The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition Previews and Interviews

We're still seeing some GDC coverage of CD Projekt RED's The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition trickling onto the web this week, so I'll go ahead and start you off with a new commentary-laden preview on VG247:
Telltale design choices that hinted at a console version could be seen upon the game's PC release last year: the shift in focus from the timing-based combat of the original Witcher with its three distinct move sets and stances to the more accessible light/heavy combo style of the sequel, along with the presence of a controller-friendly radial menu interface, were two of the more obvious signs.

This made the adaptation easier and entirely more successful than CDPR's attempt to bring the original Witcher to console. An experience from which Ziemak insists the company learned a lot.

(It was very difficult attempting that with an outside company, especially as we had no console experience and had to rely on someone else's,) he admits. (It didn't work out, so we had to freeze the project and move on.

(It was too bad that we weren't able to have that be our first console project but you live and learn and we certainly took our lessons from it, like how to design a game to fit consoles as well as PC. This time around we knew we wanted the game to work on console and so we made the appropriate decisions early on.)

After which you'll be whisked away for a two-page preview on CVG:
The heart of The Witcher 2 is - of course - the combat experience, and on all but the most easy level this is no simple hack 'n slash, button-mashing job. You can't just charge into combat and hope to prevail. Just as in the books, The Witcher needs to brew up and imbibe herbal concoctions to add various buffs and enhancements prior to any fighting to ensure he doesn't end up as simple sword fodder.

Suitably equipped with up to three heady such brews though, Geralt can enter combat ready to rock and during each battle your enhanced reflexes allow you to trigger a kind of bullet/sword time, where you can select actions via a well designed radial menu.

Here Witchers have access to magical signs like Aard, which knocks and stuns opponents, or Igni, which sets them on fire. If there's time, you can also lay traps to ensnare enemies or hurl daggers to reach distant foes. There's full dodge and counter moves too, and you're well advised to spend some time in the combat arena honing and mastering your fighting skills before embarking on the main quest.

Then we'll head over to a brief preview on Destructoid:
As with all good console RPGs, there is usually an impressive opening cinematic sequence to mesmerize the player and CD Projekt Red have gone all out on the new cinematics for the start of the game. They hired BAFTA winner and Academy Award nominee Tomasz Baginski to provide the all-new three and a half minute pre-rendered cinematic. It's a nice new addition to the game and gives it a definite finishing touch. Baginski has also worked to provide new animations and cut-scenes throughout the course of the game to add an extra sense of background to the story.

In addition to the sparkly new cutscenes and pre-rendered cinematics, there are also four extra hours of gameplay to sink your teeth into including two major adventures, new characters and new locations. They're a combination of ideas from the studio after the final development of the PC version and ideas from fans.

One new quest in particular features the new character Dame Brigida Papebrock, who is a bit of a saucy lady. After seducing some of the most powerful men in Temeria, she has learned some dark secrets, making her a prime target in the whole mess of things. This quest in particular is set within the third act of the story, and provides some interesting backstory to certain events within the complex narrative. And don't worry PC players, all this new content will be made accessible to the PC version for free in an upcoming patch.

Before paying a visit to Curse for a Q&A with studio head Adam Badowski, animator Thomasz Baginski, and CG supervisor Maciej Jackiewicz:
Can you talk a little about some of the notable characters who are being added?

AB: One of the most notable characters is Brigida Papebrock. She's a 30 year old blonde noble, a member of the Temerian Papebrock family and a lady-in-waiting at the Temerian Court. She's a seductive type, who wants to be as close to the crown as possible. Suddenly she finds herself caught between two nobles fighting for the crown. She's levelheaded and resourceful, however; she is no damsel in distress.

She is a main character in one of the two new quests. I can't say more about other characters for now, but you'll be sure to hear something about them later on.

Will the Enhanced Edition affect the game's combat?

AB: The Xbox 360 version gets an interface system designed for the console gamepad. Now the targeting system and camera system have been rearranged. The combat is still tactical, brutal and dynamic, but' thanks to our changes' console players can feel like real sword masters. Remember that it's still the Witcher. These means you really have to plan your moves ahead and use your brains as well us your combat skills.

This isn't a simple hack and slash game. So prepare for lots of challenges and fun.

And, finally, there's a new several-minute video interview with level designer Marek Ziemak over at Gamereactor.