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CD Projekt Red talk about loot boxes and controversy

CD Projekt Red
CD Projekt Red CD Projekt Red
CD Projekt Red

Loot boxes are a lingering issue in modern gaming industry, and 2017 was the year where they brought greedy companies the most success and spotlight. CD Projekt Red are one of the few remaining groups that still believe in giving us a full video game product for full price.

A game shaped money sink may be a very appealing concept to most people but back in November 2017 CD Projekt Red distanced themselves from this practice with a tweet concerning their upcoming Cyberpunk 2077.

The ''worry'' they are talking about in the tweet presented itself when CD Projekt Red CEO Adam Kiciński announced that unlike The Witcher 3, Cyberpunk 2077 will feature online components that will ensure long-term success. Naturally, the immediate thought everyone had was *loot boxes*, especially since November was spiced up with the whole Battlefront 2 fiasco.

Eventually the loot box malpractices cost EA over two billion when their stock dropped after the controversy but Activision Blizzard made over two billion with the exact same mechanic. Destiny 2 is losing players left and right but it is too little too late, as the company already raked in massive profits.

BlizzardThe standard loot box in Overwatch''This is the box that will make you rich! Oh, not you random player, I'm talking to the CEO''

This prompted Joe Donelly at PCGamer to ask CD Projekt Red's co-founder Marcin Iwiński where he and his team stand on loot boxes, keeping in mind all the conversations devs, publishers and the gaming community had on the topic last year. Iwiński was quoted saying "Conversation sounds way too nice to describe what was happening last year. I would rather call it community backlash".

He continued to mention a lot of pissed off gamers in general, not only the hardcore ones who finally had enough of these malpractices. Iwiński then proceeded to explain CD Projekt's views on what AAA games should offer for their asking price, ''Where we stand is quite simple and you could see it with all of our past releases - most recently The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and GWENT. If you buy a full priced game, you should get a big, polished piece of content, which gives you many, many hours of fun gameplay."

CD Projekt REDGeralt of Rivia holding a bunch of severed monster heads A depiction of ''many many hours of fun gameplay''

He defined ''many many hours of fun gameplay'' as 50-60 hours of main quest line and then several hundred hours of side quests. Iwiński added that additional paid content had place in their games, but in the form of expansions (not DLC) that are more along the lines of expansions back in Infinity engine RPG era. He added that DLC should be smaller pieces of content that get added for free, like in The Witcher 3.

This criteria applies to premium priced games but when it comes to free to play ones, such as GWENT where they do have Card Kegs, Iwiński noted that ''you can play the game for free and craft your desired card collection this way, or decide to spend money and get card kegs. The choice is yours, and the only thing you pay for is time and convenience." 

CD Projekt RedA bunch of cosplayers playing GWENT on their game poster.GWENT has moderate loot box usage.

He stressed that companies need to be transparent about their games and policies so the players can get a better idea how they might be treated and once they feel they need to reach out to their pockets unfairly they should be vocal about it, as negative feedback is also good for the industry.

When asked about the possibility of a new Witcher game, Iwiński said ''We've devoted a big part of our lives to The Witcher and it means a lot to us, so we’re definitely not abandoning this universe," but also added that ''in terms of big RPGs, it’s time for Cyberpunk 2077."

CD Projekt RedCyberpunk 2077 art with the female robot from the teaser trailer on her kneesPromised to deliver. I hope we won't have to go torch and pitchfork mode eventually.

In the end he answered a question about the *beep* tweet that sparked a massive hype explosion. "It’s a huge responsibility and a lot of pressure," says Iwiński. "We know we need to deliver. And we will."

The full interview can be found at PCGamer.