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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf - Development Frozen - Mud Starts Flying

Default The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf - Development Frozen - Mud Starts Flying

April 30th, 2009, 12:41
A public spat has erupted between CD Projekt and the French company contracted for the console version, Widescreen Games. Let's start with GameBanshee, who let us know about a French press release put out by Widescreen Games. Here's a snip from GameBanshee's translation, saying the development is on hold:
The development of the game The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf was suspended for the duration of the resolution of financial problems between the various partners of the project. We regret this event particularly in regards to the fans who awaited this title impatiently. I hope that we will find a solution in good understanding with our recent and historical partners on this ambitious project.
VG47 then posted Widescreen's point of view, claiming CDPR had not paid them for some time:
After having a payment being broken by CD Projekt - a big payment that we were supposed to receive - and after having committed to the project but not being covered financially on it for three months, I hold no choice but to put the team on hold,” said Widescreen boss Olivier Masclef in a phone interview this afternoon.
Masclef also said CD Projekt’s deal with Atari was out of kilter with Widescreen’s agreement with CD Projekt in terms of milestones.
The suspension came after a meeting between the three parties, called by Masclef.
CDPR CEO Michal Kicinski hit back in the comments (scroll down):
It is sad that we cannot talk with WSG in normal business way, but communicate through media. It is absolutely not our style of making business, and we answer here as we feel forced to do this to clarify the unclear information:
1. All payments were done on time according to milestone plan.
2. Truth is that payments were later than originally planned but this was solely due to delays in production. The delays were growing in the project due to WSG continued to miss the deadlines.
3. Delays and risks of further development by WSG were unacceptable by CD Projekt (this happened even though CDProjekt RED was constantly increasing main team involvement to help in the production). The most important fact is that development process didn’t make planned release date possible and moreover propositions of the new release date were changing few times. Besides the schedule, technical incapability created a risk of missing planned quality which is absolutely unacceptable. And this brought an end in our cooperation with WSG.
4. Currently the works are on hold. We are evaluating all possible options to continue the production.
Making this decision was extremely difficult and sad as we know that many people are waiting for this project. We do our best to find a way out of this situation. But final decision must guarantee high quality of the product, otherwise we won’t continue the production no matter what consequences it will bring. We are committed to the highest quality of all our games, and this is unnegotiable for us.
So no matter what the final decision or solution we will find, please be sure that it will be the best for the game quality, and satisfaction of gamers, which is the most important for us!
Michal Kicinski
Joint CEO
CD Projekt Group
Tom Ohle pointed this post out on the official forums, so he remains with them but has reduced his work load.
CDPR has similarly responded in other interviews. From Polish site Polygamia, who first revealed the issues (thanks, GameBanshee):
[quote]
From what you're saying, I gather that WSG is hugely responsible for this situation. In spite of that, the company accuses you of not paying and blames you for suspending the project.. Can you explain what happened, from your perspective?

WSG behaves in a way that is far from our business ethics. But their accusations are serious and, what is most important, untrue that is why we published a correction under the article on vg247.com. We paid for all the milestones on time, just after they had been accepted. Of course, it was later than planned, because the milestones were presented for acceptance with delays and they were inconsistent with the specification. We put an enormous effort to make sure the production goes the right way, and still the plans were becoming invalid, and there were n…More information.

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April 30th, 2009, 12:41
I'm surprised no one has anything to say about this. No comparisons to Jowood and PB? Everyone must be too busy debating politics again

Seems to me like Widescreen was complaining that they weren't getting paid even when they hadn't met the deadlines. Seems silly to me to ask for money when you haven't met your end of the bargain.

Maybe Widescreen used to have contracts with the US military. They get paid even with NO results. See in the real world you get paid when you honor your agreements or at the very least show up with something tangible.

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April 30th, 2009, 12:48
We know nothing, really.

I won't comment based on trust - even if I'm inclined to believe CDPR over a group I'm unfamiliar with.
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April 30th, 2009, 12:53
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I won't comment based on trust - even if I'm inclined to believe CDPR over a group I'm unfamiliar with.
A wise attitude. Usually when two groups are this far apart and in the middle of contract conflicts, they both have too many reasons to be dishonest and too little to be honest. I would assume both companies are speaking slightly less than the truth, and the truth might be somewhere down the middle.

I don't know though, my information on CDP's state does not extend to their deals with WSG, so to me it's as mysterious as to any of us.

However, I do know this: CDP is trying to paint this off as being completely WSG's fault, meanwhile trying to make it seem as if their internal financial, team and talent issues are minor or non-existent. It's good for them if everyone believes that RotWW's cancellation is purely WSG's fault and has nothing to do with CDP's internal issues, since CDP does need investors, but it's not exactly true.

Note Michal explains in the interview with Polygamia that the staff cutbacks at RED are from 85 to 70 (I much fear this is simply not true) and the other two projects were merged for reasons he won't identify (the reason being financial problems, obviously).

Frith, I hope they finish TW2 and that it's both good and a success.
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April 30th, 2009, 12:53
Didn't read the entire text, but it did made me think of PB and Jowood Immediately

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April 30th, 2009, 13:00
Reminded me from/at a distant of STALKER - I think someone was sent there, too. To see what's actually happening there.

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April 30th, 2009, 13:41
Originally Posted by titus View Post
Didn't read the entire text, but it did made me think of PB and Jowood Immediately
It doesn't have much in common. This is pure contract work, not their own game pitched to a publisher.
I wouldn't be surprised if the French company owed CDP "success", not only "best effort".
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April 30th, 2009, 15:10
Game development outsourcing doesn't seem to work that great. First the forsaken gods desaster, now this…
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April 30th, 2009, 16:28
The way I read it, the two things in dispute here are the terms of the contract between the companies and the progress that was made by Widescreen Games (quantity and quality). Since we're not likely to ever see a copy of the contract or proof of payment(s), discussion about that is pure speculation, boiling down to "he said / she said." The state of the project and its actual progress will probably be debated as long as The Witcher is remembered.

There are a few things we can be sure about, though. The relationship between these two companies is now over, dead as a door nail. The only ray of hope for Rise of the White Wolf is for Widescreen to agree to turn over its work to a new contractor.

But at this point I'd have to say civil suits are more likely. By going public with this, Widescreen probably torched those hopes.

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April 30th, 2009, 16:51
Whatever is happening there, I hope the setback for CDP won't be too big, ultimately.
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May 1st, 2009, 03:08
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
It doesn't have much in common.
Other than the fact that once again two different companies are at each others throat and it's in the press again. One is deliberatly using the press to say how they are the victim here. As Rodney King would say "Can't we all just get along?"

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Last edited by skavenhorde; May 1st, 2009 at 03:54.
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May 2nd, 2009, 01:34
From the get go, this was simply a disaster in the making. CDP outsources a port of the Aurora engine to console? After they spent how many years developing and reshaping the engine? Yeah right….

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May 2nd, 2009, 16:16
Originally Posted by ToddMcF2002 View Post
From the get go, this was simply a disaster in the making. CDP outsources a port of the Aurora engine to console? After they spent how many years developing and reshaping the engine? Yeah right….
The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf was not being developed on Aurora, it was on WSG's own DaVinci Engine.
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May 3rd, 2009, 00:34
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf was not being developed on Aurora, it was on WSG's own DaVinci Engine.
Interesting. I wonder if that makes matters better or worse.

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