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Witcher 3 Director Departs CD Projekt Red Following Bullying Investigation

The director of The Witcher 3 has left CD Projekt Red.
The director of The Witcher 3 has left CD Projekt Red. / Photo courtesy of CD Projekt Red

Konrad Tomaszkiewicz, best known for his work as director of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, has left CD Projekt Red after an internal investigation cleared him of accusations of bullying.

Tomaszkiewicz informed employees at CD Projekt Red of the results of the months-long investigation, and his decision to depart despite being found not guilty, in an email reviewed by Bloomberg.

"Nonetheless, a lot of people are feeling fear, stress or discomfort when working with me," Tomaszkiewicz reportedly wrote in the email. He also said he was sorry "for all the bad blood I have caused."

Tomaszkiewicz had been with CD Projekt Red for more than a decade, first working on the original Witcher game in 2007. He served as lead quest designer for The Witcher 2, then moved up to directing The Witcher 3 and both of its critically acclaimed expansions. He also worked on Cyberpunk 2077 as second director and head of production, and was expected to play a major role in the next game in the Witcher series.

"I am going to continue working on myself," Tomaszkiewicz wrote in his email. "Changing behavior is a long and arduous process, but I'm not giving up, and I hope to change."

Analysis: CD Projekt Red's Talent Exodus Spells Danger for the Studio

Tomaszkiewicz' departure comes at a particularly difficult time for CD Projekt Red. The company's public image has tanked over the last few years, most notably around the disastrous release of Cyberpunk 2077. Tomaszkiewicz could have been a major player in the studio's rebound had he shepherded the next Witcher game to the same level of success as The Witcher 3; now he's out, and CD Projekt Red is in trouble.

Tomaszkiewicz isn't the only major CD Projekt Red loss in recent years. Cyberpunk 2077 lead gameplay designer Andrzej Zawadzki left the company last month, and Cyberpunk 2077 head writer Sebastian Stepien did the same in January 2019. Those talents could have been instrumental in rebuilding CD Projekt Red after the past few years of bad press and lackluster critical receptions.

Without them, CD Projekt Red has announced a new strategy for development. Rather than focus the entire development team on a single major project, development will take place on multiple releases in parallel. The studio also plans to expand the media offerings around its biggest IP, namely The Witcher and Cyberpunk. Both of these approaches aim to mitigate risk on each individual release — Cyberpunk's relative failure was a major blow to the company — and could help with the studio's crunch problem.

For now, the studio remains focused on fixing Cyberpunk 2077. The game is still yet to be re-listed on the PlayStation Store, having been pulled because of its myriad technical problems.