The Witcher Interview

Admittedly not with the best timing, but RPG Codex offers an interview with Michal Kicinski, co-founder of CD Projekt, taken before the rumors of Rise of the White Wolf's cancellation started.
What are The Witcher's strengths, in your opinion? What really set it apart from the competition? How are you going to improve on that?

I think that the greatest strength of the Witcher is its consequently realized vision unaffected by dominating trends. I can't tell how often I heard that being PC only, having extensive dialogues (sic!), aiming for an older target audience and without multiplayer mode the game would never have a chance to be financially successful. We heard that, contemplated, and went on doing our own thing believing that our vision had a chance and would pass the market exam.

Although the Witcher isn't innovative in its approach it's still unique as a whole. It's because of the uncompromising realization and definite vision. That vision's most important element was telling a compelling story. I think its greatest strength and what's setting it apart from the competition is how we defined The Witcher and that we defended our vision from the genericalness that is typical of the current market. There's only a few games where gamers in their 20s/30s/40s can sit down and think: "That's a game developed for me."

If we're talking about how our future games are going to be planned and developed then the answer comes pretty easily. The basic idea that the motor of our games has to be a compelling story passed the test and it continues to be our main goal. It's understandable that an interactive story can be told and realized in many different ways. Our future products are planned to be less linear - taking it so far that depending on our choices we'll be able to visit totally different locations. In addition to that the player will have more freedom in dealing with simple quests. Of course we also refined the system we used to do dialog scenes. And thanks to the experience we gained we're far more skilled in planning the flow of events and challenges, avoiding such mistakes as the overly long prologue ;). Since we already finished the conceptual phase of our next project some time ago, I can say that our next title will concentrate on the same aspects, although every one of them will be considerably better and extended. As a whole this should result in a game where our vision of telling a compelling and realistic story should be better realized.

I think that our future projects will be more mature. The Witcher was our debut game, you can't forget about that. A lot of its shortcomings simply stem from lack of experience. Now as a team we're much more experienced and I'm certain the result will be a game of higher quality, deprived of minor but bothersome shortcomings and illogicalities. Us having better work comfort will help at that. Work on our next projects is much faster and goes more according to plan and thanks to that, in case we will have to prolong development by a couple of months, in the end, doing that will be much easier to organize.