The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt topped our Top 100 games list last year, and we also heaped praise on its Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine expansions. Today, CD Projekt Red's flare for storytelling and world creation is almost unrivalled, however the Polish outfit started out as "passionate gamers" who "had no clue how to make games".
That's according to the developer's co-founder Marcin Iwiński who, while chatting to Glixel, explains how he and high school pal Michał Kiciński went from selling imported CD ROM games in Poland to starting up a company and eventually falling into games development.
"I started the company with a friend from high school, Michał Kiciński," says Iwiński. "We started as game distributors, but in all honesty, we weren't very good at distribution. We were very good at games, at picking games and being the first to localize them for Poland. Initially, the big part of our motivation to start the company was that we would have access to new titles.
"It sounds super silly, but we were gods. We were the lords who were deciding what was being distributed in Poland and what was not. So we were getting access to all this stuff. I found one of the first ads that we placed in a Polish gaming mag, and our hours were from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. And I scratched my head and thought, 'What were we doing?' Of course! We were closing early to play games."
Iwiński then explains that he and Kiciński "learned from the other side" as far as videogame development is concerned and that securing the rights to distribute Warcraft 2 sparked the idea to make games.
"One of the first things we saw at [The Consumer Electronics Show] was Warcraft 2. It was in a corner. Michał was very into strategy games and so he said, 'We gotta have it.' So I started talking to them. I still remember, the first agreement, we imported 300 units from their Irish warehouse. And that's how we started representing Blizzard until we sold off our distribution business two or three years ago.
"We started localizing the 'box and docs,' and then localizing the full games. So we learned from the other side. We had the dream of making our own games. But we had no clue how to make games. It was more like passionate gamers who knew how to run a gamer-friendly publishing business starting to develop games, without any knowledge of how to develop games whatsoever. And that was Witcher 1."
And the rest in history. Iwiński's interview with Glixel is absolutely worth reading in its entirety—you can do so over here.