CD Projekt RED Doesn’t Shy Away From Getting Real About Loot Boxes
To say that CD Projekt RED is a beloved developing team that gamers feel like they need to protect with their lives is a massive understatement. This team brought us the stunningly immersive world of The Witcher series, and is currently working hard on their upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 title. With EA taking the hestitant concerns gamers have regarding loot boxes and blowing it up into a forced pay-to-win epidemic, it’s not surprising to see the dedicated crew over at RED speak up. As one of the most respected developers both by gamers and industry folk alike – we they speak, we listen.
The shitstorm of loot boxes kicked up once more when EA made some pretty bold moves in 2017. Not only were documents revealed that they were purposefully altering multiplayer games to “coerce” players into buying buffs through crates, but their increasingly suffocating business model regarding microtransactions started to bleed into other projects. Most notably, their statement that players “don’t want” single-player, narrative driven games which ultimately led to the abrupt closure of Visceral and the shut down of their story-driven Star Wars title.
With Cyberpunk well underway and mentions of “online aspects,” CD Projekt wants to make it very clear where they stand on this issue, and why players shouldn’t be concerned during the Year of the Loot Box:
“‘Conversation’ sounds way too nice to describe what was happening last year. I would rather call it community backlash,” says Iwiński “And this time around, it wasn’t just the hardcore community, there were a lot of really pissed off gamers out there and they decided to speak up. 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.
“The definition of ‘many’ may vary on a title-by-title basis, but in our case it was always 50-60+ hours of the main story-line, with up to a couple of hundred of hours of side activities—if you really wanted to max out the title. To me, this is a fair deal. You get what you paid for, plus we are always trying our best to overdeliver. There is no better PR than a happy gamer recommending your title to their friends.”
Paid additional content is nothing new – in fact, it used to be something that gamers looked forward to. The CEO mentioned this when touching on how the evolution of paid content has changed through the years from something with the player’s interest in mind, to something more superficial:
“Then there’s additional paid content. What we call Expansions (not DLC, mind you). Things like add-ons way back in the Baldur’s Gate era. We released two Expansions like that, and each of them was a meaningful piece of content delivering many hours of new story and gameplay. Finally, there are the DLCs. For us, they’re small pieces of content which should be available for free (and that was the case with TW3).
“The above covers full-price titles, but there’s also free-to-play territory. Here we have GWENT, where you can buy card kegs and some vanity items. Again, the deal is simple—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.”
He also mentioned that he thinks it’s good that gamers and industry folk alike are speaking up against companies that take advantage of this business model. Calling recent moves an “unfair way” to have players spend even more cash, he thinks that by the community remaining vocal that perhaps these big name companies will get back in touch with the consumers that make them: gamers.
You can read the full interview here, but it’s great to see huge influencers like this not only take a stand, but take it eloquently and powerfully. As for Cyberpunk 2077, the evil geniuses have yet to give us a solid release date, though we’ve got our fingers crossed for an official E3 reveal!
Matt Ruppert715 Posts
Navy Veteran with a penchant for the FPS genre, Chewy has all aspects of the gaming community covered. Don't expect to see him on a console any time soon, however - though he has experience in all platforms, the PC Master Race has a firm hold on him.