Rumours have been circulating this week that EA is contemplating a takeover of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt developer CD Projekt RED. An apparent employee of CD Projekt RED had leaked details of a potential buyout or publishing deal being arranged with Electronic Arts, suggesting they had seen EA representatives in the CDPR studio. The employee even went so far as to provide a payslip as proof of employment at CD Projekt RED, but the rumours have been rubbished by studio co-founder Marcin Iwinski.
It’s easy to see why CD Projekt RED would be a tempting purchase for a publisher like EA. Not only has it produced one of the games of the year in The Witcher 3, but it also achieved it on a relatively minor budget of £53 million, which covered all development and marketing of the sprawling RPG. It's also the owner of DRM-free digital distribution platform GOG, which has gone from strength to strength in recent years.
“I’m an employee of CDProjekt Red and I have some bad news to share with you,” read the statement. “Our management is probably talking with Electronic Arts about potential take over. Electronic Arts representatives are currently visiting our studio and meeting with top management. We are not going to release any game soon, so for sure it’s not about any publishing deal, so the only possible reason for EA guys being here is that they want to buy us.”
Since these rumours emerge, CDPR’s Iwinski has been forced to come out and discredit them, saying “We usually don’t comment on rumours but this one has become quite viral and we think it deserves to be put to bed. We are not talking with anyone regarding selling CD Projekt Red or GOG.com. Period. And the payslip is a fake – it was not issued by our company.”
That looks to be that then, but we would be surprised if CD Projekt RED wasn’t at least talking with big-name publishers ahead of CyberPunk 2077, which we’re expecting in 2017 or 2018. Publishing duties were split between CDPR, Bandai Namco and Warner Bros for The Witcher 3, but a big name global publisher like EA could simplify things considerably for CyberPunk 2077’s launch.