CD Projekt: The Witcher 2

The Witcher has somewhat of a cult following on the PC. Set in a world based on the novels of the same name by Andrzej Sapkoski, it is a RPG following Geralt, a Witcher – a monster hunter with special powers. The sequel is expected in 2011 and at the Eurogamer Expo, I got to speak with Tomasz Gop (Senior Producer) while Marek Ziemak (Level Designer) showed us some gameplay footage.

Marek Ziemak, Me and Tomasz Gop.
Marek Ziemak, Me and Tomasz Gop.
Will this game definitely be released on consoles?

We are doing everything we can to make it possible. We’re trying, but the policy is that we’re not announcing anything until we have anything solid to show until we know that it is bound to happen.

Considering all of the different possibilities with endings, do you think that the player will be able to play through time and time again without getting bored?

Yes. The player will play through the game and see so many things that it will actually be interesting. Depending on where you go, who you meet, who you stick with, how you treat people, you might end up with a totally different world at the end of the game. We have 16 endings, well, some of the differences will be really huge, some smaller. Some mean that locations will change, some people will be alive or dead but definitely, there are 16 states that you can leave the world in at the end of the game.

That suit doesn't look too comfortable to me.

Which parts of the gameplay do you think that you have improved on the most?

The feedback we got after the first game was, well, some people complained about a few things. The combat was controversial, some people claimed it was hardcore, but for some people it was good, and some thought the entering threshold was too high. What we’ve done with the second game, we’ve totally redesigned the combat. We’ve kept the depth, we want the advance tactics to be as complex and as rich as they were in the first one; but now, it’s not only hard to master, but it’s easy to learn at the same time. So if you don’t want to do the advance tactics you can choose the easy difficulty setting.

Can you just jump in without playing The Witcher? Or is playing the first game a must?

Ok there are two really important points about this… the first is that you don’t have to have played the first game, because it’s a totally new chapter. You don’t need to know what happened in the first game, the most crucial things are explained to you while you play the game. You won’t feel like there is anything you’re missing. But on the other hand, there is the possibility to import the save game from the first one, and we’ve done it because we want to reward the players that were kind enough to play the first game, and finish it, and they can say ‘ahh I know, he remembers me, I know why she likes me,’ but it doesn’t change the world completely, it’s just a reward for those guys.

The decisions you make throughout the game, determine which of a possible 16 endings you get.

So story wise how does this relate to the first game?

Well storywise, it is a direct sequel. At the end of the first game there is an outro which shows an unsuccessful attempt at the life of one of the kings, and Geralt finds out that the assassin who tried to kill the king has certain characteristics that make him look similar to the witcher, and after killing him he would like to find out more. This is where the story of the second game starts. There are still places of rebellion in the kingdom so Geralt is helping the king attend to these, but soon the assassin plot will become the main one in the game, and stay the main one until the end.

What sets this apart from the other RPGS released this year?

I don’t really like this question, I mean it’s not about being exceptional, we’re only doing our jobs, that is what we’re focused on. If I were to guess,I think we don’t have a generic fantasy world. Andrzej Sapkoski spent many years of his life writing the books on which we base the game. It’s not the story that is based on the books, the story is our own. The world, however, came from the books, and it’s a really comfortable situation for us. They have been written so well that taking from this is a real pleasure. It is nice to have a game that does not have a generic fantasy world. The hero has a complete personality. If there is something that sets us apart from different games, maybe that will be it.

What made you opt for a more open world approach?

Part of it was feedback, a lot of people complained about loading times. We definitely wanted to tell the story on a bigger scale, a wider scale. You’re travelling more in The Witcher 2, you’re crossing borders of kingdoms, so part of it was feedback, and part was a desire and temptation to go big.

Sometimes you'll have to take the quieter approach.







One response to “CD Projekt: The Witcher 2”

  1. Ninja avatar

    This is a series I’ve had my eye on for a while, despite not having a PC that would do it justice (more about keeping myself a little informed on gaming news etc when I can), so I’m glad to hear that it may have a console conversion albeit a simplified one presumably.

    I do like that it appears to share traits (I would say borrow but that might not be the case) with both Bethesda’s and BioWare’s finest – the multitude of choices and, more directly, the Aurora engine respectively 🙂

    Nice interview Jo.

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