The Witcher Interview

GameShark has published an informative three-page interview with The Witcher chief designer Michal Madej. I don't understand why anyone thinks the game is going to be "an action RPG like Diablo", though.
Q: Can you explain how combat is going to work? The Witcher is a story-driven action-RPG, so are we to assume it's like Diablo in that sense? Or are you taking it in another direction as far as control goes? How much strategy is involved during combat or are you simply clicking on bad guys until they die?

A: Sheesh, Bill! You're unrivalled when it comes to asking a thousand questions all in one go! But let's take this one at a time.

First of all, we have to clear up a certain misconception that surfaced in your question (The Witcher) is not an action RPG comparable to (Diablo.) As great a game as (Diablo) is, it's best if you leave aside any preconceptions and connotations that you may have associated with it, for (The Witcher) actually has very little to do with Blizzard's game. (The Witcher) is a classic RPG more analogous with titles like (Baldur's Gate,) (Knights of the Old Republic,) and even (Fallout) though presented in a completely new, modern and fresh form.

As for the combat system, this was one of the greater challenges we had to face in the game's production. The fact that we were looking to merge classic tactical choices with modern dynamic action in real time, as well as with easy and intuitive controls, all the while staying true to Sapkowski's literary descriptions, was making us wonder why we were making life so difficult for ourselves. This was especially true, since we could not draw from similar systems, for they simply did not yet exist in other games. And while we had to work literally from scratch, in my opinion it was definitely worth it. Consequently, we avoided any unexciting static turn-based play, thoughtless and mind-numbing mouse-clicking, or a (click and forget) system. Instead, I dare say that the combat system we created is spectacular and dynamic, as well as one that gets the player hooked by giving him liberty to tinker around with a plethora of combination possibilities.

Firstly, tactics an inseparable aspect of any RPG which in (The Witcher) takes the form of giving the player the choice of abilities (around 250), weaponry, equipment, as well as various ways to slay a target. The Witcher will thus have in his arsenal six different sword-combat styles, coupled with auxiliary magic Signs (five types of power), and additionally complemented with unique Witcher elixirs (over 50). Such an array of lethal arms and supporting combat elements should give the player more than sufficient options in taking his enemies down in uniquely Witcher-type ways.

Secondly, dynamic, spectacular and riveting fighting gameplay. Just by introducing one simple element into combat, we managed to enable the player to concentrate on the skirmish taking place on his computer screen, whilst not making him curse the controls by artificially overcomplicating the whole system in question. Namely, in order to carry out combo, all the player has to do is click on the enemy at the end of the preceding fighting move. Tests have shown that this mechanism is rather intuitive, with players learning the system in under a minute, as well as being quite engaging. As for out-of-combat-situations, the game possesses a number of modes from the fully isometric, (rigid camera) angle that favours mouse control, to a third-person (over the shoulder) camera (as in (Gears of War)), which in turn will probably be preferred by keyboard enthusiasts.