Monday, 29 April 2013

CD Projekt Red - “DRM is the worst thing in the gaming industry."

This seriously probably made my week.

You know, it's nice to see that every once in a while, there's a studio or a group that still has their head on straight when it comes to the things to do in the gaming industry. I know that I tend to put Valve in the spotlight the most in that regard, but these days a lot of kudos should also be given to CD Projekt Red, who are perhaps best known as the force behind The Witcher series.

This isn't the first time that I've mentioned these guys, but I feel that it's worth putting them up again in order to praise their stance on a lot of things the industry currently seems to view as necessities.

For starters, when so many games and even companies are focusing on multiplayer, with the belief that the single player experience just can't cut it anymore because 1) it doesn't go on forever so you can't milk it and 2) it's harder to actually make decent, CD Projekt are quick to denounce any sort of rumor that The Witcher 3 is going to have any multiplayer, at all: "“the game will be an epic, story driven, single player, open world RPG experience” and that they “strongly feel that this final saga of Geralt has no place for meaningful multiplayer.”"

They could have just left it there and I still would have loved them for it. I can't believe how many mutliplayer modes I'm seeing get shoehorned into games that don't even really make sense, or that don't need them. Not every game needs that to be great, look at Dishonored, look at Bioshock Infinite, look at the first two Witcher games. None of these games have multiplayer, and where they lacking for it? It sure as hell doesn't seem like it.

Of course, this wasn't the only thing that CD Projekt Red was against. Even though they've had QTE's in the past, they've decided to do away with them for this outing, saying that they:

“didn’t fit this type of gaming experience and usually frustrated players. There is a small number of games where it is fun, like, for example, in the Uncharted series, where you don’t even realize that you’ve just finished a QTE sequence. And I think that only this way of using QTE has any kind of future in games."

Even though I played and love Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, which had a ton of somewhat optional QTE-type things to dispatch enemies, I have to agree that at this point most games are way too over-saturated with the damn things. It's easy to blame Resident Evil 4 and God of War for the amount that they've been used, but both these games used them well for the most part, it wasn't until later that a lot of pointless and sometimes incredibly frustrating QTEs starting popping up absolutely everywhere.

The biggest thing though, had to be the stance they took on DRM:

“In my opinion,” Tomaszkiewicz tells me, “DRM is the worst thing in the gaming industry. It’s limiting our rights to play games owned by us. Let’s imagine that you have a game that requires internet connection to prove that you actually bought it. What if you lose your connection because of your internet provider? You can’t play anymore. It is worth mentioning that many people in Poland or even in the US and other countries still don’t have an internet connection or have a very slow one. I was in such a situation once and I really didn’t understand why I couldn’t play games that I had bought. I believe that as long as people feel that companies are cheating them by selling games they cannot play freely, limiting their rights, and making unfair DRM, then they will fight against that.”

Piracy, he adds, “is often an example of trying to fight the system. Do you know that there are people on pirate forums raging on guys that downloaded Witcher 2 from torrents and didn’t pay for it? In fact, they try to convince everybody to simply buy the game. Our fans out there really appreciate that we trust them and that we treat them with honesty and respect. For us, they are friends and we treat them so. We believe that DRM is not stopping piracy but can be a real pain for legal users. And if this is the case, why would you want to punish your customers instead of supporting them? We are receiving a huge number of letters from people who think alike and support us. I believe that we are slowly changing the way the game industry thinks. There will always be people who don’t have money and will download our games from torrents. But I believe that if they will have more cash in the future, then they will buy our next titles to help us fight for gamers’ rights.”


In this day and age of developers and publishers going on about how they need to protect their projects, and how if they didn't put DRM in they'd lose tons of sales, and that people should just learn to live with it, I cannot tell you how good it feels to see that a person inside the industry say that DRM is basically a huge load of bullshit. Not only that, but also that in some cases the fact that the DRM exists is what drives people to pirate in the first place. I'm not saying that's going to be the case with absolutely everyone ever, but I'm wondering how large that particular demographic really is these days.

I just wish these guys could talk sense into other people. I know that they're pretty much preaching to the choir, but it's still nice to hear it.

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