FiringSquad: So this is the second E3 for The Witcher, can you tell us about some of the changes from last year?
CDProjekt: First of all, the version we presented this year was a much more advanced one. Last year the game had only been in development for 8 months, now the production time sums up to 20 months. During this year we’ve introduced all major engine modifications. It is now capable of presenting most up-to-date graphic effects. The changes we’ve introduced are so numerous that our work consisted in actually rewriting the entire renderer anew. And that is what allows us to show realistic, reflecting water or dynamic soft and ‘edgeless’ shadows. Also the day and night system has been completed, allowing us to present natural lighting and shading changes and the Sun/Moon migration over the horizon. Moreover, the weather change system has been introduced with its unbelievably realistic rain and storms. All these interweave to create beautifully dynamic and real-life surroundings for the game’s storyline.
Apart form graphic modifications, much progress has been made in virtually every aspect of the game. Take the combat system… in the first version it brought up much controversy. That is why, thanks to opinions we collected during previous presentations, we’ve decided to redesign it. It is still very rich and realistic, yet at the same time, it sure gained more intuitiveness and clarity. It bases on six basic combat styles (three for the silver sword and three for the steel one) the player will get the chance to develop during the game.
Finally, the inner structure of the company changed a lot. The number of staff increased much within last 12 months, therefore, the 2004 E3’s group of 16 now comprises a strength of 42 specialists… And its is likely to gain a few more.
The opening theme of your presentation was "RPG Re-defined". What do you mean by that, and how can you back such a bold statement up?
We believe the time has come to really think about what an RPG game should look like. Which elements should it consist of, and which of them are most vital. Lately, the technical progress has exceeded all the borders, we’re able to create photorealistic graphics, but still, the attitude towards RPGs does not change. Most of developers tend to copy the clichés and fear the changes.
That is why, we decided to change the attitude. We sort of … ‘factorized’ the genre, put it into pieces. Next, we scrutinized and thought over all the aspects and tried to pick out the most important RPG features. Finally, it was our task to put them together the best way we could think of, using the latest development techniques and available technology. We’re quite aware that not all RPG fans will accept our redefinition, but that’s mostly because they’ve gotten used to clichés and certain mechanisms.
And here are the results of our considerations. The crucial elements of the game should be: the storyline, combat system, freedom and non-linearity, character equipping and development. At the same time, all the aforementioned issues should be most intuitive and easy-to-use for the gamers. We have tried to match the structure of the game according to the rules specified above, so to sum up: