The Witcher 2 almost didn't happen
When most of us think of the Witcher series, we see an intelligent, original story that throws your moral beliefs into question. There’s still good and evil in The Witcher’s world, but they’re not painted in the traditional black and white we’ve seen before. Games would be worse off if The Witcher hadn’t grown to be the staple of video game storytelling that it has. The scary thing is, The Witcher almost died from the start.
Eurogamer ran a profile on the Witcher dev, where they visited CD Projekt’s offices in Warsaw, Poland and soon learned that The Witcher could have been the first and only game in the series. According to CD Projekt CEO and co-founder Marcin Iwiński, the company had poured most of its money into a console version of the original Witcher called The Witcher: White Wolf. which never came to fruition.
CD Projekt put a French studio called Widescreen Games in charge of porting the White Wolf to consoles, but kept running into frustrating roadblocks throughout development. According to Iwiński, Widescreen kept asking for more money, developers, and time to the point where CD Projekt was paying the developer more than CD Projekt itself. Eventually, the team at CD Projekt concluded this model wasn’t sustainable, and told Atari (which published The Witcher), that The Witcher: White Wolf had to be scrapped and CD Projekt had a gaping hole in place of their profits.
Many other things happened during that time, but after all was said and done, CD Projekt focused all of its efforts on getting The Witcher 2 — a game that lacked a complete engine at that point — out the door. Despite the setbacks, CD Projekt managed to pull through and create a one of the most compelling RPGs we have seen in a long time.