Visit our sponsors! (or click here and disable ads)
A few words with Michal Kicinski, Co-Founder of CD Projekt
Interview - posted by DarkUnderlord on Wed 29 April 2009, 11:22:45Tags: CD Projekt; Michal Kicinski; Witcher, The
NOTE: This interview was conducted before rumours spread that CD Projekt had cancelled The Witcher console port and some other titles in order to focus on The Witcher 2.
1) Since you're the CEO of a now renowned RPG developer we'll start with our traditional question: What's your definition of an RPG? What features are important to you and why? What games, if any, have influenced you the most?
Actually I'm, along with Marcin Iwiński, the owner and head of the whole CD Projekt group. CD Projekt RED is led by my brother Adam together with a team of fantastic people - project leads, producers and leads of other individual departments. They, along with the rest of the team, are responsible for creating the final shape of The Witcher so they, not I, should meet with applause. I was involved on a very general level, mainly with getting the project started and creating the overall vision of the game.
On the whole my favorite genre has always been strategy, the closer to the hardcore, the better. For me RTS games have always been games of skill, although a few months of Starcraft beta ripped out nearly a year out of my CV :). I even reached something around the 5th place on the beta ladder. But just after the release thousands of new gamers crushed us beta test veterans without mercy ;).
My second-favorite genre is RPGs. From all RPGs I've played the Baldur's Gate series provided the most emotional experience. By contrast, Marcin Iwiński prefered Fallout. Both left a more or less visible footprint on The Witcher.
I also don't have a background in PnP RPGs. That's why, during the conceptual phase, we concentrated on taking advantage of the PC medium instead of going for typical solutions emanating from classical RPGs, like extensive stastistics. Most important for us was telling a passionate story and creating a believable world, as well as characters - especially Geralt. All other design aspects were subordinate to that. We wanted the plot to be as interesting as possible, choices to have, like in real life, sometimes even far-reaching consequences, characters to be realistic, with their own agendas, and, like in real life, not always being clearly defined as good or evil. Of course building a realistic world was also important, as well as living and breathing towns and a multitude of small details like dynamic weather, day and night cycle and a lot more. I think this allows the player to really enter the world of The Witcher - a totally different, but nonetheless quite believable reality. Telling an involving story, creating believable characters, a realistic world, that's the essence of RPGs for me, the rest of the features are more or less important additions.
2) The Witcher was a success, selling over one million copies worldwide and getting critical acclaim from most of the gaming press. It's even well-liked at the Codex. What was your part in the actual development of the game and how much did you influence what The Witcher finally became?
Like I said, my part was mainly getting the development of a game with a certain foundation started. That initial foundation was laid in a bigger team, but that's where most of my input got in. Here are the main ideas:
We try to stay as close to Sapkowski as possible, doing everything to be absolutely faithful to the lore.
Creating a game where the most important element (as in books) is telling the story of a specific character. In this case Geralt (although at first the hero was to be a different witcher). Since we put telling a story above all else we obviously had to abandon the possibility to create a character from scratch as it reduces the ability to create a story around the fate of a specific character. That decision was coupled with a certain amount of grief because I like creating a character and playing him. However, this was the only possible decision. Instead of creating a character at the beginning of the game, we gave the player the ability to change Geralt throughout the game and decide who he will finally become.
For the story to be believable we decided to put emphasis on creating a believable and realistic world. Wherever it was possible we tried to avoid typical but unrealistic solutions - unlimited inventory, health potions left in all possible places, e. g. in the corpses of drowned dead or dogs.
The second most important aspect was combat. Since we were telling the story of a professional monster killer, a master of swordsmanship, we decided that combat had to be exceptionally spectacular and the variety of blows immense. Geralt alone has hundreds of dodging animations whereas usually RPGs have considerably less. For combat to look believable the whole combat system was created with the help of masters of martial arts, e. g. masters of European melee weapons. Only after the whole system was finished and six weeks of intensive training passed we did a motion-capture session. Thanks to that Geralt swings that sword like scarcely anybody in PC games.
All elements of the game like collecting items, the use of weapons, leveling up and even the GUI were supposed to be subordinate to and consistent with the story and atmosphere. Hence we dismissed the typical approaches and created the elements in such a way that they fit the protagonist and immersed the player further. That's why Geralt doesn't gather all the scrap-iron and doesn't fit five plate mails into his backpack ;). For one thing it wouldn't be realistic and for another thing he doesn't need it. We decided that Geralt would be able to carry as many weapons as he could fit onto himself and that they would all be visible. Instead of collecting the assortment typically found in RPGs, Geralt gathers useful alchemical ingredients.
Since the above goals were already sufficiently ambitious and extensive we had to concede that the remaining features couldn't be just as thoroughly developed. You simply can't make a game that's thoroughly developed in all possible aspects. That doesn't mean that we treated the other parts of the game casually - some other elements, such as the journal, are of equally high quality.
Other more general fundamental ideas were for instance that we'd make an edgy game with its distinct character regardless of political correctness and current trends. What's more, we insisted that no matter how much we respect the advice of experienced publishers, at the end of the day we've got the final word on anything regarding creativity. We didn't want the vision of the game to be in any way distorted or damped. An odd example of that occured during a conversation with a publisher who said that on account of their market research players overall want their protagonist to be an elfish woman and that if we had changed The Witcher accordingly they would have considered negotiating a contract :). We have been defending our vision all the time. Fortunately Atari perfectly understood our concept and even added a couple of nice ideas which improved the game. In contrast to other publishers they were happy we had such a solid and clear vision.
In any case our untypical approach caused some confusion in how the Witcher was received. In general, people who approached it without specific expectations were rather satisfied with the game. Whereas those who expected something specific to be able to enjoy the game (ie. necessary character creation at the beginning) weren't quite content. Some of them learned to appreciate the Witcher, some didn't when the game didn't offer what they expected. That's possible since the Witcher doesn't yield to conventions and, although it doesn't offer anything innovative, the product as a whole is very unique.
3) What are The Witcher's strengths, in your opinion? What really set it apart from the competition? How are you going to improve on that?
I think that the greatest strength of the Witcher is its consequently realized vision unaffected by dominating trends. I can't tell how often I heard that being PC only, having extensive dialogues (sic!), aiming for an older target audience and without multiplayer mode the game would never have a chance to be financially successful. We heard that, contemplated, and went on doing our own thing believing that our vision had a chance and would pass the market exam.
Although the Witcher isn't innovative in its approach it's still unique as a whole. It's because of the uncompromising realization and definite vision. That vision's most important element was telling a compelling story. I think its greatest strength and what's setting it apart from the competition is how we defined The Witcher and that we defended our vision from the genericalness that is typical of the current market. There's only a few games where gamers in their 20s/30s/40s can sit down and think: "That's a game developed for me."
If we're talking about how our future games are going to be planned and developed then the answer comes pretty easily. The basic idea that the motor of our games has to be a compelling story passed the test and it continues to be our main goal. It's understandable that an interactive story can be told and realized in many different ways. Our future products are planned to be less linear - taking it so far that depending on our choices we'll be able to visit totally different locations. In addition to that the player will have more freedom in dealing with simple quests. Of course we also refined the system we used to do dialog scenes. And thanks to the experience we gained we're far more skilled in planning the flow of events and challenges, avoiding such mistakes as the overly long prologue ;). Since we already finished the conceptual phase of our next project some time ago, I can say that our next title will concentrate on the same aspects, although every one of them will be considerably better and extended. As a whole this should result in a game where our vision of telling a compelling and realistic story should be better realized.
I think that our future projects will be more mature. The Witcher was our debut game, you can't forget about that. A lot of its shortcomings simply stem from lack of experience. Now as a team we're much more experienced and I'm certain the result will be a game of higher quality, deprived of minor but bothersome shortcomings and illogicalities. Us having better work comfort will help at that. Work on our next projects is much faster and goes more according to plan and thanks to that, in case we will have to prolong development by a couple of months, in the end, doing that will be much easier to organize.
4) And now that we've discussed the strengths, what are the game's flaws? Where did you fail and, most importantly, why? What would you have made different?
Everybody seems to see different flaws. Painful, from my point of view, was the fact that on release day the game was plagued by bugs and failures which hindered enjoyment. Especially the long loading times. Also painful were the cut and shortened English dialogues - something that was advised by „experts" of the western markets, but which was an absolute mistake and, since it was done in a hurry, resulted in illogical and inconsistent dialogues, but above else hurt the atmosphere. There was also a great deal of small bugs but taking into account the scope of the Witcher that was to be expected (although I personally disapprove). Compared to games like Gothic 1, The Witcher was quite a polished product ;). Nonetheless, with our next project we'll certainly go much further when it comes to polishing the game. It's quite distressing if what's been created in the course of several years gets crossed out due to some bugs that could be removed with a couple of weeks' work.
There are some elements of the game I wasn't all that fond of personally. The interface is one of them. While being quite atmospheric, it could be more functional.
Of course I'm satisfied with a lot of the game's elements. In my opinion it has more strong than weak points. One less important feature I'm quite proud of are the three camera modes. There was a lot of debating going on about how one perspective is better than another ;) but with such a solution we could satisfy everybody. Personally I prefer the high isometric view which, while not providing all that much immersion and not being overly dynamic, reminds one of the Interplay RPGs running on the Infinity Engine. Plus, it allows for a calmer and more tactical apporach.
If we're talking about what caused the problems then we've got to take into account two things. First one was the time limit. We had been working on The Witcher for quite a while and autumn 2007 was, for various reasons, the final possible date. We knew about that date earlier but despite hard work and regular night shifts not everything turned out as planned. We couldn't permit ourselves the luxury of delaying the premiere agian. Anyway, a release date can be postponed indefinitely. We had to make a decision.
However, this wasn't the main reason why the game wasn't an ideal product deserving 99% ratings :). The main reason was our lack of experience. RPGs are truly one of the most extensive genres, striving to comprehensively depict the real world. We can probably be blamed for not doing this and that better, but to be honest, I'm quite happy we just managed to finish the project and all in all have a not bad result. You've got to remember that The Witcher was created by a totally new team. Only a small part had experience in game development and we're talking less complicated games of much smaller scope here. And we succeded in a country that practically doesn't have any game development tradition. That's as if somebody living in a country without any automobile tradition and industry decided to form a team and construct a car that would be going to compete in every aspect with the best cars from all over the world, e. g. my favourite Porsche. If I heard that as a Porsche fan I'd never believe that to be possible. Because it really isn't an easy task. Hmmm, that example made me realize why so many wouldn't believe in us ;).
5) You've got four teams working on four projects right now - one is They, a FPS, another one The Witcher: Rise of The White Wolf. What else can we expect? Are you going to play safe and expand on what has worked for The Witcher, or do you plan to take some risks by making something different?
The Witcher: Rise of The White Wolf is the console adaptation of The Witcher we work on together with the French company White Screen Games. WSG is in charge of the new Da Vinci engine and adapting game assets. A small team of our people watch over what accounts for substance. Changes in the combat system, GUI, AI and so on. Thanks to that the development of TW: RoTWW doesn't burden our main team which allows the parallel and independent development of our remaining projects.
Just as independent is the work on the FPS currently known as They carried out. After CD Projekt merged with Metropolis, the company working on They, we all sat together and pondered on how the project should evolve. We decided to radically change the concept of the game. So much that even the name got changed (the new one has yet to be disclosed). I can't give away too much, just that we agreed on concentrating on a strong story. There aren't a lot of FPSs with a good story and the few that stick out (Half Life series, Bioshock) were all rather well received by gamers and the media. Putting an interesting and compelling story into FPSs is slightly different than when dealing with RPGs but still, we're profiting from the great deal of experience we gathered during the development of The Witcher. Just as with The Witcher, we decided to work together with a writer - this time it's a known Polish sci-fi writer. The quality of the script that results from that exceeds by far what usually is found in games, especially in FPSs.
I can't really say much about the remaining two projects since for now we decided not to give away any specific information. Those projects are developed by CD Projekt RED and are in totally different stages. The development of one of them is already quite advanced, while the second one just entered concept phase. Working on two projects allows us to more efficiently manage our resources and actually be more fluent in our creative process.
It's obvious that ditching the world created by Sapkowski would be unreasonable. First, we got to know it like the back of our hands, second, it's vast and full of possibilities. While working on The Witcher we had a lot of ideas which for one reason or another didn't find their way into the game. We're also much more experienced and have gotten our share of criticism, so we think we know how to refine the formula of our games. All that leads to one logical step: continue going into the same direction...but alright, I've already said too much :).
6) In the gaming industry and the gaming press there's a noisy opinion that certain game mechanics and design aspect featured in more traditional RPGs (e. g. tactical turn based combat, isometric perspective, skill based gameplay) are things of the past, things that the evolution of gaming left behind. What's your take on that and how are chances we might ever see such a game from CD Projekt
Hmmm... you probably won't see an absolutly classical RPG from CD Projekt. Designing The Witcher we discussed that repeatedly. We reached the conclusion that we want to keep close to the values of classical RPGs (a well developed plot, possibly realistic depiction of the world), but we shouldn't clutch outworn formulas. Instead, we wondered what could be refined and change in order to achieve the overriding aim, that is, immerse the player into the imaginary world and allow him to identify with the hero. That seems to be the essence of the problem. That how specific elements are realized is less important than if the way they work brings us closer to the superior aim.
An example (no necessarily the best) might be the real time combat system used in The Witcher vs. typical turn based combat. TB combat has one huge advantage: it gives a lot of tactical possibilities and the outcome depends entirely on intellectual effort. For a lot of players, and that's the drawback, it might look too statistical and play out too slowly though, which is far from realistic. When designing The Witcher we tried to merge tactical possibilities (preparing to fight, alchemy and the use of potions, choice of weapons and styles, use of magical signs, use of dodging moves and combos, pause) with a dynamic depiction of the whole process. I have to add that the more sophisticated tactictics are needed and more visible when playing on higher difficulty levels.
Thanks to that the combat system in The Witcher allows, despite its apparent simplicity, for a lot of tactical possibilities while at the same time being more dynamic and realistic in its presentation. More realistic because real fights take place in real time ;). Obviously we might not have managed to make combat as deep a TB system would have allowed, but that example illustrates a little bit our approach. It's more important to have realistic combat with tactical possibilities than a specific combat system.
I feel it's worthwhile to build on technological progress. Since the appearence of the first classical RPGs the possibilities to design games have evolved drastically. It's worthwhile to stay faithful to what's most important in in RPGs, but that doesn't mean that you have to stay away from refining the formula in order to make playing a role more realistic. For example in The Witcher lots of RPG mechanics are interwoven into the game's inside and the player doesn't even realize they exist, but thanks to that the world and the NPCs populating it are more believable.
7) In the press release announcing The Witcher selling a million copies you implied that The Witcher is going to be ported to consoles. Let's assume that will happen - what's involved in porting The Witcher and what exactly would have to be changed?
The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf is the console equivalent of the PC version of The Witcher. From day one we knew it would be great if the game could be brought to a broad audience, not exclusively PC owners. However, you've got to remember that this was our first project and creating such an extensive RPG just on the PC was already bordering on impossible. Adding other platforms would have been beyond what was possible for us and above all, we wouldn't have been able to concentrate on making The Witcher the best RPG on the PC platform. The Witcher was very well received by gamers and the media. That strengthened our conviction to introduce the product we have created in the course of many years to the broadest audience possible. Right after the release of The Witcher we started to create a console adaption. One of our conditions was that RotWW ought not postpone the development of CD Projekt RED's other projects. That's why we decided to cooperate with an outside company, the French White Screen Games team, which provides the modern DaVinci engine specially designed for next-gen consoles. WSG is responsible for technical side, adapting and improving game assets while a small team of our people oversees everything concerning content - working out a new and console-typical combat system, modified GUI, and a lot of other changes needed for The Witcher to be a full-blooded console title, using the potential of the platform to the fullest. Except the plot which remains the same all other elements of the game are changed or totally new. That's why I believe The Witcher will also be well received by the console crowd, because there aren't any PC remnants that could hamper the console experience. Of course, if we succeed has yet to be varified by the console gamers.
After going public with TW:RotWW there was an uproar of discontet, people saying that the console version will be better and that PC gamers were merely beta-testers ;). I think that stems from a misunderstanding. First of all TW:RotWW is a slightly different game, more console-ish and while the combat system really is more dynamic, compared to the PC version (especially played from the isometric perspective) it allows for less tactical control and demands more player skill and dexterity which doesn't have to suit everybody (especially PC RPG fans). The fact that we're trying to improve other aspects of the game shouldn't suprise anybody since between the release of the PC and the console version will be a timespan of two years. It would be idiotic to release the game visually unchanged. We always try to use the potential of every platform and all our games to the fullest. This was the case with The Witcher in 2007 and the Enhanced Edition in 2008 and that's exactly how it's going to be with the console version in 2009. That's absolutely normal. We don't try to satisfy one specific group of gamers but always try to offer the maximum of what is possible to whoever a specific game is targeted at.
There's been also voices claiming console gamers will have it better because we'll offer them DLC. This obviously is a very one sided view at things. PC gamers already got two official adventures. On top of that they've got Djinni, an editor to create own adventures. On our site we already have 6 completly fanmade adventures to offer (http://www.thewitcher.com/community/en/adventures/). PC gamers really have no reason to feel disappointed due to lack of additional content.
One word for all those who are concerned that our company turns to developing shallow console games. That's absolutely not going to happen. We're making games we ourself want to play - and we don't want to play frial and smooth games ;). We, as developers, don't see ourselves as, in the first place, creators of products catered to what the market demands but people who want to realize their own ideas. We take into account that our ideas won't always be fancied by everybody but that's just fine, let there be different tastes and choices :). Just like the majority of gamers we are sickened by the ubiquitous derivativeness, by numerous titles revolving around graphics and little else. The corporate way to create "hits" using worn formulas (large teams, known brands, projects in agreement with marketing research, big production budgets and even bigger budgets for marketing) in our opinion leads nowhere. That's apparent when you look at Hollywood and the creativity crisis it goes through. A lot of movies just can't be watched. Created using worn and theoretically safe "formulas" like known actors, an efficient director, known brand, great special effects, big budget and a broad promotion.
Only afterwards, it becomes clear that the same formula has been reproduced ad nauseam. Something similar is happening in the gaming industry. That's linked to the attempt by corporations to minimize risk. It's just that it doesn't work what's apparent when looking at all the spectacular titles that were supposed to achieve big success but flopped. When it comes to games the most important things are a vision, good ideas and a good implementation. And that doesn't have to be compliant with the typical corporate predictions. Scarcely anybody predicted The Witcher to be that successful. Besides, it didn't happen for the first time. Just a few remember today that the film industry didn't believe Star Wars could be successful. That shows how much you can be wrong if you don't know and don't have any contact to your customers. We're gamers ourselves and we urgently follow discussions and comments, also on the Codex, and derive our conclusions. We don't ignore them, arguging „ahh, that's only a couple of whiners."
8) What is your take on piracy and DRM? The Witcher was originally protected by TAGES, which was later removed. What caused that? What should we expect in the future?
The Witcher was protected by TAGES but you've got to remember that this wasn't the standard version of TAGES with DRM (internet activation of the product and administration of its use by the publisher). It was a relatively simple protection from copying the CD without any internet activation and registration! That simple copy protection is the farthest we're willing to go when it comes to „burdening" the life of legal end-users. Publishers have an irrational rush towards stricter copy protection, but actually that's rushing towards harming their customers. It's already becoming so irrational that it's really difficult to understand where that short-sightedness and lack of respect to own customers comes from. Probably from the difficulty to make a satisfying profit with PC games and as the saying goes „drowning men clutch at straws".
When it comes to how we approach it then we'd prefer (as on www.gog.com) not to protect our game at all. Instead we'd offer such quality and bonuses for the legal end-users, that meddling with pirating games wouldn't look that profitable anymore. Of course the decision about copy protection is also made by publishers and that's why we have to find a consensus. With The Witcher we managed to avoid DRM with internet activation. I hope we'll be able to make the life of our costumers even easier with our next products :).
9) How was The Witcher received and sold in North America and what are your future plans about penetrating this market deeper?
The market for PC games in USA is in an exceptionally bad state. And I'm not just talking about gamers, but more about the lacking support of vendors, who minimize the presence of PC games. Here's where the console version of The Witcher, RotWW, comes in, which hopefully will be quite successful in USA and considerably extends the fanbase of The Witcher.
10) You had to take a lot of flak due to the low quality of the writing and the voice overs in the localized versions of The Witcher. How will you handle localizations in the future?
At the premiere of The Witcher problematic were mostly two localizations. The English one, which we shortened (not the publisher) due to a streak of bad luck, and the German one, where the quality of the recording wasn't satisfactory. In case of the English version it was our own fault, we let ourself be convinced that English-speaking gamers prefer more concise dialogs, which lead to us shortening it. That alone was only part of the problem though, since the process of shortening the dialogs took place in a too short timespan, what caused additional logical faults in the dialogs. In turn, in the German version the choice of voice actors was unfortunate.
Both versions were improved as much as possible in the Enhanced Edition. We recorded more than 5000 additional lines of dialog for the English version and in the German version the whole voice over was rerecorded from scratch. Regarding the remaining localizations the situation wasn't bad. For instance, I heard the choice of voice actors in the Russian version wasn't bad at all.
We realized that in RPGs good voice overs are mandatory for the game to be received well and for the player to be immersed. We'll do everything to have voice overs of highest quality in our future titles. We want to achieve that by having more control over the development of other localizations. While developing The Witcher we only had control over the English and the Polish, as well as the Czech and Hungarian versions. The remaining versions were only supervised by the publisher, we only integrated the translations and the recordings. The history of the German version showed us that this isn't an ideal model and that it's worth to have more control over the quality of the single language versions. Of course, that's the ideal solution, but then, one that isn't realized easily. The Witcher had 9 fully voiced language versions, and one text-only, that's a lot of additional work load for the team. Nevertheless, I think it's worth going that way and we'll surely extend the control we have over localizations in the future.
11) I have to ask, what's with the hype? While in development the game was referred to as "RPG Redefined". The Enhanced Edition was dubbed "The best reaches perfection". What are your thoughts on that? Do you think that hype is an important marketing aspect?
I think that we should first distinguish two issues. The first one is that of hype itself, promoting brand recognition and building demand for the product. The second one is the advertising slogans.
Hype is a very good thing; it's absolutely necessary and indispensable. Only due to hype can a game achieve market success, and with that bring in sufficient funding for the authors to create more games and expand their development studio. One cannot really be miffed at them for trying to show their product in as many places as possible, to make presentations during gaming trade shows, release new video materials or make interviews such as this one :) All this increases the chance for market success.
But I think the point lies somewhere else. Hype has to be created honestly. This means that when building it one cannot make empty promises about things the final product won't have. Otherwise that wouldn't be honest and, actually, would be an example of a lie distinctively lacking legs :) I think that's what hurts the players the most. They heard many times that the game wouldl be such-and-such, but after paying a sizeable sum of money and getting their hands on the release version they find out that the promises weren't kept. That's where the perfectly justified disappointment appears.
The second aspect of the issue is using too forceful catchphrases. Many companies, fighting for their five minutes of public attention use intense or provocative slogans. For example, some interviews regarding Afterfall - a Polish game in the making - contained a phrase sure to be catchy in Poland: that the title would be a "Witcher slayer" (by the way I wish the Afterfall lads the best, I think their project is very interesting and have no qualms over that phrase; I understand their situation and that they want to elbow their way to the front of medial attention, it'd be great if they managed to achieve success comparable to that of The Witcher). This is a great phrase for the media to repeat, although a bit excessive. But gamers are a bit tired by such slogans. They heard the story dozens of times: a game was said to be the best, the biggest, most epic and so on, while it turned out to be something else. Another strong phrase and a promise not exactly kept.
In CD Projekt we try to avoid both types of situations, exactly as we do in case of building the marketing of all other games in Poland. We make an effort to base our statements on facts and to refrain from using adjective-encrusted phrases. Of course, life is not perfect and not everything always works out.
Concerning the phrases quoted, I'm not fully satisfied with them. "RPG Redefined" was meant to convey the message that The Witcher was a "different" RPG, in which the traditional definition of the genre would be altered. This is true in my opinion. Unfortunately, the phrase was taken to mean that our game would redefine the whole genre. This is why we decided that the slogan was a "miss" and stopped using it long before release. The game's title had just the words "Role Playing Game" below them. If we are sure that one of our titles could redefine the whole RPG genre, we may return to that phrase ;)
With regard to the second slogan, yes, it soaks with slick marketing speak. I'd rather it hadn't been used. I think it sounds nice, but it lacks real content, so its impact is limited. What's more, it promises too much, in a very subjective field of achieving perfection. That's not the only phrase we used in connection with the Enhanced Edition, though. The other official slogan was "The best RPG of 2007, now enhanced, expanded and upgraded". And that one, though it lacks the smoothness of the former, I find much more to my taste, since it provides quite definite info that doesn't promise too much.
To sum up, I believe that there's nothing wrong with hype based on facts, and not on misrepresentation and empty promises. Of course it's often not easy to clearly distinguish these things, but here in CD Projekt we will certainly try not to cross that line - you'll evaluate whether we succeded. The Codexers tend to be the first to spot silliness and absurdity, so if we go over the top somewhere we'll be sure to notice it from your reaction ;)
In my opinion one surely cannot be miffed with devs trying to promote information regarding their work. Games are being made with the hope that they will be played by as big a group as possible. Besides, game development is tough business and that particular increase of sales may mean keeping the dev team in play.
Lastly, I'd like to send greetings from the CD Projekt team to the Codex community. There's no denying you are very demanding, but these demands are seldom baseless. Even though we do not post here very actively, we often browse the Codex, trying to draw conclusions from the discussions here and amend our projects if we decide it's needed. Of course, substantial points are the most useful; but reading some hearty bitching and creative invective-hurling is an interesting diversion :)