Amidst the surprise whirlwind of CD Projekt’s major announcements today came a smaller but still very significant piece of internal news. Marcin Iwiński, who co-founded the studio in 1994 and currently serves as its co-CEO, is stepping down.
“For me, this is a huge moment. I’ve been at CD Projekt for almost 30 years and I have seen it go from a handful of passion-driven rebels to an internationally recognized developer of story-driven role playing games loved by millions globally,” Iwiński wrote in his farewell message. “Back when Michał Kiciński and I founded the company, I don’t think either of us would have been able to imagine this incredible journey, not even in our wildest dreams.
“When I think about the future of CD Projekt, it is so exciting for me. Today, the company consists of over 1,200 people across offices all over the world. But CD Projekt has never been about physical place or scale—it’s all about the huge amount of talent we have, and the hard work and dedication of everyone who chooses to work here.”
While Iwiński is stepping down from his chief executive role, he’s not leaving the company. Instead, he’s going to become chairman of CD Projekt’s supervisory board (opens in new tab), which oversees the activities of CD Projekt Capital Group—separate from the board of directors (opens in new tab)—and will of course also remain a major shareholder in the company.
“In my new non-executive role I will remain active and engaged dedicating my focus on supporting the entire management board,” he said. “I will also remain connected to the core of what makes us special, which is making the best storytelling games in the world and doing right by gamers.”
A message from Marcin Iwiński ― co-founder and Joint CEO of CD PROJEKT. pic.twitter.com/NTp7F9RcFwOctober 4, 2022
That last point, “doing right by gamers,” feels particularly salient given CD Projekt’s recent history. The massively anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 was such a mess at launch that it completely derailed the studio’s plans for updates and new content (opens in new tab), and badly damaged CD Projekt’s reputation among fans. But it’s continued to work on the game over the past two years, bringing it to at least a point of respectable functionality, and player counts (opens in new tab) and sales (opens in new tab) have both bounced back accordingly. Cyberpunk 2077 is still no Witcher 3, but it’s no longer a wholesale humiliation, either.
CD Projekt also announced today that it is opening a new studio in Boston that, along with its current operation in Vancouver (opens in new tab), will be known as CD Projekt Red North America. The new operation will be independent from The Molasses Flood, the Boston-based developer of The Flame in the Flood that CD Projekt acquired in 2021 (opens in new tab), and will enable CD Projekt “to fully tap into the North American talent pool.”
Continued growth is going to be very important to CD Projekt’s long-term plans. The studio also announced today that it has plans for a new Witcher trilogy (opens in new tab) to be released over a span of six years (which seems ridiculously optimistic), two more Witcher spin-off games (opens in new tab), a full-scale Cyberpunk 2077 sequel (opens in new tab), and an entirely original new project (opens in new tab) of some sort—all of that on top of the current work being done on Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher next-gen upgrade, and whatever it is that The Molasses Flood is doing. That’s a hell of a slate for any studio, much less one that’s historically struggled to finish one game at a time.