Gaming

CD Projekt Red won't fund 'Witcher' board game, turns to Kickstarter instead

Kickstarter is frequently used to gauge interest in new board games.

CD Projekt Red

CD Projekt Red is teaming up with board game maker Go On Board to produce a new deck-building game based on The Witcher. But the Poland-based game developer won't be bankrolling the project. Instead, it is set to be crowdfunded on Kickstarter later this year, with a scheduled release in April 2022.

Go On Board

According to a description of the game, The Witcher: Old World, will revolve around five different schools of witchers, with players battling monsters and each other by building up decks of cards that achieve powerful combos. From the game's description:

The game lets players construct their own unique decks of cards by choosing from a wide range of abilities: attacks, dodges, and witcher combat magic — known as “signs”. Through card synergy, players aim to achieve powerful combos as they utilize their witcher school’s hallmark abilities to their full potential. Quests, battles, and even dice poker allow each player to earn money, obtain new items, and train their skills.

Not unusual — It might raise eyebrows among some that a major developer like CDPR isn't funding the project itself. The Witcher is a popular franchise, after all, surely there's demand for the game. But while board games are more popular than ever, it's still a much smaller market than that for video games. Under the deal, CDPR is licensing its IP to Go On Board, essentially getting money in exchange for an endorsement of the project.

For Go On Board, using a crowdfunding campaign can help it gauge whether or not anyone would actually buy the game in a market already saturated with lots of other tabletop offerings. Manufacturing miniature pieces can be expensive, especially if there's not demand to release the game at scale. And if the game proves popular on Kickstarter, it's possible that Go On Board could return to CDPR and request more financing to help scale up production.

CDPR's struggles — But perceptions of CDPR couldn't be lower following last year's disastrous launch of Cyberpunk 2077. The company's stock is down 36 percent in the past six months, and it was forced to offer refunds for Cyberpunk to disgruntled gamers who found the much-anticipated game riddled with bugs. People have discussed the game far less than they've meme'd it. And just this Tuesday, CDPR was attacked by hackers who reportedly sold the source code to Cyberpunk as well as The Witcher itself on the black market.

That understandably has people wondering if the company is short up for cash, but that's probably not the reason for crowdfunding this game. Other major franchises have been licensed by board game makers who funded the products on Kickstarter, like a Dark Souls board game licensed from Bandai Namco.