Why CD Projekt decided to update The Witcher 2 for free

It's been a year since The Witcher 2 was first released on PC. Since then a series of big patches have added new quests, characters, combat tweaks and game modes. Earlier today, the Enhanced Edition made even more additions. Like every update for The Witcher 2, it was released as a free download. I met up with level designer Ziemak Marek last week to find out why CD Projekt have decided not to charge for additions that other companies would sell as DLC packs.

"It's a part of our philosophy," Marek said. "Our concept is to create a really great RPG game, and if it's not great for everyone and it's not as great as we'd like it to be, if it has some glitches or there are some elements that could be better, then we feel responsible for remaking them."

Marek went on to say that "it wouldn't be fair" to charge players for these remade areas. "It's just improving the game," he suggested, "it's not delivering something that's new."

But it is adding something new, I suggested, mentioning the new difficulty mode and combat arena added in the 2.0 patch, and the four hours of new quests added in the Enhanced Edition. All these extra areas took time and money to develop, why not pass that cost on to the player?

"We do some extra work, but on the other hand, when you buy The Witcher, we're promising you a really great experience. If you don't feel satisfied enough then we, sometimes, probably a little bit guilty because we're after delivering a really great experience," he said.

Marek went on to explain that CD Projekt hope that free updates instil sense of goodwill among players. "If you trust as a player that our games are great, you like them, you enjoy them, even if we can't think about everything, if you find some glitches or problems in the game, you'll be sure that will be fixed," he said. "Then you'll probably feel good when you're buying our games, and that's what we're after."

"We're giving resources for that," he said.

If you own The Witcher 2, your copy should update automatically through the launcher, or through Steam. Check out The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition site for more.

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.