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Witcher 2 dev: next Xbox not playing pre-owned games "a bad thing"

"This is our approach, our policy."

No, Saints Row developer Volition - the next Xbox possibly preventing people from playing pre-owned games "can be a bad thing".

Those words belong to Adam Badowski, managing director of Polish Witcher 2 developer CD Projekt Red, who spoke to Eurogamer today.

"It can be a bad thing," Badowski said of the rumoured next Xbox technology.

He explained: "I assume you know we decided not to continue our beautiful journey with lawyers seeking pirates...

"We are losing money not because of pirates; we are losing money because people decided not to buy our game.

"We should invest more power to upgrade and polish our products and convince players to keep our products, to be with us, to understand our needs - because we are an independent developer, we have to prevent lay-offs, we need to grow up and have the power to create new games.

"We want to be treated fairly.

"Most hardcore and hardware solutions will be OK for short periods," Badowski bombarded, "but a strong relationship with players, with customers, can change the situation. And for us, this is a better way.

"Hello, I'm chirpy Polish developer CD Projekt Red!"

Added CD Projekt Red head of marketing Michał Platkow-Gilewski: "Our players - gamers - they make their choices. they want to keep with us because they believe our product is worth it, is worth keeping on their shelves, even if they ended the game two or three times already. And they are doing this because they have free will, and if we cancel that, maybe that will be good for business, but if someone forced me to keep the game even if I didn't want it, it's against my will.

"We want to do as much as possible for our players, our gamers. We don't want to force anyone. It's like we did with DRM-free: we give them freedom and we believe they will stay with us."

CD Projekt Red used a silly old thing called trust to wage war on PC piracy. The Witcher 2 was sold without DRM from GOG.com, and was relentlessly supported post-launch with burlap sacks stuffed with new content, features and fixes. And all for free - disgusting!

The message was clear: if you like being treated like this, buy our game.

But on consoles, pre-owned sales out-evil piracy. "We are a little bit worried," Badowski admitted, "because this is a quite new market for us, and this is a second opening for the title. It's kind of an experiment for us."

"This is our approach, our policy - we want to change industry."

Adam Badowski, managing director, CD Projekt Red

So it's back to that silly old trust thing again: CD Projekt Red hopes the year spent thoroughly adapting and enhancing The Witcher 2 for Xbox 360 will be enough to win over the hearts of console gamers."

"We are offering a huge RPG game," Badowski boomed. "And I think the heart and the real soul of the RPG gamer is different than other players - most of these guys want to have best games on their personal shelf. The game is full of content - this is one of the best RPGs on the market."

That lavish cinematic intro to The Witcher 2 on Xbox 360.

On console, combating pre-owned/second-hand/used-game sales is the domain of online passes and monetised DLC. Adding free post-release content, as on The Witcher 2 on PC, is an ideal that would be laughed out of Microsoft HQ.

"There is a problem, because you know that Microsoft policy prevents us from giving people content for free."

Adam Badowski

"There is a problem, because you know that Microsoft policy prevents us from giving people content for free," Badowski remarked.

"We promised to give our fans features like small DLC patches and extra content for free. It's our general policy. So we have a huge problem right here with that. We need to think about it."

CD Projekt has an enviable reputation and rapport with the PC audience, and its methods will give bigger companies reason for pause. And there's no reason why some of those practices couldn't bleed into console game developer - that's the theory, anyway.

"We are trying to change, a little bit, standards on every platform," Platkow-Gilewski pronounced, explaining how the standard edition of The Witcher 2 on Xbox 360 will come with much more than tends to be the industry standard: two DVDs and a printed guide, manual and a "nice big map". "It's already one of the richest SKUs you can find on the shelves, and it's still regular price," he said.

"With every step we try to change something and influence something like we do on PC market," said Platkow-Gilewski added.

"This is our approach, our policy - we want to change the industry," added Badowsky. "We are...

"...Rebels!" Platkow-Gilewski blurted.

The enhancements in The Witcher 2 on Xbox 360.

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The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

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Robert Purchese

Associate Editor

Bertie is a synonym for Eurogamer. Writes, podcasts, looks after the Supporter Programme. Talks a lot.