Michal Platkow-Gilewski: Witcher Brand Manager Speak About The Witcher 3

CD Projekt RED’s newest RPG is so vast so deep and detailed that the studio has never really run out of things to say about it. We admire that: the developer has managed to make an 18 month campaign out of nine months’ worth of content, drip feeding an RPG hungry public with enough information to both inform and satisfy, while still keeping a lot of the more interesting, unique elements under wraps. Even as other RPGs begin to arrive on the latest generation of hardware, all eyes are firmly trained on The Witcher to deliver what we all hope will be the first truly next gen role playing experience.

We caught up with CD Projekt RED’s head of marketing (and Witcher brand manager) Michal Platkow-Gilewski to talk about how the studio’s kept Wild Hunt’s momentum ticking over, why it fell in love with The Witcher’s source material and what we can expect from the future of Poland's most famous development studio…

The Witcher 3 has been a visible presence in the industry for a good 18 months now how hard has it been keeping the excitement for the game at a steady level?

If you look from my perspective from a marketing and PR perspective we announced the game in March last year, and we’re still talking about it; releasing more and more information about it. So that’s about two years of campaigning this is not normal, usually games have about a year of marketing prior to release. You have to plan the excitement sharing the news in a good proportion: that campaign is a game in itself. [However] we’ve managed to keep people talking for over two years it’s a big game, and in a way we have been [incredibly] lucky that we can slowly unveil so much content.

What has been done to ensure players remain interested in the game, especially after the delay that set it back by almost a year?

From the start, we’ve been very open about Wild Hunt, sharing a lot and revealing a lot of features, so now it’s harder and harder to [keep the momentum], but thank God we’re confident enough to be able to show the game, give players hands on at events like [the Eurogamer Expo]. Even there, though, we only show 30 minutes of gameplay the final product will be 200 times bigger than that, and that’s why we think people will come back to it. This game world is 35 times bigger than The Witcher 2 that says it all.

The Witcher franchise takes its inspiration from a series of novels what was the original motivation behind choosing those books as your source material to build a flagship franchise?

Well, the co-founders of CD Projekt RED were already huge fans of the Witcher series before they started the studio, so we were already really into our own IP before it existed. Right now people are coming to work for us because they know (and like) CD Projekt RED, but that wasn't the case to begin with the staff thought ‘Oh, I can make an RPG and  I can work with The Witcher series’ it was a bigger magnet than the studio itself.

Has any of the work on The Witcher 3 managed to influence how you're developing Cyberpunk 2077 (also built on an existing IP), or vice-versa?

We know how to do role-playing games now. We learnt that from The Witcher. We also learnt how to tell mature stories and by that, I mean stories that you can believe. We had the backbone in the  Witcher of a fantasy world, but if you take away the fact that monsters are walking through the woods, you can believe the world. You can believe there are people that are driven by their needs how they act, what they do, and why they do it. We want to put that factor into our next RPGs, to ground them in that central reality, but still operate in these worlds that are not possible.

Michal Platkow Gilewski cut his RPG teeth on the pen-and-paper games that many modern videogames take their inspiration from, although he believes there’s still a lot we can learn from the old masters: “For me, in role-playing, the most important thing is immersion and consequences,” he explains. “What makes me most [frustrated] in certain role-playing videogames is that I’m making decisions and I’m not supporting any of them in gameplay. That is the most immersion-breaking thing to me that’s why in  The Witcher 3 we give you choices you can stumble up on, and you [instinctively] react to them the way Geralt would.”

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