Polish CD Projekt sees record sales of new flagship game

WARSAW, May 26 (Reuters) - Poland’s largest video game developer CD Projekt is hoping for record sales of the latest edition of its “Witcher” fantasy saga, as it starts to attract mainstream gamers and gains critical acclaim abroad.

A third edition of the role-playing series, which has collected more than 200 awards and which the former Polish prime minister presented to U.S. President Barack Obama, has massively outperformed the two earlier versions in preorders.

The company sold 1.5 million copies of the game before its last-week release versus 1 million and 1.7 million of total annual sales of the saga’s previous parts, respectively.

“Sales of the third part will be many times higher than with our earlier games. Preorders indicate this,” CD Projekt’s chief executive Adam Kicinski said in an interview.

“We broke into the mainstream. It is such a moment in our firm’s history that after some years people will look differently at CD Projekt before and after this release.”

DM BO Brokerage analyst Tomasz Rodak said he saw the new Witcher’s yearly sales at 7 million copies, which could bring a record net profit of 369 million zlotys ($97.5 million) in 2015.

“(The forecast) is not unreasonable,” Kicinski said. “Games with such quality as the Witcher 3, with a similar marketing campaign, have reached similar or even better sales levels.”

The CEO added that CD Projekt will use the profit from the release to mainly finance new projects, including two Witcher add-ons and a completely new game entitled Cyberpunk 2077.

“We hope and we are certain that Cyberpunk has even bigger commercial potential. It is too early to talk about it, though. This year, and the next one will be the years of the Witcher,” Kicinski said. ($1 = 3.7854 zlotys) (Reporting by Jakub Iglewski, editing by David Evans)