FiringSquad: Please continue.
CDProjekt: First of all, we agreed that the storyline should be the spine, the basis of any RPG. Therefore, we’ve tried various ways of introducing this idea into being: we have placed the game in a rich, intriguing and believable world known from a series of 7 fantasy novels. This allowed us to provide background and depth unlike all that’s been seen in computer games. Another thing we achieved was creating a tale, a consistent story whose first draft was put together in the preproduction phase over 3 years ago. Since then the storyline has been constantly developed and updated. Mr. Sapkowski – the author of the Witcher saga has been providing us with crucial information and consulting the plot creation process. The richness and depth of the world required us to strongly modify the Aurora Engine, thus a new cut-scene editor allowing us to cut and ‘glue’ the story in a film-like manner, or a unique mimics system letting us reflect the richness of characters’ gestures and emotions.
Next there’s combat. Here we’ve introduced a unique system based on medieval fencing arts and techniques enhanced by magic. It comprises a total of over 200 animations interweaving into fluent combat sequences. What is more, it is a real-time-based system allowing the player to use numerous upgrades and power-ups and customizing the combat manner to one’s likes and needs.
Another important aspects of gameplay are freedom and non-linearity. And this is something we’re quite bent on. We’re most annoyed by the restrictions imposed by the game designers, that is why, we’re strongly trying to avoid them in our work. That is why The Witcher has no artificial restrictions, one can for example attack any character. You want to betray and attack your friend… be our guest, you may even kill them though they might be the key to the plotline. When willing to go through a guarded gate, you may try lying, bribery… you may ask someone to distract the guards and try dozens of other ways. The range of choices is entirely up to the player! It is also worth mentioning that the game is based in non-linear structure, thus all the quests can be completed in several ways, additionally, many choices depend on the way we are perceived by others. Introducing such a degree of freedom requires us to work hard, yet we really believe that linearity of today’s games must not become a standard! Many contemporary games have the graphics of high-budget Hollywood productions, unfortunately they are just as linear and predictable! Hmm, the possibilities of today’s computers and imagination of game developers seems to be vanishing these days, and that is not the point, is it?
Another important element of the game is character equipping and development. And here is what the die-hard RPG purists might find surprising ;). First of all, we have a predefined protagonist – this stems from our willingness of telling a truly intriguing story revolving around him. Nonetheless, we can develop the main character in almost any way we like and wish. We can concentrate on passive traits or ‘invest’ in active skills. What is even more important, majority of the aforementioned may be modified by upgrades and power-ups ‘bought’ during the game. Personality and view of the world seem just as crucial. Depending on his deeds, the protagonist may become a renown savior or a ruthless murderer. He may become a heartless racist – killing all non-humans, or protect them at any cost. Or he may be renown for killing non-humans! As you can see… the freedom of choice is huge and almost unrestricted.