wanted to do it. We're all hardcore players, and we want to be as close to a perfect game as possible. If you haven't bought the game, then it's definitely going to be a good time, and it's going to be [worth] the price of the game, but if you have it, you can have it all for free. I mean, you paid for the game, right? We appreciate that." The Future The CD Projekt RED studio plans to grow its 80-person team to 100 or more in the next several months, including developers from outside Poland, a task that has been made easier by The Witcher's reception. In the nearer term, CD Projekt is preparing the full kickoff of its classic PC game download service GOG.com, but the success of its first major international game release means it probably has more of The Witcher in its future. "What I can tell you right now, not breaching the NDA I've signed, is that we're focusing on The Witcher," says Gop. The studio is likely to stay focused on development for PC, which Gop calls "definitely the main platform in Poland," but he adds, "We're definitely not forgetting there are other platforms in the world."

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