Earlier yesterday, a deceptive headline made its way across the online gaming community, sparking some rather unfounded worries about the direction of the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077. Developers CD Projekt Red announced via its website that Warner Bros. Interactive, the company behind the entertainment side of acclaimed DC and Harry Potter franchises, will be handling the distribution of the upcoming flagship title in North America.
What’s important to note here is that being a “distributor” has no effect on the creative side of the game; Warner Bros. will have no impact or influence over the project. Distributor simply refers to CD Projekt using Warner Bros.’s logistical and manufacturing systems to streamline the game’s release using established distribution channels.
While this seemed like a harmless and rather smart business partnership, it would seem as if many people were concerned that the role of distributor is synonymous with publisher, which meant possible interference from higher-up executives that have traditionally clashed with the creative vision of developers. However, this is not at all the case.
The announcement made news due to the high profile of both companies, but many gamers do not realize that this isn’t the first time for such collaboration. Michal Nowakowski, SVP of Business Development for CD Projekt, states that they’ve “worked with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment on The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and both releases turned out to be really successful.”
Seeing as Cyberpunk 2077 is perhaps the studio’s largest and most ambitious project since its inception, it would make sense that it wants to ensure the smoothest possible release; this meant partnering with a well-established and trusted company that has veteran experience in regional distribution.
Cyberpunk 2077 was one of the biggest titles to be announced at E3 this year, and hype for it remains high despite the lack of a concrete release date. Both the cinematic trailer and substantial demo shown to the public were enough to garner much anticipation for the game, so any news on its production would naturally make the headlines.