It's almost impossible to talk about a PC game without mentioning piracy and DRM, but focusing on rich content means Witcher 2 developer CD Projekt Red doesn't "actually have to think too much about piracy" according to senior producer Tomasz Gop, despite his admission that "the Witcher II probably will be pirated as well."
Speaking to Virgin Media last week, Tomasz stressed CD Projekt Red's focus on DRM-free PC gaming. Still, he admitted that working with other parts of the retail chain was a consideration. The situation is "quite complicated," he said, "because not everything is up to us. If it was, it would be DRM-free everywhere: on each shelf and on each hard disk."
"There's only one place that we actually have full control, and that's Good Old Games," a sister company of CD Projekt Red selling digital versions of the Wicher II without any form of DRM.
But how will DRM feature into retail versions of the game? "It's still in negotiations and depending on how it goes it might or might not be with DRM," Tomasz said. "But there are two things. First one is that I cannot ever see it happening that we will do strict DRM's, like you-know-who does with some games. No no no no no no, I don't think - we would probably break our contract if we had to do this. I don't think it would be possible."
CD Projekt Red's solution is to offer more value to the consumer. "We want to give people rich content," Tomasz said. "Have you seen the contents of the editions of the Witcher II? I cannot call it a standard edition, but the smallest edition that there is is a premium edition. It's the equivalent of a lot of collector's editions around the world, and it's at a standard price - about 30 or 40 quid. This is our approach. And doing that, we don't actually have to think too much about piracy because, well, we come from Poland. We have to acknowledge it anyway. It's happening."
Namco Bandai, who is publishing The Witcher II in Europe, has previously gone on the record to say they think differently about DRM. Oliver Comte, vice president of Namco Bandai Partners, told CVG last year they thought Ubisoft's strict always-on DRM policy was "a good strategy" in the absence of a better alternative.
Tomasz is quick to assert his stance: "We do not believe in DRM. Seriously. We're kind of a company that does not believe DRM - I could go on forever about this. You know that if people want to pirate the game they don't care whether it has DRM or not. The Witcher 2 probably will be pirated as well. I would hate it to happen, but it probably will. Even though the GoG version will not have DRM people will just copy it.
"There's always this old saying: the only people that see FBI warning are the guys who actually bought the original DVD."
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is scheduled to be released for PC on May 17 2011.