The Witcher III developer CD Projekt RED is one of the video game industry’s most inspiring recent success stories. Totally unknown until a few years ago and from a part of the world with a non-existent gaming industry, CD Projekt RED nevertheless transformed itself into a billion-dollar publisher whose games sell millions of copies around the world. How did they do it? Where did this scrappy company with the weird name come from?
Glixel recently sat down with CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwiński for a fascinating interview, in which he detailed how he and a high school friend started the company after the fall of the Soviet Union…
“I started the company with a friend from high school, Michał Kiciński. We started as game distributors. 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.
At that time, there was no copyright law in Poland, there was no legal games distribution. There was nothing. This was the early 1990s, right after the fall of the Soviet Union, as we started emerging out of it. Wild capitalism. I had contacts in the United States through the bulletin-board system scene, and one of my friends from the BBS recommended a game wholesaler. We started importing CDs, and selling them at the computer market on the weekends.”
Eventually, the CD Projekt guys got their big break when they were chosen to localize BioWare’s Baldur’s Gate for Poland. That experience inspired them to make their own RPG, that would end up being The Witcher. So how did they go about making their first game? Well, they just sort…did it.
“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.”
So, there you are – want to make a game, but don’t have a clue? Just go for it. It may take some trial and error, and a couple sequels, but eventually you may find yourself on top of the world. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, I suggest you check out the rest of the interview at the link below.