Otaku Dome had the opportunity to do an interview with CDProjekt RED over The Witcher 3, we talk Geralt’s story closing, the REDEngine, the upcoming graphic novels and more:
1. How is The Witcher 3 going to differ from the previous titles.
Michał Krzemiński, Senior Art Producer:I think the first and most crucial difference is the fact that the game is set in a completely open world – you can go anywhere you want and do anything you want, anytime you want. And all that’s all connected and made coherent with a very intense plot that The Witcher series is known for. Also, the game has an entirely revamped combat system, allows different ways of travel (riding a horse, sailing) and a lot more.
2. Tell us a little bit about the REDengine.
REDengine is a technology we developed after moving from Aurora, the engine that powered The Witcher 1. Essentially, we think that the only way we can achieve full creative autonomy is when the engine does exactly what we want it to do. And that’s the case here. We have a dedicated core team that constantly develops the engine and introduces features that are requested by the rest of the team. REDengine 3 is a truly next-gen beast that allows us to go over the top in terms of visuals and world design. Just watch the trailer and see for yourself.
3. Can you give us a little bit of insight on The Witcher 3’s world?
For those of you who don’t know, The Witcher is a game based on a series of bestselling books by acclaimed novelist Andrzej Sapkowski. The place Geralt lives in is a truly gritty and dark place. On one hand, it’s very fantasy – it’s full of quests, exploration and beasts that inhabit ominous places; on the other, it’s very contemporary in terms of the problems it faces – terrorism, social inequality, the atrocities of war and so on. What makes it so special is the way it combines both themes and merges them into something you can’t get enough of.
4. Any gameplay tweaks you’d like to discuss?
We’ve totally revamped combat. We basically took what’s best from The Witcher 2 and redone everything else to make it more fluid and tactical. You get additional witcher Signs for extended tactical options, we’ve got a physics system that you can use against your opponents and a multitude of other things that will make it shine.
5. Thoughts on next-gen vs current-gen?
Despite the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 being formidable pieces of hardware, we decided to release The Witcher 3 exclusively on next-gen platforms and PC because of their technical possibilities. We simply couldn’t create what we set out to do on last-gen consoles. You’ll definitely know what I mean when we release the game and you see it for yourself.
6. What’s the difference between developing on Playstation 4 & Xbox One?
Essentially, aside from minor technicalities, developing on both platforms is a pleasure. With so much available horsepower, The Witcher 3 is going to look and play great on both Sony’s and Microsoft’s console.
7. How much bigger is The Witcher 3 compared to the other entries in scale?
The Witcher 3 is 35 times bigger than The Witcher 2; it’s a really big game!
8. With the story of Geralt coming to a close, were you surprised at how successful the series got over the years?
We put a lot of hard work into making The Witcher a truly global and acclaimed series. Were we surprised? At the beginning, definitely. But it was hard work and listening to gamers right from the beginning that brought us where we are today.
9. What has been your favorite moment while developing The Witcher trilogy?
The moment we release the game and can take a breather *laughs*. Seriously though, everyone in the studio loves to see how gamers react to what we’ve been working on for the past years. It’s the most rewarding moment of the whole development process.
10. Could we see next-gen ports of the The Witcher & The Witcher 2, so new players can get an understanding of Geralt and his story.
We’re not planning on bringing The Witcher 1 and The Witcher 2 to next-gens at this moment. But don’t worry; players who have not played The Witcher games before will be able to jump in The Witcher 3 and start having fun right off the bat. This is because we managed to drive the story in such a way that it feels like a standalone tale for newcomers; players who have been with us from the start or from The Witcher 2 will treat what is happening as a natural continuation of events.
11. Can you tell us a little bit about the upcoming graphic novels?
I can’t tell you much in terms of story but what I can tell is that the novels are entirely standalone, so you can jump in even if you have not played the games. The story revolves around The House of Glass, an ominous mansion hidden in a dark forest. There’s a mystery there that only a witcher can solve. The comic was created by some of the most acclaimed artists in the industry and is being published by our friends at Dark Horse Comics.
12. Do you have any regrets or wish you had done something differently with the trilogy?
There’s always something that you might have done differently, but, in the grand scheme of things, no, we don’t regret anything.
13. What gave you the idea to opt for an open-world for The Witcher 3?
We always wanted an open world in our games but you have to have the resources and the experience to do it and uphold the quality you came to expect of RED. Now we have both and we’re going for it!
14. What can we expect from CD Projekt Red next with The Witcher coming to a close?