Two key members of The Witcher 3 team officially departed CD Projekt Red last week: lead gameplay designer Maciej Szcześnik and gameplay producer Marek Ziemak.
They left for another developer in Warsaw, Poland, called 11 bit studios, known best for Anomaly: Warzone Earth. Their given reason for leaving was to make smaller, more creative games.
But it didn't take long for concern to creep in. Losing a lead gameplay designer months from release - was Witcher 3 development OK? Were there deeper rifts within the team? Why didn't CD Projekt Red say anything?
That's why I phoned Maciej Szcześnik and Marek Ziemak this morning for a chat.
"We did everything to make sure nothing bad happens," Szcześnik assured me of the transition, "there is no bad blood. Other people took our responsibilities and it was quite smooth."
"It wasn't a surprise for the company," Ziemak added, telling me there had been at least a couple of weeks of slowly backing out of the door. Szcześnik nodded. "It wasn't like … we were gone the next day," he said.
Also, the pair reminded me, The Witcher 3 is made by many. The gameplay isn't just Szcześnik's work, however senior his role. "We were designing this game together," he stressed. And, as Ziemak pointed out: "Most of the stuff is done."