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Financial dispute puts The Witcher games on hold

Widescreen Games puts 360 and PS3 versions of RPG on shelf following alleged lack of payment from CD Projekt

The console versions of highly-anticipated RPG The Witcher have been put on hold by developer Widescreen Games after over a year of work.

French studio Widescreen had been developing Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the PC game, complete with new exclusive material, for Polish developer CD Projekt since March 2008, but a lack of payment has left Widescreen with no other option but to suspend development, claims CEO Olivier Masclef.

"Basically, after a few months of not being paid, we stopped," said Masclef speaking to GamesIndustry.biz. "We've not been paid for a few months and we had a very nasty broken payment. We had no choice but to put the product on hold. We've not been able to find a solution."

Masclef claims Widescreen was also kept in the dark and not informed of new milestone dates for the project, along with added features, which publisher Atari was expecting following discussions with CD Projekt.

"We were not involved in discussions with Atari and CD Projekt. The financial situation seems to have grown more and more difficult," he said.

The game, The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf, was due to go alpha in June, but work stopped three weeks ago. A frustrated Mesclef told GamesIndustry.biz that the troubles have also harmed Widescreen's relationship with distributor Namco Bandai, after early indication that the title would sell well at retail.

"It's unfortunate because we have very nice technology, we're replicated all the features of The Witcher," he detailed. "Atari has validated the product and seen that our tech is working. And we've heard that the distributors have been committing a very high volume for the title, and it was extremely promising. It's a very silly situation. I can't disclose the budget, but it would be a profitable title if it hit the shelves. But at this stage it will not."

He added: "I really don't like the situation because we've also had a good relationship with Namco Bandai, and it's a huge chunk of their portfolio. Historically we've always had extremely good relationship, we really respect them and we've worked with them in the past, they have a lot of time for developers. I feel sorry for them because they've not going to have this title."

CD Projekt told GamesIndustry.biz that it would not comment on the situation.

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