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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GB: How many different magic items are you planning on implementing into the game?

CDProjekt: The world of The Witcher is not a place where every thug has an enchanted weapon. Magic is a very powerful, but uncommon and mysterious thing every magic item is somehow unique and individual, and is not meant to be just another bonus to stats.

The most important magic items in the game are witchers' pendants, which are good example of how we enchanted items in general. Most people in the game world think they are just guild symbols, but there are some who know that they allow to detect magic, enhance witcher's senses and have many other exceptional powers, which only witchers can use. In the game - like in Sapkowski's novels pendant is an identifying mark of the hero and we want to emphasize this element, for example in the GUI design.

GB: Can you give us a couple examples of some of the more powerful weapons and armor?

CDProjekt: Very good examples of such special weapons are sihils almost legendary dwarven swords of extraordinary quality. Thanks to high technology (in terms of the game world) of their production, and enhancing them with powerful charms, they are almost indestructible, razor sharp weapons, capable both of cutting stones in half and deflecting hostile spells. Some of them have also magical runes inscribed on their blades, with an old and very effective dwarven curse - roughly translated as (Die, you bloody bastards).

GB: When we saw the game at this year's E3, you showed us how the player will encounter NPCs that don't fit traditional fantasy stereotypes - such as a good-natured Necromancer who only dabbles in the art to try and resurrect his dead wife. Can we expect other aspects of the game to deviate from traditional RPGs?

CDProjekt: The world of The Witcher is a creation of a best selling Polish fantasy author Andrzej Sapkowski. It has features common to most fantasy worlds magic, different races and monsters but is completely unique in breaking all stereotypes. There is no abstract idea of good and evil all characters have their own human motivations, needs, habits and emotions. We can't tell what exactly will happen in the game, but we are trying to be as close as possible to showing all the world features.

For example in the novels elves can be viewed both as ruthless terrorists or idealistic freedom fighters in the world dominated by humans. Another example of deviating from stereotypes is when the hero encounters a party of brave and charming warriors who defend poor women and children. Soon it turns out that they also kill rich merchants for money without any hesitation. Moreover, one of the best friends of our monster slayer is. a very ancient and powerful vampire. In the same way we want the game to stand out against stereotypical fantasy.

GB: Will the game be split into multiple Acts/Chapters, or will the player have access to the entire world at all times? Also, do you plan on having cutscenes in the game to help narrate the storyline?

CDProjekt: During the process of bringing the vast and rich world of the novels into the game, we had to decide which parts of it would be available for the player. As we have chosen locations that are quite far away from each other, we have put them into different Chapters. However it still will be possible to freely travel back to previously visited locations.

Travel between locations and generally world exploration is solved in the way similar to that of Baldur's Gate saga. While traveling around, players will discover new places that will appear on the map screen and will be freely accessible from there.

Recently we have finished implementing a complex and very advanced scripting editor, which allows us to produce movie-like quality cut-scenes.

GB: Have you set any goals in terms of the enemy AI in the game? Are there any particular strategies that monsters will be using against the player?

CDProjekt: Monster AI is a crucial part of our game each creature will fight in its own way and players' task will be to find their weaknesses in order to defeat them. It's not only limited to mere combat - monsters AI will also behave in different ways depending on their habits, aggression level and even the day/night cycle.

As far as human NPCs are concerned, they will behave as naturally as possible, which means defending each other when attacked, going to sleep at night, and reacting accordingly to hero's reputation. The player will interact with NPCs, but they will also have their own dealings they can talk, trade, or even steal stuff from other NPCs. For example it will be possible to watch everyday life in the city - usual activities of the citizens, and some more unusual as well. The player will be able to observe a thief stealing something from a merchant, and then track him alone or ask city guard for help. He might also follow him, waiting until the thief has stolen more goods, and then defeat him claiming a big prize.

We'd like to issue our thanks to everyone at CDProjekt, especially Michal Kicinski and Michal Madej, for taking the time to answer our questions! While you're here, don't forget to check out our exclusive day/night cycle article for the game as well.