The Witcher Game That Never Was

As it turns out, CD Projekt wasn't the only developer that tried to make a video game out of Andrzej Sapkowski's "Wiedźmin" fantasy saga. The honor actually goes to Adrian Chmielarz (of People Can Fly fame) and the folks at Metropolis in 1997, who actually struck a deal with Sapkwoski and went as far as developing a fully-playable prototype. Eurogamer has the whole story, from which I'm just going to quote a small snippet:

It was going to be an action-adventure game, Chmielarz's Witcher, with moral choices, mature storytelling and psychologically complex characters. "The focus was on making it this 3D action-adventure that was, as we called it at the time - and again I hate to use this term because it sounds pretentious - for adults.

"I know it sounds a little cliché or funny in 2014, but in 1997 - 17 years ago - it wasn't really obvious. These things like moral choices or hard choices or slightly darker storytelling - it wasn't common. But that was the goal and it was all because of the quality of the source material - it inspired us to do something very special."

While his Witcher wasn't supposed to be a role-playing game - the style made famous by CD Projekt Red - it was going to have some RPG elements. "It would follow a linear story but within that you would have your choices - small branches, if you will. You would have powers and you could upgrade them, and you could collect XP points. So there was this slight RPG element to it. But the focus was on making it this action adventure."

Visuals were important and Metropolis made strides by ditching the preset scenes of the time for dynamic 3D environments. "It was actually quite impressive for the time," Chmielarz says. "We even actually had a working prototype of the game, the first chapter." But sadly all that work is now lost, because, "As it turns out, CDs actually don't hold all your data for 100 years!" He tried recovering the data a few years ago but quickly realised that "forget it: they're dead".

All that remains of Metropolis' Witcher today are the screenshots you see in this article, some Polish documents and those letters sent to Sapkowski.