“Our history has taken its toll”, says CD Projekt Red co-founder on darkness in The Witcher

The Witcher 3

Marcin Iwiński, the co-founder of Witcher developers CD Projekt Red, has discussed the development of his studio and of the fantasy RPG series that made their name in a new interview.

We reckon The Witcher III is one of the best RPGs on PC.

“We started as game distributors, but in all honesty,we weren’t very good at distribution,” says Iwiński, on CD Projekt’s beginnings importing games to Poland (via CD, hence the company name). “We were very good at games, at picking games and being the first to localise them for Poland.”

Their breakthrough was localising Bioware’s RPG Baldur’s Gate. It was a huge success that led to many more RPG localisations, and seeded the thought that “hey, we really want to have our own game.”

Iwiński then discusses his influences and the development of the Witcher franchise. It’s clear that old-school RPGs have had a strong influence on him – he names Fallout 1 and 2 as his favourite games, and cites Bioware’s co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk as role models. He was no doubt gratified to learn that this influence has gone full circle, with Bioware’s imminent Mass Effect: Andromeda having takeninspiration from The Witcher III.

Iwiński also talks about the maturity and dark, sometimes tragic storylines for which the Witcher games are often praised. “Our history has taken its toll,” he says, speaking as an Eastern European. “It’s reflected in our literature, in our cinema, and in what you’re taught as kids.”

On the flipside, The Witcher III was criticised in some parts of the media for having very few people of colour.

“I think withThe Witcher – coming again from the lore and from Sapkowski’s books – we are dealing with problems of racism. Not related to skin color, but related to whether you are a dwarf or an elf or a monster. That’s what Sapkowski wrote about.”

Here’s the interview in full, courtesy of Glixel. It’s well worth a read.

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