The next two major titles from Polish developer CD Projekt Red, scheduled for 2014/15, will be simultaneous multi-platform releases for PC and next-generation consoles, detective Eurogamer has discovered.
"We are definitely starting for new consoles," managing director Adam Badowski told us, when asked whether the pair of known-about "AAA+" games will be for this generation or the next.
"The market is ready for something new," heralded head of marketing Michal Platkow-Gilewski, "for something faster, more powerful."
Badowski added: "I can tell you we are and we were focusing on powerful gaming rigs. We're going to do something amazing, so we need extra processors.
"It will be multi-platform game, so the multi-release at the same time. But if you are talking about leading platform, we will use most powerful, just because it can give us the freedom of creation.
"And it's cool to develop something special, new - better than others on the market. It's our goal."
When does CD Projekt Red begin making an engine for the next generation of machines?
"We've already started," Badowski revealed.
"We prepared a backlog for the new features quite a long time ago."
"You probably know that we've decided to develop our new engine that is called Red Engine, so we've prepared a long-term plan for that engine. So we are yes, yes we are developing some features just for the new..."
Platkow-Gilewski interjected: "We are anticipating what the new generations of consoles may be."
"The market is ready for something new, for something faster, more powerful."Michal Platkow-Gilewski, head of marketing, CD Projekt Red
"Not only consoles," Badowski butted in.
"What the platforms will be," Platkow-Gilewski answered. "And what will happen in the PC market, because you know we have to create something better than we could achieve today. We have to see a little bit the future, like other developers I guess."
The specs CD Projekt Red are working towards for these next-generation consoles are "quite powerful but nothing extraordinary", shared Badowski. But this is "our - I hope - lucky guess", he added, inferring that CD Projekt Red does not have next-gen dev kits. Platkow-Gilewski confirmed that what will be in next-gen consoles, "we don't know this, today".
CD Projekt Red talked about two major new games in November. These were described at a conference as "AAA+" games, and are scheduled for 2014/2015. A "AAA+" game is "something huge and it's multi-platform", explained Platkow-Gilewski.
One of these is new IP.
CD Projekt is putting together a new team to make this game. The Witcher team won't be involved. "The second team is just a few guys right now," shared Badowski, "because we decided not to split the original Witcher team in two parts, but to hire new staff, and we've just started."
"The second project is during the early pre-production stage, so we don't need the huge team for that."
What will this new IP be? "We are staying in RPG," Badowski said.
"The whole scenario is quite simple: we're going to create almost exactly the same kind of team, and our policy is to create RPG games for mature audiences. But of course the second title will be different than the first one. We need to change universe and gameplay mechanics, but the game will be based on a deep scenario as [are] The Witcher games."
"Our approach stays the same," Platkow-Gilewski reinforced, "we just want to refresh a little bit our minds and do something different."
This new IP is "not at all" to do with FPS They, which acquired studio Metropolis Software was working on up until January 2010.
"[The new IP] will be a mature RPG and story-driven game. I cannot say in what universe - maybe high fantasy, maybe not."Adam Badowski, managing director, CD Projekt Red
Will this new IP be a science-fiction game?
"I cannot say right now," deflected Badowski. "It will be a mature RPG and story-driven game. I cannot say in what universe - maybe high fantasy, maybe not."
What's the other AAA+ game being made by The Witcher team, then?
It has to be The Witcher 3 - please can you put us out of our misery and confirm it, we asked?
"Frankly speaking, not yet," Platkow-Gilewski replied. "Give us some time; I'm sure we will announce it pretty fast in the following months, but we want to do everything in the proper order. And right now we are focused on polishing and bringing the Enhanced Edition to Xbox 360 and PC."
"Especially as on Xbox 360 we don't have the first instalment of The Witcher. So we want to slowly enter the market, educate our gamers/customers - we don't want to [talk] too much about our future projects for now."
"There are rumours that The Witcher is a saga..." Badowski teased, and confirmed that both of the "AAA+" projects "are in pre-production stage". We weren't allowed to know which would be released first, in 2014.
CD Projekt Red revealed three other games at the November conference: two "A" games for 2012, and one "AA" game for 2013.
We'll know "pretty soon" about the first "A" game, which will be released Q1 2012. It's definitely not a mobile game - CDPR isn't going there - but we may have prodded a sensitive spot when we asked if it was anything to do with The Witcher 1.
"You are unpacking the gift, you know," Platkow-Gilewski told us. "Really soon we will inform the community about our surprise. It will come pretty soon, in the following two months."
Whether the second "A" game will be similar we will have to wait and see. That's coming later this year.
What exactly is an "A" game?
"Give us some time; I'm sure we will announce [The Witcher 3] pretty fast in the following months, but we want to do everything in the proper order. And right now we are focused on polishing and bringing the Enhanced Edition to Xbox 360 and PC."Michal Platkow-Gilewski
"The definition of product A is that this is a good quality game for a single platform which doesn't involve enormous effort on our side," Platkow-Gilewski explained. "This is our internal definition. After the first surprise, maybe we'll reveal some information about the second surprise for this year."
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings - Enhanced Edition on Xbox 360 and PC is classified as "AAA". No plus. This is "something big, or huge, but for a single platform", Platkow-Gilewski clarified.
What, then, is the "AA" game due in 2013? It's unlikely to be a PS3 edition, given the Xbox 360's "AAA" status - not to mention that CDPR hasn't made a decision yet about whether to convert the game to Sony's machine.
"AA" titles are "big games with good scores" of 85 per cent or higher on Metacritic, we were told. "They have some selling potential, but they don't require more than two years of our work," said Platkow-Gilewski.
(Note that while the Xbox 360 version of The Witcher 2 took one year, that period was converting an already made game, not creating one from scratch - which is presumably what Platkow-Gilewski means.)
This "AA" game sounds like an expansion pack for The Witcher 2. Is it?
"Let's release the game first and we will see," answered Platkow-Gilewski gingerly.
"The thing is, we have to measure our capabilities, and we have big plans for the future."
"Believe us," he urged, "we want to do as much as possible."