Polish CD Projekt postpones Witcher 3 next-gen release

April 14 (Reuters) – Polish video game maker CD Projekt (CDR.WA) took over internally and indefinitely postponed the release of its hit game “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” for next-gen consoles, sending its shares down as much as 4% on Thursday.

The release, which was originally slated to launch late last year and was later delayed to the second quarter of 2022, has been outsourced to Saber Interactive, part of Sweden’s Embracer Group. (EMBRACb.ST).

“We are currently assessing the extent of the work to be carried out and therefore have to postpone the second quarter release until further notice,” the Polish company said on Twitter on Wednesday evening.

CD Projekt did not give a reason for the move. In a written response to Reuters on Thursday, he said he did not comment on rumors and speculation, underscoring his previous statement.

Russian media reported earlier that CD Projekt decided to end its relationship with the Saber team in Saint Petersburg, which was responsible for the next-gen version.

Embracer said it couldn’t comment on specific relationships with business partners, but it had the “deepest respect” for CD Projekt as “one of the best game development teams in the world.”

The Swedish company also said in a written response to a query from Reuters that none of its relationships had changed in a way that would financially impact the group’s revenue or profitability in excess of $500,000.

CD Projekt announced last month that it would halt sales of its games in Russia and Belarus in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Its shares were down 2% at 11:07 GMT.

Jefferies analyst Ken Rumph wrote in a note that while the financial impact of the delay may be small, given that it was a free upgrade for existing game owners, a second delay and accommodation were a surprise.

“The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” premiered in 2015 to critical acclaim and helped the Polish studio gain worldwide recognition. It has sold more than 30 million copies, CD Projekt said last year.

Since then, CD Projekt has had a tough time following the difficult rollout of its second franchise, “Cyberpunk 2077”, at the end of 2020.

In a bid to restore investor confidence, CD Projekt has been scrambling to transform its studio so it can start producing big-budget games on the side from 2022.

It released the Cyberpunk version for next-gen consoles in February. Read more

The company is due to release its annual results later Thursday.

Reporting by Anna Pruchnicka, additional reporting by Supantha Mukherjee Editing by Tomasz Janowski

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