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Default Witcher 3 - Interview @ Dagon's Lair

March 7th, 2013, 20:28
Dagon interviewed Maciej Sosnowski to talk about The Witcher 3. Scroll down for the English version.
Your previous games were quite rich, and were generating some reflections on our current society, but features also epic fights and were also technically impressive (especially The Witcher 2). Which way will you take for The Witcher 3 ? Is there a focus determined yet ? What sort of game do you seek to achieve in The Witcher 3 ?
Telling an epic tale is still the centerpiece of our game. All gameplay elements serve this purpose, to present Geraltís legend. We wonít turn away to difficult, modern world problems in the fantasy setting and this wonít change. I donít actually see the difference between the approachces you mentioned. Player immersion is achieved by presenting issues the player knows from the real world and you can tell a captivating plot only if the player is in the game and is emotionally engaged.
Since you mentioned boss battles from The Witcher 2, there wonít be any in the new part. I mean there will be pivot points, large enemies, but the gameplay wonít change. There will be no scripted events in those battles or QTEs. All such battles will be resolved with normal game mechanics and nothing unusual will occur. This reflects our return to core RPG mechanics, your stats and skills will be the most important thing during a fight and not a simple QTE.
More information.
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March 7th, 2013, 20:28
I liked the sounds of this:

"Almost every system in the game has been improved. We read fan opinions about the inventory and we decided to change it. The grid is back to give players a more classic RPG feel. We want the inventory to be user friendly and intuitive."

And that parrying is in.

"The definitely improve the combat system from the second part of The Witcher. Now you will have more control over Geraltís blade. All blows and strikes will take the same amount of time and you will be to defend yourself in any moment, how you want Ė by pivots, rolls and parrying."
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March 8th, 2013, 01:14
This reminds me of how I first time lifted the pickaxe to parry some incoming young scavengers. To bad this game does have other source of inspiration for ideals.
Rather then that it sounds promising enough.
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March 8th, 2013, 10:21
Telling an epic tale is still the centerpiece of our game.
Quite clear. Games whose main purpose is telling a story are narrative games.
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March 8th, 2013, 11:25
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
Quite clear. Games whose main purpose is telling a story are narrative games.
Great. Those are still the closest thing to a real RPG ever made for computers…
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March 8th, 2013, 13:47
Narrative games are as close to RPGs than skirmish games are close to RPGs. Or shooters. Or driving games. Or sports games.
Narrative games do not have to be close to RPGs. They have to be narrative games.

And this is what this game is going to be. Even though the large crowd of so called RPGers, in a magickal thinking way, will try to make it turn into RPG by calling it RPG.
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March 8th, 2013, 16:46
All RPGs are "narrative games" (although I'm not sure that category even makes sense) - if you take the narrative out you are left with a slasher or a pure sandbox. Of course in the best case the narrative is very responsive to role playing decisions (which the Witcher series actually excels at, so I'm not sure what your point is) or is ideally, an emergent property of the game systems. Which we haven't really seen successfully implemented, although some sandbox games like TES offer at least a little bit of that.
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March 8th, 2013, 19:22
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
Narrative games are as close to RPGs than skirmish games are close to RPGs. Or shooters. Or driving games. Or sports games.
Narrative games do not have to be close to RPGs. They have to be narrative games.

And this is what this game is going to be. Even though the large crowd of so called RPGers, in a magickal thinking way, will try to make it turn into RPG by calling it RPG.
Yes, I know, we had that argument a couple of times. Let me just add to it that, although I played a lot of stuff before that, I was a "pupil" of the Storyteller school, so for me P&P role playing games are all about narrative and interpretation of characters. The rules are just a necessary artifice to keep things moving.
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March 8th, 2013, 19:26
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
All RPGs are "narrative games" (although I'm not sure that category even makes sense) - if you take the narrative out you are left with a slasher or a pure sandbox. Of course in the best case the narrative is very responsive to role playing decisions (which the Witcher series actually excels at, so I'm not sure what your point is) or is ideally, an emergent property of the game systems. Which we haven't really seen successfully implemented, although some sandbox games like TES offer at least a little bit of that.
Chien Abboyeur has a different perspective on that. I'm trying to understand it still. Anyway I have no problem in calling Narrative games to most of the games today labeled as RPGs. And, as you say, The Witcher has been an excelent example of a narrative very responsive to the player's decisions. The combat, on the other side, hmmmm, not quite. I hoped they would improve that bit, but as soon as they started talking about turning back to the first Witcher there were shivers running down my spine.
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March 8th, 2013, 21:32
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
All RPGs are "narrative games" (although I'm not sure that category even makes sense) - if you take the narrative out you are left with a slasher or a pure sandbox. Of course in the best case the narrative is very responsive to role playing decisions (which the Witcher series actually excels at, so I'm not sure what your point is) or is ideally, an emergent property of the game systems. Which we haven't really seen successfully implemented, although some sandbox games like TES offer at least a little bit of that.
No.

Narrative games' focus is to build a quality narrative. You decide in order to developp, amend the story etc The quality in the story leads and determines all.

Roleplaying games' focus is to build quality roleplaying. You decide in order to bonify the role playing events. The role determines all.
You do not need a story to role play. You need situations. It happens that when situations are strung together, they form a story.
So if you take the example of an interviewer during a hiring interview asking a interviewed to role play in several situations, strung together, the situations shape a story. But in no cases, the situations are decided to serve a narrative end. They all come to support a role playing session.

For a role playing session, situations that provide support for role playing are what is needed. Situations that once strung together makes a nice story are absolutely no guarantee of a quality role playing session.
Much better a flat story with solid role playing situations than a intricated story with weak role playing situations.
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March 9th, 2013, 11:16
Role playing, form the P&P beginnings, has been structured into modules and campaigns, whether home made or bought as supplements to the base games. All of these (though it may be barebones in the case of classic dungeon romps) have an overarching story. Experienced groups and gamemaster may sometimes decide to improv and that can be great, but it is not the heart of roleplaying. The heart of roleplaying is, as you say in roleplaying the situations (that is allowing decisions and differnet approaches), but these are generally imbedded in narrative. In a good role playing session, the narrative and player freedom complement each other. Therefore I see narrative and roleplaying freedom as two aspects of RPG that always struggle for dominance also in CRPGs, but that are both integral to the genre.
A statement like this: "Narrative games are as close to RPGs than skirmish games are close to RPGs. Or shooters. Or driving games. Or sports games." therfore makes no sense to me. Now, if there were only linear narrative and no role playing opportunities I would agree - but that is really not what the Witcher series is known for.
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March 9th, 2013, 14:11
Stories in RPGs are a byproduct.
Again, once strung together, situations narrate a story. It is a feature that can not be escaped. Does not make it essential.

I remember before youtube came up reading a walkthrough of Castlevania:the symphony of the night that was written as a structured narrative. The writer simply storytold what happened in the game. This does not make the story the focus of a game like Castlevania.

Most games come with a story as a by products as situations can be strung together.

Wargames come with campaigns. They produce narratives. None of those games' focus is on the story.

Football games come with campaigns. They can produce narratives. FM even includes a standardized recount of a player/manager career, retelling the highlights, achievements in a journalist style. Yet the focus of those games is not on the story.

Narrative gaming makes the developpment of a quality story its focus.

Stories by produced by RPGs must be treated as any other story that is by produced in another gaming genre. Just like shooter, just like driving car, football, platform etc. Stories in all these games are just by products that derive from the fact that once strung together, situations tell a story. It is only in narrative games that the story is the primary and essential product.
A RPG has nothing to expect from a good story. A RPG can deliver without a good story. Narrative games, no.

Role playing game is about role playing, shooting games about shooting, driving games about driving, platform about platform, skirmish game about skirmish etc
Only narrative games are about telling a story.
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March 9th, 2013, 14:30
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
A RPG has nothing to expect from a good story. A RPG can deliver without a good story. Narrative games, no.

Role playing game is about role playing, shooting games about shooting, driving games about driving, platform about platform, skirmish game about skirmish etc
Only narrative games are about telling a story.

But you are only talking about the end story, the story that is constructed after all the situations are played in game. In some games that is what happens, but not in The Witcher series. The Witcher series is based on a character that already existed before the videogame, and that has "lived" many stories before. If those past stories had nothing to do with the videogame, then it would only matter the end story, result of the combination of all situations in game. But that's not the case here, because the character Geralt of Rivia (although an amnesiac) has dialogues about past experiences with his old friends. Not only that, but the universe in which Geralt moves in the videogames was created by a writer, not by the game devolopers, so it intrudes in the game. Even if it is not an obligation to read the books (I red only two of them and played both games), they shaped The Witcher's universe the same way. And if those past stories are not enjoyable for you, probably you will not like The Witcher, even if you are enjoying the way the role playing situations are delivered. This said, I do believe you would label both Witchers as narrative games and not RPGs. Am I right?
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March 12th, 2013, 14:19
The books are not games. The story hold in the books changed nothing.

The Witcher and The Witcher had the same aim: building and delivering a quality narrative.

I cant remember one situation in those games that enabled roleplaying.
There were decisions to be taken by the player and they contributed to a quality narrative. The demand by the player was that no matter the decision he was taking, a quality narrative would follow.

Witcher could be a role in a RPG. But none of these games aimed to be a RPG. They staged a witcher (whose role as a witcher is independent of the player's inputs and decisions) that worked as an avatar for the player to navigate through different story arcs. There were several branchings in the story (narrative flow chart) and the player decides what narrative path to go (even though first was more linear)

None of the decisions taken by the player builds his avatar into a role. Of Rivia is a witcher by design, because the story needs it. He is not a witcher because of the player's inputs.
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