Last week Polish publisher/developer CD Projekt held a press conference in a trendy Warsaw club to reveal the innards of the Collector's Edition and Premium Edition of upcoming fantasy role-playing game The Witcher 2: Assassin's of Kings. Eurogamer was there to bear witness to the amazing scenes.
Senior producer Tomasz Gop took to the stage to announce various DLC-related pre-order bonuses CD Projekt's signed on the dotted line with UK shops. Most interesting of the lot? If you buy the game from CD Projekt's own digital shop, GOG.com, you'll get a DRM-free version of the game.
After his star turn Eurogamer cornered Gop to get the latest news on the mature, PC-exclusive role-player, and quizzed him on everything from the game's recently announced delay to the looming threat of BioWare's Dragon Age II.
Eurogamer: You've revealed the Collector's Edition and the Premium Edition of the game, and listed a raft of UK retailers that will stock them. But will they game be sold in UK shops as boxed products?
Tomasz Gop: Yes. The retailers that were listed in the presentation were for retail only. Most of them have both Premium and Collector's.
Eurogamer: So, you'll be able to walk into HMV and buy the Collector's Edition or the Premium Edition?
Tomasz Gop: From what I know it will be in stock.
Eurogamer: In the UK and US boxed PC games don't sell as well as console games.
Tomasz Gop: It depends on the market, but that's probably the case in the UK.
Eurogamer: A lot of people talk about the death of boxed PC games.
Tomasz Gop: That's why we have a digital Premium version.
Eurogamer: What's caused this decline? Is it piracy?
Tomasz Gop: There are a lot of theories. Some say it's the market going casual. Console games, it's not a rule, but they tend to be more casual than PC games.
Other people say, well, PC games are more difficult. Some say a lot of people have consoles right now – previously they were not as prevalent. There are a lot of theories.
What do I think? Even if it is declining it won't die. It'll never die. What's the reason? I don't know if I have an opinion on that. I have both PC and consoles and I'm playing both of these. I don't see myself ever turning down any of these platforms. Gosh, I really don't know why it's decreasing in certain territories.
Eurogamer: In Poland and Germany boxed PC games are still very strong. If you go into a shop there are more PC games on sale than console sales.
Tomasz Gop: It depends. Right now it's getting towards somewhat of an equal. Slowly it is.
Eurogamer: You're making downloadable content exclusive to retailers. That drives gamers up the wall. What do you say to that?
Tomasz Gop: There are two things. The first one is these are not huge campaigns. These are extra suits for Geralt or extra finisher combos or an NPC. They're listed on each retailer that sells them.
It's not like you lose a major part of the game. It's a distinction – visual most of the time. It's just a cool feature.
Secondly, it's something to give retailers. They like to have unique offerings. This is all we could do to make sure people won't be too angry, but at the same time make sure retailers are happy to sell our game because they have something only they have.
Eurogamer: You recently announced a delay to the launch of the game – it slipped from the first quarter of 2011 to May. Why was it delayed?
Tomasz Gop: You might have noticed that we are cautious. We had been saying Q1 – it wasn't a set date. It was one of the things we did to make sure that even if we slipped we didn't do so by three or four months.
Second, it's polishing the game. If we want to think about standing above the competition we just want to take extra time to polish the game. This is the main reason we're moving the game outside of Q1.
Eurogamer: You mention the competition. Is Dragon Age II The Witcher 2's biggest competitor?
Tomasz Gop: They are similar games in a way. It is competition, but we're not thinking that they're going to kill us, or wipe us out with their marketing.
We're thinking, if people like role-playing games they will buy all of them because you get two or three role-playing games a year – triple-A ones. OK, yes, they are competition, but if one competitor wiped out another one, it would mean a 30 per cent decrease in the role-playing game market. Who wants that? That's not good for anyone.
They are competition, but it's nothing we're afraid of.