CD Projekt RED are tucked away in a cluster of ordinary industrial office buildings in a cold corner of Warsaw. You'd never guess from the outside that they exist, but when you walk through the front doors, you step into a pleasant little world of pine, glass and clean red wallpaint. Programmers, artists and designers all work together on the same site. On the bottom floor, they have their own motion capture studio and hidden in the middle of the office - a tiny soundproofed music studio.
Outsourcing isn't CD Projekt RED's style. Their determination to keep every aspect of development within a 50m radius might explain their talent for world-building. Their insistence on keeping the team to a manageable size might also explain the leaps they took between The Witcher and The Witcher 2 - a transition that saw them create their own engine from scratch. The fact that the second game was a tremendous improvement on the first bodes well for the Witcher 3, which is our most anticipated RPG of the show in the face of some tough competition.
I saw the demo of The Witcher 3 earlier this year and came away impressed, not just by the engine, which rendered sweeping landscapes untroubled (even in an early stage of development), but also by the atmosphere. The move to a more exploratory pace hasn't diluted the elements that make The Witcher series feel so singularly weird - the mud, the blood, the swearing, the bawdy humour, the boozy, medieval alehouse aesthetic. The Witcher meshes violence, mutant superpowers and politics in a way that makes it feel more like Game of Thrones than the Game of Thrones game (of thrones). Check out our Witcher 3 preview for an account of what we’ve seen so far, and see the new E3 trailer here.