The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Interview

The Sydney Morning Herald talked with CD Projekt RED's global head of marketing Tomasz Jarzębowski about the game's visuals, morality and bestiary among other things, after witnessing the same hands-off demo most of the press has dealt with at this point. Here's a snippet:

One of the things that is immediately apparent as Geralt steps from the Nordic-inspired village into the murky forest is just how beautiful the game looks. Even standing still, Geralt's hair floats lazily in what wind makes it through the trees. The entire mood of the surroundings changes the further we head into the forest, as less light filters through the trees and the sounds of animals grow louder. The playthrough was running on a custom PC set-up so it was a showcase of the best you can expect but the sheer number of particle effects, elements being separately affected by wind and individual AI pursuing their own agenda all on screen at the same time puts most "immersive" games to shame. Jarzębowski attributes this graphical fidelity to the new console generation. "Because we are developing the game for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC, we go nuts in terms of visuals. We want the game to look as beautiful as possible," he says. "I think we are in a good moment, we don't have to choose between better graphics or performance on either PC or consoles now, we can just create the best looking game possible."

When questioned about just how far the game takes the processors in those consoles, Jarzębowski was hesitant. "If it maxes out the consoles? Well, the future will tell. There are games that are being released for current-gen that look way better than everything created so far. We are always getting wiser and wiser, so I expect our next game will look even better."

Witcher rarely relies on cookie-cutter beasts, with the team collaborating with experts on Slavic and Norse mythology, while throwing in some "classic" beasts such as mermaids, too. "We try to focus on monsters that are really hooked into the environment and the communities with a background story," Jarzębowski says.

The monster terrorising the village turns out to be a Leshen a forest spirit made from bark and bone. The Leshen alone will not be familiar to RPG gamers used to the classic orcs and trolls. Though the Leshen can die, it's already put a mark on a villager so it can reconstitute itself if killed. Geralt lets the villagers know who has been chosen by the Leshen and heads into the forest. After a tense battle, ending with one thoroughly stabbed beastie, Geralt returns to find the younger villagers have not only slaughtered the Leshen's mark but the entire older council who wanted to appease the beast. In classic Geralt manner he takes his money, makes a sly comment, and leaves. In a comic-styled cut scene (which wouldn't normally appear until some hours later) we're told the whole village was soon consumed by war and only outlived the Leshen by three months.

Thanks, GameSpot.