The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf Interview

Article Index

Eschalon: Book II

Developer:CD Projekt RED
Release Date:Canceled
  • Action,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Isometric,Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
With the amount of success CD Projekt has (rightfully) enjoyed after releasing The Witcher on PC, it really didn't come as too much of a shock when the company announced their intentions to port the game over to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.  However, not much information was given about what changes and additions would be made to The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf and whether or not those same tweaks would wind up finding their way to the original PC version. CD Projekt's Tom Ohle and Mateusz Kanik help fill in the gaps below:

GB: Did you originally intend to port The Witcher over to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, or was this an opportunity that only presented itself after the game's success?

Tom: We'd always wanted to bring The Witcher to consoles, but only if we could make sure it was really good and could stand up to the best RPGs on those platforms. We put all of our focus into the game on PC for that reason; we felt that if we split our efforts across multiple platforms, we wouldn't be making the best game possible. Now that we're happy with the PC game (not counting the update we're just about done with) we're able to focus our attention on Rise of the White Wolf to make sure it's as good as it can be.

GB: How did you wind up working with Widescreen Games? Can you give us a quick overview of what exactly they'll be contributing to RotWW?

Tom: We obviously had a few options for how we could approach Rise of the White Wolf's development. do it all internally or find a studio that could help us out. Given that this was to be our first console title, we figured it would make more sense to find a studio with console experience and importantly, console technology to work with. We looked at a number of options and decided to go with Widescreen, as their tech fit our needs and they were enthusiastic about the project. They're providing the technology base and handling implementation of assets and new design elements into the new engine. They're also making sure everything actually works.

GB: Tell us more about what you're doing with the combat system in the console version. How will it be different from what we saw in the PC version?

Mateusz: First and foremost, we're adapting the combat system in The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf for console controllers. Several issues tie into this, including giving players control of specific combat actions like parries, ripostes and evasive moves, or providing greater control over specific attacks and how they're executed.

Combat in the console version will be more immersive, arcade-like and faster due to the greater responsiveness of the controls and a truly rich blend of controllable actions, moves and blows. This change toward arcade visuals in no way means we're abandoning the RPG mechanics, and character development will remain essential. In general, however, players' manual abilities will more strongly affect the outcome of fights.

GB: Rise of the White Wolf will also feature "new animations, models, and vegetation". Can you briefly explain what these might be? Are you replacing existing animations and models, or will these be entirely new?

Mateusz: Many of the models and much of the vegetation will be rebuilt from scratch to improve the quality of visuals on the consoles. Console systems differ greatly from PC systems and we've been forced to approach game assets differently. Added to that, we revamped the combat system almost entirely and so had to record a vast number of new mo-cap animations to reflect the more direct control in combat.

GB: You've also stated that the console version will feature "new and more aggressive enemy behavior". What should we expect from Geralt's opponents in Rise of the White Wolf? What exactly will be different about their behavior?

Mateusz: In addition to having enhanced AI, opponents (as well as Geralt, as I stated above) will be able to use many more combinations of movements, actions and blows during combat. They'll make lunging attacks at Geralt, evade his blows, parry them and even riposte. Especially at higher difficulty levels, combat will require players to show tactical wit, using the entire range of available combat elements.

GB: At this point in development, do you have any idea what sort of achievements and trophies will be available in the console version? Any chance we might see the achievements patched into the PC version?

Mateusz: We're now planning achievements and trophies for the console version, and it's impossible to say if these new components will be suited to the PC version. It's not currently planned to bring achievements to the PC game.

GB: How about DLC? Will we see any sort of premium downloadable content for RotWW, and if so, will the same content be made available for the PC version?

Mateusz: Yes, that's certain DLC will be available for both Xbox 360 and PS3, although we're not revealing what that content will be. We're not currently planning to bring the DLC to the PC game. as with all of the changes we're making to the console games, they're being built with the new engine in mind. To move that content back to the PC-game engine would take a ton of work and would probably have a big impact on the future titles we have in development.

GB: PC gamers seem to be a bit worried about your decision to port The Witcher to consoles. If RotWW is more successful than the original Witcher was, wouldn't it be fair to say that you may start focusing primarily on consoles in your future games? After watching PC-favoring companies like BioWare and Bethesda Softworks make the switch to console-preferred development (and even console-exclusive for a period of time in BioWare's latest games), why should we believe CD Projekt will be any different?

Tom: I don't think it's fair to say that we'll start focusing on console development. Granted, the companies you mentioned could have made this same claim, but we got our start on the PC and we're still fully committed to the platform. We love playing PC games, and we'll continue to work on games that take advantage of the PC's strengths. That's really easy to say, and I know that PC gamers have been burned in the past by companies with similar (commitments.) All I can do is point to stuff like and our work on The Witcher: Enhanced Edition to show our dedication to the platform.

GB: You've stated previously that you have two other unannounced projects in development. Is there anything you can tell us about either of these at this point? When do you expect to be ready for an official announcement?

Tom: There's not a ton I can say about the unannounced projects right now. as we've alluded to, there's a good chance that one or both of those will help to quell PC gamers' fears. Right now we're focusing our marketing and PR attention on Rise of the White Wolf, as that's obviously going to be a big title for us, but we're naturally interested in revisiting the Witcher universe. We've put a lot of work into building up the license as a gaming property, and it'd be a shame to see all that work go to waste :). We'll probably share some of our plans at some point next year. when, I can't really say.

Thanks for your time, guys!