The Witcher Interview

Article Index

Eschalon: Book II

Developer:CD Projekt RED
Release Date:2007-10-30
  • Action,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Isometric,Third-Person
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It would be very difficult to track down anyone who wasn't extremely happy with what they saw of CDProjekt's The Witcher when the small development studio revealed the RPG at last year's E3. Not only does the game use BioWare's impressive Aurora Engine, but it also has the RPG behemoth's support, with the company even closing off a section of their E3 booth just for CDProjekt's private showings. We've been watching this title very closely since we saw it firsthand in May, and even recently had the opportunity to quiz the team about some of the game's finer details - and get an exclusive look at the RPG's day & night cycles. Our questions and their answers to follow:

GB: Can you elaborate a bit about the character creation and advancement system? How do such systems compare or contrast to other RPGs?

CDProjekt: We wanted to merge the game's story with the truly unique world of Sapkowski's novels, so we decided to use a well-known existing hero to start with. Although the main character is predefined at the beginning, players will be free to change him later on depending on their choices and actions. Especially for our game we designed an exceptional and easy to comprehend rules system, with straightforward and open character development. We concentrate on '˜quality' not '˜quantity', so each level-up will bring something extra - new special attacks, witcher's magical powers or attribute modifiers. The system is designed in such a way that both inexperienced players and hardcore cRPG fans will find it enjoyable. Thanks to user-friendly interface and intuitive step-by-step tutorial, players will find the system easy to grasp in all its depth.

GB: What types of environments will the player travel through during their journey? Any particular favorite locations you can discuss?

CDProjekt: Outdoor locations and environments are both varied and unique players will visit unreachable mountain peaks, picturesque lakes, living towns, and many others. There are of course also many different interior locations - like deserted dungeons, cursed catacombs, smelly sewers, ruined castles and secret laboratories. The game makes use of advanced weather mechanics, as well as an extraordinary day & night lighting system players will be able to admire torch-lit nights in Vyzime, or spectacular sunrises and sunsets over the lake. You can catch a glimpse of the day and night effects in the exclusive screenshots included with this interview.

One of the most remarkable and important locations is Vyzime the capital city of Temerian kingdom. It's situated on a bank of a large lake, full of sailing merchant ships and fisher boats. The city consists of the ruined old town connected by a bascule bridge with the new flourishing district that surrounds the king's castle. On the lake there is a rocky island with a spooky ruined stronghold haunted by monsters. Vyzime is a living city and changes constantly in broad daylight it is full of people, action and sound - but at night, when the citizens go to sleep, it becomes a realm of thieves, murderers and even monsters.

GB: Tell us a bit about the magic system and how players will acquire spells. Are there a couple of the more powerful spells you can talk about?

CDProjekt: Just like with character development we prefer '˜quality' before quantity' - which is also true for Sapkowski's novels, where witchers have access to a limited number of spells. There are just a few Gestures (special kind of witchers' magic), but all of them can be used in different ways enriching gameplay offensive, defensive or simply buffing. For instance, the Aard Sign - a strong telekinetic burst of energy knocks enemies back, puts flames out, throws light objects into air, and destroys fragile items in vicinity. But with a little practice it can be also used for more delicate manipulations or some powerful effects like switching buttons at distances or smashing locked doors.

Still in the world of The Witcher there are powerful magic users - friends and enemies of our hero, who can cast some powerful spells.

GB: How important will equipment be to the character and will equipment found or purchased be static or random from game to game?

CDProjekt: There are lots of weapons (maces, axes, bows), but we want players to concentrate mostly on various kinds of swords, which are inherent witchers' weapons. All witchers are master swordsmen, trained in different aspects of sword combat. They usually use two swords silver one for killing monsters - and a normal sword for humans. Most of ordinary equipment will be created randomly during gameplay, but all rare and quest items are pre-generated, and can be either found, given or purchased in fixed locations.