The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Interview

There's an article-style interview with CD Projekt RED's Konrad Tomaszkiewicz over at Eurogamer this evening, with the primary focus being how The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will not only live up to the open world RPG expectations that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim set, but actually best them in just about every measurable way. I really, really hope there's a lot of truth behind his confidence:
Game director Konrad Tomaszkiewicz raised eyebrows when he said Skyrim's story and quests were often "generic". He said he couldn't name five characters from the game by memory, and he played the game a lot. His point was that The Witcher 3 could improve on that. It could be an open world RPG like Skyrim but with a strong story as well. It could be, he said, the "perfect RPG".

"He was harsh too much," reflected Adam Badowski, managing director of CD Projekt Red, when I spoke to him last week.

"What does it mean, generic? It's a different type of gameplay experience. We know how to make hand-crafted quests and we have tonnes of ideas for quests. It's a different level of detail.

"We have different tricks for how to fulfil - how to make the living world. And really it's not the same way Bethesda has. It's a different approach."

"Sorry," he chuckled, "but we are pretty confident we will make it."

The Witcher 3 will have a whopping 50-hour main story. And if you want, you can extend that to over 100 hours by tackling side-quests. Skyrim play-times are regularly in the 100s of hours, but the emphasis - as Badowski pointed out - is on side-quests and exploration. Bethesda also uses procedural quest creation to fill its huge worlds with things for you to do. How else could it manage?

The Witcher 3 will have a 20 per cent bigger world than Skyrim's. But if Bethesda can't hand-craft all of its quests with a budget of $85 million, a team of 90, years of open world experience and a development time of three-and-a-half years, how will CD Projekt Red be able to?

"It's a matter of scale," answered Badowski. "Bigger team will achieve bigger goals.

"You have to remember that the team is much bigger and much more experienced. Right now we are on consoles and we have technology already established, we have all the story plots done, so it's not so bad."