The Witcher 3's Chris Hardwick, senior engine programmer, and Dan Cordell, environmental artist, have teamed up to establish Wickerman Games, a new indie studio fit snugly in the UK.
Why would they leave such an awesome studio? Simply put, because they want to work with their love of pen and paper role-playing games as nobody seems to make them. In a recent news release (fair warning, the font is a little difficult to read):
"We are both fans of pen and paper role-playing games such as Traveller, World of Darkness, Call of Cthulhu, Shadowrun, and the venerable Dungeons & Dragons, and wish to marry our love of these games with our passion for creating video games."
During the creation process of their games, Wickerman Games will detail the journey by releasing playable prototypes and "behind the scenes" time-lapse videos, to give fans a "front row seat into the game development process."
A brilliant idea, as it would give many a further insight into the development process and would also create a deeper relationship between developers and gamers. Additionally, the games the team will release, wherever possible, will be DRM-free and a "substantial amount of post-release support." As part of the development process, the team expresses that they want players to have as much freedom as possible in games:
"Layering simple systems on top of one another to allow for some truly emergent gameplay. Choices should matter and have a dramatic effect on the outcome of the plot and as such the game world needs to be built in such a way to accommodate this."
The establishment of closer ties with fans actually derives from CD Projekt Red's focus of prioritizing players, as treating customers with high value leads to a happier ending for everyone. After all, customers determine how well your sales go, and if you piss customers off... Well, you could say goodbye to a lot of potential funds.
We wish Wickerman Games the best in success, and we look forward to their team efforts.