As a fan of the first Witcher game I entered the small Atari office with some trepidation. Pre-show talk of controller support and streamlining some elements reeks of oversimplification and a loss of nuance in favor of splashy presentation. Seeing the developer cradling a 360 pad (plugged into a PC) as he prepared to walk me through his 15 minute presentation wasn’t helping. Once the game loaded I was even more worried by something that we’d normally celebrate – it looks gorgeous. The old Aurora engine has been jettisoned, replaced by a game engine created from scratch. Watching it in motion, it’s clear CD Projekt is putting the extra graphical muscle to good use. But are they sacrificing nuance and depth for the sake of better visuals?
We have heard that the game is shorter but "more intense". What exactly does that mean?
It might take less time to walk through a main storyline of The Witcher 2 than it would in the previous game. But if we do it right (there are still some focus-tests ahead of us, and we've not got to beta yet), the players will feel that it's because the long, travelling-based quests are missing. We don't want to miss any of the important action - just all those "Fed-Ex" quests. Second thing, I think people don't expect the size of changes we've made in terms of the storyline's scale. Whereas The Witcher was a game about (among other things) a rebellion that took place in Temeria, The Witcher 2 is about politics and emotions that involve many kingdoms and dig much deeper into Geralt's past. The one he's forgotten… almost.