It's like a group of D&D high school virgins got together and made a video game

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It's like a group of D&D high school virgins got together and made a video game

Postby dcb » Sat Nov 03, 2007 9:26 pm

It's like a group of D&D high school virgins got together and made a video game full of all the sex they never had, violence they never dished out, and cuss words their parents never let them say. Look, just because it contains elements of sex, extreme violence, and adult humor (and I use that term lightly) doesn't mean it's a "mature" game.

To be honest, I stopped playing at "dwarf cock." Am I a prude? No. Do I want an immersive RPG? Yes. Do pop-culture references and modern cuss words ruin a medieval fantasy RPG for me? Yes. When a game tries to use humor in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way, it can definitely work. Overlord did a good job of this. But when a game tries to use humor to be "tough" and "edgy" it really just comes off as pathetic and annoying.

Not to mention the incredibly awkward voice dialogue. Are the voices themselves good? Yes. Does the dialogue make sense and flow from topic to topic seemlessly? Absolutely not. It is incredibly poor in that sense. Maybe you can argue there's just something lost in the language translation, but really, I think most of us expected much more.

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Postby Siberys » Sat Nov 03, 2007 9:40 pm

Look, just because it contains elements of sex, extreme violence, and adult humor (and I use that term lightly) doesn't mean it's a "mature" game.


Actually, that's the definition of Mature in terms of ESRB. And most parents would find this mature as well.

modern cuss words ruin a medieval fantasy RPG for me? Yes.


Almost every curse word in the modern english language came from old english long before the medieval era. For instance, the F word (I say this so you know what I'm talking about without the censoring on this website, not because I fear the usage of the word) is a simple acronym. The S word is a derivative of shat, Ass is just a common word for donkey, the B word was for female dogs, bastard is a child of divorced parents, damn and hell came from translated bibles, and so on.

But when a game tries to use humor to be "tough" and "edgy" it really just comes off as pathetic and annoying.


It's not using humor to appear tough. It's using humor at one point and being serious the next. I can easily have a conversation with someone, joking around and then they say something completely offensive and go from laughing to pissed off. So why is it pathetic for someone else to do it in a game.


You see cursing and sexually explicit content as them trying too hard when it's actually them not trying to fluff the game up for a younger audience. They're just saying what they want, you really think Geralt would sound appropriate if he said "Just get your gosh darn rear-end out of here" or something like that? No, even in medieval times someone would laugh at language like that. And if you don't believe me on this, pick up a Shakespeare compilation and read through it.
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Postby fable » Sat Nov 03, 2007 10:11 pm

dcb wrote:To be honest, I stopped playing at "dwarf cock." Am I a prude? No. Do I want an immersive RPG? Yes. Do pop-culture references and modern cuss words ruin a medieval fantasy RPG for me? Yes. When a game tries to use humor in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way, it can definitely work. Overlord did a good job of this. But when a game tries to use humor to be "tough" and "edgy" it really just comes off as pathetic and annoying.


Have to say, I completely agree. But then, most programmers (not all) are hardly good dialog writers. So you end up with games that are well-coded, but shoot themselves in the foot as soon as somebody opens a mouth. The classic example is Betrayal at Antara: attactive looking game for its time, even improved on the game mechanics a bit from Betrayal at Krondor, but the worst dialog I've ever read in any title, without exception. Every character acting a 12-year-old, quoting modern pop culture, contradicting themselves every 5 minutes, etc.

By contrast, I have no problems at all with cursing within a cultural context, though. Korgan (from BG2) is a perfect example. He uses a once very common method of employing similes as the height of vulgarity--"dirt chute" in his mouth, combined with a few other words, is the equivalent of an *******. He knows, and the person from his old gang that he's trash-talking knows it: Korgan's mouth can peel skin off your face. He's funny, vulgar, and appropriate.
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Postby dcb » Sat Nov 03, 2007 11:05 pm

fable wrote:Have to say, I completely agree. But then, most programmers (not all) are hardly good dialog writers. So you end up with games that are well-coded, but shoot themselves in the foot as soon as somebody opens a mouth.


To be honest, you should check the back of the game manual. The Witcher had a huge team of writers, designers, etc, so for the story to have this "Beavis and Butthead" level of dialogue is really sad to see.

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Postby RainSong » Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:27 am

This game was created based on the books written by a well known (in Poland) writter - Andrzej Sapkowski. Main character from the game - Geralt - is also main character in his books. The books were written in the 90's when Sapkowki was around 40 years old and it was he who created a ''non sissy'' fantasy world where lowlifes curse (like in real world), cultural people when they get angry also can start using bad language (like in real world) people enjoy sex and some of them use it to achieve their goals (like in real world), ther is a lot of superstition in the life of people (like it was in a real world in dark ages), ther is a lot of violence (like it was in a real world in a dark ages), there is rasism, politics and so on. So no - it wasn't created by a bunch of high school virgins, but by a normal mature guy who wanted to combine problems of our times with the fantasy settings.

The guys bahind the game - CDProject RED - payed mr.Sapkowki for rights to the world and characters he created in his books. They decited to make the world in the game exactly like it was presented in the books. They didn't put sex or bad language so thier game would sell better, as thise aren't important parts of their work which is a great long cRPG.

What I can't really understand is why so many people in US and western european countries have so big problem with computer games being _mature_ (is being mature a bad thing? I dont think so) and showing _normal_ things for mature people in them. I play computer games for more then 15 years and am bored with the childish approach to them and childish content in them. The Witcher was rated M (Mature) and to mature audience was it dedicated (the developers said it on many occasions). Normal adult person shouldn't be shocked by cursing or sex as these are probably normal parts of his life, so I really can't understand why so many people has problems seeing these in computer games (are computer games for children only? statistics show that most of the gamers are adult people...)

The author of this topic say that The Witcher looks like a game created by virgins... lets look from the other end... dcb are you shocked by the nudity and bad language? are you a virgin? or maybe a mommy of a virgin? 18 year old shouldn't be shocked by this game even if he is a virgin (sorry for using word ''virgin'' like it would ment some bad thing but it was shown thise way by dcb in his post). If you aren't an adult then you shouldn't play The Witcher, but if you are 18+ then... grow up.

Sorry for writing this much on this topic but I really think it's a problem that so many people including game reviewers are shocked by seeing a naked woman breast in a computer game. If this wont change then society will always think of games as of stupid childish things. There are hundreds of thousands of people that have they own children and enjoy playing computer games, and they are really borred of d&d universe with it's childish approach to fantasy universe. The Witcher shows that fantasy settings doesn't have to by for children only, that fantasy world can be mature and interesting for adults too, and for that we all (rpg fans) should thank mr. Sapkowki and guys from CDProject RED.

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Postby fable » Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:31 am

dcb wrote:To be honest, you should check the back of the game manual. The Witcher had a huge team of writers, designers, etc, so for the story to have this "Beavis and Butthead" level of dialogue is really sad to see.


Does it say writers? I'm curious, because nearly every game I have (and that's quite a bit, been reviewing them since 1978) has designers--chief programmers, who also did the writing--and programmers.

If so, it's possible the team simply hired bad writers whose work they liked. I can't make a rule of thumb about something like this, but some of the programmers I've known have only read AD&D fiction all their lives, aside from the part when they were required in school to look at something called literature.

Guess, I would ask, though, how many of the writers assigned to develop the game were actually professional fiction writers. Not that this is absolutely necessary, but far too many writers listed on game development teams are programmers-wearing-different-hats, or even (in at least a couple of cases I know) programmers under pseudonyms, double-listed in the credits. One of those games bombed. The other was a moderate success, but not on the basis of the writing--which the site reviewers faithfully avoided mentioning, because many of them could care less.
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Postby Monolith » Sun Nov 04, 2007 9:15 am

Dialogue in the English version seems to be cut or rather "butchered". That's how a guy who appears to having been on the localization team for The Witcher puts it in that thread (his nick is Martin Pagan):
The Witcher Message Board - The Witcher Forum - The Witcher Discussion

Btw, dcb, of which pop-culture references do you speak? I don't remember any (if you can come up with something specific then blame it on my bad memory).

And yes, there is violence, sex and cuss words, but I've read books, seen movies and theatrical performances that had more of it. And you know what? Those were definitely mature and yet, somehow, not targeted at school virgins or whatever. I guess it can't be that way with PC games, right?
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Postby dragon wench » Sun Nov 04, 2007 9:20 am

Going by Monolith's link it sounds as though the dialogue was horribly cut because of US censorship laws.... :rolleyes:
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Postby DesR85 » Sun Nov 04, 2007 9:55 am

dragon wench wrote:Going by Monolith's link it sounds as though the dialogue was horribly cut because of US censorship laws.... :rolleyes:

I doubt that could be the main reason why it was cut. I mean, if you want to avoid getting into trouble with the censors, why not just tone down the language instead of gutting it completely?

But based on the link provided by Monolith, whoever is in charge of the localisation is terrible. Cutting corners by removing parts of the dialogue? Wow. What a cheapskate. At least Japanese game developers don't gut out part of the dialogue just to make it palatable to the English-speaking audience. All they did was just change certain parts just to make it understandable.
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Postby Lady Dragonfly » Sun Nov 04, 2007 12:33 pm

I understand Polish a bit (especially the "bad words" :) ). Have to say that if the translation were faithful, Korgan would've had a heart attack.
What remained in the English version after trimming the rough edges is indeed bleak. Still, I doubt the original dialogues were well-written either. Obscene language might add some distinct flavor, but the dialogue content is the most important part. And that is what sorely lacking, imho.
I don't have a problem with the Witcher's "mature" aspect. But the mature aspect does not elevate this game above its overall mildly entertaining level, sadly. It's still a rather average game; I would say more like action/adventure than RPG.
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Postby Varlon » Sun Nov 04, 2007 3:12 pm

I fully agree with RainSong on his post.

The Witcher setting is very different from d&d or lord of the rings. In books it touches upon lots of modern days issues, it has quite a few sex scenes and employs strong language at certain points, but this only adds its flavor to an already unique world.

Basically, the game and books are very close to medieval world, although they touch many modern issues. I mean, seriously, you think that all knights and peasants were celibate and never forced someone to have sex with them? Are you kidding, the dark ages was the most gruesome time in regards of violence (if you were strong you could do whatever you wanted basically), disregarding women, etc. These times were very different as portrayed by the Arthurian saga or Tolkien. Ultimately, the question is: should you blame the witcher for using sex, violence, cursing, when others do not; or should you blame the knight novels for being too unrealistic. I think that both genres have the right to live, simply because they are different and at times I prefer one over the other and vice versa, but this doesn't make me stuck with just one thing, utterly hating the other, that's kinda childish.

As for the dialogue. I don't know how much English version got the attention of the buthcer's knife, but over here the Russian version dialogues sound pretty good. Although, I do agree, that a few dialogues are a bit incosistent, but the main storyline is very well written and pretty true to the books. For me this game stands in the same line as BG2 or KOTOR1. I think the guys in Poland really put their souls into this, though some elements could get more polish and thought, but overall this game is much better than anything else there is in the market atm.

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Postby dcb » Sun Nov 04, 2007 4:01 pm

RainSong wrote:What I can't really understand is why so many people in US and western european countries have so big problem with computer games being _mature_ (is being mature a bad thing?


I don't have a problem with computer games being rated mature. Nor do I have problems with mature elements, such as sex, swearing, adult humor, violence, etc. I'm far from a prude in real life. I swear like a sailor, and I've been with my share of women. I would love nothing more for an RPG that implements mature themes. However, to me, and it appears to other as well, this game falls short on implementing the adult humor and sex elements into the game. So what if you can sleep with dozens and dozens of women in the game? Just because it's sex or a cuss word doesn't mean it's mature. It comes across as nothing more than toilet humor, which is something I find detracts from the overall game experience.

I'm not "shocked" by any of this stuff, but childish toilet humor and excessive sex elements ruin the immersion factor. They are unneccesary and add nothing to the game.

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Postby dcb » Sun Nov 04, 2007 4:05 pm

Not to mention the fact that there really isn't much that makes this game more than an average action RPG. Sure, it looks nice, but the long loading times, even longer cutscenes, simplistic combat, horrible/atrocious/butchered dialogue make this game sub-par, IMO.

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Postby fable » Sun Nov 04, 2007 4:08 pm

Varlon wrote:I mean, seriously, you think that all knights and peasants were celibate and never forced someone to have sex with them? Are you kidding, the dark ages was the most gruesome time in regards of violence (if you were strong you could do whatever you wanted basically), disregarding women, etc.


Not the "Dark Ages" I've read about in any history book. (Though I"ll grant that the period in KievRus was a lot worse than probably 99% of what was going on elsewhere in Europe.) There were what we would consider horrendous crimes, but nothing that remains atypical today outside a very countries, and was completely typical in the 19th century. On the other hand, rule-by-force was not the standard. The Middle Ages was a time of social flux and experimentation. The vaunted European Renaissance was a period of stratifaction, with all resources being increasingly allocated to a a burgeoning middle class and a very few at the top.

These times were very different as portrayed by the Arthurian saga or Tolkien. Ultimately, the question is: should you blame the witcher for using sex, violence, cursing, when others do not; or should you blame the knight novels for being too unrealistic.


The people who made The Witcher didn't have to include a lot of anachronisms. Nobody said it was required if they meant to ostensibly follow the novels. They could have repaired the anachronisms and used their PR to boast about being "true to the period."
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Postby Monolith » Sun Nov 04, 2007 5:05 pm

dcb wrote:I don't have a problem with computer games being rated mature. Nor do I have problems with mature elements, such as sex, swearing, adult humor, violence, etc. I'm far from a prude in real life. I swear like a sailor, and I've been with my share of women. I would love nothing more for an RPG that implements mature themes. However, to me, and it appears to other as well, this game falls short on implementing the adult humor and sex elements into the game. So what if you can sleep with dozens and dozens of women in the game? Just because it's sex or a cuss word doesn't mean it's mature. It comes across as nothing more than toilet humor, which is something I find detracts from the overall game experience.

I'm not "shocked" by any of this stuff, but childish toilet humor and excessive sex elements ruin the immersion factor. They are unneccesary and add nothing to the game.

Alright, I'm extending the question I asked earlier. Of which pop-culture references, childish toilet humor and excessive sex elements do you speak? I've yet to find some of that in the game. Perhaps I'm not far enough into it yet...

dcb wrote:Not to mention the fact that there really isn't much that makes this game more than an average action RPG. Sure, it looks nice, but the long loading times, even longer cutscenes, simplistic combat, horrible/atrocious/butchered dialogue make this game sub-par, IMO.

In actual fact you're mentioning a lot here but apart from the long loading times I see no facts but opinions. And with those I can't disagree more (except, perhaps, the game looking nice).


fable wrote:The people who made The Witcher didn't have to include a lot of anachronisms. Nobody said it was required if they meant to ostensibly follow the novels. They could have repaired the anachronisms and used their PR to boast about being "true to the period."

They stayed true to the novels which aren't an absolutely accurate depiction of "the period" in the first place. Hence I really don't see where this "a lot of anachronisms" is coming from.
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Postby RainSong » Sun Nov 04, 2007 6:14 pm

dcb wrote: Just because it's sex or a cuss word doesn't mean it's mature. It comes across as nothing more than toilet humor, which is something I find detracts from the overall game experience.

I'm not "shocked" by any of this stuff, but childish toilet humor and excessive sex elements ruin the immersion factor. They are unneccesary and add nothing to the game.


Ofcourse the sex and cursing doesn't make this game mature - what makes The Witcher a mature cRPG (or if you prefer - more mature cRPG then 90% of other games from this genre) is that it bring up mature themes like racism, politics and so on. It seems you fail to notice it -_- What you alsow fail to notice is that sex and mature language fit very nicely in this game, (and what makes cRPG a good game is that it consists a lot of ''unnecessary'' things that ''add nothing to the game'' - nothing but depth)

dcb wrote:Not to mention the fact that there really isn't much that makes this game more than an average action RPG. Sure, it looks nice, but the long loading times, even longer cutscenes, simplistic combat, horrible/atrocious/butchered dialogue make this game sub-par, IMO.


If you don't like cutscenes then dont play games with story in them, instead go play some sport games or something and don't waste your time with cRPG. And what do you have with the dialogues? Give some example of it or stop throwing those empty words, The Witcher I'm playing has one of the best dialogues I've ever seen in comuter games.

The Witcher is such an ''average'' cRPG that it's obvious it's going to take it's right place in the canon of it's genre and people will enjoy it for years.

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Postby fable » Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:55 pm

RainSong wrote:If you don't like cutscenes then dont play games with story in them, instead go play some sport games or something and don't waste your time with cRPG.


Please stop creating strawmen. Dcb did not say a word about cutscenes as such: he criticized the long cutscenes in the game. So stop hitting him for things he isn't saying.

And what do you have with the dialogues? Give some example of it or stop throwing those empty words, The Witcher I'm playing has one of the best dialogues I've ever seen in comuter games.


Why are you picking on dcb, when several others here have had the very same reaction to the game dialog?

The Witcher is such an ''average'' cRPG that it's obvious it's going to take it's right place in the canon of it's genre and people will enjoy it for years.


Based on what amazing research were you able to acquire an avadavit of the future, written by tens of thousands of people claiming they were still enjoying the The Witcher? You know, there's nothing wrong with liking a game--but claiming that "everybody else likes that, same as I do!" when you have no evidence of this is very hollow, indeed.
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Postby Xandax » Mon Nov 05, 2007 2:03 am

I can only disagree with most of the negative points in this game, but then again as they are purely subjective, that's expected.
As for the cut-scenes, then I've not found one which couldn't be skipped, so even if one dislikes them, they are avoidable, but well - that is purely subjective. I do not find them "too long", I find some fun, others interesting, thirds plot critical, and some just made me ponder until I read up on some lore.
Dialog, as mentioned in my other post in the other thread - is not chopped in my version. So either there is differences in versions, or you expect too much information to be given out constantly.
The loading times are long and can be an annoyance, but I have enough patience to wait some seconds for most things, so they do not actually bother me.


But like Monolith, I can't say I've found anachronistic flaws in this game as such - and would like to hear what have been found?


The Witcher is in my view a great game. Far superior to most other recent (and many older) RPGs. Well worth a try for an fan of RPGs so they can make up their own mind.
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Postby cielaqu » Mon Nov 05, 2007 4:00 am

I have read the gamefaqs forum board, and I have a question, is there one English version of the game, or there is the US and the UK version?
As for the language, the game was based on the book and the language used in both is very similar (what a coincidence). In Polish it is stylized for medieval language and that goes for the bad language too. But since most of it is used unchanged nowadays (and that goes for other languages as well) it may give the out of place feelings. But the variety of the bad language is the other matter. As someone stated on the gamefaqs forum, there are many swear words in Polish, that are translated into the same word in English. I am no expert on bad language, but I can think of more than ten words that would translate in the F word. And all of them are used quite appropriately in the game. It would seem that Slavonic languages are more colourful than others (at least I haven’t heard any complaints on the Russian translation).
The game has its weak and strong sides and it was better received by someone who read the books. In Russian, where The Witcher was more widely known it was received very well (user rating over 85%) and I think translation was much better, because writers could based on the language used in books to give it more consistency.
I was amazed by how the fight looks. They have done really great job at capturing swordmasters moves. The dodge moves are great, specially the group ones. And using the time click moves fight is not so dull as in NWN or KOTOR (three styles ... Jedi Knight ... I like it).
Obstacles are annoying, but KOTOR was no different and I was able to live with that. Long loading times are real pain in the … but after adding 1 gig they are acceptable. It would seem that amount of memory is the main issue here. Beside I played games with longer loading times.
All in all it’s quite good game. If you look a bit down on its flaws (whatever they might be) you may find lots of things you like in cRPG.

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Postby severian » Mon Nov 05, 2007 7:11 am

dcb wrote:It's like a group of D&D high school virgins got together and made a video game...


Hello, it's me - one of those D&D virgins :) that made The Witcher.

dcb wrote:...full of all the sex they never had, violence they never dished out, and cuss words their parents never let them say. Look, just because it contains elements of sex, extreme violence, and adult humor (and I use that term lightly) doesn't mean it's a "mature" game.


I hope, you just haven't played the game enough, or played it without enought attention to notice that it's mature not because of sex, violence & swearing; but because the game touches quite important issues: racism, ecology, terrorism, etc. Also, it's not us (developers) who invented this setting, it was created by Andrzej Sapkowski - a very experienced and quite old writer, who is sometimes compared to "Polish Umberto Eco" because of his vast knowledge and talent. I doubt he ever played D&D, and for sure he has children...

dcb wrote:To be honest, I stopped playing at "dwarf cock." Am I a prude? No. Do I want an immersive RPG? Yes. Do pop-culture references and modern cuss words ruin a medieval fantasy RPG for me? Yes.


Of course, I understand that it might be confusing for the first time (even Sapkowski first story was censored, because editor didn't understand "modern fantasy" idea). Just try to stop thinking about this as a "medieval world" (actually, medieval WAS only Europe - fantasy is not Europe, so it is at best quasi-medieval) but treat is rather as a modern literature (story), using fantasy only as a 'canvas' to speak about contemporary problems. It's much more appealing that just "high fantasy" world.

dcb wrote:Not to mention the incredibly awkward voice dialogue. Are the voices themselves good? Yes. Does the dialogue make sense and flow from topic to topic seemlessly? Absolutely not. It is incredibly poor in that sense. Maybe you can argue there's just something lost in the language translation, but really, I think most of us expected much more.


I can't judge English translation. Dialogs were trimmed (we had to shorten it by roughly 20% to meet agreements with ATARI), so maybe the process spoiled them slightly. It was not intended, we judged number of dialog lines incorrectly, and needed to adjust them according to agreements (and technical possibilitied). Editing included grammar correction, "Polish-like" expressions, redundant info and lots of minor changes. Hard to judge, if it's our or ATARI fault - rather I think it's first time someone did a huge Polish-->English game translation, and we needed to learn from mistakes. Actually English language is much more "compact" and precise, than Polish one - so usually Polish text is about 20% longer than English equivalent. It was something we knew from our localization experience, and it didn't work the other way.

Polish conversations are brilliant :) and, from what I've heard, English voice acting is quite good.

My personal advise – if you already bought The Witcher… give it second chance and try to play a little more. I promise you will find that it goes beyond “dwarf cock” :)
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