The upcoming Witcher multiplayer game first announced in October, codenamed Project Sirius, has restarted its production to “cut costs.” When the news of this restart initially broke, a spokesperson told The Video Game Chronicle:
“Our current focus is ensuring that Project Sirius is aligned with the strategy of the CD PROJEKT Group. At this point in time, we are neither providing insight into the evaluation of the project nor the potential future frameworks thereof.”
This, combined with reports from the VGC of heavy spending around this game, suggests potential financial strain surrounding the reported six projects currently in development at CD Projekt Red. CDPR, which has only ever primarily worked on one game at a time, has always struggled to meet deadlines and polish off games, with 2020’s disastrous launch of Cyberpunk 2077 being the prime example of this. Initial concerns surrounding the company’s decision to greenlight six projects simultaneously seem well-founded now.
In a recent financial earnings report, CDPR CFO Piotr Nielubowicz began to clarify the company’s decision to restart the production of Project Sirius.
“I’m aware that it’s not great to hear from a company that the project is being re-evaluated. But at the same time, in order to stay innovative we must experiment and be brave when trying new paths, and to stay in control and keep the right course, especially with a project that is new to us in terms of design, developed by a new studio in our family. We need to keep evaluating the situation as we move along. It’s better to cut costs early – and even restart if needed – than to carry on. As a result of this approach, we experienced negative results on our other operating activity linked to the impairment related to Project Sirius, which we reported 10 days ago.”
While these comments are very strategic and respond to the news as well as can be expected, nothing new is truly revealed. In a subsequent Q&A, CDPR CEO Adam Kiciński added that it was:
“A tough decision to make, but we also believe it was the right one. Our intention was to cut costs early and give ourselves time for re-assessment. We don’t want to carry on with projects that we are not aligned with. So basically that’s all we’d like to share about Project Sirius for now.”
Speculation on the meaning of “We don’t want to carry on with projects that we are not aligned with” is due at this point. Both the spokesperson and CDPR’s CEO spoke about the original Project Sirius not “aligning” with the company’s strategies. Additionally, it must be considered how CDPR’s recent stance on ESG will affect all of these upcoming games, not just Project Sirius. Regardless, this news does not bode well for the future of CDPR’s Witcher universe.