A pair of designers who helped make the early contender for Game of the Year The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt have left CD Projekt Red to open their own studio. Wickerman Games is a new, independent outfit based in the UK founded by Chris Hardwick (Witcher 3 senior engine programmer, not the guy from The Nerdist) and Dan Cordell (Witcher 3 environment artist).
What are Hardwick and Cordell’s goals with Wickerman? To “make games we want to play that nobody seems to be making.”
“We are both fans of pen and paper role-playing games such as Traveller, World of Darkness, Call of Cthulu, Shadowrun, and the venerable Dungeons & Dragons, and wish to marry our love of these games with our passion for creating video games,”
the team said in a news release.
Transparency is also a key principle for Wickerman. They plan to develop games out in the open, which would also entail releasing playable prototypes and time-lapse videos of the team at work.
“Our idea is to give you all a front row seat into the game development process,” the developers said. “This will all be done on a weekly basis for free.”
While Wickerman doesn’t have any projects to announce at the moment, they have released teaser art. They did hint in their release that they would be seeking to give players as much freedom as possible.
“Layering simple systems on top of one another to allow for some truly emergent gameplay,” the developer said is another goal it has in mind. “Choices should matter and have a drastic effect on the outcome of the plot and as such the game world needs to built in such a way to accommodate this.”
This statement gives us horrible flashbacks of Peter Molyneux’s hyperboles when announcing the Fable games, but we’re choosing to remain optimistic because The Witcher 3 delivered on all its promises.
Wickerman said it learned a lot from CD Projekt Red’s player-first mantra and hopes to carry this forward with its own games.
“If we learned anything from our time at CD Projekt Red, it’s that treating your customers well really just makes life better for everyone involved,” they said. “After all, it is your hard-earned cash you are partin with. As the old saying goes, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ So we shall be also be offering content DRM free (where possible) with a substantial amount of post-release support.”
The Witcher 3 has sold more than 6 million copies and helped CD Projekt Red generate a profit in the latest fiscal period. If Hardwick and Cordell stay true to their word and make a game even half as good as The Witcher 3, Wickerman will be just fine.