The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Lead Writer Interview

Jakub Szamalek, the lead writer on CD Projekt's The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt had an extensive chat with the Eurogamer folks during the Spanish Celsius232 sci-fi festival. Him being a writer and all, the resulting interview will be of interest to anyone who would like to know how the game's story came to be and what hidden challenges CD Projekt's writing team had to overcome while working on Geralt's third digital adventure. Here are a few sample paragraphs:

There were also challenges in staying true to the novels, especially recreating some of Sapkowski's most memorable set-pieces. There's one sequence in the books where Ciri takes part in a battle on a frozen lake and puts on skates to give herself an advantage. "We really wanted to put that in the game, and it worked in the beta version," says Szamalek. "But then it turned out that getting motion capture footage of people skating and fighting at the same time was... difficult. We tried putting our actors on roller skates but then our motion capture studio is quite small so before they could gain any speed they'd be crashing into the walls. Sadly after trying several different approaches we decided to drop it."

Interestingly, as the graphical detail of the world came together, the visual fidelity of the Witcher 3 engine brought in new challenges for the writing team. As Szamalek recalls: "I remember one day, a lead environment artist came over to my desk and said, 'we are working on the fortifications for Novigrad - what kind of stone are the walls made of?' I said, 'I have no idea. Is there any information in the novel?' They said no. So I said, 'let's look at the level together and study the geology - if we look at that river, I don't think there would be any hard stone, so let's look where the river goes, it heads toward those mountains, so they could have hewn the stone there and brought it down via boats.'

"It's worth putting in that effort, even if players don't notice it consciously. I don't think they'll point to the fortifications and say, 'it's interesting they used this type of stone because, geologically, it makes sense,' but perhaps they register it. That's a part of what makes it all come together."

And while you're here, you might also be interested in this GameRant article that tries to assign Dungeons & Dragons classes to a number of prominent The Witcher characters.