The Making of The Witcher 3's Greatest Villain

Many of the people who played the Hearts of Stone expansion to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt seem to have been impressed by its writing and its characters, including Gaunter O'Dimm, arguably the piece's villain and the driving force behinds its events. Eurogamer has recently pushed out a piece that examines the work that went into the character, with developers chiming in to share anecdotes and inspirations. Here's a small excerpt:

O'Dimm was inspired by Leland Gaunt, the main character in the Stephen King's 'Needful Things'. In the book, Gaunt moves to a small town and opens an antiques store that offers magical items to the town's residents, though they can only be purchased by payment in 'favours'. King's Walter O'Dim - aka Randall Flagg - who travels between novels (or dimensions) to perform evil deeds in The Stand shares more than the best part of a name with O'Dimm too.

As with so many of The Witcher 3's quests, fairy-tales acted as a muse. "When we were writing the dialogue for the tavern scene in the prologue it became clear that Gaunter is a character with amazing potential," Stachyra explains. "So we started thinking about the best ways we could use him for the story.

"We managed to come up with a couple of cool ideas, and then one day [CD Projekt Managing Director] Adam Badowski walks into our room and says he wants Pan Twardowski. Not literally, obviously, but this kind of story. So that's what we gave him and the rest of the world - a The Witcher take on Pan Twardowski. The Man of Glass was a perfect fit."

Pan Twardowski is a Faustian tale from Polish folklore, in which Twardowski, a nobleman, sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for wealth and power. The contract contained a clause stating that the Devil could only collect if Twardowski was in Rome, a place he never intended to go. The Devil then tricked him into meeting in an inn called Rome and snatched him away, losing his grip halfway to hell and dropping Twardowski on the moon. A similar thing happens in Hearts of Stone, albeit with Redanian noble Olgierd von Everec, who tells O'Dimm he can only collect when they're both standing on the moon, something O'Dimm manages with another ruse.

O'Dimm is CD Projekt going for evil incarnate, then. Where so much The Witcher's universe is painted in shades of grey - a world where something bad can be born of good intentions and vice versa - O'Dimm is pure black. If you listen closely, every time he unfreezes time in the expansion, a character says the word "devil".