Witcher 3 developers won’t bow to extortion for stolen Cyberpunk 2077 files

With E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) starting this week, we can expect a flood of gaming news. It remains to be seen if the person or people trying to extort Polish game developer CD Projekt Red will choose this week to leak stolen Cyberpunk 2077 game files.

Instead of staying quiet about an extortion attempt, CD Projekt Red, the developers behind The Witcher 3, got out ahead of any potential leak by tweeting:

An unidentified individual or individuals have just informed us they are in possession of a few internal files belonging to CD PROJEKT RED. Among them are documents connected to early designs for the upcoming game, Cyberpunk 2077.

A demand for ransom has been made, saying that should we not comply, the files will be released to the general public. We will not be giving in to the demands of the individual or individuals that have contacted us, which might eventually lead to the files being published online. The appropriate legal authorities will be informed about the situation.

The documents are old and largely unrepresentative of the current vision for the game. Still, if you’re looking forward to playing Cyberpunk 2077, it would be best for you to avoid any information not coming directly from CD PROJEKT RED.

When the time is right, you will hear about Cyberpunk 2077 from us – officially.

The developers posted the same notice on its Cyberpunk 2077 forum.

Cyberpunk 2077, which has been in the works for years, was first announced in 2012. It’s supposed to be an RPG set in the open world of Night City. The game is based on the cyberpunk role-playing game Cyberpunk 2020. CD Projekt Red said it was working closely with Mike Pondsmith who wrote the original pen-and-paper game. In 2013, a teaser video was released.

But since then, CD Projekt Red released The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The wildly popular 2015 release is a fantastic game and it apparently changed everything for developers.

“When you release a game like The Witcher and create the expansions, the perception is not the pre-Witcher 3 expectation,” CD Projekt Red co-founder Marcin Iwinski told Eurogamer. “The bar is higher – and it’s externally and internally as well.”

“I cannot talk about plans but we have to adjust to it and also adjust our own ambitions,” Iwinski added. If CD Projekt Red releases a new game and it is not “better than Witcher 3, people [will say], ‘Hmm, wow, why is it not better?’ Witcher 3 set a certain bar and we definitely cannot go lower. It’s always about improving and making new, pretty stuff, [and] storytelling games and mechanics and what not.”

With that in mind, it’s not entirely impossible that the stolen internal documents about Cyberpunk 2077 would have little to do with the direction CD Projekt Red took the game after the Witcher 3 release. The documents may indeed be “old and largely unrepresentative of the current vision for the game” as the developer claimed.

The developers did not say what the blackmail amount was, when or how the game material was stolen. Earlier this year, The Witcher fans received breach notifications after the CD Projekt Red forum was compromised. About 1.9 million CD Projekt Red accounts were exposed; the developers said the accounts came from an old database which was compromised in March 2016.

One of my first thoughts was wondering if The Dark Overlord hacking group was involved; the hackers who were responsible for leaking 10 new Orange Is the New Black episodes after Netflix refused to be extorted. But after releasing unaired episodes of ABC’s Steve Harvey’s Funderdome, most of the group’s tweets revolve around “A Business A Day” – which has so far involved dumping records from doctors and dentists unwilling to be blackmailed. So far, there’s no mention of CD Projekt Red.

It remains to be seen if whomever is responsible does follow through and leak info related to Cyberpunk 2077 and if that will happen amidst all the gaming news which pour out this week from E3.

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