In an excellent Eurogamer writeup, CD Projekt RED co-founder and joint CEO Marcin Iwiński revealed that the company nearly went under in 2009 after publisher Atari demanded an ill-advised (and ultimately scrapped) console port of The Witcher—which the Warsaw-based studio simply didn’t have the manpower, money, or expertise to handle at the time. The project’s cancellation—and the Great Recession on top of it—nearly drove Poland’s most famous developer out of business before they had a chance to truly make a name for themselves in the gaming industry.
“It was looking pretty grim back then,” Iwiński told Eurogamer. “It was very edgy. We had probably a year where we were scraping money to make the payroll at the end of the month.”
Thankfully, CD Projekt RED weathered the storm after a listing on the Warsaw Stock Exchange brought in new investors. Without that twist of fate, though, we’d never have seen The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings nor The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, one of the most anticipated next-gen RPGs from any developer.
Eurogamer’s profile is well worth reading in its entirety, and if you’re looking for an in-depth look at CD Projekt RED’s next game, we’ve got a special Witcher 3 preview coming in EGM Issue #262 (hitting newsstands in December), where developers at the company reveal a few more fascinating tales detailing the history of the franchise.