In their 6 month financial review, CD Projekt RED have revealed some key facts about the cost of development and marketing on The Witcher 3, as well as some other fairly interesting numbers. The grand total for production was 306 million Polish złoty (zł), which works out at about $81 million USD or £52.7 million and change. It’s hard to compare this to other games as numbers aren’t often released, but the Witcher 2 was pegged at about 25 million zł, while rumour has it something like The Old Republic is upwards of $200 million USD.
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That’s a massive range and in general it all comes down to marketing budget. Development costs obviously increase as a team grows and 1500 people were involved with The Witcher 3 across the globe, 240 of them in-house at CD Projekt. But the difference between, say, a couple of double-page spreads in your favourite magazines and the TV spots, billboards, Twitch ads and so on that The Witcher 3 had access to is tens of millions of dollars. Console all-star Destiny, for example, is rumoured to have had a development budget of $50 million, but a marketing budget of $150 million.
But for that 306 million zł CD Projekt created and advertised a game that sold six million copies in as many weeks. This resulted in a total profit for the first half of the year of 236 million zł, the majority of which came from those sales. 40 separate but parallel marketing campaigns were ran in different territories across the globe, a “daunting task” according to CEO Adam Kiciński. Of course they’re not done yet, with the first expansion, Hearts of Stone, just around the corner on October 13th.
You can watch the full presentation below, which also goes into detail on how the game came about and the numbers of different people involved at each stage. It’s an investor meeting so don’t expect a lot of hype, but it is an interesting glimpse into the business side of game development and a more revealing look than we usually get.