Witcher Game Developer Quits Company Over Bullying Claims
(Bloomberg) -- The director of Witcher 3, the most successful video game by Polish publisher CD Projekt SA, resigned after he was accused of bullying colleagues, sending its shares to their steepest decline since March.
CD Projekt conducted a months-long investigation into the allegations against Konrad Tomaszkiewicz, according to an email to staff reviewed by Bloomberg. In the message, Tomaszkiewicz wrote that a commission had investigated the allegations and found him not guilty.
“Nonetheless, a lot of people are feeling fear, stress or discomfort when working with me,” he wrote. He apologized to staff “for all the bad blood I have caused.”
Tomaszkiewicz’s work on Witcher 3 inspired the creation of a popular Netflix series, both based on novels by the author Andrzej Sapkowski, and at one point turned CD Projekt into Poland’s most valuable company. Tomaszkiewicz is also listed as second director and head of production for Cyberpunk 2077.
His departure deepens a crisis engulfing CD Projekt after a disastrous release of Cyberpunk in December. The highly anticipated role-playing game was full of glitches and almost unplayable on some platforms, leading Sony Group Corp. to pull it from the PlayStation Store. The negative reception wiped out CD Projekt’s 2020 share gain and pushed the stock to a two-year low.
“All the signs point to serious ongoing problems with morale and culture” at the gaming studio,” said Bernstein Autonomous LLP analyst Matti Littunen.
The shares were down 2.5% as of 11:46 a.m. after earlier falling as much as 7.5%. CD Projekt is now the 14th biggest listed company in Warsaw.
Tomaszkiewicz was expected to play a significant role in the company’s next game in the Witcher series. When reached for comment, Tomaszkiewicz confirmed his departure and said he was “sad, a bit disappointed and resigned.” A representative for CD Projekt declined to comment.
In the email to employees, Tomaszkiewicz said the decision was agreed upon with the company’s board. “I am going to continue working on myself,” he wrote. “Changing behavior is a long and arduous process, but I’m not giving up, and I hope to change.”
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