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Default CD Projekt RED - Fought the Publishers and Won

January 18th, 2018, 19:39
PCGamesN reports on how CD Projekt RED came to gain their independence.

As the biggest publishers and developers gathered in LA for E3, CD Projekt’s founders were in Agoura Hills signing the most expensive signature of their lives. They returned home the same week to Poland to announce a deal: THQ would promote and distribute The Witcher 2 on Xbox 360 in Europe. Another victory for the onetime industry outsiders who decided to make RPGs.

Marcin Iwiński escaped to England for “nine days of Zen”. Michal Nowakowski holidayed in Thailand with his wife. And neither of them was the slightest bit aware that another major publisher was busy preparing a court case against them.



“Boy it was an expensive signature,” says Iwiński

“Very expensive,” agrees a wistful Nowakowski. “Probably the most expensive.”

This is the story of CD Projekt RED’s adventures in courtrooms around the world, though mostly in Lyon, France. A story that hinges on a single clause in a decade-old contract.

[…]
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January 18th, 2018, 20:41
Fluff and dreck, post a TL;DR please, I've cut it down.

The founders honestly seem a bit feckless, but by hindsight of Witcher series' success, I suppose we're supposed to think they're the "good guys" here.
  1. Conflict with Atari - the company CD Projekt had picked to distribute The Witcher.
  2. Nowakowski and Iwiński (founders) broker deal that allowed them to keep the rights to The Witcher.
  3. What they didn’t fight Atari over was a ‘first negotiation’ line.
  4. CDP canned a Witcher xBox 360 port (Rise of White Wolf) in ’09.
  5. Atari CD Projekt wants several million dollars for that proj lent to CDP returned, sends breach of contract.
  6. Deal brokered: Atari gains physical distribution rights for The Witcher 2 on PC, and CD Projekt keeps digital distribution rights.
  7. The first negotiation clause entered into effect when CD Projekt were shopping around for a deal to release The Witcher 2 on Xbox 360.
  8. Atari Europe bought by Namco Bandai, but same staff, same offices - still had rights to first negotiation. That meant they got to pitch their deal to CD Projekt first. And if another publisher came up with a better arrangement, Namco had first refusal: the right to equal and swipe that new deal from under their noses of their rivals.
  9. CDP tries to find alternative to NB.
  10. CD Projekt goes to THQ. Namco had made their own offer, as was their right - but CD Projekt preferred the contract they had agreed with THQ, which they signed, and went on holiday.
  11. CD Projekt loses 3 times in court, and gets banned from promoting the game with THQ for the duration. Court rules they honor agreement with Namco Bandai.
  12. Nowakowski and Iwiński returned to THQ, to see if they could come up with a mutual agreement - one that would both cover the publisher’s costs and release their studio from its bind. But THQ wants a “ransom”.
  13. CD Projekt consults lawyers, finds that commercial litigation would cost them somewhere in the region of half a million pounds. CDP Founders haggle payment “ransom” to THQ down and pay.
  14. THQ goes bust.
  15. CD Projekt picks Namco Bandai as partners for W3 in Europe.

They didn't win against the publishers. They broke contract, tried to do what they want, ended up losing - multiple times, and went back like a whipped dog to Namco Bandai anyway. What a narrative. In the end the game made money, the game is good, so who cares?
Last edited by Dhraiden; January 18th, 2018 at 20:49. Reason: Layout, clarity
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January 18th, 2018, 21:05
My take on it was that they got lucky given THQ went bankrupt. A fortunate victory but still a victory, not helped by their own actions.
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January 18th, 2018, 21:37
My take on it is they didn't make much money until witcher 3; by which time they learned how to sign a proper contract. The whole publisher process was cut throat (though thq was said to be one of the good guys). Anyway moving forward they should be able to self fund and self publish which is a good model for a developer.
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January 18th, 2018, 23:18
Originally Posted by Dhraiden View Post
Fluff and dreck

They didn't win against the publishers. They broke contract, tried to do what they want, ended up losing - multiple times, and went back like a whipped dog to Namco Bandai anyway.
Grimoire #1 fan from Codex?

If THQ didn't meet it's maker, we'd never see TW3 in it's release form but it'd end up broken and neverpatched masterpiece as was Gothic3.
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