Developers should not release a game until they are convinced it is ready to be played by consumers, says CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwinski.
Speaking to Develop, the studio’s joint-CEO discussed launch quality and the recent spate of high-profile titles released with numerous bugs, some of which can have a significant impact on the gameplay experience.
Iwinski admitted that due to the scale and complexity of modern games, exact planning of game development time, including the QA process, “is just mission impossible".
He said however that gamers “don’t care about buggy games shipped on time”, and to build a solid reputation as a studio it is important to consider delays to ensure necessary time for polish. This was an important consideration for CD Projekt Red with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, a game which the company delayed twice.
“Looking at our own experience, I would say: set hard deadlines, push for making it happen like there’s no tomorrow, but do not ship until you are convinced the game is ready,” said Iwinski.
“It is much easier said than done, as there are lots of external factors like running out of financing, having a publisher pushing you to have it shipped, or hitting your perfect launch window. We were working really hard for the last ten years to have the freedom of deciding when we ship our game and if it is ready or not, and we used this freedom. We used it twice, and each time it was a really tough decision to push it back, but gamers don’t care about buggy games shipped on time. They will only remember the very best games they played, and that’s exactly how you build your studio’s reputation.
“Besides, if your team of 200-plus people was working really hard for the last three years, why not give them an additional three to six months if this can mean a world of a difference? We could and we did. I sincerely hope it is visible in the final quality of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.”