LA-based entertainment journalist & 411 Wrestling Interviews Podcast host.
I believe the gaming community is underselling just how momentous Netflix collaborating with CD Projekt RED for their respective adaptations of The Witcher franchise really is. While The Witcher originated and is adapted from a dark fantasy book series created by Andrzej Sapkowski, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the main reason the hit Netflix series was made in the first place was due to the popularity and success of CDPR's smash-hit, award-winning game series.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt first came out in 2015. And yet, since that, the single-player, narrative-driven RPG has remained an enduring classic. In fact, after the first season of Netflix's new live-action TV series dropped in December 2019, reports started surfacing of The Witcher 3 sales increasing 500 percent. This was a game that was already released almost five years earlier and had all its content out in the marketplace. And the game was already a huge success that had sold millions of copies across the globe.
Clearly, there was an opportunity for synergy here on both sides. It began with the recent announcement of WitcherCon. Netflix and CDPR would actually work together to present an online, virtual event showcasing both the TV and game series called WitcherCon. Not only that, at WitcherCon, CDPR confirmed a next-gen update for the iconic Witcher 3 for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows PC. But the real kicker is that CDPR will be offering free DLC inspired by the live-action Netflix TV series.
This excellent news for both fans and CDPR alike. In light of the last years and all the negative stories to come out regarding CDPR, Cyberpunk 2077, accusations of labor crunch, and the exit for a notable team director following bullying claims, CDPR was badly in need of a win here. More importantly, fans who have had their faith and goodwill for CDPR shattered needed a reason to give The Witcher series or CDPR another look.
Granted, releasing new content and free DLC The Witcher 3 doesn't even begin to make up for CDPR's past mistakes, need for change in company culture, lying to the public about Cyberpunk 2077 or releasing a broken, unfinished AAA product in the marketplace. However, it is a step in the right direction. It will give fans something they want. It exploits the crossover popularity between the Netflix show and the game series. Also, it gives fans a reason to revisit and check out The Witcher 3 again. Or if fans are checking out the game for the first time due to the Netflix show, it will offer them incentive as well.
The Witcher game series is indelibly part of CDPR's legacy. Past reports have indicated the game series will continue, with a new major game based on The Witcher series in the works. CDPR CEO Adam Kiciński has spoken about continuing to create Witcher games in the past. There is no reason not to.
When The Witcher 3 was first released, CDPR earned a great deal of goodwill through the game's free DLC program. Other than the significant story expansions for the game, all the DLC were released for the game for free. Even significant updates that revamped the gameplay mechanics that could've been constituted as DLC were free. This is the type of DLC that other major publishers might charge fans for or monetize, but CDPR didn't do that.
This included things like new armor sets, alternative looks for the main characters, new story quests, and New Game+. Monetization and microtransactions were still a hotly debated issue at the time in the gaming community. CDPR appeared to be one of the companies avoiding such nonsense, presenting themselves as the good guys who didn't succumb to such garbage.
Again, free Netflix DLC doesn't even begin to make up for past mistakes, but it's at least a start and something positive that CDPR can present to fans and gamers alike.
Frankly, The Witcher game series and Witcher Netflix collaborations is something CDPR really should continue, including with Gwent and the various other mobile spinoffs the developer has created for their franchise.
They should also maybe consider doing some soundtrack collaborations with The Witcher Netflix's music composers Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli. Put on some massive live music concerts with songs and music from both the games and the show. They shouldn't stop at free DLC.
The next-gen upgrade for The Witcher 3, titled The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Complete Edition, is due out later this year.
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