A sign advertising Cyberpunk 2077.
Mike Kemp | In images via Getty Images
Shares of Polish game publisher CD Projekt rose sharply on Wednesday after the company announced several major games it is working on over the next few years, including new installments in the popular Cyberpunk and Witcher franchises.
In a strategy update late Tuesday, CD Projekt revealed a slew of new titles currently in development, including a Cyberpunk 2077 sequel codenamed “Orion.” The company will “promote the Cyberpunk franchise further and continue to exploit the potential of this dark future universe,” the company said.
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Shares of CD Projekt were up about 7% in midday trading on Wednesday, having previously climbed 9% in the market open.
This follows a series of accidents that have dogged the company over the past two years. After much hype, Cyberpunk 2077’s launch in 2020 was met with anger from gamers who encountered bugs and poor performance on older consoles. The launch of the game took place in the same year when new machines from Sony and Microsoft were released.
The backlash to this bug was so violent that at one point Sony removed the game from its digital PlayStation Store. Cyberpunk 2077 was later restored on the service.
Since then, CD Projekt has made several updates and improvements to Cyberpunk 2077, while the release of an anime series based on the futuristic sci-fi franchise, Cyberpunk 2077, has helped rekindle interest in the game.
CD Projekt says it has sold 20 million copies of its Cyberpunk 2077 game and more than 65 million copies of all three games in the Witcher franchise to date.
Last year, the company suffered a ransomware attack in which hackers stole the source code of several of its games — including The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 — and sold it on the dark web. It is noteworthy that then CD Projekt refused to pay the ransom demanded by the hackers.
Despite the surge in CD Projekt’s share price on Wednesday, the stock is down more than 40% year-to-date.
Here are some other highlights from CD Projekt’s strategy update:
- The company offered a stock-based employee incentive program aimed at attracting — and retaining — top talent in development. According to CFO Piotr Nelyubovych, the program will be “similar to those offered by our leading global competitors.”
- It is opening a new development studio in Boston, Massachusetts to help expand its footprint in North America.
- CD Projekt plans to buy back up to PLN 100 million ($21 million) of its own shares from investors as part of a share buyback plan.
The company also revealed that its co-founder and CEO Marcin Ivinsky will be stepping down after 28 years in the position. Ivinsky will serve as joint general director until the end of 2022, after which he will become the chairman of the supervisory board.
He will remain a “major shareholder” and “active and active” in the support of the board, according to a statement on Tuesday.
Packed pipeline of games
Three new games in the Witcher RPG series are expected to be released in the coming years, including a new installment in the franchise codenamed “Polaris.” Previously announced by the company in March, the game is a continuation of the well-known company The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It is currently in pre-production.
CD Projekt didn’t specify a release date for the new games, but said that three new original Witcher titles will be released within six years of Polaris’ release.
The company plans to push the online multiplayer game with some of its upcoming titles, including another game in the Witcher franchise codenamed “Sirius.”
“We plan to add multiplayer to some of our upcoming games, and we plan to do more in TV and film,” said Michal Nowakowski, CD Projekt’s senior vice president of business development.
CD Projekt’s multiplayer ambitions have great potential due to increased involvement in multiplayer,” Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank, wrote in a note on Wednesday.
CD Projekt also announced an entirely new game, codenamed Hadar, that it is working on in addition to its two main franchises. The firm didn’t release many details, but said it was “currently in the conceptual phase.”
It was an unusual display of transparency in the gaming industry. Major publishers are often tight-lipped about planned major releases until they’re ready to show fans some visuals and gameplay, usually at major trade shows.
Companies like Sony and Nintendo are increasingly eschewing showy industry conferences like E3 in favor of smaller-scale updates. After being canceled once in 2020 and then replaced with a digital alternative in 2021, E3 was canceled again this year by organizers citing health risks related to Covid-19.