The Witcher 2 - All News
Friday - November 08, 2013
The Witcher 2 - Lykaon Mod Interview
CD Projekt RED has a new article with the modder of one the best mods for The Witcher 2. It turns out he even became a quest desigher at the studio also. If you are unfamiliar with the mod check out out his web page for info, and download links.
I was pretty surprised when I was chosen as a part of the REDkit beta for The Witcher 2. When I applied, my experience with game development included building custom maps for Age of Empires 2 for my friends and me, building a landscape with the Crysis Editor for my own enjoyment and creating a small horror mod for Skyrim, “Arheim” (which I never finished). So since I thought that this would probably not sell myself very well, I added some videos I made with the movie editor for Grand Theft Auto IV.
So all in all, one can say that it was a very lucky coincidence that I was chosen. In the October of 2012, I received a mail explaining how to download REDkit. I downloaded the whole thing, started it, sat down and was overwhelmed. So many buttons! So like any reasonable man would do, I showed it to my girlfriend, who is much better at stuff like this, since she, coincidentally, studied computer science. We managed to get a new level up and running and I could start to just take the mouse, move it to the so-called asset browser (a library with every object of The Witcher 2) and just drag stuff onto the level until it looked nice.
Monday - October 07, 2013
The Witcher 2 - Retrospective @ Eurogamer
While I think The Witcher 2 hasn't been out long enough to have a retrospective it seems Eurogamer thinks the opposite. So visit this link for the article.
In The Witcher 2, the choices are grander, more closely tied to the overarching narrative and more obviously sign-posted. There's little room for the neutrality of the first game, instead you're explicitly forced to pick a side; to kill a tyrant or save a damsel; to stay the hand that would kill a king or let it swing regardless. It's a sign of CD Projekt's grander ambition for its sequel, but it's a shame that the notion of neutrality fell by the wayside, especially when the first game had invested time and effort in establishing that it was the true path of The Witcher to stand outside of society's squabbles.
Despite this, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings remains one of the best examples of a game with a strong lead character and focused narrative that still allows you to tell your own story and shape your experience. The Witcher 2's own story is one of evolution and just as the world of the Witcher is in a constant state of flux, so too was the game during its first year in the wild as it underwent its transformation.
It's one of the few tales featuring Geralt of Rivia to have a happy ending.
Monday - July 15, 2013
The Witcher 2 - Flora Mods Released
DSOGaming has news of two mods that overhauls how The Witcher 2 renders grass, and vegetation.
NeoGAF’s member ‘EatChildren’ has released a pretty interesting – yet demanding – mod for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. According to its creator, this mod dramatically increases grass rendering distance, renders distant tree moss, presents full detail bushes/shrubs over entire fields, maximizes the quality of trees at any distance, and completely eliminates grass pop-in. In short, this mod makes The Witcher 2 look even more beautiful than before.
EatChildren has released two versions of his mod: Extreme Quality Flora v1.0 (this version enhances the rendering distance and quality of all flora: grass, bushes, shrubs, trees, weeds, ferns, and so on) and Infinite Grass Render Distance v1.0 (this version enhances the rendering distance and quality of grass only. Suitable for lower end systems and those who prefer performance over image quality. Do not use this mod if using the Extreme Quality Flora, as that already covers grass).
Friday - June 21, 2013
The Witcher 2 - Full Combat Rebalance 2 Mod Released
The full combat rebalance mod for The Witcher 2 released today by CD Projekt RED. A word of warning the servers seem at full capacity, and also think twice before installing the mod as it changes more than combat.
Wednesday - June 12, 2013
The Witcher 2 - Full Combat Rebalance Mod Release Update
Two days ago I informed you about a combat rebalance mod that was being developed by CD Projekt RED’s gameplay designer Andrzej Kwiatkowski. Well I'm happy to report that the mod is planned for a June 20th release.
Kwiatkowski himself revealed the release date on CD Projekt RED’s forum, and stated that the mod will be 2GB in size instead of 8 GB. The changlog is masssive so check out the forum link for more info.
-Up to 80% increase in responsivness per Geralt’s animations.
-Up to 50% increase in repsonsivness per NPCs animations.
-Added strafing while being locked on an enemy and walking.
-Geralt can block while moving ( NEW ANIMATIONS ). Static Guard Stance is no longer required to parry enemy attacks.
-Geralt automatically parries enemy sword attacks and deflects incoming arrows.
-Geralt and his attackers are no longer bouncing off parry. It allows to continue attack sequence.
-Monster attacks still cannot be parried with a sword.
-While using Guard Stance Geralt channels an active Quen shield.
-Above listed changes to defence mechanics decreased importance of rolling in combat.
-Decreased the number of skills to ensure quality over quantity.
-Geralt now starts with core witcher skills already learned. No need to go through Training tree before unlocking other branches.
-Removed many passives from skill tree to replace them with more active abilities. Remaining passives are changed to make them more attractive.
-All skills now have one level ( previously 2 ).
-Aard and Igni Signs have been changed from projectile to cone area of effect.
-Riposte doesn’t require Guard Stance to activate, only attacking in a timed window.
-Changed riposte animations ( NEW ANIMATIONS, DUH ) to prevent Geralt from sliding on enemies.
-Experience points are given only for progressing through quests, not for killing enemies. This encourages role-playing without worrying about missing experience.
-Geralt no longer buys witcher specific recipies from random merchants. He recalls lost memories as a part of character development.
Saturday - June 08, 2013
The Witcher 2 - Mod That Ovehauls Combat System
CD Projekt RED never ceases to amaze me. The company’s gameplay designer Andrzej Kwiatkowski decided to start working on a mod that will overhaul the game’s combat system mechanics.
According to Andrzej the mod is completed and weighs around 8GB. No ETA has been given as of yet.
The key features for Witcher 2′s Full Combat Rebalance 2 Mod are:
- overall purpose of the mod is to increase Geralt’s responsiveness and mobility
- Geralt can parry attacks while he’s walking and running (new animations)
- Geralt reacts faster to keyboard/gamepad buttons
- active block was replaced by active Quen
- during heavy battle Geralt uses pirouettes and focus (new animations)
- difficulty levels were rebalanced
- Geralt does not “bump” away from opponent’s swords when his attacks are parried which allows quick continuation of the attack sequence
- opponents explode when particular attacks are used, e.g. Igni causes opponent explosion, just like in The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition intro
- elixirs have negative influence
Monday - May 13, 2013
The Witcher 2 - REDKit Released For Real This Time
Three days ago I wrote about the release of the REDkit mod tools for The Witcher 2, but those tools were unofficially released back then. CD Projekt RED disabled the downloads. Well this time the REDkit is officially released and you can find it here.
REDkit requires a copy of PC version of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, installed on your HDD. The game has to be patched up to version 3.3. Make sure you have downloaded SQLite appropriate for your system or download this one. Right click on the file and run it as an administrator.
Steam copies of the game will be automatically patched to REDkit (Gamers' Edition). Gamers' Edition allows you to play mods created in REDkit, however, it does not include the editor. Do not install the REDkit patches downloaded from this website on your Steam copy of the game.
It is recommended that you have the latest version of graphics drivers installed.
If you're using Windows Vista or 7, you should try disabling UAC. To do it follow these instructions.
Installing the latest updates for your operating system is always a good idea and can also resolve some of your issues. Same thing goes for shutting down or disabling any non-crucial applications running in the background, especially anti-virus software, as they might interfere with your games. Try it and see if it helps.
We are in the open beta phase, meaning that there are still some known issues that we are currently working on. Two biggest ones are:
Cooking – currently, cooking changes to original Witcher 2 story create rather sizable files. We are aware of this issue and are working on it to change cooking process so the files will be smaller.
Lipsync – right now there’s no possibility to create lipsync for written dialogues. However, we’re working on a patch that should resolve this issue pretty soon.
They will be addressed as soon as possible so please keep calm and keep modding. Don’t forget to check the Mod of the Month section as well – this one is pretty self-explanatory.:)
Also here are a few videos from the avaiable mods.
Friday - May 10, 2013
The Witcher 2 - REDKit Released
CD Projekt RED has finally relesed the REDkit Mod tool. The mod tools are available for free on its official website. At this point in time you need a password and username just to download the mod tools.
Projekt RED announces the launch of REDkit, the ultimate set of tools for crafting non-linear role-playing adventures. Available for free via http://thewitcher.com/redkit, REDkit is based on the development tools used to create CD Projekt RED's award-winning game, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.
Wednesday - May 01, 2013
The Witcher 2 - First Closed Beta Screenshots Unveiled
CD Projekt RED has unveiled the first screenshots from the mods that are currently being made via REDKit for The Witcher 2. REDkit is a set of tools for modders which will allow any player to create their own content for the PC version of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.
Tuesday - October 30, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Assasins of Kings - Interview on Writing @ Gamasutra
Gamasutra has interviewed Maciej Szcześnik and Marek Ziemak from CD Project RED.
They talk about how it was to write the game as well as the choice and consequence system in the game:
One of the things I found most interesting about The Witcher 2 was the decision to split the story into two different paths, and literally, probably double the work and content. Some people wouldn't even necessarily be aware that this even happened unless they talked to other people online. Did that scare you, as a decision to make?
Maciej Szcześnik: I mean, it was kind of scary, but...
Marek Ziemak: It was risky, for sure.
MS: It was risky, but we were sure that we were on track at least because we were sure that that would be something new.
MZ: And that it will be appreciated sooner or later.
MS: And it turns out it is, so after all, it was a good decision.
MZ: But I think the main reason for this was that we were trying to implement this decision and consequences system in the game.
MS: So if it was present in Witcher 1, obviously it had to be present in The Witcher 2, and we wanted to push it further.
MZ: We wanted to play a little bit with the emotions, and we started thinking, "What can we give to the players? What can we take away from them based on their decisions?" And this seemed like a pretty cool thing -- that they will have to make their own decisions, what they want to see, and take the costs of their decisions.
Thursday - October 11, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Mac Patch 1.6.2. Released
Project Red has released the 1.6.2 version patch for this game.
Patch 1.6.2 for The Witcher: Enhanced Edition for Macs combines the improvements of the patch 1.6.1 with the latest version of the compatibility layer software fully compatible with OS X Lion 10.7.5 and Mountain Lion 10.8.2. PLEASE NOTE! Patch 1.6.2 can only be used on Macs. Also, don't use 1.6.2 files downloaded from the website with the Steam version of the game.
The compatibility layer software is upgraded to the latest version. In effect, the game can now be successfully launched on OS X Lion 10.7.5 and OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2.
Monday - August 27, 2012
The Witcher 2 - REDkit beta footage
CDPR has a video showing footage of the REDkit toolset from Gamescom:
Here’s a short video showing the REDkit in action for the first time! Marek Ziemak, CD Projekt RED’s Gameplay Producer talks about the basic features of the editor and takes you behind closed doors, inside of our GC booth. The upcoming set of tools will allow players to create non-linear adventures set in the world of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.
Everyone who is interested in participating in the closed beta of the REDkit, can apply here for early access.
Saturday - August 18, 2012
The Witcher 2 - REDkit Beta Testing
CD Projekt Red is taking applications from modders interested in trying the REDkit beta:
The Witcher 2 – the most awarded game during the European Games Awards ceremony gamescom 2012 – calls out to modders to join the REDkit beta testing program
CD Projekt RED, developers of The Witcher 2, started off this year’s gamescom with a bang, dominating the European Games Awards and then following up with a well-received presentation of the REDkit, the mod engine for their award-winning RPG.
“We have our own vision for RPGs, they should present an exciting story and give players lots of choices that really matter. The REDkit is designed to create adventures that way – mature, non-linear and engrossing stories set in vivid worlds filled with believable characters.” – said head of the studio Adam Badowski .
In the business section journalists were able to see the Witcher 2 toolset – REDkit. The editor allows modders to create adventures in the world of Geralt of Rivia. REDkit gives players the power to create detailed environments and complex, nonlinear quests as they tell their own Witcher story. Starting from today, modders from all over the world can apply for an early access to the REDkit by going to thewitcher.com/redkit before 30/09/2012
Thursday - August 09, 2012
The Witcher 2 - REDkit Announced
CD Project Red has announced the REDkit editor for The Witcher 2, to be unveiled at GamesCom:
CD Projekt RED will present The Witcher 2 modding tool on Gamescom
The developers of the award winning Witcher 2 will be attending Gamescom 2012 to present the REDkit – the best tool for modders to create complex and non-linear adventures in the world of The Witcher 2. More details about this editor will become available next week
All journalists who will be attending Gamescom this year and want to participate in a behind closed doors presentation of the REDkit should contact email@example.com. There are still some slots available from August 15th to 17th, so don't wait and sign up right now!
You can also visit CD Projekt RED’s stand in the main area of Gamescom to learn more about recruitment for the studio’s new projects. We're waiting for you in Hall 10, Booth E60 (Hall map, Stand map)
Tuesday - June 19, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Patch 3.2 - UI Improvements
You have to take your hat off to this sort of work - CD Projekt Red has released v3.2 for The Witcher 2, adding UI improvements to the Enhanced Edition:
Patch 3.2 is a UI modification for the PC version of The Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition. The mod adds the following enhancements to the game. It can be used optionally (enabled by default) by players when installed. You can disable it in Configurator DLC Menu.
- Minimap: Adds a north arrow.
- Alchemy: Crafting slots show how many ingredients there are; better default ingredient selection (e.g., not having to filter out quest item ingredients all the time); un-rotates alchemy element symbols; saves custom ingredient selection for a formula (until you close the panel or go to another formula, but no longer resetting every time you create something).
- Tooltips: Taller, and scroll faster.
- Inventory/Trading/Storage: Sorting buttons (sort by time acquired, name, aggregate weight, aggegrate price.) Reversible sort also possible.
- Trading: Places a checkmark next to books, formulas, and crafting diagrams that you already have in your inventory.
- Crafting: Shows how many items you have instead of capping the number at how many are required. E.g., 30/3 instead of 3/3.
- Other: Sorts some lists alphabetically: crafting, alchemy, elixirs.
Wednesday - May 30, 2012
The Witcher 2 - 1.7M Sold
From CD Projekt Red's Summer Conference comes news they have shifted 1.7M copies of The Witcher 2 worldwide across X360 and PC.
Saturday - May 26, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Enhanced Edition Video
CDPR has released a new Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition video showing off the non-linear narrative and changing environments:
In the mature and engrossing narrative of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition, players are faced with sometimes difficult decisions, and just like in real life, these choices have far-reaching consequences that affect the world of protagonist Geralt of Rivia. In this new video, we hear level designer Jonas Mattsson describe how each environment radically changes according to the choices that players make, rendering otherwise peaceful cities into fiery ruins, affecting the characters in the world and determining the conclusion of the game. The video shows vivid side-by-side comparisons of the same locations affected by the divergent choices made by the player. Click here to watch the video.
Friday - May 18, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Enhanced Edition PC Patch v1.3
The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition for the PC has been updated to v1.3:
Version 3.1 Corrections/Amendments (18th May 2012)
- Fixed the display of inter-chapter movies in aspect ratios other than 16:9.
- Fixed bugs causing the application to close while opening the credits.
- Relevant Aspect Ratio options are shown in the Configurator.exe if nVidia Surround is supported.
- Game saves from Act 2 created on older versions of the game are now compatible with the Enhanced Edition, which fixes the dwarven mechanism in Vergen.
- Added a fix for .NET Framework 4-related issues for the Steam users.
Monday - May 07, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Enhanced Edition Walkthrough Update
Word from GameBanshee is they have updated their Witcher 2 walkthrough and database with Enhanced Edition content:
Since the release of The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition added a measurable amount of new content to the game, we've taken it upon ourselves to go back and update our The Witcher 2 subsite with any additions we were able to uncover. Included among them are several new walkthrough quests across both of the game's main paths (such as Crown Witness and Pacta Sunt Servanda) and the addition of a single new sword to our equipment database.
Saturday - April 28, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Video Dev Diary - New Elements
CD Projekt has kicked up a new video dev diary to promote The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition. Here's their blurb:
We have released a new developer diary video with commentary from the team detailing all the new content that have made the game even better than before. Over the course of the 5 minute video, the developers from CD Projekt RED go in-depth on the new quests, characters and locations that propel gamers even further into the intrigue and history of the vast game world.
Friday - April 20, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Enhanced Edition PC Review @ IGN
IGN has reviewed the PC version of The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition, for a score of 9/10:
The Enhanced Edition is more accurately described as an expanded edition of The Witcher 2 rather than a dramatically improved one; it's still very much the same game, with the same minor foibles. The inaccessible nature of The Witcher 2 will still be as much of a problem for some players as it was last year. It needs you to pay attention and be willing to look thinks up, and there are still things about the interface - mutagens, for instance - that don't make much sense, even if the new tutorial goes some way towards addressing them. But CD Projekt Red rewards you for putting in the effort to engage in and understand its world, filling the dialogue and in-game literature with incidental detail that means more and more to you as you invest more time in the fiction.
Tuesday - April 17, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Enhanced Edition Released
The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition is now unlocked for PC players and don't forget all owners get a free backup copy on GOG. The promised iOS comic has been released and the official site has a review roundup.
Thanks to Melvil, who tried to let us know the PC version was available early, but I didn't have the opportunity to post.
Saturday - April 14, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Enhanced Edition Reviews
The first batch of Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition X360 reviews are in - and it's looking pretty good for CD Projekt. The 'flu is getting the better of me, so here are two quick selections.
Eurogamer - 9/10:
The Witcher 2's timing is prescient. As Game of Thrones dominates the television ratings, just as Skyrim has dominated the game charts in recent months, the cultural appetite for fantasy is as high as it's ever been. Despite the competition, however, The Witcher 2 has an air of unique wonder about it. There's a weight and detail to the mythology that is beguiling, but CD Projekt's skill has been in making this relevant and meaningful to the player.
VideoGamer - 9/10:
While it runs on what would have been medium graphics on the PC version, this is a very small cross to bear for a game that brings itself to a mainstream audience - a place it deserves to be. While not necessarily as big a name as the products of BioWare or Bethesda, The Witcher 2 is still one of the most interesting developments in RPGs within the last ten years, and with a combination of additional content and cutscenes its Enhanced Edition on Xbox 360 is one of the most lovingly crafted fan-services you'll find.
Wednesday - April 11, 2012
The Witcher 2 - PC Pre-load Starts and More
The Witcher 2 Community Site announces the 10Gb pre-download for The Witcher 2 is now available for PC players in anticipation of the release next week:
The Enhanced Edition will be available for Xbox and PC in almost a week, but many of our fans just can’t wait to play it. For all those, who want to start playing the new content as soon as possible we have prepared a pre-download option. You can start downloading most of the 10 GB update now and just add the remaining files on the 17th. This way you can start enjoying the 4 hours of additional gameplay, 35 minutes of new cinematics and other improvements the moment they are released. Please read all the instructions concerning the pre-download to make the process as smooth as possible. We hope you’ll dive deep into the content we prepared!
Be one of the first to play The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings in its most plentiful edition – start your pre-download now!
In other news, the site has an interview on the process of translating the game to Turkish and Zohaib sends in a video interview from PAX with senior quest designer Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz explaining What Makes the Enhanced Edition of the Witcher 2 So Special.
Friday - April 06, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Spring Conference Summary
Catching up on a few items I didn't have time to post earlier.
CDPR held their Spring conference yesterday and there are a bunch of Witcher 2 items to come out of it - so many that I'll line list the key ones:
- A free iOS comic set in the Witcher universe
- The Witcher: Enhanced Edition is coming to the Mac platform (ed: already released)
- All owners of The Witcher 2 will receive a complimentary backup copy of their game on DRM-free digital distributor GOG.com
- Pre-download of The Enhanced Edition patch for The Witcher 2 will start from April 11th
Wednesday - April 04, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Dark Edition Sold Out in US
The Witcher 2: Dark Edition has joined Europe in selling out in the US, so says this press release:
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Dark Edition sold out in the US
Almost two weeks before its premiere, the Dark Edition of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings has been sold out in the United States. A few weeks ago the game developer CD Projekt RED informed, that this edition is no longer available in Europe.
“It’s great news for us, that the Dark Edition was such a success worldwide. I hope players will appreciate the gadgets we prepared for them. We’d like to remind you that there are still remaining copies of The Enhanced Edition of The Witcher 2. By buying this version of the game you still get more, than you would expect from a standard Xbox game. Apart from the manual and the game itself it contains an official soundtrack CD, a quest handbook and a world map.” – said Michał Nowakowski, member of CD Projekt RED’s board.
The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings will be available for Xbox 360 and PC on April 17th. On the 5th of April CD Projekt RED will host a conference in its HQ. During a streamed presentation the developer will present more details concerning the upcoming release.
...and there's an introductory catch-up video for those who don't know the story from The Witcher 1.
Tuesday - April 03, 2012
The Witcher 2 - EE Interview @ 2nd Impact
French site 2nd Impact has interviewed CDPR artist Lucjan Więcek about The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition. The conversation covers a little history on the studio and, of course, the console version coming soon. A bit on the PC stuff, as a reminder:
2i: What are the major new features compared to version Pc?
Lucjan: First of all PC users will receive the new content too – as a free update. So what is the most interesting for players is the new gameplay. We added 4 hours of gameplay, making the final act of the game longer. Players can now explore new locations, and face new characters.
We also added over 30 minutes of new cinematics and animations. These include the CG intro we presented earlier. It shows the main antagonist, so you know what Geralt is up against. Apart from that we added the final borads – you know, our game is about choice. Geralt’s decisions change the world state while you play. The final boards summarize what you did during the game and how it influenced the gameworld.
Console players will receive a new user interface and camera system, designed for the 360 gamepad. We think that this will allow the player to feel like a real sword master and make the great combat of The Witcher 2 even better.
Saturday - March 31, 2012
The Witcher 2 - "What is a Witcher?" Video
CDPR has whipped up a new video titled What is a Witcher?
Check out this new video detailing the history of the legendary class of monster slayers known as the witchers. Why are the witchers able to drink poisonous potions? Why do they wield two types of swords? Why are they the masters of combat? All these questions are answered in the latest video released by the creators of the game.
Thursday - March 29, 2012
The Witcher 2 - X360 Version Goes Gold
CDPR has announced The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition for X360 has gone Gold - no mention of the PC version but hopefully that's just because PR overlooked it. Here's the press release:
‘THE WITCHER 2 : ASSASSINS OF KINGS’ GOES GOLD
WARSAW, POLAND – 29th March 2012 - NAMCO BANDAI Partners S.A.S. and CD Projekt RED studio are proud to announce that THE WITCHER 2: ASSASSINS OF KINGS ENHANCED EDITION has gone gold on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. The Enhanced Edition is now available for pre-order and scheduled to arrive at retail stores on April 17, 2012. The Dark Edition has been sold out in Europe earlier in March.
“We are very pleased that The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings Enhanced Edition for Xbox 360 is in our spring portfolio,” said Olivier Comte, Senior Vice President, NAMCO BANDAI Partners S.A.S. “The game is truly a masterpiece and we are excited to bring the complex and non-linear story of Geralt of Rivia to console players”.
The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings Enhanced Edition for Xbox 360 is an adaptation of the hit RPG fantasy game on PC. The game offers more than 40 hours of non-linear gameplay, set in a beautiful dark fantasy setting. At its core, the game gives players complete freedom to develop the game’s storyline through a series of choices.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition features never-before-seen content (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5D2xFwzWx8&list=UUETrNUjuH4EoRdZNFx9EI-A&index=18&feature=plcp), making it the richest version of The Witcher 2. The Enhanced Edition will include a world map, a soundtrack audio CD and a quest handbook.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition can be pre-ordered at buy.thewitcher.com
The Witcher 2 - The Faces of RED
The Witcher 2 site has a new Faces of RED team profile interview with Art Producer, Michał Krzemiński. I can't remember if we covered the first episode, which was head of QA Department (Quality Assurance), Przemysław Wójcik.
Tuesday - March 27, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Enhanced Edition Changelog
Still catching up on old items...CDPR has posted the lengthy changelog for The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition - minus the big new features. The list runs to 102 items over two posts so it's too big for inclusion here but head to Part 1 and Part 2 to see if the bug/tweak you are most interested in has been addressed:
As promised, this weekend we are letting the cat out of the bag by publishing the Enhanced Editon changelog. Of course this is just a list of fixes and amendments and it doesn't show off all the new elements and features to be added on April 17. To get the full picture of what's coming next month, stay tuned for more daily updates from the RED team.
Monday - March 26, 2012
The Witcher 2 - EE Video Preview
GameSpot has a video preview of The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition for X360.
Friday - March 23, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Cinematics Dev Diary Video
A new Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition video dev diary is available looking at the creation of the cinematics in the game.
Sunday - March 18, 2012
The Witcher 2 - EE New Elements Trailer
A new Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition "New Elements" trailer has been released.
Friday - March 16, 2012
The Witcher 2 - X360 Dark Edition Sold Out in Europe
A statement on the Witcher forums says the X360 Dark Edition of The Witcher 2 has sold out in Europe- except Poland:
Over one month before its premiere on the 17th of April, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Dark Edition has already been sold out in pre-orders in Europe. The Dark Edition of the game is the richest version of the award-winning RPG for Xbox 360.
CD Projekt RED studio has prepared a larger stock of this edition for their fans in Poland. That’s why The Witcher’s homeland remains the last European country, where the Dark Edition is still available.
Thursday - March 08, 2012
The Witcher 2 - GDC Tidbits
Here's a collection of Witcher 2 tidbits from GDC, many relating to joint CEO Marcin Iwinski's presentation.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun reports "CD Projekt will never use DRM again", along with some specific territory numbers:
Beginning with quite the bias, Iwinkski explains that he doesn’t know how to help sell a shitty game. The Witcher 2′s impressive sales suggest he’s in the right place. It’s interesting to see the spread of the game’s sales. The biggest market was the US, where it shifted 269,700 units, followed by Russia at 234,215, Poland with 185,123 and Germany, Switzerland and Austria picking up 130,053. In the UK it only sold 74,225. But why did a hardcore RPG from a small developer pick up such big numbers?
VG247 says the 360 Dark Edition has sold out in the UK and also that "releasing free DLC for The Witcher on 260 may be a bit tricky".
Lastly, Eurogamer has a preview of the Enhanced Edition. On the new content:
As well as all of the content released for the PC to date, the game will also ship with an additional storyline quest that will be new to both PC and console gamers alike. Brigida Papebrock, lady-in-waiting of King Foltest's Court and witness to the disappearance of the heir to the throne, is in hiding. As escort during her quiet escape from the city, Geralt accompanies her on a journey that offers optional, branching pathways through caves and forest glens, while the storyline of her situation is unveiled and teleporting mages - along with their more melee-orientated associates - assault from all around.
Wednesday - March 07, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Behind the Scenes of the CG Trailer
If you're interested in Platige's outstanding CG work for The Witcher 2, this Behind the Scenes video might be worth a look:
In January, we released epic CG intro trailer for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition, produced by the award-winning animation studio, Platige Image.
Now Platige Image has produced a behind-the-scenes look at the production of the video, from the early renders and motion-capture sessions to the beautifully produced final clip. You can view and share this three-minute video here.
Monday - March 05, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ Game Trailers
Game Informer talked to Adam Badowski from CD Project RED. They talked about the meaning of the Witcher 2 making its debut on consoles, the plans for The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition, as well as the success they've enjoyed with The Witcher series, and much more.
A quote from Adam Badowski where on modern rpgs:
DK: There used to be a distinct difference between RPG titles and Action or Adventure titles, but those lines have been blurred in recent years as gamers crave more intense combat situations in tandem with engaging, interactive plot lines. How do you see the RPG genre evolving over the next generation and what role do you hope to play in that process?
AB: Sometimes it worries me where RPGs are going nowadays. As I said we are inspired by classics. For us the two main features of an RPG are freedom and story. They have to coexist in a good game of this genre. The polarization of these two in modern RPGs is not where we are going. We know that a 100 per cent sandbox game will make the story suffer. And a completely narrative driven game will limit the choice. The industry often doesn’t put effort to combine the two. It’s a hard job and requires a lot of time and work, but I think we've accomplished it. The Witcher’s world isn’t the most open, but we give complete freedom when It comes to the story. As our slogan for the Enhanced Edition says – a true hero forges his own story. That’s what Geralt does. Maybe you can’t wander the world as you wish, but surely you can straw around different gameworld states – you wander around storylines, they are completely up to you. Modern RPGs don’t go this way, because it requires a lot of effort to create a chapter of a game that a player may not see because of his choice, but that’s what we did. Even if RPGs introduce more action they can’t lose those two elements – story and freedom. And our games will always have these traits.
Thursday - March 01, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ Gaming Nexus
Was there ever any thought to holding the PC version off until the 360 version was ready?
No. But in our development plans our next large titles will be released at the same time for at least two platforms.
Is the content of the 360 the same as the PC version? Did you feel like you had to censor any of the content of the console version?
No. We have not censored anything. Xbox players will get the same mature, non-linear and complex story PC gamers got. We’ve made moral gray areas a trademark of the Witcher series. Players face tough, morally difficult decisions. The consequences of these are substantial and permeate the game world.
Also, all of the new in-game content from the Xbox 360 Enhanced Edition will be made available free of charge to current PC users. All the movies and gameplay for free. As you can see, PC players are still on our minds, and we have not forgotten about our fans.
Monday - February 27, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Enhanced Edition Video Interview and Trailer # 2
GameTrailers has a video interview with Michal Platkow-Gileski from CD Project RED. Topics include the added four hours of new content, including over 36 minutes of cinematics and cutscenes, and the tweaks they've made to The Witcher 2 in order to ensure that it plays properly on the Xbox 360. A good reason to pick up the Enhanced Edition.
In other Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition news, there's a teaser trailer # 2 for this game at Youtube.
Tuesday - February 21, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Enhanced Version Trailer # 1
An trailer for the Enhanced Edition of Witcher 2 can be found on Youtube. You can watch it here.
In other Witcher 2 news, Witcher 2 sold 1,1 million copies in 2011 while the first Witcher sold about 400,000 copies in 2011, CD Project commented on Eurogamer:
The relevant quote:
Fantastic PC (and soon Xbox 360) RPG, The Witcher 2, sold 1,110,055 copies last year, developer CD Projekt Red has revealed. Of those copies, 270,000 were sold via digital distribution platforms: 40,000 on GOG.com, which leaves the lion's share of the remainder presumably to Steam (numbers not disclosed). But most "remarkable" to CDPR managing director Adam Badowski, was that 401,543 copies of The Witcher 1 were sold last year.
Friday - February 10, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Enhanced Edition Developer Diary
A developer diary for this game can be found at youtube. Called the Most Complex Story Ever Told, developers from CD Project talk about the EE edition of this game. They explain that the game's, nonlinearity, choices & consequences together with its sheer complexity hasn't yet been seen in console game. The diary has English subtitles since the developers talk in their native tongue, Polish.
The Witcher 2 - Intro Cinematic Enhanced Edition Comments
Eurogamer talked to CD Project about the released intro cinematic for the Enhanced Edition.
Apparently it cost a lot:
That very lovely Witcher 2 intro cinematic - the one with the bloke on the boat and the blood - was the "most expensive asset we ever created", developer CD Projekt Red told Eurogamer.
Said studio managing director Adam Badowski: "It was a huge budget. But we probably can't tell how big."
Pretending we didn't hear, we pressed him. Half as much as the Xbox 360 project cost - a full year's wage for a full team of developers?
"No, no!" denied Badowski. "But it was a significant part."
"For sure that was the most expensive asset we ever created," chimed head of marketing Michal Platkow-Gilewski.
CD Projekt Red press-released the lavish cinematic, and was quick to announce that more than one million people had watched it.
In other Witcher 2 EE news a trailer has been released on youtube to promote the EE for this game.
Sunday - February 05, 2012
The Witcher 2 - EE Video Dev Diary
CDPR has released the first entry in a video developer diary series about the The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition:
The time has come to release the first entry in The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition Developer Diary Series. In Episode 1, the developers explain why our game isn’t a simple port from the PC, but a full scale adaptation for the new platform.
"[…]The Xbox 360 version is actually an adaptation of the PC title, not a port. What we mean by adaptation is that we effectively rebuilt the game to make it feel native to the console," explains John Mamais, executive producer at CD Projekt RED.
"In creating the Xbox 360 version of the game, we’ve gone beyond simply porting it to the new platform. Instead, we’ve created a full adaptation of The Witcher 2 for the console. We’ve changed the game's controls and its menus to reflect the differences between the platforms, and we've made extensive modifications to the RED Engine to make sure that the graphics are jaw-dropping for Xbox 360 players. We're proud of the fact that this will be one of the best-looking games ever to come to the Xbox 360, while also being one of the most complex RPGs ever brought to console gamers. Current PC gamers should be pleased to know that they will receive all new content free of charge, including 4 more hours of gameplay." says Adam Badowski, head of the CD Projekt RED studio.
Monday - January 30, 2012
The Witcher 2 - Enhanced Edition Intro
I'm sure a lot of you have seen this via forum links but we should have an official newsbit for the gorgeous Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition intro video.
Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun
The Witcher 2 - X360 Version Previews @ 1UP
1UP has a preview for X360 version of the game. An excerpt:
I walked into a console demo for The Witcher 2 with these biases firmly intact -- only to find myself contemplating abandoning my current PC Witcher 2 playthrough in order to tackle it fresh on the 360. From the graphics to the controls, every change in the Witcher 2 came as a pleasant surprise. The first change to the game comes seconds after pressing Start: A new pre-rendered cinematic fleshes out a scene that's only alluded to in the original game. Developer CD Projekt RED filled this new version with fresh cut-scenes -- including a new ending movie. Obviously, it'll take more than a few new movies to justify dumping the PC version, but these cut-scenes are just the beginning for the additions.
Thursday - January 26, 2012
The Witcher 2 - PC Enhanced Edition, X360 Version on April 17th
CD Projekt has made some big announcements as expected - you can watch the video here if you want to experience it first hand.
Details on the X360 version were revealed, as well as the release date of April 17th. From VG247:
The RPG, originally released for PC last year, will contain combat controls specifically optimized for the Xbox 360 controller, along with three additional hours of quest content in the form of two new adventures for Act 3. Three new characters will also be introduced in the extra content, which will also be making its way onto PC as a free download.
Witcher II on 360 will also include all previous content released for PC, as well as the “Dark” difficulty setting and Arena mode.
Those "three additional hours" that are also coming to the PC will be in the form of an Enhanced Edition - also for release on April 17th. Here are some details from GOG:
GOG.com is pleased as punch to announce that The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition, developed by sister company CD Projekt RED, will be coming to PC on the 17th of April! Just like when CDP RED updated the original Witcher to The Witcher: Enhanced Edition, this comes with scads of upgrades and extras for you to enjoy. The good news is that anyone who owns The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings before the 17th will receive the upgrade to the Enhanced Edition for free!
In celebration, we’re offering The Witcher 2 on sale for 15% off, starting now, for the next two weeks.
In case you didn’t hear the news from CDP RED, let’s go over what’s new and awesome about the Enhanced Edition:
New major adventures set in new locations. These consist of an underground system of chambers beneath Loc Muine and a temperate coniferous forest in the Loc Muine mountains, and a secret cave passage. These new adventures will add several hours of story-based gameplay to the game.
New major characters to the Witcher story. One of them is Brigida Papebrock Dame. This noble woman comes from the Temerian family Papebrock and is a 30 year old lady-in-waiting of the Temerian court. The other characters are secret--for now!
All new animations and cut scenes, including a new, three and a half minute pre-rendered cinematic depicting the assassination of King Demavend of Aedirn. BAFTA Award winner and Academy Award nominee Tomasz Baginski brings this key historical event to life, setting the stage for the story told in The Witcher 2.
GOG.com will also be adding the Witcher comic book to our list of goodies on the 17th as a free gift to everyone who owns the Witcher 2; further, there will be a new game map, game guide, manual, and soundtrack available in your free goodies on that day as well.
The Witcher 2 is already a game that has won--in scientific notation--a gazillion awards. Come this April 17th, it’s going to get even better!
Wednesday - January 18, 2012
The Witcher 2 - X360 Details on Jan 26th
Details on The Witcher 2 for X360 will be released on January 26th, according to their community site:
CD Projekt RED will reveal all of the important facts regarding Xbox 360 version of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings during the upcoming conference held in Copernicus Science Centre on the 26th of January.
We will be unveiling many exciting details about the game such as its release date, brand, new trailer, additional features coming to the console adaptation and many more.
"Witcher 2 on Xbox 360 is not just a simple port of a PC game, it’s an adaptation. Our newest game has been enhanced with many new features, and according to many specialists it’s one of the best looking games on Xbox 360 ever" – said Michał Nowakowski, Member of the board, CD Projekt RED S.A..
Saturday - December 24, 2011
The Witcher 2 - GOG Geo-IP Policy Change
The successful suit by Namco Bandai against CD Projekt over The Witcher 2 has necessitated updating GOG.com's Geo-IP policy for selling the game. This won't have any effect for existing owners but future purchasers from GOG will be subject to regional pricing:
The Witcher 2: update of our Geo-IP policy
GOG.com Implements Court-Required Changes; Uses Geo-IP to Determine Location for Witcher 2 Purchases
If you’ve been paying attention to news about the CD Projekt RED group, you’ve possibly heard that a French court made a judgement about a few things that were in dispute between CD Projekt RED and Namco Bandai Partners. Most of the decision doesn’t influence GOG.com, but one of the rulings from the court does: according to the findings of the court, the method that we have been using to determine what location a game purchaser is located at when they buy a copy of The Witcher 2 (and, as such, what version and price they are presented with) needs to be changed.
GOG.com has stated for a long time now that we believe that the best security is asking only for the minimum of information that we need to successfully transact business with our customers. Our opinion is still that including things like determining your location via Geo-IP, because there are several possible flaws with that system. However, in order to keep selling The Witcher 2, we will need to implement a Geo-IP based system for determining your location, per the orders of the court.
We will be implementing this system immediately; you will see that your local currency’s price is now featured on the product page when you visit it, based on your IP address. Since we've already announced the price for this game would be the same flat price everywhere during the Holiday Sale (which ends on January 2nd, 2012, at 23:59 EST Time), we’re not going to change the pricing for the Witcher 2 until this sale ends.
We remain committed to user privacy and keeping your information as safe and secure as we can. Further, while your profile’s location is, by order of the court, determined via Geo-IP when you purchase a copy of The Witcher 2, you can still set your country location for the forums as you would like, and your location doesn’t matter for buying any other games on GOG.com.
If you have already purchased your copy of the Witcher 2, we won’t be changing anything on your already-bought copy, just as if you had a boxed copy on a physical shelf instead of a virtual box on your GOG.com shelf.
Friday - December 09, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Namco Bandai wins suit over X360 version
Edge Online reports Namco Bandai has won the suit over publishing rights for the X360 version of The Witcher 2. You may recall that CD Projekt announced THQ would publish the X360 version in several territories but Namco Bandai claimed a previous agreement. Seems the French court agreed with Namco:
The verdict requires that CD Projekt gives Namco Bandai a publishing agreement within 15 days, or face a fine of €15,000 for every day thereafter that it fails to do so. Speaking to Polish news site Parkiet, CD Projekt CEO Marcin Iwinski said he was "not satisfied" with the verdict but was relieved the dispute was over.
Thursday - December 08, 2011
The Witcher 2 - GOG 48 Hour Sale
GOG has a 48-hour sale on The Witcher 2, offering the game for $23.99 and a free copy of The Witcher.
Wednesday - November 30, 2011
The Witcher 2 - 1M Sales, 4.5M Pirated?
Eisberg sends in an interview between CD Projekt CEO Marcin Iwinski and PC Gamer about The Witcher 2 sales, piracy and DRM. Iwinski estimates The Witcher 2 has been pirated over 4.5M times on the way to sales of 1M:
PCG: Can you offer any concrete numbers or percentages as far as Witcher 2 piracy goes?
MI: There are no stats available, but let’s make a quick calculation. I was checking regularly the number of concurrent downloads on torrent aggregating sites, and for the first 6-8 weeks there was around 20-30k ppl downloading it at the same time. Let’s take 20k as the average and let’s take 6 weeks. The game is 14GB, so let’s assume that on an average not-too-fast connection it will be 6 hours of download. 6 weeks is 56 days, which equals to 1344 hours; and with 6h of average download time to get the game it would give us 224 downloads, then let’s multiply it by 20k simultaneous downloaders.
The result is roughly 4.5 million illegal downloads. This is only an estimation, and I would say that’s rather on the optimistic side of things; as of today we have sold over 1M legal copies, so having only 4.5-5 illegal copies for each legal one would be not a bad ratio. The reality is probably way worse.
Wednesday - November 23, 2011
The Witcher 2 - v2.1 Patch Available
CD Projekt Red has released the next patch for The Witcher 2. It's a tiny patch with only a couple of items listed in the patch notes:
- A new system has been implemented improving communications between game installations and both the registration server and ‘Arena’ mode leaderboards.
- A number of corrections have been introduced to the Witcher 2 Configuration Tool.
Saturday - November 12, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Version 2.0 Released in Europe Retail
According to this post in The Witcher 2 forum, a 2.0 version of Witcher 2 can now be bought at stores in Europe. Speculations in the thread goes something like this, as GodefroydeBouillon
Is this Namco Bandai's way of re-DRMing up to 2.0 the retail copies of the European market? That's the only reason behind this relunch I can think of and it's only been 6 months so they can't even re-release it as a GOTY or "Epic Edition" or "Ultimate Edition" yet.
Thursday - November 10, 2011
The Witcher 2 - GOG sells 35k, Steam 195k
This is an interesting one from the business side because Steam sales figures are extremely rare. In an interview at Eurogamer that coincides with CD Projekt's "Investor Day", Marcin Iwiński says GOG sold 35,000 digital copies of The Witcher 2, while Steam moved 195,000. Apparently all the others added together amounted to a mere 10,000. This mix is interesting but it also flies in the face of other claims that digital is outstripping retail with the game having sold 1M altogether - possibly the strong sales in Eastern Europe might skew that:
Top was, of course, Steam. More than 195,000 units were sold through Valve's digital platform. All other digital distribution outlets combined sold approximately ten thousand units.
In total, The Witcher 2 sold nearly a quarter of a million units digitally.
Friday - October 28, 2011
The Witcher 2 - v2.0 Review @ TPG
The Witcher 2 is the best RPG I’ve played in a long time. It has the most extensive non-linear story I have ever seen in a game and one of the most complex and fun combat systems. It is an experience that all gamers should have, there is so much to do, so much to see, so much fun to be had. The game recently dropped in price to $40 from $50 so you really have no excuse not to. The game took about 36 hours to complete and that was a run in which I tried to avoid my instinct to take every single side quest I could. Doing the side quests would easily double that time, and the game receives regular updates which in addition to fixes, add new content to the game.
Source: Blues News
Friday - October 21, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Warner Bros to Publish for X360 in NA
From The Witcher site:
October, 21, 2011 CD Projekt RED has just announced partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment in order to bring The Witcher 2 for Xbox 360 to North America. Here’s an excerpt from the press release:
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and CD Projekt RED, developers of the blockbuster Witcher franchise of video games, announced a distribution agreement for the upcoming Xbox 360 release of “The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings” in North America.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment will distribute “The Witcher 2” on Xbox 360, contributing sales and marketing resources.
The console version of “The Witcher 2” is an adaptation of the hit RPG fantasy game on PC.
“We have added significant enhancements to the Xbox 360 version of ‘The Witcher 2,’ going far beyond simply editing the code to run on a new platform. Thanks to one of the world's newest game engines, the RED Engine, it will be one of the best-looking games ever released on Xbox 360,” said Adam Kiciński, President, CD Projekt RED.
The story is dedicated to mature players and offers over 40 hours of non-linear gameplay. Starting from four possible beginnings, “The Witcher 2” leads players through different gameplay paths to 16 different endings making it one of the most non-linear and complex storylines ever brought to the console market.
Additionally, the game features a dynamic combat system, which fuses battles with RPG mechanics, giving access to a vast array of different fighting tactics.
“We are very pleased to partner with CD Projekt RED to bring ‘The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings’ to consoles in the United States, Canada and Mexico,” said Kevin Kebodeaux, Senior Vice President, Sales Americas, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “Witcher is a AAA franchise that fits well with our strategic distribution of high quality games, making it a great addition to our 2012 line-up in North America.”
“We are sure that this partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, with its strong position in the entertainment sector and particularly in the video and games distribution market in North America, will help us to achieve even bigger success in the most important market for Xbox 360 games. This is also a big distinction for us, that Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment recognizes ‘The Witcher 2’ as a rare example of a game with world-class production values, which merges a very ambitious and complex approach with big commercial potential,” said Adam Kiciński.
Release of “The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings” on Xbox 360 is expected in Q1 2012.
Tuesday - October 04, 2011
The Witcher 2 - v2.0 Explored @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee has updated their Witcher 2 subsite and database with the content from v2.0:
After finishing up our full review of The Witcher 2's 2.0 content, we moved on to our dedicated subsite to bring you detailed information on the newly added tutorial, the new arena system (including summaries of all thirty waves), the Blasphemer, Oathbreaker, and Kinslayer "dark" side quests, and more. And as you might have expected, that also means that our equipment database now sports all 36 new items that can be obtained in "dark" difficulty mode.
Saturday - October 01, 2011
The Witcher 2 - v2.0 Review @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee reviews the v2.0 release of The Witcher 2. They describe the Arena addition as the centre-piece but I'm going to take a quote on the balance and control changes:
Perhaps tying in with the arena mode added, there are a large number of balance changes that have been made to combat, some of which are bigger than others, but all add up to make The Witcher 2 Patch 2.0's fighting feel quite different. While the fundamentals of dodging, parrying, and using silver and steel swords have remained the same, it's more in the actual handling of Geralt that things have seen an overhaul. Immediately, it's clear that the controls are a lot more responsive, striking a much better balance between realism and actual ease of use. Previously, it was possible to have an attack interrupted, and Geralt would be promptly stunlocked until death, as if he'd suddenly fallen into a Gothic game. Now, Geralt's attacks can't be interrupted nearly as easily, and the recovery period between actions is much smaller, meaning that now, when you attempt to perform an action, it actually occurs, and you won't find a single bad move completely ruining a fight for you. In some senses, this makes combat easier, but when combined with the fact that Geralt can now be killed by only a couple of attacks, it actually makes the game feel far more fair. Finally, parrying has been retooled to reduce damage up to a maximum of 50%, but since it no longer consumes Geralt's vigor meter, it's overall a much better trade-off than before.
Thursday - September 29, 2011
The Witcher 2 - v2.0 Released
The Witcher 2 v2.0 has been released, with details on this page at the official site. New installations and v1.35 should automatically update - but other versions require some other steps as outlined in the above link. A reminder of the big features, with 40 other improvements as well:
Arena - is a new gameplay mode that is separate from the main adventure and narrative of The Witcher 2. In this mode, Geralt of Rivia duels a variety of foes to the death in a gladiatorial arena located in an unnamed town somewhere in the Northern Kingdoms. In addition to winning gold and valuable items, players also receive points for their wins. They can then post their point totals on-line to compare their achievements against those of other blood sport enthusiasts around the world. Geralt can encounter both foes and allies in the arena. He can recruit the latter for a fee to assist him during his most challenging clashes.
IMPORTANT: Players using mods to alter their character attributes and statistics will not be able to post their point totals from the arena to the server. This is a necessary precaution to prevent any attempts at distorting competition or misrepresenting player achievements.
Tutorial - The game tutorial takes the form of a brief adventure during which players learn how to use a range of game mechanics and functionalities. Assuming the role of game protagonist Geralt of Rivia, players save a wounded knight named Bolton of Ironford while learning game controls as well as the basics of combat and alchemy. This transpires step by step as the tutorial guides players through a series of minor missions. Upon completion, based on demonstrated abilities, the tutorial recommends the difficulty level which the player should choose in embarking on the main adventure of The Witcher 2.
Dark Difficulty - The ‘Dark’ difficulty setting is the most demanding difficulty level in gameplay terms. Under this setting, each and every foe represents a significant challenge. In addition to raising the difficulty bar, the module includes several new sets of equipment/items that are linked through a dark legend detailed in the Journal. Once all their components have been collected and donned, the Blasphemer’s, Oathbreaker’s and Kinslayer’s outfits provide great advantages in combat. The swords included in the outfits strip opponents of Vitality while supplementing the witcher’s. However, given that they are cursed, the swords provide no benefit and harm Geralt by sapping him of Vitality as long as the outfits to which they belong remain incomplete.
Wednesday - September 28, 2011
The Witcher 2 - v2.0 Interview, Patch Notes
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has an interview with CDP’s development director Adam Badowski about the The Witcher 2 Patch 2.0, which is due in two days. A bit on the big additions:
RPS: Which do you regard as the most important of these changes and why?
Badowski: All of them are somehow important. The forty plus technical improvements because they bring the game closer to being perfectly polished. The new tutorial could prove really valuable to those about to start their first playthrough – and we suspect this could be quite a large group, as good RPGs have a long lifecycle. On the other hand, those who wanted and planned to play the game again will, I think, really appreciate ‘Dark’ mode. Finally, there’s the ‘Arena’ – the single biggest added feature that should bring a lot of people enjoyment. Hmm, so which one wins? Probably ‘Arena’ mode!
GOG has a set of "summary" patch notes if you'd like a detailed overview but The Witcher site offers a .pdf document that lists all 40+ of the improvements, if you'd like the full detail. I'd say several readers will be happy with the "responsiveness" fixes listed.
Monday - September 26, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Expansion and Witcher 3 Hints?
Eurogamer has some comments from Game designer and writer Jan Bartkowicz that point at The Witcher 3 (no real surprise) and, possibly, a Witcher 2 expansion. The language is a bit convoluted but here's a snip:
"We still have at least one big title ahead of us in The Witcher franchise," he told us.
"All I can say is - outside of when the pre-production starts and finishes - with the story team we were probably in pre-production for The Witcher 3 during making The Witcher 2."
"All I can say is we're planning on releasing something. [The Witcher 2.0 is] not the last update for The Witcher 2," he said. "That's what I can assure you."
Wednesday - September 21, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Newsletter, Fall Conference
If you've subscribed to The Witcher 2 newsletter you'll already have this; if not, you can read it here, where they are promoting the Fall Conference:
Dear Witcher Fans,
CD Projekt would like to invite you to be a part of our Fall Conference which takes place on the 22nd of September. The Witcher 2, version 2.0 is on its way and we would like you to join us on this special day, as we are going to reveal some new, exciting facts regarding the upcoming release and shed some light on the recently announced adaptation of Assassins of Kings for Xbox 360.
CD Projekt RED and GOG.com will be jointly streaming their international portions of the CDP Fall 2011 conference via Ustream video feed at 6:00 PM Warsaw time (4:00 pm GMT, 12:00 noon EDT, or 9:00 PDT) on Thursday 22 September here. GOG.com will be discussing their performance in 2011 and revealing new developments. CDP RED will be showing off the new features of The Witcher 2 version 2.0 live for the very first time, followed by a live gameplay demonstration of The Witcher 2 for Xbox 360. Last but not least, there is also an official unveil of the box art for the title scheduled to take place on that day.
CD Projekt RED's demonstration of The Witcher 2 version 2.0 new content, will start at 4:15 GMT, and version 2.0 will become available just one week after the event on the 29th of September. During the presentation, People watching the stream will be able to take a closer look at some of the most important additions and enhancements to be included in this content update [...].
Wednesday - September 07, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Italian Review @ La Maschera Riposta
Italian site La Maschera Riposta writes in with their review of The Witcher 2, for any of our Italian readers. Score: 5/5.
Wednesday - August 31, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Namco Bandai Wins Over X360 Distribution
This news is apparently widely available in the German press but doesn't seem to have hit English sites. GamersGlobal reports (in German) that Namco Bandai has won their case against CDP, ruling their distribution deal with THQ is illegal. Apparently an appeal is set for September 27th, so we'll need to see where this goes.
Tuesday - August 30, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Sold Near a Million Copies
According to the Warsaw Business Journal, CD Project Red has sold about 940,000 copies of Witcher 2, helping CD Project RED to earn a lot of money. A most relevant quote:
CD Projekt Red (previously Optimus), producer of the record-breaking “The Witcher” and “The Witcher 2” computer games, reported a net profit of zł.20.4 million and generated zł.80.3 million in revenue for the first half of 2011, Parkiet reported.
Of the group’s many areas of operation, the gaming division provided the largest contribution to the result. In particular, The Witcher 2 game, released on May 17, proved a great success, with sales of 940,000 copies, out of which 200,000 were downloaded online by gamers.
Thursday - August 18, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Discount @ GoG
Good old Games is running a promo to celebrate the biggest gaming event in Europe: GamesCom. As part of this promo The Witcher 2 is now available for download at Good Old Games with a 40% discount, so you can grab it now for $29.29.
In addition they also give a 40% discount on the following games:
- Jagged Alliance 1
- Jagged Alliance 2
- Battle Isle Platinum
- Realms of Arkania 1 and 2
- Realms of Arkania 3
- Master of Orion 1 and 2
The offer is valid until Monday the 22nd (07.59 AM GMT).
Wednesday - August 17, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Trailer and Release Date of version 2.0
In the GamesCom video that has been released for The Witcher 2 a lot of news is given, such as:
- It will have a new tutorial system
- New difficulty setting: Dark mode, which comes with a new range of 'Dark' items
- A new game mode: Arena game mode
- Contains all the previous updates
- Contains all the DLC packs
- Free for those already owning the game
- Available on September the 29th
Check out the GameTrailers video below with all this information.
Thanks BlackCanopus and Melvil.
Monday - August 15, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Wins three European Games Awards
The folks over at 4players have the winners of the European Games Awards 2011, which have been presented last night in Cologne. Over 80.000 gamers from Europe did vote for their favourite games in various categories. The Witcher 2 is the only RPG winning and did score first place in the following categories: Game Design, Game World & Special Edition...
spotted at the-witcher.de
Sunday - August 14, 2011
The Witcher 2 - New and improved PC version 2.0 announced
CDPR has released a new music video "Riverside - Forgotten Lands", which mentions a new and improved PC version 2 at about 4:55min running time - no more infos yet...
Thursday - August 11, 2011
The Witcher 2 - v1.35 Hotfix Released
A new patch for The Witcher 2 has been released addressing a number of issues with the v1.3 release:
We have just released a Hotfix addressing certain issues that might have been caused by the Patch 1.3. Major problems addressed by this hotfix include: shadows not being displayed correctly in 3D Vision, Steam achievements not being registered, and the game executable file being recognized as a threat by antivirus software. Full list of changes and more information about the hotfix itself can be found here.
Monday - August 01, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Official Forums Relaunched
Wow, that took a while. CD Projekt finally has official forums back up again.
The Witcher 2 - 360 Version Delayed, More DLC Coming
I imagine the overwhelming majority of our readers already have the PC version but VG247 reports the X360 release of The Witcher 2 has been pushed to Q1 2012 for more polish and to continue their legal battles with Namco.
Apparently they also have a "major DLC" for the PC version coming that will be unveiled at Gamescom:
CD Projekt also said it would show a video on “major DLC” that will form part of an “upcoming, as-yet-unannounced update” for the PC version at gamescom.
Saturday - July 30, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Patching the GOG Version
Apparently there must be some confusion about patching the GOG version of The Witcher 2 to v1.3 because they have a new article on the process and an auto-patcher program on offer at GOG. Head over if you're stuck, I suppose.
Friday - July 22, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Verdict @ RPS
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has one of their roundtable reviews for The Witcher 2. It's rambling conversation, so hard to quote, but it's thumbs up despite some issues:
Richard: I see The Witcher 2 as simultaneously a great example of what can happen when a company has complete creative freedom, and what can go horribly wrong. It’s really interesting like that.
Kieron: I’ll agree with Richard there.
Richard: The world, the attitude, some of the asides… no game from, say, Bioware, is likely to do that.
Kieron: And while I like party based RPGs, I also think the Witcher 2 works brilliantly with its single class. It goes deep into WHAT IS A WITCHER. And puts you in his splendid leather boots. Magic, multiple swords, alchemy, monster studying, being sterile and having sex with folks, etc.
Richard: At the same time, someone really should have been there to say “No, you WILL have a proper tutorial. You WILL explain this. You will NOT expect everyone to have read seventy books – in Polish – to understand the big picture properly.”
Wednesday - July 20, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Walkthrough @ GameBanshee
Our friends at GameBanshee send word they have completed their walkthrough for The Witcher 2:
Hot on the heels of CD Projekt RED's brand new v1.3 patch for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings comes our fully annotated walkthrough that covers all of the RPG sequel's quests through the prologue, all three chapters (including versions for both Iorveth and Roche), the epilogue, and both DLCs released to date (Troll Trouble and A Sackful of Fluff). Beyond that, we've also updated our equipment database with a few items that we discovered were missing during the walkthrough's creation.
The massive walkthrough is the result of nearly two months worth of work, so if you see anything that needs to added, removed, or tweaked (and you likely will), feel free to let us know. As always, enjoy!
The Witcher 2 - Patch 1.3 Released
CDP Project RED has released the announced 1.3 patch. If you have forgotten it, here's the
6 first points of the patch notes again.
1.New FREE DLC – “A Sackful of Fluff” is a new quest in Chapter 2 of the game. To start the quest, visit the eccentric Elthon, who inhabits a solitary hut near the quarry outside Vergen. The quest will prove most rewarding to those who demonstrate patience.
2. Game now supports 4:3, 5:4, and 16:10 aspect ratios.
3. Item storage has been added. Players can now store items from their Inventory at inns. To leave items in storage or collect previously stored items, talk to innkeepers.
4. A ‘Junk’ panel has been added to the Inventory to provide greater clarity in item classification.
5. A new menu option has been added under ‘Extras’ – this enables players to view in-game animated sequences (flashbacks, memory flashes, dreams stolen by harpies) outside of the game.
6. A ‘Quickload’ option has been added under the F9 key.
Monday - July 18, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Patch v1.3 Update
This post at The Witcher site is over a week old, so I'm not sure how we missed it, but everyone else seems to have noticed it today as well. Anyway, news about v1.3:
Patch 1.3 is not quite here yet, but we would like to show you an early changelog with the fixes and amendments that will be implemented in the nearest update. There is still no ETA on its release so please bear with us and stay tuned for more information. You can read the changelog here.
Source: Blues News
Friday - July 15, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Review @ RPG Codex
RPG Codex has penned a review of this game entitled Of Monsters, Men and BROche. It deals with the history of the Witcher games, the combat, the quests, alchemy, the graphics, and more. Here is a bit about the combat:
Each skill tree has 15 different skills, which can be picked and later upgraded for greater effect. You can’t gain more than 34 skill points during the game, which means that you can’t max a single specialization tree (after spending 6 points to unlock them), which is a wise decision, considering that after upgrading your skills you can kill bosses in 2-3 hits.
Two skills worth mentioning are the throwing skills and the top tier (adrenaline) skills of each tree. The throwing skill is your lifeline. For example, a superb silver sword does 17-25 points of damage. A well-balanced silver dagger, which can be thrown from a safe distance and can NOT be blocked does 50-70 points of damage. You can “machine gun” daggers, making short work of your enemies, which makes sense because a genetically enhanced monster slayer should have superior eye-hand coordination.
A bit about alchemy:
Most of the potions from the first game are still present (often slightly altered in effect), but there are a lot of new ones as well. The secondary effects of potions (albedo, nigredo etc) and different bases are gone, greatly streamlining the experience. Considering that you can't drink potions during combat and that some fights start after lengthy cutscenes, after which your potion timers either run out already or are close to expiring, it’s easy to wonder if, perhaps, fixing what wasn’t really broken is a good idea.
A little something about the quests, particularly about the Big Choice:
Now, I assume that you’ve all heard rumors about The Big Choice™, which dramatically changes the entire game. It’s true. At the end of chapter 1 you’ll be offered to make the most important choice – which location you’d like to visit in Chapter 2: Henselt's war camp or the city of Vergen. Whereas most RPGs allow you to visit different places freely, CD Project redefines the genre once again by introducing this very important choice – left or right. While it may seem like that you’re choosing sides in a conflict or that the game is wildly non-linear, we’d like to reassure you that CD Project knows that such things are very confusing, so you’ll merely choose which linear adventure path to follow.
A snip from the conclusion:
The Witcher 2 is undoubtedly a product of love, which is a rare thing these days, so in the end it doesn’t really matter what kind of game is it, how linear or non-linear it is, and whether or not the choices matter. Most importantly, it is a game worth playing. Even though the faults are glaring, the game is more than the sum of its flawed parts, which is what makes it an enjoyable experience overall, whether you play it as RPG or as an action-adventure game.
Saturday - July 09, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Review @ GameCritics - Modding Tools Coming
GameCritics has a review up for Wicther 2 - the score is 5.5/10 - and here's why in a few excerpts:
About the combat:
Then there's the actual combat, which is even more problematic than the potion-chugging prep work. Even with the simplified controls, Geralt's actions are extremely sluggish, and there's often a slight delay between when I press a button and when he actually does something. Such a delay can be a massive headache when being attacked from behind does 200% damage, or when I need to throw a bomb to stop an incoming group of Rotfiends. Worse still, the game has a nasty habit of spiking the difficulty, especially when facing multiple enemies. When up against a large group, there will inevitably be a ton of running around in circles using ranged attacks and bombs (a practice commonly known as kiting), which gets old very fast.
About the story:
The story of the Witcher 2 is a sleepy, tired, Tolkien-esque fantasy slog with some softcore porn thrown in. I had a hard time keeping an interest in the game's world (yes, including the porny bits), and it didn't help that the writers assumed a lot of familiarity on my part regarding its details. Based on a popular series of fantasy novels, Witcher 2 presents a lot of people and places that a player won't necessarily be familiar with, and then doesn't do much to introduce them or provide illuminating context. I'm certainly the kind of player that loves digging into a game's lore, but even that didn't help much since the available lore doesn't shed much light on anything.
Thanks to Luki1234567 in the Witcher 2 thread at the Bioware forums and Kicek11 in this Witcher 2 thread at GOG for finding this.
On a lighter, yet somehow related note, modding tools will be coming for Witcher 2.
CDP RED's Andrzej Kwiatkowski confirms it in this thread on the Witcher 2 forums at GOG.
Here's the official word:
We fully endorse The Witcher 2 modding and we plan to release modding tools. Nothing has changed since our last statement on that matter. Unfortunately we don't have any timeline of the release.
Thanks to slimgrim in the Witcher 2 thread at the Bioware forums for finding this.
Friday - July 08, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Patch 1.3 Coming - CDP RED being sued by Namco BANDAI
Patch 1.3 is not quite here yet, but we would like to show you an early changelog with the fixes and amendments that will be implemented in the nearest update. There is still no ETA on its release so please bear with us and stay tuned for more information.
The changelog is fairly huge, so follow this link to learn more.
However, here's the first 6 changes:
1. New FREE DLC – “A Sackful of Fluff” is a new quest in Chapter 2 of the game. To start the quest, visit the eccentric Elthon, who inhabits a solitary hut near the quarry outside Vergen. The quest will prove most rewarding to those who demonstrate patience.
2. Game now supports 4:3, 5:4, 16:10 aspect ratios.
3. Item storage has been added. Players can now store items from their Inventory at inns. To leave items in storage or collect previously stored items, talk to innkeepers.
4. A „Junk‟ panel has been added to Inventory to provide greater clarity in item classification. 5. New menu option added in „Extras‟ - enables players to view in-game animated sequences (flashbacks, memory flashes, dreams stolen by harpies) outside of the game.
6. A „Quickload‟ option has been added under the F9 key.
In other Witcher 2 news, according to the website Dark Side of Gaming, CDP RED is being sued by Namco BANDAI for this:
the company [Namco BANDAI] has filed a case against CD Project RED. According to the lawsuit, CD Projekt RED broke their agreement by removing the DRM protection without the publisher’s authority and by choosing THQ for the distribution of The Witcher 2′s X360 version.
As with most cases, we first tried to end the dispute peacefully. Attempts failed and because of this, we hoped that our partner would send the case to the court. The agreement that we signed last year, concerned only the distribution of “The Witcher 2″ for the PC. The records were carefully clarified to avoid any ambiguity.
Namco Bandai have options when choosing the priority of our distributor’s version of the Xbox 360. It could use, but not taken advantage of certain preferences. In this situation, we chose the offer that THQ made us.
Source: CD Projekt
Sunday - July 03, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Review @ Crispy Gamer
Crispy Gamer has a review up for The Witcher 2. The reviewer likes it and recommends it.
Here's the reviewer's take on the combat system
The Witcher 2 comes across as slow and sticky most of the time. Geralt is controlled through a combination of the mouse and WASD keys. While the mouse buttons control Geralt’s attacks with whatever weapon he has equipped, his magical attacks and combat maneuvers are bound to the keyboard. Given the importance that The Witcher 2 places on dodging and parrying in combat, it’s a surprise that neither mechanic functions very well. I found that most of the time in order to get Geralt to actually raise his sword up into a defensive position I had to repeatedly spam the block key, and even then he did so with a slowness that often allowed an enemy’s attack to slip through.
He likes the magic system
In contrast, the magic system is interesting and can be included in the flow of battle with ease. Geralt’s five spells (with a sixth added later on) include the ability to stun opponents with a telekinetic wave, burn them with a burst of flame, set traps on the ground that freeze them in place, charm them to his side for short periods of time, and create a protective shield around himself.
The strong point is the dialogue system
Depending on what players choose, The Witcher 2’s story will twist and turn leading players to any of the game’s 16 different endings. For instance, in the beginning of the game when faced with a rebellious nobleman on the battle field, Geralt has the opportunity to convince him to either surrender or face him in honorable combat. The option players choose will decide the fate of the nobleman’s family and which NPCs Geralt will be able to interact with later on in the game.
And a snip from the conclusion
The Witcher 2 is an interesting and refreshing RPG and despite my frustration with the combat system, it was actually a rather fun and engaging game. Balancing somewhere between Baldur’s Gate and Dragon Age, The Witcher 2 does risk pushing away fans of easier, more approachable games who may find the combat system and the ease with which Geralt dies to be too frustrating.
Friday - July 01, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Interview with Voice of Geralt - Doug Cockle @ RPGSite
RPGSite did an interview with Doug Cockle, the voice of Geralt in Witcher 1's and Witcher 2's English versions. They talk both about his background as well as the work he has done for CD Project RED on their games. For anyone who is interested in voice action or games, the interview is great read. Here's a snip about finding Geralt's voice:
RPGSite: How did you approach the task of understanding Geralt and finding his voice and is it the same approach you would take with a character on stage and screen.
Doug: No one had heard Geralt’s voice before so we had that freedom, but the effort to capture the voice of the character that Sapkowski draws so nicely in the books really required the help of people who knew the books well. I took a lot of clues from the script and the production team and infused Geralt with bits of my own personality. I suppose it is very much the same process as I use for stage and screen, but the whole process tends to happen more quickly, certainly more quickly than for stage where you often have at least several weeks to work on a character.
And here's a snip about general acting techniques and teaching acting:
RPGSite: Have you noticed any difference in the techniques and theories that are taught and practiced by tutors and actors in the United Kingdom and the United States?
Doug: Maybe twenty years ago there might have been more of a distinction between U.S. and U.K. training and techniques, but now there is so much crossover of actors, directors and teachers that there really isn’t too much difference.
RPGSite: What areas of study do you yourself focus on when teaching?
Doug: I focus on truthful behaviour mostly, but use whatever techniques or methods that seem appropriate for the students and what their individual needs are. My own training was Stanislavski based, but there was so much more to it than that. I could list dozens of practitioners and teachers who have influenced my own development as an actor. I do enjoy teaching the voice over classes though! This year the students kept asking me to do the “Witcher Voice”!
Wednesday - June 29, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Review Roundup
More reviews for this game has been published. I'll quote one of them and list the others:
But The Witcher 2 goes much deeper than this basic premise, leading its protagonist on a wild journey filled to the brim with political intrigue, conspiracies, warring factions, supernatural forces and a whole host of superbly written characters, all with their own real, corrupt and existential motive.
Another quote from this interview:
However, it does teach you a harsh lesson in how to fully utilise Geralt’s arsenal of abilities. The Witcher 2 isn’t a game where you can charge in, sword swinging through the air with abandon, and have any hope of winning. Each fight must have a thought process behind it, weighing up the kind of enemies you’re fighting and continuously looking to manoeuvre into the best position possible; not just to attack, but to defend as well. You’ll need to block, roll and use each of Geralt’s sign spells and bomb and trap placements to survive.
And a snip from the conclusion:
It’s a smart, refreshingly dark take on RPGs, complemented by action-oriented and tactical combat with a surprising amount of depth. It has its flaws but they’re only minor in what is a landmark title and a series we can only hope will long continue
And then the others:
Sunday - June 26, 2011
The Witcher 2 - New York Times Review
New York Times has penned a very favourable review of The Witcher 2. Entitled Exploring Moral Consequences, the Obvious and the Unintended, the well written review explains why Witcher 2 is among the reviewer's favourite games. I encourage you the read the review, but as always here's a snip:
The world of The Witcher is gothic, soulful and intelligent, yet mercilessly brutal. Innocent people die, and still almost all the characters consider themselves perfectly justified in their actions. After all, one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter, and which you consider noble depends on your personal circumstances. As the Witcher, an independent, mystical warrior set amid warring medieval kingdoms, you will have to decide what justice means to you.
We would like to add that the RED Team is very proud and thankful for this review.
Source: CD Projekt
Friday - June 24, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Review @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee's Brother None has penned down a lengthy review of The Witcher 2 listing the good and bad parts of the game. As usual there is no score but the overall result is positive.
Considering where mainstream RPGs have been trending towards lately, the Witcher 2 is a great step in the right direction. I don't feel the combat segment of RPGs has to be action-based, quite the opposite, nor do I understand the need to add gimmicks like QTEs to the RPG genre. Yet, if someone wants to craft an “evolved” RPG with action-based combat, this is what it should be. It is about gaining complexity and becoming more mature, instead of simplifying and schlock stories. Leaving aside the debate on combat and camera angles, the core mistake of where the RPG genre is thundering to is that developers do not respect players. The Witcher 2 isn't unremittingly hard, nor will it win awards for complexity in its combat or RPG systems, but what sets it apart from the Dragon Age IIs of the world is both the enormous amount of work put into its every detail, and in not being afraid to challenge the player and offer him or her real and mature choices. It is for those reasons that The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is easily our early frontrunner for "RPG of the Year", with no title released so far this year even coming close.
Wednesday - June 22, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Interview Post Release @ Gamer Gaia
Another post release interview for this game has turned up - this time at Gamer Gaia.
They've talked with the the VP of Business Development, Michal Nowakowski. They also talk about the gaming scene in general:
Now, I would like to ask a few questions regarding the general gaming scene. Today, companies make ridiculously huge amounts of money from mediocre games and it became more like a business rather than entertainment. There are some games with a profit margin more than the GDP of an average 3rd world country. Do you think that the gaming industry will face with a major failure in the near future like the music industry did back in early 2000s?
Do I think dev money is easy money? No, as for every successful project that sells well and sees sequels, there are dozens of games that either do not get finished because of lack of financing or ones that do not sell good or good enough and their sequels are canned. Is it easier for Publishers or Distributors? Not really either - there is always a risk of financial losses, and getting black in the P&L is not as easy as it may seem from the outside. And trust me, publishers also do not make profit of the size you are suggesting - look at EA posting loss results for so many past quarters. It is a business of risk, and a pretty big one.
And Nowakowski also answers a question about what they're doing as to not being pushed out of the market:
CD Projekt RED is a company that stands strong against major companies. However, there is always a risk of being pushed out of the market. Your independent attitude is well received among the gamers, do you intend to keep your indie status? What are your future plans regarding the company?
MN: We do intend to keep the indie status. We are listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and as such are reasonably well funded. Well enough to continue our operations without selling ourselves to bigger entity. As for the plans, heh. We plan to keep making games with passion, and hope that gamers keep on enjoying them! And that really is about it - we may experiment with new platforms, maybe even new LPs in the future, but the general idea is to keep making games, and get better at doing that with every next release.
Monday - June 20, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Post-release Interview @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee caught up with Tomasz Gop before he left CDPR to talk about the release of The Witcher 2. On more free DLCs:
GB: Beyond the Troll Trouble DLC, what other downloadable content are you working on for the game? How many add-ons do you intend to release for it, and have you decided whether or not you'll pursue a full-on expansion pack?
Tomasz: As you might expect, since we plan to release our DLCs over time, our basic plan is to announce them individually. What we can say right now is that we have a couple more coming within the next few weeks, and also that we will have more after that. And they will all be DLC 4 Free, meaning no charge to registered users.
Saturday - June 18, 2011
The Witcher 2 - X360 Interview @ VG247
CDPR's Tomasz Gop has been interviewed by VG247 about bringing The Witcher 2 to the X360, as well as some general questions on the industry:
Onto more general RPG stuff. What’s your take on the general state of choice in RPGs? Do you think choice in a lot of games is too toothless – that it’s gentle so as to make sure players don’t miss out on anything?
I always have trouble comparing CD Projekt to different developers. We’ve always been confident in what we’re doing and the way we’re approaching what we’re doing. I can tell you that we know how we want to handle this. We want to hint at players that there might be a branch in the storyline – that a different outcome depends on certain elements in the game when you meet them. But we don’t think it’s – hmm, how to put this – we don’t think it’s fair to give out everything. To make people feel spoonfed or anything like that. We’re not the kind of game that does that, and I don’t see us as ever doing that. So I don’t think it’s going to happen to the Witcher franchise.
Thursday - June 09, 2011
The Witcher 2 - X360 Video, Preview
TR sends in some shaky-cam footage of the X360 version of The Witcher 2 in action from Polish site Polygamia - or just head straight to the footage at Youtube.
In other news, GameSpot has a preview of the X360 version.
Wednesday - June 08, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Review @ 1Up
Tom Chick takes a look at The Witcher 2 at 1Up, with an "A" rating:
The story opens with the action underway, skipping the usual exposition. On one hand, this will be confusing. But on the other hand, figuring out what's going on gives everything a sense of forward motion -- urgency, even. Want to know what's going on? Then snap to it and do some quests! Call it pace-based storytelling. The plot weaves a canny combination of mysterious personal backstory and unfolding political intrigue, neither of which is dumbed down for a videogame. And even if they never quite come together, or even resolve, they don't have to. That's not the point. The lack of resolution by the time the credits roll isn't a cheap hook for a sequel. It's a minor key that fades out precisely where it should. As a story-driven game about choice-and-consequences, The Witcher 2 beats Bethesda's and Bioware's best handily for how it progresses without obvious either/or forks in the road or gamey dialogue systems. In fact, the occasional dramatic choices in The Witcher 2 might not even be apparent as a dramatic choice. These aren't your usual tropes about either/or faction choices, world-ending plots, or even dastardly villains. In fact, it's debatable whether it even has a villain. Where you expect a boss fight, you might just get a conversation. Where you expect an enemy, you might get a begrudging ally. By the time it's all over, you probably won't even realize the opportunities you've missed, because it comes together better than the usual multiple-choice storyline. Be sure to debrief with other players who've finished the game -- you'll probably be in for a few surprises.
The story opens with the action underway, skipping the usual exposition. On one hand, this will be confusing. But on the other hand, figuring out what's going on gives everything a sense of forward motion -- urgency, even. Want to know what's going on? Then snap to it and do some quests! Call it pace-based storytelling. The plot weaves a canny combination of mysterious personal backstory and unfolding political intrigue, neither of which is dumbed down for a videogame. And even if they never quite come together, or even resolve, they don't have to. That's not the point. The lack of resolution by the time the credits roll isn't a cheap hook for a sequel. It's a minor key that fades out precisely where it should.
As a story-driven game about choice-and-consequences, The Witcher 2 beats Bethesda's and Bioware's best handily for how it progresses without obvious either/or forks in the road or gamey dialogue systems. In fact, the occasional dramatic choices in The Witcher 2 might not even be apparent as a dramatic choice. These aren't your usual tropes about either/or faction choices, world-ending plots, or even dastardly villains. In fact, it's debatable whether it even has a villain. Where you expect a boss fight, you might just get a conversation. Where you expect an enemy, you might get a begrudging ally. By the time it's all over, you probably won't even realize the opportunities you've missed, because it comes together better than the usual multiple-choice storyline. Be sure to debrief with other players who've finished the game -- you'll probably be in for a few surprises.
The Witcher 2 - Review @ Witcher2Game
Witcher 2 fansite Witcher2Game sent in their review, which carries a score of 4/5. A sample:
Strangely, the “survival of the fittest” pace which had been set during the prologue relaxed so much during the game’s next chapter than I found myself wishing I could have switched them around. Chapter I is filled with the same features we’re forced to learn during the frenetic prologue, from QTEs to casting spells to hacking and slashing through waves of monsters to save frightened townsfolk or rescue damsels and wastrels in distress, but the overall feel is one of relaxation. Add in old friends like Triss, Dandelion and Zoltan Chivay, and Geralt’s sojourn in the village of Flotsam felt almost like a vacation compared to the death, fireballs and wild struggle to save my skin I experienced during the prologue.
The game’s second chapter moves quickly, and while the pace isn’t quite as breakneck as the prologue, I still found myself scurrying to keep up with the imminent danger and mercurial politicians of Aedirn and Kaedwen. Chapter II is beautiful and offers many new and familiar faces with great voice acting, solid writing and beautiful graphics to introduce players to the Aedirnian city of Vergen. But if Chapter I was a stroll through the woods, Chapter II was a rough ride on a fast horse, and I felt as if I never quite got my bearings on how to navigate the multiple parallel plot lines Geralt is forced to deal with upon his departure from Temeria.
Monday - June 06, 2011
The Witcher 2 - X360 Interview @ Polygamia
TR sends in this Polish interview on the X360 port of The Witcher 2 at Polygamia and, thankfully, an English fan translation at Giant Bomb. A sample from the translation:
1. When's the release date?
We're aiming at the end of the year. An exact date has not been assigned yet. It will be annonced at GamesCom in Cologne.
2. How many discs?
It's too early to talk about that. We'll know exactly closer to the release.
3. Will the console release be bundled with a map, artbook, etc., or will it just be the standard DVD case with a manual/leaflet? / Will the Xbox version be as rich as the PC version or all we're getting is a disc in a box and nothing like the Premium Edition?
It's really important to us that the console version of TW2 is unique and richer than standard releases. We've already started talking with Microsoft about it, but it's still too early to give any details. We'll release info on that once we have something concrete. There are certain limitations related to relasing a game on consoles though. However, we're hoping that the Xbox release will be something special.
Sunday - June 05, 2011
The Witcher 2 - X360 Interview @ GameTrailers
Saturday - June 04, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Patch 1.2 Released
AS expected, CDPR has released the 1.2 patch for The Witcher 2:
We have just released Patch 1.2 for The Witcher 2. It should automatically download from the game's launcher, however you need to make sure that your game is patched to version 1.1 before applying it. Steam version needs to be updated through the Steam patching system. Read the full list of changes here.
Thursday - June 02, 2011
The Witcher 2 - coming to XBOX360 and Patch 1.2 News
The currently broadcast press conference by CDPR and GOG announced, as expected, the XBox360 port of Witcher 2 due to hit stores towards the end of 2011 alongside with patch 1.2 scheduled for tomorrow. A detailed patch list will be released after the press conference, but among the usual bug- and balancing fixes it features a new DLC called 'Barbers and Coiffeurs', which allows Geralt to wear his hair open aghain as in W1 ;-)
update: Here's patch 1.2 changelog:
Patch will be available on 3.06.2011
"Barbers and Coiffeuses"
Some traders also provide barbershop services. For a small fee, Geralt can get them to change his hairstyle. Search notice boards for information about barbers and coiffeuses offering services of this nature in a given location. In Flotsam, in Chapter 1 of the game, these services are available from the antique book dealer Einar Gausel. In Chapter 2, look either for Sambor in Henselt’s Camp or for Felicia Cori in Vergen. This apprentice sorceress also provides hairstyling services in Loc Muinne, in Chapter 3 of the game.
Patch 1.2 Corrections/Amendments (June 3, 2011)
All previously released DLC packages are installed with Patch 1.2:
- "Blue Stripes Combat Jacket"
- Ultimate Alchemist's Outfit"
- Ultimate Mage's Outfit"
- "Ultimate Swordsman's Outfit"
- "Finisher Pack"
- "Mysterious Merchant"
- "Troll Trouble"
- Patch 1.2 adds a new free DLC package titled “Barbers and Coiffeuses.” To take advantage of barbershop and hairstyling services, look for Einar Gausel in Chapter 1 of the game, Sambor in Henselt’s Camp in Chapter 2, Felicia Cori in Chapter 2 if you travel to Vergen, and Felicia Cori once again in Chapter 3.
- Game saves are now compressed automatically, lowering the amount of disk space they utilize.
- An option has been added to the game menu allowing game saves to be deleted. To delete a game save, highlight the relevant item and press the ‘Delete’ key.
- The game menu now loads at a markedly accelerated pace.
- The game now supports Logitech G35 headphones and other USB headsets with on-board sound cards.
- A number of fixes have been added to the key binding functionality (actions can now be mapped to number pad and cursor/arrow keys).
- Analog sticks on gamepads now work correctly in the GUI panels.
- A number of game balance fixes have been introduced in the Prologue.
- Lock on targets is not lost when the distance to targets increases.
- A number of fixes have been made in blocking functionality during combat. Also, player character responsiveness in combat has been improved, and Geralt can attack more than one target during normal combat.
- A number of corrections have been made in the statistics displayed in item diagrams in the Crafting panel.
- The Witcher 1 saves are now imported correctly.
- An auto–save has been added before the fight against the draug.
- Flare bomb duration is now 2 (two) minutes.
- Issue involving the equipping of bombs (or other items) even if they were not present in the character Inventory has been fixed.
- Islamic–themed and similar textures have been deleted and/or replaced.
- A number of fixes have been made in game dialogues.
- Issue that blocked advancement to the next level at the start of Chapter 3 has been fixed.
- Issue involving the occurrence of T-poses upon the destruction of nekker nests has been corrected.
- Guards can no longer block Geralt when he is on a ladder.
- Knives no longer affect friendly NPCs.
- Bug related to using some containers has been fixed.
- Ostmurk (an ingredient required to complete a quest) can no longer be sold.
- Ingredients required to complete the “Melitele's Heart” quest have been added to the game.
- A fix has been introduced in the “Troll Trouble” quest whereby the she–troll’s head can be won in a game of dice poker.
- The Ghost of the Banner can no longer be killed by wraiths.
- Issue involving the Operator being neutral and thus susceptible to being killed before any conversation occurs has been fixed.
- A number of fixes have been introduced to prevent selected NPCs from being blocked (king in siege tower, knights when destroying a gate in the Prologue, etc.).
- The “Three Sisters” quest has been fixed so that the door does not remain locked forever once the quest has been completed.
- A number of progression breaks have been fixed, including instances of blocked meditation, inability to save game, and blocked combat after use of static cameras (e.g. game could not be saved after completion of the “Indecent Proposal” quest).
- The progression break during the fight against the dragon in Chapter 3 (exploration not working properly) has been fixed.
- The progression break during the fight against Dethmold (whereby he sometimes remained behind his barrier, doing nothing) has been fixed.
- The progression break (black screen) in the "Little Shop of Dreams" quest has been fixed.
- The progression break following failure to complete the ritual with Anezka has been fixed.
- The progression break during the dialogue on the beach in the “Hung Over” quest has been fixed.
Wednesday - June 01, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Contest here at RPGWatch
We have received a free gift code of The Witcher 2 from Good old Games that we want to give to one of our visitors.
The only thing you have to do to be one of the contenders to win this game is to write in our forums explaining why you should be the lucky one to receive this gift code from us. (Note that you need an account at GoG to be able to use the gift code when you are the lucky winner).
The contest closes on Wednesday the 8th of June at 22.00 hours (CET).
The contest is now closed!
Tuesday - May 31, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Roundup # 9 - More Reviews
More reviews from this game have surfaced, from what I'll call unusual places. First we have the Globe and Mail, next up is Metro.co.uk, third up is Tech World, and finally, the fourth review comes from Honest Gamers.
The Globe and Mail, no score, but they like it and think that
The Witcher 2 is an attractive, maddening, immersive, frustrating, compelling, confusing experience. It sets bold new standards in dark, adult fantasy while at the same time staying well away from mainstream accessibility. It’s the kind of game into which diehard fans of western RPGs—of which I am one—will sink their teeth, relishing the complex flavours of each glorious bite while at the same time cursing and picking out gristle from between their molars.
Metro.co.uk 6/10, despite the low score they seem to like the plot
Tech World, no score, but they like that the game is made for a mature audience
One of the hallmarks of The Witcher 2 is its maturity. This doesn't just apply to the gore or sexual content. Yes, the limbs of your foes fly as you chop through the enemy, and Geralt does engage in "adult situations" with some of the game's female characters (although the sex cards are gone). But like the first game, the maturity applies to the reactions of NPCs and the entire story. Witchers aren't exactly embraced by the people, and many react with fear or disgust when Geralt appears. Some children even get scared. It's nice to see characters have such reactions.
Honest Gamers, 7/10, they see Witcher 2 as a mediocre game, complain about things like
the difficulty curve:
The difficulty curve is all wrong, too. This is one of a very special few games that manages to get easier the further you progress into it. After the first few hours your skill tree opens up, and suddenly, with each level, you’re an increasingly formidable opponent. Yet your enemies never quite scale up in the same way, meaning that by midway through Chapter 2 the difficulty problems have largely ironed themselves out. It’s a relief when that happens, but it really should have been the difficulty of the opening that was addressed, not that of the rest of the game.
Source: RPG Codex
Friday - May 27, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Reviews @ Kotaku and The Escapist
Two more reviews for this game has surfaced, one from Kotaku and one from Eurogamer.
The Kotaku review has no score, but they do give Witcher the Editor's Choice Award; and
the review from The Escapist has a score of 3.5/5 .
Here's a quote from both reviews:
CD Projekt Red's trickery is to blame for The Witcher 2's replayability. Whereas many games focused on choice plainly state which side of the moral compass your decisions fall on, The Witcher series is much more subtle and devious. The results of impactful decisions don't manifest immediately. Instead they fester in the game's memory, rising to the fore hours after you make them. Time and time again I was surprised at the impact of seemingly trivial judgment calls. Save peasants from a burning building, and somewhere down the line they might return and offer you a gift. Convince an angry mob to spare a suspected criminal, and days after the fact that suspect becomes a powerful person in The Witcher's world.
A quote from The Escapist review - from the conclusion:
Beyond interface complaints, the action of The Witcher is not paced well at all. I loved the richness of the setting and learning about the various kings and their eponymous assassins was fascinating, but even a good cutscene can grow long. Momentous conversations lumped on top of one another peppered with a meaningless "action" sequence like walking a prisoner only annoyed me, doubly so because I wasn't allowed to save or drink the potions needed for the fight I was anticipating.
The Witcher 2 - Patch 1.1 Released, Now DRM-Free
Might as well keep the Witcher 2 news torrent going. CDPR has finally released the v1.1 patch - GOG users need to access their account (go to "additional content" for the game), Steam users will autopatch and everyone else should head here and look through the lengthy list of different versions.
Here's a snip from the release news that explains the removal of the DRM:
CD Projekt RED announces the release of Patch 1.1, which brings important improvements to The Witcher 2, the highly acclaimed game released a week ago. The most noticeable change is the removal of the DRM protection world-wide. This gives players the freedom to install and play the game on any number of computers, and no activation code is required.
Other notable improvements include frame rate increases of approximately up to 30%, especially noticeable on DRMed versions and low spec systems, better stability, and non-problematic installation of free DLCs (the first free DLC, the "Troll Trouble" quest, is incorporated into the patch), the possibility of inverting the mouse and re-mapping directional control on the keyboard, and more.
Adam Badowski, CD Projekt RED Development Director, commented, “Our goal is to make our fans and customers happy and to reward them for buying our game and DRM schemes does not support our philosophy as they might create obstacles for users of legally bought copies. Our approach to countering piracy is to incorporate superior value in the legal version. This means it has to be superior in every respect: less troublesome to use and install, with full support, and with access to additional content and services. So, we felt keeping the DRM would mainly hurt our legitimate users. This is completely in line with what we said before the release of The Witcher 2. We felt DRM was necessary to prevent the game being pirated and leaked before release. This purpose has been served, so we are pleased to let our users enjoy the full freedom of game usage they deserve.”
Thursday - May 26, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Free DLC and patch 1.1. news
While CDP is currently uploading the patch 1.1 to their servers, they also offer all preorder and/or special edition DLCs for download, that is, *after* you mail them, they send you a d/l link. Not sure, why they don't just put them on their servers for public download and also not sure, if all downloads can be installed by all users or whether the game checks the legitimy...anyway, head your browser here for more information.
The Witcher 2 - Review @ Destructoid
Destructoid's Jim Sterling penned a review of Witcher 2. The score is 6/10 - and he is no fan of the combat system:
Geralt of Rivia, the titular Witcher, starts off pathetically weak and unable to properly defend himself, an issue that's not helped by the broken targeting system, unresponsive controls, and the aggressive enemies that surround our hero and attack from all angles -- you can't even parry multiple enemies without unlocking it on the character skill chart, and even then it doesn't always work.
Here's a bit about the story:
As far as European roleplaying titles go, this is absolutely the best example one could hope to find. The combat feels fast and fluid once Geralt is strong enough and, depending on your choices, the second of the game's three chapters can be an incredible experience with a thrilling conclusion. Witcher 2 can be experienced multiple times with different stories, due to decisions that affect how the entire game plays out, and the adult nature of the narrative -- which doesn't skimp on the brutality, swearing, and sex -- might not exactly be mature, but can at least amuse in spite of the overall plot's dull nature.
And the conclusion:
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is a solid enough experience that gets better the deeper into it you get. It starts off as a deeply unsatisfying game which wants to punish players who try to enjoy it, then becomes rather endearing, with the acquisition of power and loot at least providing a traditional sense of accomplishment. When all's said and done, however, the game's high points arrive too late and provide too little. While hardcore fans will likely dive into the game and have fun, those who don't feel that they should be made for pay for a game with their patience will be put off.
Given this is the lowest score for Witcher 2 yet, do you agree with the statements and comments in the review?
Thanks to RageGT from the Witcher 2 thread in the Bioware forums for finding this.
The Witcher 2 - Interview with Eurogamer and Patch 1.1 Update
Eurogamer talked with Tomasz Gop, the senior producer, about the difficulty levels in the game. Here's rather telling quote from Gop:
Obviously we have been inspired by hardcore games, by difficult games, and maybe that might be the reason why it was not that obvious to us," answered senior producer Tomasz Gop.
But we didn't want the game to be a piece of cake at the beginning like, you know, an interactive movie. That wasn't what we were aiming for. We definitely wanted to introduce at least some level of difficulty.
Gop also talked about the glitches in the game and the 1.1 patch they were working it.
On the official site there is this update:
The good news is that the patch is ready. The bad news is that we have encountered some problems with the server infrastructure, making downloading DLCs impossible. We want to apologize to our fans for not meeting our target of delivering the patch last night. We will update you when we know more.
Communication is always nice - getting informed is too.
Source: RPG Codex
The Witcher 2 - Patch 1.2 announced for next week
G35 issue will be fixed in the patch 1.2 which is most likely coming next week.
Also on Twitter, CD Project says, patch 1.1 is not delayed and imminent.
Wednesday - May 25, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Patch scheduled for this evening and details
This is from the official Witcher page:
Internal tests of Patch 1.1 are well under way. Our current target is to release it this evening. Please note that although we are doing our best to have it ready by then, the time still may change in order to be completely sure that the patch will function properly. This is our primary concern since there are significant changes and upgrades that will affect many users.
1. Simpler and more reliable game installation and activation. Details to be revealed soon.
2. Fixed the free Troll Trouble DLC download. It is now included n the patch so there's no need to download and install it separately.
3. Fixed an issue that prevented some users from downloading other free DLCs (the ones given out with some pre-orders, special promotions, etc). The launcher now properly refreshes the list of available DLCs and allows for installation.
4. Performance improvements: approximately 5% to 30% better framerate and faster game loading for many users, depending on their individual systems and game versions. Owners of retail versions can expect the biggest improvements.
5. Fixed random crashes occurring on some systems, especially after saving and loading saves.
6. Key mapping – allows the arrow and number keys to be used for movement.
7. Added the option to invert the mouse.
8. nVidia surround vision now works properly.
9. More accurate assessment provided by the "auto-detect settings" option will help improve game performance.
10. Removed a bug that prevented completion of the “Blood Curse” quest.
11. Fixed a bug that prevented the additional link in "Extras" from being unlocked after winning the dice game against the GOG.com monk.
12. GOG.com credits now work properly.
The full list of all changes will be available upon the release of the patch. If you have experienced any issues that are not on the list above, please don't worry. We have already started working on the next patch, which will address other difficulties and bugs, including those related to specific hardware setups; e.g.. Logitech g35. You may expect this second patch to be ready next week.
Patch 1.1 will be available for all the versions of the game, both retail and digital, except for Russian. However, we would like to assure our Russian fans that we are aware of the problems with the your version of the game (thanks for your reports!) and we are talking with 1C about possible solutions.
Tuesday - May 24, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Roundup #8
Here's a collection of new Witcher 2 reviews.
Neoseeker - 9/10. On some weaknesses:
A lesser weakness but still a significant one is the UI. While aesthetically very pleasing, it's grossly inefficient and somewhat poorly optimized for high resolutions -- a far cry away from the elegant interface of its predecessor. There are automatic scrolling sections, no sorting options, no ability to switch between menus directly, and no weapon and armor comparitor in shops to make picking out your new digs easy (strangely, a comparitor is present when browsing your own goods). The last one isn't a huge deal as there aren't tons and tons of arms to sort through as in some games and usually the best stuff is looted or crafted anyway, but it's a needed change regardless. These are the big items -- the community has already pointed out many smaller ones. Note there's already at least one mod ('Tooltips') which alleviate the matter a bit.
Video review at GameTrailers (thanks Melvil)
GameSpot - 9/10:
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is a gift, gilded with moments that stay with you even after the curtains close on its dark tale of uncertain pasts and uncertain futures. Like the rare Roses of Remembrance you might find growing in this role-playing game's lush fields, these moments are carefully cultivated. They're meaningful not just because they are packed with excitement, but also because there are stakes--both personal and political. As Geralt of Rivia, your actions don't just bring you closer to the truths of your own murky history, but they also influence the tides of war. And just as you exert your power on this game's events, they work their power on you, drawing you further into a gorgeous world populated by quarrelling trolls and drunken, sex-crazed dwarves. Some bugs, combat quirks, and other foibles prove bothersome, but they don't greatly diminish the impact of exploring a dungeon whose walls ooze the agony you've just witnessed. This superb role-playing sequel offers a bold world woven together by tenuous alliances and closely guarded secrets.
The moment I completed the campaign, I started a new game. The excellent core of The Witcher 2’s combat and conversation remained the same, naturally, but what followed was an entirely different, equally absorbing game. So it goes when developers leave players to their own devices instead of spelling out all the answers. I adored stumbling into tucked-away corners of the country, meeting (quarreling with, helping, killing) interesting new characters, and chopping my way through The Witcher 2’s dense quest line. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings outweighs anything that tries to bring it down, and it outdoes everything in its class.
StrategyInformer - 9.1/10:
Frustrating. Buggy. Irritating. Incomplete. These are just some of the words that describes The Witcher 2, arguably our most anticipated game of the year. But there’s more. Epic. Stunning. Gorgeous. Thrilling. Classic. CD Projekt have definitely crafted a masterpiece, but it’s by no means a perfect one.
Monday - May 23, 2011
The Witcher 2 - UK Sales, More Reviews
Eurogamer has the UK sales charts for last week, showing The Witcher 2 has stormed to 5th place on the multiplatform retail charts. When you allow for the fact that (presumably) quite a number of units would have been sold digitally, this looks promising for CDPR.
No, what makes the Witcher's world so absorbing is an amazingly cohesive and consistent visual vocabulary that is -- and I know this is going to sound ridiculous -- far more logical than is typical for fantasy games. The impoverished fishermen of the riverside village of Flotsam shuffle around in nothing but ruddy underwear. Dumpy town guards patrol in filthy rags that still bear their national colors. Ornate attire is (for once) consigned solely to the upper class. Buildings look planted and properly dilapidated. This may seem a small thing, but from the first minutes of the game, it's clear how much effort has gone into researching how a society like the one portrayed would look; this medieval civilization, infused with -- but not dominated by -- magic and mystery (props to developer CD Projekt), is just awesome.
Saturday - May 21, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Roundup #7, Solutions to Issues
A post on The Witcher 2 site announces patch 1.1 is nearly ready and goes on to offer solutions to a number of issues. Activation code problems, CRC errors during installation, game failing to start, poor performance on high-end GPUs and ATI performance are all covered:
Patch 1.1 is nearing completion and will be available shortly. It will address a number of issues reported by players such as keymapping, inverting the mouse, sudden crashes, problems with activation, difficulties with the game`s DLC, and more.
Also, have a look at some of the most common issues and possible solutions.
CD Projekt confirmed the situation to us this morning. Community manager Andrzej Kwiatkowski said, "Yes, we can confirm that The Witcher 2 on Windows systems only works on NTFS-formatted drives." Kwiatkowski further explained that the design is due to the limitations of the older FAT32 system. "FAT32 can't handle any file bigger than 4GB, and one of TW2's files has the size of 9GB."
Eurogamer has a review written by Quintin Smith, with a score of 9/10:
Flotasm sounds like hell, right? Wrong. Flotsam's beautiful. Everything from the architecture, to the conversations you overhear, to the tasks given to you by the nervous inhabitants - it's all breathtakingly believable. Flotsam being a disgusting and dangerous place, both materially and morally, isn't the point. The point is that - as you watch a butcher hack a cow apart under a pale sun and listen in on a conversation about who shagged who last night - the setting is real enough that you'll actually be disgusted, and feel in danger.
This is the most obvious of The Witcher 2's many achievements. It provides a world that's so well thought out and so lovingly crafted that the player is transported. Flotsam is a shitty place, yes, but The Witcher's is a shitty world. What CD Projekt has achieved here, more so than any RPG I can think of from the last five years, is bringing its (shitty) world to life.
...and Games On Net also has a review with a score of 4.5/5:
The Witcher featured a wonderfully muddied morality, but The Witcher 2 adds further shades of grey to the world. You don't need to have played the first game to enjoy the sequel, but you'll be confused for the first few hours if you haven't. Everything in the game world is about compromise and survival. There are few choices in the main story that have a clear cut polarity, and even the side missions often feature consequences that belie the seemingly straightforward “good” choice; save one person and another will die.Stand up for the little man and later he'll get a knife in the ribs. Even the locally censored quest, that rewards Geralt with sex, is a little less titillating than you might think. You save a woman from being murdered. She's young, naïve and all but destitute. Sex is the only thing she can give as thanks. It feels tawdry, like you're taking advantage.
Friday - May 20, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Review @ Games Radar
Games Radar has a review for The Witcher 2. The score is 10/10 with an 'incredible' comment added to the review. Here's some snips from the review. Some screenshots may not be safe for work. First something about the narrative:
Geralt’s world is a mire of fear, poverty, racial inequality, political maneuvering and religious fanaticism. Tensions between humans, mages and “nonhumans” - elves and dwarves - are always high. Most NPCs look dirty and malnourished (with some even showing scars and other disfigurements). Geralt is no knight in shining armor, either. His help always comes at a price and you’re rarely given the option to simply aid someone out of the kindness of your heart.
Then, something about the combat with monsters:
Likewise, particular monster breeds are weak to certain status effects, as well; for instance: nekkers are incredibly weak to weapons that cause the Bleeding status effect, so an intelligent player would take the time to brew and coat his silver blade with Brown Oil before attempting to clear out an entire den of the little bastards.
And now a snip about how the levelling works:
Leveling Geralt has become a simpler process due to a much more narrow selection of areas for advancement. Each level will reward you with one ability point that can be spent in Signs, Alchemy or Swordplay.
And finally, the conclusion:
Truly a labor of love, this amazing sequel fortifies the foundations laid down by a flawed classic and creates a brilliant masterpiece. Visceral combat, dizzying player customization and a truly immersive story all come together to create one of the best role-playing experiences of the year.
The Witcher 2 - Roundup #6
Zohaib sent in this list of early Witcher 2 reviews at VG247 a couple of days back. Hit up the link for the full set but I'm going to break out the one from NowGamer, because it has the lowest score at 8.4/10, although they don't really expand on any negatives:
As a follow-up to a hardcore classic, The Witcher 2 retains the distinctive charm of the original while trimming back the excess. Its combat system isn’t as complicated and its world isn’t as open-ended.
This could read like a list of negatives on paper, but, in execution, these cuts have produced a fantasy adventure that feels focused and significantly more polished. And compared to its recent rivals, Assassins of Kings has handled the jump to greater accessibility with more finesse.
If we have to make a single criticism, however, it’s that The Witcher 2 leaves you wanting more than it offers. A 40-hour completion time isn’t anything to sniff at, but when this includes most of the side-quests, you can’t help but draw comparisons to the lengthier epics of BioWare and Bethesda.
PC Gamer has a review with a score of 89%. Here's the intro:
The Witcher 2 is a game that shoots for the sun while its rivals are still lining up their sights on the moon. It’s an AAA RPG with an indie soul, and a charged, exciting adventure you can really sink your teeth into, admire, and for the most part, love. From the raw technical wizardry of the engine, to tent walls rippling in the breeze and villagers running for cover when it rains, it’s a game built with burning, red-raw passion and exactly one goal. To be the best RPG ever, whatever it takes.
Ultimately, it falls short of that, but not without giving it a damn good go. Over its 20-30 hours of almost relentlessly superb moments, Witcher 2 raises almost every bar it can get its hands on. It’s let down by only two things: an undercooked combat system, and a story resolution that it actually hurts to watch. The rest is simply amazing, from the beautiful writing to the gorgeous visuals, meaningful choices, and a world that feels like a real place that exists beyond the game’s limitations.
Shacknews says a patch will be released next week that adds keyboard mapping and mouse inversion - I know some readers will appreciate that.
Witcher2Game explores the combat in their Day 2 examination.
The Witcher Vault has the full soundtrack, including bonus tracks, for you to listen to.
Thursday - May 19, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Roundup #5
I'm short on time, so here's a quick Witcher 2 catch-up - and thanks to everyone who wrote in with links.
"We've already done a PC game that doesn't suck. In that way we kinda know where we're at. That's why we started off with what we feel good at," Gop said. "If we'll make a console version in the future, I'm pretty sure it won't be dumbed down. Not in the case of The Witcher 2 - there's no need and no way for us to simplify the game for consoles."
Fansite Witcher2Game posted Exploring The Witcher 2: Day One.
The Story: Like Dragon Age 2 which released earlier this year, The Witcher 2 kicks off with a bit of framed narrative. Geralt starts the game in prison, and it’s his own responses to being interrogated which direct the story and allow the player to chose the order of events during the prologue. Geralt’s interrogator, Vernon Roche, is determined to figure out Geralt’s part in the chaotic events surrounding the blood feud in Temeria, and has threatened the witcher with death should his answers be displeasing. With Geralt as his own narrator the story kicks off, and between dragons, sorceresses, political intrigue and a chance encounter with the Scoia’tael, it looks like there’s a lot to do to make the kingdom safe again.
...and Rock, Paper, Shotgun has one of their Wot I Think reviews:
This is one of the most significant games of 2011. Right now it looks like most significant PC-only game of 2011.
The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings is the sequel to 2007′s wonky fantasy RPG, The Witcher, and it improves on that precarious foundation in almost every conceivable way. I suppose the ambition of the developers for their work should have been clear after they relaunched their original game with the voice acting and character animation redone in 2008, to give us an Enhanced Edition, but even that was a pale creature when compared to the muscular effort of their most recent work. The Witcher 2 is a collossal beast in terms of vision and complexity, and it has engrossed me for the past few days. It’s shorter than the original by some measure, but it is burning half as long to be twice as bright.
Tuesday - May 17, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Reviews, Roundup #4
A flurry of activiity surrounding The Witcher 2 with the release, of course, but most people are going to be interested in the reviews. It seems some of the major sites got retail discs subject to the release activation (comments from IGN, GameSpot). A couple of smaller sites have reviews out, so here they are.
Bit-tech has a rather short article, so it's hard to tell how far they played. Still, the score is 95%:
The Witcher 2 overcomes these flaws with ease, however, and the overall impression we had was that CD Projekt’s game design ethic is on par with the company’s attitude to DRM in the way that it respects players' abilities to think for themselves. It’s obviously a risky strategy – just as the lack of DRM opens the title to piracy, the lack of guidance and level of challenge paves the way for complaints for ill-prepared players. Personally, we find it’s an approach that has paid off in spades.
It’s true that you could likely boot up The Witcher 2 with no idea of what it was, hacking and slashing your way through without a care, but doing so would be a travesty. The Witcher 2 is one of the most exciting and involving RPGs we’ve seen in a long, long time. It forms a logical competitor to more action-orientated titles, such as Mass Effect, and succeeds where previous pretenders, such as Dragon Age 2, have failed. Those who can bear the QTEs and practice finding hotspots, who take the time to immerse themselves in the world and understand the characters will find an experience that’ll be tough to beat - not just for future RPGs, but all future titles.
GameReactor.eu is the second review we've seen (thanks Zohaib) and the score is 9/10:
As mentioned above, the voice acting holds a very high standard. Most of the characters have a thick British accent, that is much more Cockney than the Queen's English, and it fits the low fantasy perfectly. Some characters, like Geralt himself and especially the witch Triss Merigold, speak with an obvious American accent though, and early on that doesn't really fit in, but you get used to it rather quickly. Mostly because of the dialogue - the script is engaging, the dialogues flow naturally and there's a couple of comments that had me smiling and laughing. At the same time the humour never gets too much, so the more serious atmosphere is never threatened and it never feels misplaced.
Several readers pointed out a recent GameStop Facebook interview/promo that revealed a likely expansion but DLC will be free. Those who have registered may know Troll Trouble is already available. From Eurogamer:
Polish developer CD Projekt has revealed the first downloadable content for fantasy role-playing game The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.
It's a side-quest called Troll Trouble, and launches day and date with the game.
Meanwhile, CD Projekt has promised its fans that all The Witcher 2 downloadable content will be free, including Troll Trouble.
"Let me announce that all our DLCs will be FREE," a CD Projekt developer wrote on US shop GameStop's Facebook page. "All of them. If anything will be for purchase, those will be expansion packs. First DLC will launch together with the game release."
GameBanshee writes they have a Talent Trees and Equipment Database.
Gamasutra has a feature titled How We Combined Story and Freedom in The Witcher 2.
VG247 references the article about at Gamasutra to break out CD Projekt spent a year-and-a-half design Geralt.
...and GameSpot looks at some Key Characters.
The Witcher 2 - Released on GOG
GOG has released The Witcher 2 - you can now download the remaining two files and play the game. GamersGate also appears to have released, although others haven't as yet (at least, not for my territory).
Update: Here's the GOG press release:
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Digital Premium Edition arrives at GOG.com DRM-free
The heavily anticipated sequel of CD Projekt RED’s debut - The Witcher - is now available without any DRM at the GOG.com.
Warsaw, Poland. May 17, 2011 - GOG.com (http://www.gog.com), CD Projekt’s the stupendous service for superlative DRM-free classic PC games, is now offering a new AAA title from their sister company CD Projekt RED. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Digital Premium Edition has arrived, and the wait for the most anticipated RPG of the year is finally over.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is a role-playing game, based on the books by famous Polish fantasy author Andrzej Sapkowski, starring a witcher named Geralt of Rivia. After stopping the rebellion in the Kingdom of Temeria and saving King Foltest’s life, in the second part of the game Geralt and the king are on their mission to bring peace to this land. Who and what Geralt will encounter in his quest, gamers will have to see for themselves. Thanks to the gorgeous new engine, developed wholly in house, the game provides one of the most beautiful and lively worlds ever created in an RPG.
The game has been released with all of GOG.com’s principles in mind. It’s is not burdened with any DRM and comes with all sorts of additional materials like the full soundtrack, a game guide, wallpapers and a 200-page artbook that’s exclusive to GOG.com’s digital edition. The digital distribution service also made sure that none of the users, no matter where they live will find the pricing unfair because of different price points in varying regions of the world with their Fair Price Package. What is the Fair Price Package?
While the worldwide price of The Witcher 2 on GOG.com is $49.99 USD, it’s €49.99 for customers paying in Euros which makes the game $16 USD more expensive, and it’s $69.99 AUD for Australian customers which makes it $26 USD more. Thanks to GOG.com’s ‘Fair Price Package’ Europeans will receive $16 USD store credit and Australians will get $26 USD worth of store credit to spend on Good Old Games.
Everyone who preordered The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Digital Premium on GOG.com and haven’t yet finalized the deal, has time until 31st of May. All preorderers who haven’t paid for the game by then will have their order cancelled.
To buy the game now, visit http://www.gog.com
Monday - May 16, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Roundup #3
Here's a small collection of Witcher 2 items, mostly sent in by Zohaib.
First, the NeoGAF forums list four early, international reviews. I can't check most of them, so take these on face value.
- CD-Action - 9.5/10
- PC-Action - Very Good
- Pelite Magazine - 93%
- JeuxVideo Magazine - 19/20
- An Alchemy guide with a list of potions, oils and bombs
- Arm-wrestling guide
- Fist-fighting guide
- Dice poker guide
- Character leveling guide
Sunday - May 15, 2011
The Witcher 2 - New Trailers
Mike sends word of two new Witcher 2 trailers.
Wednesday - May 11, 2011
RPGWatch Feature: Hands-On With The Witcher 2
We had the chance to spend around a dozen hours with a preview version of The Witcher 2. Here's a sample from our hands-on look:
Structurally, the game is similar, with chapters and discrete locations, rather than a single continuous world. I didn't get the chance to travel to a new area (other than the transition from Prelude to Chapter 1), but it seems the game will offer a semi-linear progression with changes to new major locations as the story unfolds. Based on the village of Flotsam and the surrounding forest, swamp and shores, the areas are larger than the original game. Throughout the forest are paths that intertwine that you need to broadly stick to but they've done a much better job of disguising the restrictions than the first game: obstacles and boundaries exist but I didn't see the sort of "small garden fence" barriers that frustrated some gamers in the original game. In addition, while you can't actively jump over objects, the team has implemented interactive "hotspots" where Geralt can climb or drop down. Together with the better level design, this makes it feel more natural and less enclosed. This change means the team has been able to create more interesting terrain with a sense of height, allowing Geralt to climb down over rocks to reach a river below, for example.
Tuesday - May 10, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Roundup #2
Here's a collection of Witcher 2 items.
Before I get into the more intricate details, I can't help but spend a little time on just how amazing the game looks. With the settings cranked up to "High" (the "Ultra" settings had some instability issues in the early build I played), the characters, buildings, and environments all look spectacular. The amount of painstaking detail that went into crafting the early battle landscapes, the La Valette Castle courtyard, the town of Flotsam and its wilderness, and other such areas is simply staggering. With the addition of even more realistic day/night transitions and weather effects (blurred vision during torrential rain, anyone?) than we saw in the first game, The Witcher 2 is easily the best-looking RPG I've ever played. And I say that without any hesitation.
Zohaib notes this article at Hooked Gamers, claiming the games has been leaked but there's a backlash against the pirated release.
Most importantly, you can now preload (and actually buy) the game from GOG. It's a 9.6Gb download but with the game unlocked on the 17th, there's plenty of time.
In related news, GOG has switched off IP user location detection, which means Aussies buying from them won't have to get the censored version (although I note they have still use it to charge the new, increased price if you didn't preorder).
There's a new "French Monk" teaser trailer.
Lastly, for the moment, VoodooExtreme has a combat-focused video dev diary.
Monday - May 09, 2011
The Witcher 2 - News Roundup
Here's a small collection of Witcher 2 items.
- The Witcher Vault send in a gallery of funny or quirky screens from the preview code.
- This is actually for the first game but 'm going to stick it here. Press X or Die looks at character interactions in The Witcher 1, such as how offending someone can cut off further dialgue.
- A three-page preview at VoodooExtreme.
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ IGN, Ripten, Youtube Footage from VE3D
As the release of the Witcher 2 is approaching more previews see the light of day.
The first one is from IGN. The previewer states that
the development team stayed true to the quality of the storytelling and RPG elements of the first game, and then took just about everything else to the next level......
I only was able to play through the Prologue and Act I, but that chunk of gameplay in itself took several days to progress through, and I loved every minute of it. Considering that I was playing a "preview build", I couldn't help but be impressed with just how much gameplay the preview slice offered. What I did see got me very excited, and provided nearly as much play time as some first rate titles do in their entirety.
The next quote deals with the world itself:
Graphics and audio aside, the best way to describe the world of The Witcher 2 is simply "alive". In-game characters actually seem as if they believe in their own existence. Their concerns, desires, even fears all come off very real and genuine, and even pull at your heart (or rage) strings at times. It might sound corny, but I couldn't help but feel like a part of it all. I'd notice as the day cycled into night that the NPCs would get together whether at the Inn or around a campfire, sharing little stories with each other, and eventually retire to their beds for some sleep.
And here's a quote about the combat:
I realize that there were some minor complaints by some RPG fans when the first Witcher title came out, and for the most part I can say that CD Projekt addressed them. Combat feels better, once you master it that is. Click spamming won't work versus a heavily armed opponent on anything but the easiest difficulties. Tactics are a must at medium and beyond, otherwise there will be much time spent looking at the loading screens.
The previewer also mentions relationships as well as the save system. There's some nice sreenshots as well. A bit of a warning, though: Some screenshots are not entirely safe for work (NSFW).
More screenshots from Ripten, some also nsfw (thanks Zohaib). Here's a quote:
Due to the non linear nature of this game, for all I know, you may never see some of the images I’m about to present you with. The game can branch in so many different directions that there are literally entire towns and cutscenes (and even love scenes) you may never, ever encounter. I’ve played through the prologue of AoK twice already, and chapter one roughly 1.5 times. Upon making different decisions, I attained different results Choice and consequence, don’t you love it?
Lastly, there's a video on Youtube showing 12 minutes of gameplay from The Witcher 2 - amazing, beautiful and as ever, a must see.
Thanks to WorstUsernameEver at the Obsidian forums for finding this.
Source: Obsidian Entertainment
Saturday - May 07, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Living World Gameplay Trailer @ Gametrailers
The Witcher 2 is soon upon us, and Gametrailers have a trailer showing how the Living World of Witcher 2 reacts to the decisions you make, people go about their daily business and so on. As with the other trailers, be sure to check this one out as this is a must see as well.
Thanks to PoetandMadman at the Obsidian Forums for finding this.
Source: Obsidian Entertainment
Friday - May 06, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Imminent Price Rise for Australia
I noticed the price for The Witcher 2 had suddenly increased on Steam and then found a post on Qt3 pointing to GOG's Facebook page - apparently the Australian price for The Witcher 2 is rising "due to licensing" reasons. Looks like 15 hours to go to get in on GOGs preorder offer for Aussies before the hike:
To all Australian gamers! You have 17 hours to preorder The Witcher 2 on GOG.com for the original price of $42.27 AUD! On Friday, May 6 at 1500 GMT, due to licensing reasons we're going to adjust the price for Australian market and charge $62.99 AUD for the preorder and $69.99 AUD for the full price. The preorder on GOG.com isn't forcing you to pay for the game instantly.
To preorder go to http://www.gog.com/tw2
The Witcher 2 - Skill Trees, Alchemy, Australian Censorship
Here's a handful of Witcher 2 newsbits we've collected.
SegmentNext has a Character Skils and Talent Tree Guide, if you'd like to check over the character development options (thank, Zohaib).
The Witcher Vault has an interview specifically on Alchemy, with Tomasz Gop answering questions. There are also tips, comments and screens, so worth a look if you like the Alchemy aspect.
Games On Net notes the Australian version has been changed slightly to fit censorship rules:
Only one thing was changed: Geralt is no longer able to choose to accept sex as a reward for successfully completing a side quest. The idea of receiving sex as a reward was not suitable for inclusion within an MA15+ classification, so Namco Bandai requested that CD Projekt remove the option of choosing to have sex as one of the rewards for that quest. The quest and the character who offers it are still in the game, but presented in a "slightly different context"
(thanks Zohaib for a similar submission)
Friday - April 29, 2011
The Witcher 2 - 12 Splendid Things
Alec Meer writes 12 Splendid Things About The Witcher 2 for Rock, Paper, Shotgun:
6. Granted this was introduced in the first game, but the dramatically improved writing and acting means it’s more convincingly explored this time around. Elves and dwarves aren’t the charming, friendly chappies of this particular fantasy world – they’re outsiders, looked upon by the governing humans with contempt at best and violent prejudice at worst. Fairly early on in the game, you need to make decisions about whether you sympathise with a group of bitter elves who are essentially terrorists, or side with a human governor who’s working to protect his people but is openly racist in his attitudes. It’s not easy. The elves (and to a lesser extent so far dwarves) are violently angry about their treatment, and righteously so – but that means other lives are placed in danger. This is a morally complex world, with no easy answers.
Wednesday - April 27, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ Eurogamer
There's a new preview of The Witcher 2 over at Eurogamer, penned by Alec Meer:
Right, enough doe-eyed blather about how the thing looks. What manner of RPG is it? It's action-orientated, but backed up by a confident line in grey-area moral decisions and multiple approaches to quest-solving.
To give specific examples would be to risk spoiling a game that, so far, excels even in the more minor details, but a trend appears to be the choice between a quicker, lazier route that likely involves increased brutality and a slower, more fiendish path more likely to soothe your conscience and potentially lead to greater long-term reward.
Or occasionally the opposite is true; in one quest where I let my determination to do the right thing lead the way, I was deceived by an NPC and almost got a bunch of guys killed as a result. Nice guys don't necessarily finish last, but they sure can look like simpering, gullible idiots.
Without having access to the entire game, the full scope and scale of possible consequence can't yet be determined, but so far I've had a good sense of building my own road through The Witcher 2, even if (as I suspect) that road will be broadly similar for most other players.
The Witcher 2 - Gone Gold!
Not surprisingly, given the long-planned May 17th release date, but The Witcher 2 has gone Gold. We received notices from both Namco for Europe and CD Projekt:
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Has Gone Gold
Highly acclaimed RPG masterpiece to hit shelves May 17th 2011
LYON, FRANKREICH / WARSAW, POLAND – 27. April 2011 – Namco Bandai Partners S.A.S. and CD Projekt RED are pleased and proud to announce that The Witcher 2 has gone gold. Both the Premium Edition and the limited Collector’s Edition are now in production. The game will be available for purchase on May 17.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is the eagerly awaited sequel to the award-winning, million-selling RPG that captured the imaginations of discerning players everywhere. It introduced a truly unique protagonist, the professional slayer of monsters, Geralt of Rivia, and defined a new standard for thought-provoking, non-linear game narration, with mature themes, significant choices that weren’t automatically good or bad, and true decisions that led to meaningfully different consequences.
The Witcher 2 builds upon these distinctive strengths within an all-new storyline filled with complex characters, captivating political machinations and intriguing challenges. It also features a new, brutal combat system that uniquely combines tactical elements with dynamic action. The proprietary REDengine, designed and built in-house to support the specific demands imposed by our complex, branching style of open-ended storytelling, also takes full advantage of the latest advances in graphical technology.
Additional information is available at www.TheWitcher.com.
Watch out for our hands-on preview over the next week or so.
Tuesday - April 26, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Preview, Videos
Strategy Informer has a preview of The Witcher 2:
Hands down, if The Witcher 2 wins no other award this year it certainly stands out as being the best looking RPG available. Characters are incredibly detailed, forests are lush and overgrown, rain punishes the ground, and that castle siege at the start had me just standing admiring it for a few minutes. Seeing the huge trebuchets properly in motion, launching rocks that smash into the castle’s walls from a good distance, is utterly awe-inspiring. And that’s only after ten minutes of game time!
Over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, there's a five minute video that shows off some early sections from the preview code that press sites are playing with.
Sunday - April 24, 2011
The Witcher 2 - First Impressions @ Plugheadnet, Gametrailers
Plughead.net has a first impressions article for this game. Here's a few highlights:
The preview build already supports Witcher 1 saves, and it found all of my multiple ones already. I simply chose from a short list which one I wanted. First thing’s first: it’s great. In case there was any doubt. And now for the important stuff: there’s a naked woman in the first two minutes of the game. Absolutely full-on nudity that in games you would only usually see in crap German “erotic” titles. Earning your Mature rating there, CD Projekt!
And here's some more:
The opening battle is incredible. It really feels like there’s a war on… but a puny war’s not enough for CD Projekt. No spoilers. Geralt is voiced by the same actor as in The Witcher. A few other characters from the first game appear, but I’m not sure if they have the same actors (I think so though). Either way, they’re all fine. The writing and the acting is even more believable than Bioware’s – and this has proper swearing in it.
Gametrailers have their own first impressions of the game. One is a trailer about the environments in the game; the other is a combat overview trailer. Be sure to check these out, as they're definetely a must see.
Thanks to Mechanical Lemon and funcroc over at Obsidian's forums in this thread for mentioning this.
Source: Obsidian Entertainment
Saturday - April 23, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ TWV
CD Projekt's Tomasz Gop has been interviewed at The Witcher Vault, following a press presentation. Here's a snip on new topic:
WV: Ok, let's switch topics a bit; about a year ago we've heard about wiping out whole lairs of monsters in certain areas, ending their threat (and respawn). Curiously enough, no previewers seem to mention that feature?
Tomasz Gop: Oh it's still there, I can assure you! You still can wipe out Nekkers in Flotsam, or Harpies in Act II...
WV: Is it done the way you've told us earlier, i.e. you catch a monster, pump it full of some marker substance, then leave it and follow it to its lair...?
Tomasz Gop: Let's leave the specifics to the players, shall we? I can already tell you though that we've left the complexity there. It's done in a properly "witchery" manner, suffice it to say! Those are quests that take hours to finish, and it will take a lot of preparations, then there's a final, most difficult fight at the end with the lair's boss.
Friday - April 22, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ PC Gamer
Thrasher sends in this preview of The Witcher 2 at PC Gamer:
What stands out most about The Witcher 2 is – and believe me, it’s a rare big budget game that gives off this vibe – is that it feels like the game CD Projekt wanted to make, with neither apology nor compromise getting in the way of its vision. The engine targets high-end systems because that’s the only way to make it look this good. Characters happily drop words like ‘fuck’ and ‘cunt’ because it wouldn’t be The Witcher’s cynical world if they didn’t. Playing as Geralt doesn’t give you the same freedom of build and character as most other RPGs, because you’re not here to be a Paladin or a Mage, but a Witcher – a very specific mix of fighter, sorcerer and alchemist, with a steel sword for slaying humans, and a silver sword for monsters. Through the levelling system, you can tip the balance towards any of those disciplines, but you still need them all, because that’s how a Witcher rolls. Or makes heads roll, anyway.
Wednesday - April 20, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Character Development & Items Diary
CD Projekt Red has released a new Witcher 2 video dev diary discussing character development and items:
In our latest video developer diary, senior team members talk about two elements of tremendous importance to RPG fans. One is character development, with its three possible paths - swordsmanship, magic and alchemy. The other is the equipment system, which has been significantly expanded and improved. You can watch the new video here.
Monday - April 18, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Updated FAQ
CD Projekt Red has released a new FAQ for The Witcher 2 in .pdf format, which VoodooExtreme has kicked up as web page. The topics covered are DRM, registration, importing savegames from The Witcher and system performance. A sample:
The Witcher 2 is being developed for one platform, the PC. What this basically means, especially together with our proprietary REDengine, is that we take advantage of the most advanced performance hardware. Our game doesn’t compromise its performance, gameplay, the interface or anything else to accommodate other platforms.
The REDengine is built so players with two-core processors and min-spec machines will receive a fully enjoyable experience. Even more importantly, anyone with the recommended 4 cores and/or hyperthreading will see a visible improvement. 6 cores? 8? Cool! The Witcher 2 will make good use of them all. The game will also scale exceptionally well. It has not only low, medium and high graphical settings, but also an ultra detail level… and even an “uber sampling” mode.
Note: The release version of the game will have an advanced graphical settings menu. It will also support the 16:9 aspect ratio and be playable in 16:10 (non-native) as well as 4:3 (letterbox).
In other ...*ahem*...news, Triss has appeared in the Polish release of Playboy...
Friday - April 15, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Spring Conference Details
As indicated, CD Projekt has held their Spring Conference. GOG has the video if you wish to watch the entire thing but some specific points were released on The Witcher 2. For those who preordered through GOG, a downloader will be released in late April so you can preload 90% of the game from May 10, in preparation for the release on the 17th. Again, for those that preorderd, you have until the end of May to convert into an actual sale.
The Witcher Enhanced Edition Director's Cut will also be on sale for 50% off from May 10 - 24.
Shacknews has further details and notes the non-GOG versions will contain SecuROM:
CD Projekt revealed that The Witcher 2 will utilize SecuROM copy-protection for its retail release, deciding it was the least intrusive way to protect its content from piracy. Though they are aware some gamers will groan at the decision to use SecuROM, CD Projekt noted that the game will allow for "unlimited installations on an unlimited number of computers" and allow "play on up to five computers at once." The game requires an internet connection for the game's initial activation. According to the presentation, this will ensure that The Witcher 2 cannot be played before the game's May 17 release.
Thursday - April 14, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Previews @ RPS, Destructoid
Rock, Paper, Shotgun and Destructoid both have new Witcher 2 previews based on press builds. Let's start with RPS, who are generally very positive but they do have some concerns:
What isn’t clear from this preview build, is just how flexible core quests are going to be in terms of what you can choose to do. So far I haven’t seen much deviation from the linear path, despite chapter one’s general openness. While I made radically different choices during one key scene, the outcome was always essentially the same. I am hoping that later chapters will be far more forked and give us genuine choice and consequence. But I guess we’ll see.
There are some other issues in this preview build that I think people will find significant. The first of these is the save function. Generally the game auto-saves at important points, but there’s potential in the more open areas for you to cover a lot of ground between auto-saves, and therefore lose a lot of game time if you die. This is covered by there being a quicksave function, which is only available outside of combat or specific set-piece scenarios. Weirdly, however, there is no manual save. Seems like a bit of an oversight.
On to Destructoid, who recount their experiences, ending with some positive comments:
I looked back on my experience with Dragon Age II afterwards, and BioWare's fantasy RPG now feels like it's in almost every way a mere toddler in the shadow of The Witcher 2. That's not to say DA II sucked, but a single village in The Witcher 2 already has more personality than all of Kirkwall. Moreover, the politics now run deep without treating you like a child for once. Characters feel human and treat you like an adult, the player is expected to deal with temporal jumps in narrative to keep up with the story, choices actually carry weight, and oh my god the breast textures!
The Witcher 2 - Videos @ GameSpot
GameSpot has a couple of new Witcher 2 videos, although I'm going to link via VG247 where they were spotted and the two are collected together. The first shows a combat engagement in the city titled "Arming the ballista" and the second is dialogue-focused.
The Witcher 2 - Live Conference Broadcast
CD Projekt has one of their conference thingies tomorrow, which you can watch live. That they are promoting it on The Witcher Facebook page leads me to assume fans might see something of interest. The details:
CD Projekt Conference takes place tomorrow! Don't forget to watch it LIVE here on our Facebook page. Polish broadcast starts at 12:00 p.m. GMT, English broadcast starts at 4 p.m. GMT. Also make sure to visit GOG.com to catch their segment starting at 5 p.m. GMT.
Wednesday - April 06, 2011
The Witcher 2 - New Screens
CD Projekt Red dropped us a line with the system reqs for The Witcher 2 along with some new screens. We've already covered the requirements previously but you can find the screens in our gallery.
Monday - April 04, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Geralt's New Face
The official Witcher 2 site has a short blurb on the development of Geralt's face from the original game to the new appearance:
When you work on something continually for a longer period of time it’s bound to change. Changes often symbolize progress, it’s no different with Geralt’s new look.
When we have started working on Geralt’s face almost 10 years ago he looked different, way different than what he looks like now. His face has been slowly evolving until we reached – what we consider – a very close to original visualization of Geralt known from the books. He’s not your typical poster boy from a generic RPG game. There’s a story behind each one of those scars, he looks tired – maybe even exhausted. At the same time he looks like he’s ready for action, he’s waiting – always ready to face new challenges. The man on the cover portrays a witcher we meant to show from the very beginning. You can view the new cover here.
Saturday - April 02, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ Next Gen
CD Projekt Red's Tomas Gop has been interviewed at Next Gen about The Witcher 2. No new reveals but the comparison with Demons Souls is fascinating:
Since the first Witcher, which games have had the biggest effect on CD Projekt's direction for The Witcher 2?
We get inspired by many games, obviously, like any game developer. I can't say specifically whether it's Heavy Rain, Demon's Souls or Arkham Asylum that has inspired us most over the past few years – it's probably a mix of all of them. I think everyone will find elements of Demon's Souls, though, definitely. We don't auto-scale opponents, for example. If you want to compare it to anything, Demon's Souls is definitely good. I'd like that, for sure.
Wednesday - March 30, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Assassin Character
The "Kingslayer" assassin has a new character profile at The Witcher 2 site.
Tuesday - March 29, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Preview at N4G
Cathlin Sentz, N4G Community Manager, talked with Tom Ohle, CD Project's PR man. During their talk, she was shown a preview of Witcher 2: Assasins of Kings. Screenshots included.
Here's two snips from the preview. First one about gameplay:
Visiting an area of the game, one that Ohle describes as "a town that, depending on the choices you made before this, you might actually not see at all", we pick up a quest to follow up on some missing young men. Definitely suspicious, and as the Witcher we mostly suspect monsters. While traveling to the destination, we come across guards fighting demons and have the option to sort of skirt the battle and let them continue to fight it out, or dive in. Since the games enemies do not scale there will be times to embrace the flight response, instead of fight.
Second about quests and story:
Absent from Witcher 2 are volumes of tiny side quests, opting instead for a smattering of those among meatier questing options. "In the first game there were a lot of quests where you ended up having to run back and forth between areas and you spent a lot of time like that, and then you say 'Oh, yeah it was 80 hours of gameplay'. Well, a lot of that was spent kind of running around the same areas", Ohle comments. "There's a lot more focus on trying to get to the point and spend more time exploring the world or actually being in gameplay."
Monday - March 28, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Combat Overhauled But Not Dumbed Down
The Escapist has an aritcle on Witcher 2's combat system. There are some quotes from Tomasz Gop highlighting how the system is overhauled, but not dumbed down. Here are a few snippets from it:
The combat system in The Witcher was unusual to say the least, relying on a mix of styles, weapons and combos, backed up by potions and magical powers. Its hallmark was the rhythmic mouse clicking needed to build combos; good timing would turn you into an unstoppable dervish, whereas with bad timing you were more likely to just poke yourself in the eye.
That system is gone but the "fast" and "heavy" attack styles remain, this time mapped to the left and right mouse buttons to allow for switching between styles on the fly. Geralt will also rely more heavily on signs, the rudimentary system of magic used by Witchers, and will be able charge and aim his magical attacks. Unlike the first game, weapons other than the steel and silver Witcher swords will actually have a use and Geralt will be able to focus his training on weapons other than that traditional pair.
"The combat has absolutely not been dumbed down," Gop said. "Nor has the game been consolized."
Saturday - March 26, 2011
The Witcher 2 - March Newsletter
The latest Witcher 2 newsletter is out from CD Projekt Red, which you can grab here if you haven't subscribed. The most interesting thing is the official sys reqs, which are quite light:
Official System Requirements for The Witcher 2 are finally here!
We have what so many of you have been asking for: system requirements for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. This should help you decide whether your gaming rig needs an update before May 17th.
Processor: Core 2Duo 2.2 GHz or dual core AMD 2.5 GHz
RAM: 1GB Win XP/ 2GB Vista/7
Graphics: GeForce 8800 512MB or Radeon (HD3850 512 MB)
HDD Space: 16 GB
Processor: Quad Core Intel or AMD
RAM: 3GB Win XP/ 4GB Vista/7
Graphics: GeForce 260 1GB or (HD4850 1GB)
HDD Space: 16 GB
Thursday - March 17, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Live Chat
GOG has organised a live chat for those who have preordered The Witcher 2 from them. I'm sure they'll understand if some other people turn up:
The Q&A will start this Friday (the 18th of March) at 17:00 GMT (1.00 PM Eastern Daylight Time), and you can attend by visting http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-witcher-2-live-q-a and entering the password "goodoldgames" (don't type the quotes, and don't put in any capital letters either)
We'll be showing some unpublished work-in-progress materials from Geralt's model creation live for the first time during the presentation, as well as a live demonstration the changes & improvements that the team has made to gameplay. After that, we'll take your questions.
Wednesday - March 16, 2011
The Witcher 2 - "Art of War" Contest
Some minor Witcher news with CD Projekt whipping up a contest to create a representation of a battle from th original game:
Did you like the original Witcher game? How about its combat? What if we told you that we want to see your favorite battle from The Witcher recreated with your hands? That’s right! It’s time for a contest where imagination is the only limit!
You can dress up, use action figures, take a screenshot and enhance it visually, create a sculpture - whatever! Just don’t get hurt trying to impress us, please (any dangerous/harmful acts will be immediately disqualified)! We want to see the most creative approach possible. Brand new Nvidia Geforce GTX 460 boards are waiting to be claimed. Also, there are still few uber-cool presskits left after our recent worldwide hands-on tour - we give those away this time as well. Visit our Facebook page for detailed rules and timeframes.
Tuesday - March 15, 2011
The Witcher 2 - GOG Drops UK Price
Another newsbit that got lost in my email. Galaad sent news of a GOG price adjustment for UK purchasers of The Witcher 2:
We do our best to provide you with the lowest possible prices here at GOG, and we're happy to announce that we're able to make another great deal here. With The Witcher 2 Digital Premium Edition we introduced the 'Fair Price Package' to compensate for the price difference for customers who pay in Euros and British pounds sterling vs. those who pay in USD. Today we're happy to announce a new, lower price of The Witcher 2 for all UK customers: your copy of TW2 on GOG will only be £29.99. Take advantage of our cool pre-order offer, though, and UK customers will pay only £26.99! If you already pre-ordered the game, the price reduction includes your pre-order as well. This also means the store credit will be given only to customers who buy The Witcher 2 on GOG in Euros, as the price in GBP is now a "fair price" without store credit.
Monday - March 14, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Box Art @ Bluesnews
Only two months to go....Blue's has the final box art for The Witcher 2.
Thursday - March 03, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ IGN
CD Projekt's Tomasz Gop chats with IGN about The Witcher 2, which has apparently just finished beta:
IGN: Can you tell us about the ability to slow down time, choose your options and use them in battle?
Tomasz Gop: That's one of the combat features, yes. It's different from The Witcher 1 because in that we actually had an active pause - you could pause totally and take an eternity to choose your tactical options and so on. In The Witcher 2, what we've done is when you open up the radial-menu for choosing your tactics, swords, magic and doing anything you might want to do, time now slows. So it gives you some time for a choice, but it's just not totally comfortable for everyone. You won't have an hour to make a choice. You might even want to make it quicker so you won't be bored by it!
IGN: (Laughs). So when should we expect it to be released?
Tomasz Gop: The game comes out worldwide on May 17, 2011 and we're just closing the beta stage of the game.
Thursday - February 24, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Choice and Combat @ IGN
IGN has a short Witcher 2 preview titled Choice and Combat. The "choice" part doesn't reveal much and they focus on the combat changes:
Perhaps most noticeably different is the combat, which has been completely redone. Gone are the times of squinting at an onscreen icon to determine when to trigger follow up attacks for combos. The Witcher 2 plays more like an action game than an action-turn based hybrid -- which is a good thing. Geralt can be customized with a mix of sword, magical and alchemy skills. You can't acquire every skill, though, so you have to either take a balanced approach and spread out upgrade points across each category, or dump a majority into one. If you happen to max out the sword skill line, for instance, group finishing moves can be unlocked. For magic a new magical sign is unlocked that lets you slow time. And for alchemists who'd rather quaff potions than slash swords or discharge magic, a berserk skill is unlocked toward the end of the tree. According to CD Projekt, pursuing only one tree is a viable way to get through the story, though I would assume doing so would leave Geralt particularly vulnerable in a few key areas.
Wednesday - February 23, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Previews @ Joystiq, Eurogamer
Joystiq has a preview of The Witcher 2 called "Cause and effect", as they describe a quest sequence about disappearing men:
Like the first game, The Witcher 2 leaves much of its storytelling to be unraveled by the most investigative of players. Once I picked up the quest, an entry was added to the game's "journal" (written as if the story of Geralt was being told from the future) that said the solution to the problem would prove to be "a poet." Had I not combed through the journal entry, I wouldn't have been privy to this clue (there was no dialog to prompt me, for example). While the clue is easily missed and unnecessary to complete the quest (at least, for the most simple resolution), it was one instance in which I became aware of a deeper layer to the gameworld. Curious players who dig into the story of The Witcher will be rewarded.
...and Eurogamer also played the same quest:
Non-linearity continues to be the driving force behind development of this sequel. A heavily-modified Aurora Engine has been eschewed in favour of a brand new, in-house proprietary system. This has allowed the team to take more hands-on control over balancing, the development of non-linear quests and debugging.
The side-quest we're presented with is a case in point. After discovering the gruesome remains of one victim, deep within the stone ruins of the Vergen catacombs, a detailed examination reveals something embedded within the festering corpse.
At this point in the game Geralt lacks the necessary tools for extraction. So it's a tantalising example of the piñata approach to quest development: a box of delights, filled with unfinished business for the determined explorer.
Tuesday - February 22, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Screens @ Worthplaying
I think these 23 odd Witcher 2 screens have been floating around some European site but I kept forgetting to track them down, so here they are at Worthplaying.
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ PC Gamer
PC Gamer has some hands-on impressions of The Witcher 2, after playing through a bandit-related side-quest. Here's a bit on voice-acting:
Five minutes into my guided tour of The Witcher 2, and it’s plain that CD Projekt are refusing to scrimp on their voice budget. The first couple of characters I meet are a convincingly Scottish dwarf, and an imperious public-school Elf. Their dialogue isn’t laboured and caricatured, as it is in so many RPGs. It sounds natural, and breathes life into the characters onscreen. As Jan Bartkowicz, the game’s scriptwriter and my guide to Witcher’s kingdom of Temeria, confirms: “It’s an international effort. There’s a British voice studio we’re working with who are very good, and we moved part of our localisation team there to make sure they get it right.”
Monday - February 21, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Hands-on @ RPS
Richard Cobbett has penned some Witcher 2 impressions for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, after playing a short quest involving a succubus. It's hard to take an in-context quote on the quest, so here are some general comments:
Good as the combat seems though, it’s not really what I’m looking forward to. It’s the narrative side that feels the freshest about The Witcher 2, coupled with some excellent world design. The dwarf city of Vergan isn’t particularly inspired, but it looks lovely, and feels lively. The shopkeepers in the market babble constantly, and while there may only be a few real characters of importance in the local inn, its benches are full of NPCs with a line or two to be triggered. It definitely feels like a world I want to explore, especially knowing that the branching story isn’t afraid to cut off paths and opportunities throughout the game, not simply at the end.
Tuesday - February 15, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ VG247
VG247 speaks with Tomasz Gop about The Witcher 2, with the release not far over the horizon. For some reason, VG247 seems to want to compare the game with Dragon Age 2 but here's a snip on non-linearity:
With bespoke tech and four years over the original Witcher release, Gop and his team are able to go bigger both in terms of footprint and narrative. Little is known of the plot as yet – although it does start directly after the first game and the strapline “Assassins of Kings” is a bit of a giveaway to anyone familiar with the story – but you can rest assured there’s going to be more grit.
Gop says the game will “definitely” be darker, and will benefit from “less linearity.”
He adds: “There are more aspects of how the game branches, and, actually, the decisions get more difficult, because the burden is on you this time, and it makes you think, ‘Oh gosh, if I make this choice many more things might change than in the Witcher 1.’”
While the Witcher 2 will pack a more involved plot, PC gaming is never just about the game itself. CD Projekt is beloved by the PC faithful for its commitment to the format. Bonus round: you’re getting 3D support out of the box.
“We’re implementing some features that make it sure that it’s going to be fully capable and working on day one,” says Gop.
Thursday - February 10, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Dev Diary #4 - Locations
CD Projekt has rolled out a new dev diary, this time focused on the locations of The Witcher 2. There's a little over 4 minute of footage and nterviews with the developers in Polish with English subtitles.
The Witcher 2 - On the Spot @ Gamespot
GameSpot's On the Spot video feature has an interview with Tomasz Gop from CD Projekt Red about The Witcher 2 (fast forward to around 4:40). Tomasz covers some familiar points but the footage is completely new as far as I know. You'll see a village in a rocky area and some combat, with a few grabs of the UI, over about 12 minutes. Worth a look.
Wednesday - February 09, 2011
The Witcher 2 - GOG Preorder Update
For those who have (or plan to) preorder The Witcher 2 from GOG, they've updated their offer (slightly):
Why do we brag about it? Because today the offer just got even better! If you already pre-ordered The Witcher 2 on GOG, or you're going to do it, among instant goodies you receive for free (including MP3 tracks, wallpapers and more), now you can download 5 exclusive concept artworks from the game! You won't find them anywhere else. Plus, we made a totally new pre-order page and we wanted you to check it out :)
Wednesday - February 02, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Character Update
The life of sorcerer Dethmold of Ban Ard underwent a drastic change during the Thanedd Coup. During the rebellion his brother died from Scoia’tael arrow, and to say that Dethmold was furious would be saying to little. However the sorcerer would not fall to despair. He was in mourning only as long as it took him to make a list of those guilty. Dethmold left the service of Esterad of Kovir and found a patron better suited for his aims. He decided that Henselt, king of Kaedwen, should ensure the success of his plans.
What does Dethmold desire? He wants the Squirrels to be exterminated, as he considers them to be bandits and murderers. He craves for the deaths of the treasonous sorcerers who sided with Nilfgaard, and of all others whom he considers, rightly or not, to have brought about his brother’s death. The list is long and continuously appended.
Tuesday - February 01, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ PC Games.de
Thursday - January 27, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ IGN
IGN was flown to Warsaw to see The Witcher 2 in action. They were given a "brief" demo and wrote about the results, with added comments from the dev team:
As you would expect, overhauling and improving the combat system has also been a key focus for the team. Although we weren't allowed to try it for ourselves, this time around, the team is promising a "more dynamic" system that it reckons will make it a far more engaging and rewarding experience. "You'll be able to combine magic and sword attacks in the way that wasn't even possible in The Witcher," we're told. And thanks to the flexibility of the new RED engine, it has been possible for the team to script the combat encounters in a less conventional way, so that, for example, optional endings can be added to epic monster battles, or non-linear encounters where the outcome depends on more than your raw skill.
During one of the scuffles that we were shown, we're told that the game's collision detection will be able to take into account environmental obstacles - including anyone unfortunate to be standing in its line-of-fire. "When an enemy is shooting an arrow at you, it's not predefined that it's going to hit you," he says. "It will hit anything on the way between the arrow and you, so if you're cunning enough to position yourself correctly, it can probably hit one of your opponents, and it's the same with things like fireballs."
Thursday - January 20, 2011
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ Geforce
In an interview to be found at Geforce.com, senior producer Tomasz Gop talks about the design philosphy.
GeForce.com: Are all the locations in The Witcher 2 based on actual locations from Andrezej Sapkowski’s books?
Tomasz Gop: Pretty much, yeah. All of them have been tweaked towards adapting it for a computer game. Some others have been enriched with places and features that give us possibilities to tell the story and/or give some extra exploration to the players. But basically, that's still Sapkowski's world.
This developer diary mentions the conquistadors and The Third Reich. Does CD Projekt RED Studio feel like by drawing parallels to real-life groups makes for a more meaningful and impactful narrative?
It's more of bringing the process of creating game closer to the players. I always believed that it's a good idea to give examples on what inspired people that did what they did. In this case, especially for people who don't really dig 'all that fairytale fantasy stuff', describing things closer to what's familiar to them is more... communicative.
The interview also includes the developer's diary video which was mentioned in an earlier newsbit.
Monday - January 17, 2011
The Witcher 2 - vs Dragon Age 2 @ GameZone
Another one of those silly "versus" articles with GameZone setting out to compare The Witcher 2 and Dragon Age 2:
Let's face it - neither The Witcher nor Dragon Age: Origins were winning any awards for their looks when they were released in 2007 and 2009, respectively. Dragon Age: Origins was especially lambasted by critics for its outdated looks and the near-comical blood spatter that covered NPCs after every battle. The Witcher, meanwhile, was built on a heavily-modified version of BioWare's Aurora Engine - the same engine used to build Neverwinter Nights in 2002. So, how do the sequels look? CD Projekt has ditched the Aurora Engine and built an entirely new one for The Witcher 2 and it shows. While Geralt of Rivia's world is still dark in tone, it is also more vibrant. Spell and lighting effects have improved, character models are more detailed and the monsters you encounter are far from the standard orc and goblin fantasy fare. Dragon Age II's graphics engine has also been improved, though the game remains as blood-soaked as ever. Ferelden seems to be less washed out, judging by the few screens and videos released so far, and character faces appear less craggy. Ultimately, though, it's still the same engine with a new coat of paint. The Witcher 2 is being rebuilt from the ground up, and has the potential to be one beautiful RPG.
Source: Blues News
The Witcher 2 - Video Dev Diary - Characters
Thursday - December 23, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ Bit-gamer
Bit-gamer has a short-ish interview with Tomek Gop about The Witcher 2. Here's the current status:
BG: How has the game progressed in the last few months, and what have you been adding in to the title?
Tomek: We’ve pretty much just been wrapping things up. We’re nearing beta now and the game is finally shaping up, so at the moment it’s not about this or that feature – it’s all of them. You can already walk through all of the game, taking any sidequests that you wish. We’re at the final stage of optimisations, balancing and trying to gauge the number of gameplay hours in The Witcher 2. That’s the question that everyone’s been asking us.
Friday - December 17, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Insane Difficulty Revealed
Eurogamer has news of an Insane Difficulty for The Witcher 2 with permadeath and no save reloading on death. I'll stick with plain ol' Hard but here's a snip to explain:
The Witcher 2's insane difficulty is just that – if you die you have to start the game again from the very beginning.
"You can save the game, but when you die the saves are disabled," explained lead gameplay designer Mateusz Kanik to Eurogamer.
"Of course we plan to have a resurrection scroll, maybe DLC or something. You'll see."
The 2011 fantasy role-playing game includes four difficulties: easy, medium, hard and insane.
Wednesday - December 01, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Preorder Trailer
CD Projekt has released a new Witcher 2 trailer to promote preorders. There's a little over a minute of new and old footage and you can check it out at Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
Tuesday - November 30, 2010
The Witcher 2 - 16 Endings Clarified
Looks like CD Projekt has re-thought their wording on the reported 16 different endings for The Witcher 2. The claim still seems valid to me but here's some of the clarification at Eurogamer:
"What is an ending?" he said. "In some games the ending is the final cut-scene, the summary. In The Witcher 2, political things are more important than they were in the first one. It's still action-packed and there is the story of Geralt, but it's a broader game. We go to a lot of different places. We see kingdoms clashing. It's more epic in scale.
"If it is that epic and the game is non-linear, then we thought, these choices have to affect how these kingdoms clash.
"We like to say we have 16 states of the world that you have at the end of The Witcher 2. It's not like 16 different cut-scenes. The last chapter, there is a big summary of what you have accomplished in the game. You will get that. You will see results of some early choices from hours of gameplay past.
Monday - November 29, 2010
The Witcher 2 - New Screens
CD Projekt Red has released 10 new screens for The Witcher 2, which you can view at VoodooExtreme.
Friday - November 26, 2010
The Witcher 2 - DRM Interview @ Eurogamer
Eurogamer interviews CD PRoject's Marcin Iwiński about DRM in games and why it will be released DRM free on Good Old Game.
He states this as evidence why DRM does not work:
"Let's look at Call of Duty," Iwiński told Eurogamer at a press conference in Warsaw, Poland. "We are frequently checking the torrent sites before making our decisions. The game is out a few days and you have 100,000 people downloading it simultaneously. So it doesn't work.
And gives this as proof why a boxed version with lots of goodies but without DRM does work:
The breakthrough came when CD Projekt released RPG classic Baldur's Gate as Polish publisher. It included a D&D book, five CDs (pirates were charging per CD), a map with a seal, a music CD and more.
Baldur's Gate sold 18,000 copies, up from the 3000 average. "Nobody wanted to believe us, including Virgin Interplay," Iwiński said.
The Witcher 2 - CDP Conference Videos
In these videos you will see the game in action. The first video shows Geralt escaping a prison using two different methods. Geralt can sneak his way out of the prison. The other way, as the host said, "He's butchering his way through the level."
In the second video, you will see the new locations in The Witcher as well as new enemies and a boss. I was very impressed with what I saw here.
The first video is over 13 minutes long and the second one ends after 7 minutes.
These videos contain massive spoilers. They are playing the actual game to show the new features in The Witcher 2. You will see a boss fight, a little of the storyline as well as some of the characters you will meet and how to finish one quest two different ways.
If you do not mind spoilers then watch the videos. It will show you exactly what kind of game you are going to get. If you don't want to know, please don't watch them. It will only ruin it for you.
For those of you who don't want to watch the spoilers I wrote down a few notes on the new features:
* Not only can you sneak or fight your way through a level you can also take different paths. In the video shown the two players went two different ways to complete the quest.
*Fist fighting is more dynamic. You can also choose to fist fight certain opponents for a non-lethal way of dispatching them.
*Many new inventory slots. There are slots for gloves, legs, head, body and a few others that I couldn't tell what they were for.
*You can customize items you find (didn't explain how other than the runes for the sword).
*Many new options to help you sneak like dousing torches, using non-lethal takedowns, improvements to the cat potion which allows you to see in the dark and see through walls(also you can see through NPCs which shows you their veins).
*The most interesting improvement is that if you choose the more difficult way to complete a quest you will recieve more experience. In the example provided if you chose to sneak and not kill anyone to complete the quest you will recieve more experience than just killing everything in your path.
*New uses for the medallion. It can now highlight interesting objects in the game. In the video the medallion highlighted pools of water because stepping in them would create noise which could attract the attention of the guards.
*The points that were stressed by the host is both non-linearity and choice and consequence. They were a few C&C shown in the videos.
*You might see different parts of the story and meet different people depending on how you treat people, how you complete quests and whom you meet first. For example: They played two games on the same level using different choices from earlier in the game. You met two entirely different people to help you complete the quest.
*No loading areas.
*The new engine is amazing. The landscapes were breathtaking as was the battlefield.
*In the quest they previewed they showed us two different way to pass it, but there are actually four ways you could have completed that quest.
*Huge epic battles with hundreds of characters on the screen on top of hundreds of flaming arrows being shot at you.
Souce: PC GAMER
Thursday - November 25, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ Eurogamer
Eurogamer interviews Senior Producer Tomasz Gop. They talk about the death of boxed PC games, exclusive content to retailers, Dragon Age 2 and more:
Eurogamer: You mention the competition. Is Dragon Age II The Witcher 2's biggest competitor?
Tomasz Gop: They are similar games in a way. It is competition, but we're not thinking that they're going to kill us, or wipe us out with their marketing.
We're thinking, if people like role-playing games they will buy all of them because you get two or three role-playing games a year – triple-A ones. OK, yes, they are competition, but if one competitor wiped out another one, it would mean a 30 per cent decrease in the role-playing game market. Who wants that? That's not good for anyone.
They are competition, but it's nothing we're afraid of.
Eurogamer: Dragon Age II's combat is more action-driven than the first game's, and so is The Witcher 2's. Why are role-playing games becoming more action-orientated?
Tomasz Gop: You're right, but it's misleading for a lot of people. I can't say it's not true. It is true. Developers want to have more action in their games. Boring games are not good. It's not like you're changing the genre of the game. Role-playing games will not become shooters... I mean, Mass Effect was an exception. OK, we're not doing Mass Effect.
What I'm trying to say is a lot of things that were happening in role-playing games on a daily basis years ago are too hardcore right now. It's not like we're doing a completely different genre. This is what the role-playing game is right now.
The story is never dumbed down. Good role-playing games kept really good story, and you experience the story in an even deeper way than you would previously because of better graphics, direction and cut-scenes.
Combat is more spectacular. The means to express it is just to make it real-time. Previously combat was more turn-based. We don't have turn-based combat right now. It's a better means of expression.
Thursday - November 18, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Official GOG Announcement
The website at Good Old Games for preordering The Witcher 2 is up. It offers a 10% discount, several downloadable goodies and one of the following games for free: Divine Divinity, Beyond Divinity, Gothic 2 Gold, Realms of Arkania 1+2 or Realms of Arkania 3.
Here is the official announcement:
Pre-Order Now. Pay at the release. Get The Witcher 2 at GOG.com
During today's CD Projekt Autumn Conference, the digital distribution platform known for DRM-free classic PC games announced it is taking pre-orders for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Warsaw, Poland – November 18, 2010. GOG.com (http://www.gog.com), the 'net's best collection of classic PC games without copy protection, announced its pre-order offer for The Witcher 2 Digital Premium Edition today, available at http://www.gog.com/tw2. The announcement, which was made during the CD Projekt Autumn Conference, brings an incredible one-time offer of a 100% DRM-free title, fair worldwide pricing, and exclusive additional content to GOG.com users.
Starting immediately, GOG.com is accepting free pre-orders for The Witcher 2 Digital Premium Edition. “Part of what makes pre-ordering The Witcher 2 on GOG.com such an incredible deal is that it won't cost you a penny, and you'll get instant, free access to unreleased music from the soundtrack, HD wallpapers, avatars, and behind-the-scenes photos of the development team at work,” said Guillaume Rambourg, Managing Director of GOG.com. “No other retailer has this exclusive content that we're offering on GOG for our preorder, and no other retailer has our GOG.com Fair Price Package either. Whether you're a fan of the Witcher franchise or just looking for the easiest place to pre-order The Witcher 2 on the Internet, GOG.com's unbeatable offer is something you should be sure to check out.”
In addition to the game, the Digital Premium Edition will contain a wealth of digital content, including in-game soundtracks, a digital art book, a game guide, papercraft figurines, and much more. Everyone buying The Witcher 2 on GOG.com will get to choose one of the following RPG classics for free when they complete their pre-order on release day: Gothic 2 Gold, Realms of Arkania 1+2, Realms of Arkania 3, Divine Divinity, and Beyond Divinity.
The game is scheduled for release on or around May 17, 2011, and is priced at €49.99 for EU citizens, £34.99 GBP for UK citizens, and $49.99 USD for the rest of the world. Customers who pre-order the game will receive 10% off their purchase, bringing the price for a pre-order down to€44.99 EU, £31.49 GBP, and $44.99 USD respectively. Because the price in Euros is almost $16 USD more than the price in dollars, and the price in GBP is roughly $6 more than the price in dollars, GOG.com is making its pricing fair by giving EU purchasers a $16 USD GOG.com store credit and UK customers a $6 USD GOG.com store credit to spend on any game at GOG.com after they finalize their pre-order.
Rambourg continued. “This one-time offer is a great opportunity to help promote this highly-anticipated RPG by our sister company, CD Projekt RED. Further, by pre-ordering and purchasing their copy of The Witcher 2 from GOG.com, gamers will be supporting the developer more directly, since we're sister companies. This offer reflects the principles that have made GOG.com so popular to our users, such as quality gaming, great value, and DRM-free downloads. The opportunity to bring this to our community and the internet at large was one that we couldn't pass up, and we hope that you won't be able to pass it up either.”
The pre-order offer for The Witcher 2 Digital Premium Edition is now available at GOG.com. It's as simple as, “Pre-order now, pay later,” and get instant access to free digital content when you do. Go to www.gog.com/tw2 to pre-order now.
The Witcher 2 - DRM Free From GOG
According to Eurogamer, GoG will be selling The Witcher 2 without any DRM what-so-ever. I expected Baldur's Gate 2 to be released after they started selling Black Isle's old games, but I never expected The Witcher 2 without any DRM.
Here is what Eurogamer had to say:
Polish company CD Projekt will break the Good Old Games mould by selling The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings there next May, Eurogamer can exclusively reveal.
Until now, Good Old Games had focused on adapting retro titles for today's operating systems.
But sources have told us that on 17th May, The Witcher 2 will be found there. What's more, the gritty action RPG will be completely DRM-free.
The news is expected to be made official this evening at a CD Project press conference.
Good Old Games and The Witcher 2 are of course both made by CD Projekt. Perhaps convergence was inevitable.
Tuesday - November 16, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Collector's Edition Revealed
The official Witcher site says Premium and Collector's Editions will be officially unveiled on Thursday but VG247 has noticed a massive listing at Gamestop in the meantime. The current pricetag (which may not be final) is an enormous $129.99 and here's the content listing:
* The Vernon Roche Commando Jacket, which is: Available only in Collector’s Edition; Unique item, obtained through one of the early-on quests; Very valuable object, that when equipped noticeably boosts player’s sword-fighting abilities; Customization-wise, one of the best jackets the player will be able to find throughout the game (especially for sword-related character build).
* Making-of DVD
* Official Soundtrack
* World Map
* Art Book
* Geralt Sculpture
* Temerian Coin
* Dice Set
* 3 Stickers
* Playing Cards and Rulebook
* Cursed Coin and Pamphlet
* Two Papercraft Figures + Bonus
* Game disc
The Witcher 2 - Release Date May 17th
Neoseeker posts that the release date for The Witcher 2 has been pushed back to May 17th. They want the extra time to polish the game:
Project lead Adam Badowski comments, "We know that players would like to get the game as soon as possible, so we hope that they will forgive us! We strongly believe that the extra time spent polishing the title will be well worth the wait."
Gamers seem perhaps even more irate than ever about buggy games lately, so if The Witcher 2's overall level of polish can match that of its shiny screenshots, we're in.
Thursday - November 11, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Eurogamer Expo Video
Eurogamer has kicked up a video of the Eurogamer Expo presentation for The Witcher 2. This looks like the familiar prison break sequence but I haven't watched the entire 29 minutes and it is newly posted, so fans might want to check it out just in case.
Saturday - November 06, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Dev Diary #2 - The Engine
There's a video dev diary for The Witcher over at the Big Download. The nine minute video features CD Projekt developers discussing the engine they have created for this game - Polish but English subtitles.
Friday - October 29, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Faces Halloween Contest
From The Witcher 2 forum:
CD Projekt RED is celebrating Halloween by tearing the faces off two gamers… and putting them in the highly anticipated RPG sequel, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings! In the Doppler Effect Contest – launching today exclusively on http://facebook.com/TheWitcher – gamers submit photos of themselves dressed in their finest, most horrifying, or outright ridiculous Witcher-related costumes for a chance to get their faces onto characters in The Witcher 2.
The winners also won’t have to stand in line with ghastly ghouls and graviers waiting for the game, as they’ll also get a free copy of The Witcher 2 as soon as it’s ready. Perhaps they’ll even see themselves in the game, being seduced by our friend, Geralt, or perhaps suffering a less-enviable fate, decomposing slowly amidst a sea of freshly-slain villagers… muahahaha.
All your faces are belong to us! ;-)
The Witcher Team
Friday - October 22, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Console Version Questions?
Eurogamer is highlighting a conversation with CD Projekt's Tomasz Gop where he uses the term "potential" when asked about the console version:
Even if the console version does come to fruition, it's "not likely" to launch alongside the pillar PC game.
"All I can say for now is that it's not likely for any POTENTIAL [sic] console release to be simultaneous [with the PC game]," senior producer Tomasz Gop told Eurogamer this morning.
He then apologised for being able to offer only a "no comment" on the console game's current status.
I'm not sure a delay is the news Eurogamer believes. Our own copy of the original release PR does not mention a console version and an interview with GameSpot just prior to the original announcement back in April says "The Witcher 2 is currently planned for release in the early part of 2011 for the PC, and although CD Projekt Red is also interested in developing a console version of the game, other versions haven't been confirmed yet". Time will tell.
Wednesday - October 20, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ God is a Geek
A site called God is a Geek has a Eurogamer Expo preview of The Witcher 2:
The second part of the demonstration featured a cursed battlefield with hundreds of ghostly soldiers taking part in a battle. Gop points out that hundreds of character models on-screen at one time is only possible with The Witcher 2′s all new tailor made engine. The soldiers were merely images from the past and did not attack Geralt, but a demonic presence in the form of an impressive looking boss soon made his presence aware. The boss could be defeated in this early build, but we can honestly say we saw enough to know that The Witcher 2 is sure to excite fans of the original as well as gaining new ones in the process.
Tuesday - October 19, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Interview and Previews
Australian site Games On Net has an interview with CDPR's Tomasz Gop and Marek Ziemak to discuss The Witcher 2. Unsurprisingly, they are planning DLC:
games.on.net: Are you building it with DLC or expansions in mind?
Tomasz: Nothing really solid that I want to talk about right now but yes, it seems a really natural move to go to DLC. There’s definitely a lot of stories there to be told.
games.on.net: Is there any advantage, story or otherwise, to using stealth rather than just blasting your way through?
Tomasz: Spoiling it for you: yes, experience wise.
Marek: Sometimes you won’t be able to get into some story or gameplay options without going quietly, because you sound an alarm, or doors get locked. You don’t have to go stealth, but it modifies your gameplay – how the quest moves forward. A couple of times it’s a good idea to go stealth in one play through, and go hardcore in another.
In other TW2 news, Critical Gamer wrote in to point out their preview from the recent Eurogamer Expo. Their piece mostly walks through the demo but here are some early comments:
When the demo starts, the story thus far has led to your character being captured. He is hanging from chains in a medieval prison cell, with graphic lash marks on his back. As soon as the characters start talking, I am saddened to see Hollywood cliché come into play; the hero speaks with an American accent, while the guards speak with British accents. I also have to say that, in the demo at least, the script is consistently stilted. All the more impressive, however, that I quickly learn not to write the game off.
...and another preview at Resolution Magazine:
If you’re worried about CD-Projekt sacrificing depth for the sake of accessibility, then fear not, oh hardcore-RPGer: the Witcher 2 still hails proudly from the land of statistics, potions, and micro-management. Alchemy, the mind-boggling system for mixing dubious, statistic-enhancing cocktails that was so crucial to success in the first Witcher, hasn’t gone anywhere, and the higher difficulty levels will still challenge all but the most dedicated RPG fans, even if they’re used to such continental fare as Risen and Stronghold.
Monday - October 11, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Video Interview @ Destructoid
Destructoid has a video interview on The Witcher 2 from the Eurogamer Expo a couple of weeks back:
We had lots of interviews at gamescom but one interview we never got was an interview with Polish developers CD Projekt for their upcoming game The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. While Maurice Tan spent time writing up an impression of the live demo, I took time to interview the team to discuss the changes to the story, the massive leap from using BioWare's Aurora engine to developing their own and how The Witcher 2 plans to use the idea of moral choices throughout the game.
Thursday - October 07, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Papercraft of Kings
Remember the papercraft PR stuff that gaming sites released a while back? CD Project Red has released Geralt, the torturer and prisoner papercraft models for those into this stuff:
Through a series of unfortunate events and false accusations, Geralt landed in a dungeon. It’s not the first criminal episode in the witcher’s career, but what else can you expect from an itinerant monster slayer dealing with elven terrorists?
As befits a brawler, Geralt gave up all efforts at appealing his innocence and decided to take matters into his own hands. On his way to freedom, the witcher encounters the Torturer. A torture chamber drama plays out between the two, the Emaciated Prisoner is only witness.
Wondering how this story turns out? Even Triss and Zoltan can’t agree. Luckily, here’s your chance to bring it and a thousand other stories to life in the comfort of your own home. Now you can download, cut out and assemble your own Geralt, Torturer and Emaciated Prisoner, and use them to create the quest of your choice. All this thanks to The Witcher 2: Papercraft of Kings set (keep away from fire) – licensed by CD Projekt RED, published by Cubeecraft.com and available HERE.
Monday - October 04, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ Eurogamer
Eurogamer chats with Witcher 2 producer Tomas Gop in an interview fron the Eurogamer Expo. Here's an excerpt on the multiple endings:
Eurogamer: I've heard there are 16 endings in The Witcher 2 and even multiple introductions if you import your savegame from The Witcher. How do you make sure that every way you play the game is rewarding and coherent when there's so much player choice involved?
Jan Bartkowicz: It's like this. First of all, we wanted to make these multiple endings not like... We don't want the game to be a linear story until the last 10 per cent of the game where you make the choices and suddenly everything goes totally different ways. That's not really a summary, right? It's only a summary of the last 10 per cent of the game.
So we've made our system based on the idea, for example, that in the first chapter of the game you will make choices that mean you could only possibly see eight of those endings because of the choice you made. Someone asked me at gamescom, "Where do I need to save the game to load it and see all the different endings?" and I told them, "Well, basically in the prologue!"
Thursday - September 23, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Prison Break Video
CD Projekt Red has released a new Witcher 2 video titled Prison Break: Non Linearity in Story and Tactics, which you can watch at 4Players.de (English gameplay with German subtitles). The video shows the prison break we've seen before but demonstrates some of the different ways the sequence can play out, presumably based in part on previous choices. This particular video also uses something like BioWare's "narrative framing", with Triss and Zoltan arguing about how the escape actually happened - although it isn't clear if this is actually in the game or was put together for this video.
Spoilers apply, of course.
Tuesday - September 14, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Audio Interview @ The Cynical Brit
The Cynical Brit has a 25-minute (!) phone interview with Thomasz Gop from CD Project Red about The Witcher 2, with some crossover with a nudity issue at Rock, Paper, Shotgun to add some interest. As mentioned, the actual interview is a lengthy phone discussion and it has various video snippets overlaid in the background to give you something to watch.
At around the 14 minute mark, the interviewer asks about the criticism (and forum arguments) from a Rock, Paper, Shotgun GamesCom preview back in August. Here's a snip, if you don't recall:
Yet signs of a certain crudity remain, something uncertain and immature lurking underneath the surface confidence and maturity. The demo goes to great lengths to show a gritty, unpleasant world filled with suffering and dirtiness. And then, hey, boobs. Big, incongruously perfect, brazen breasts, gleaming like oiled whaleskin amidst the blood and grime covering every other surface in the game. The woman in question is a prisoner, supposedly being tortured. It’s supposed to be a harrowing moment – a mother who’s just lost her son and is now in grave danger, treated with monstrous disdain and the threat of hideous sexual violence.
Instead, it’s masturbation fodder, an unashamed invitation to admire a pixel-perfect fantasy figure. This women is supposed to be suffering, but I’m supposed to salivate. The camera lingers, closes slightly on those improbable appendages – even when Geralt dispatches her torturers-to-be, rescues her and she requests to cover her porn star body up again, we’re treated to a final titilatting jiggle, rather than a demure turnaround, as she pulls her unscathed dress back up. She doesn’t seem terribly bothered. The game doesn’t seem terribly bothered. It just wanted to show us some tits, because apparently that’s how you know a game is mature.
You might have seen this scene in the GameCom presentation videos. Apparently Thomasz Gop explains they've now re-thought that scene to find a more appropriate balance.
Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun
The Witcher 2 - New Character @ Official Site
The Witcher 2 site has kicked up a profile on Vernon Roche. I have the feeling we might have missed one or two others, so have a look at the Characters page.
Thursday - September 02, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ IGN
IGN has written a very positive preview for this game. They talk about the much better choice and consequence, the enhanced game engine as well as the better flexible gameplay. As usual, an excerpt, telling about the choice and consequences:
Three opening scenarios multiply out to a full 16 different endings. That kind of scope is staggering, when you stop and consider the potential routes necessary to bridge you from one point to another through the game world. In fact, during our presentation, we were privy to the entire game schematic – a tangled mass of plot points, missions and interconnected events and scenes that looked more akin to a circuit board wireframe than anything.
Monday - August 30, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ Gamasutra
CD Projekt Red Senior Producer Tomasz Gop chats with Gamasutra about their goals with The Witcher 2. Tomasz emphasises they want to produce a "hardcore RPG", not an "action RPG" but explains the action combat is appropriate because of the subject. Here's a snip on their tools and systems for creating non-linear gameplay:
Those kinds of systems have traditionally been what Western RPGs strive for. Can you talk about any of them in more depth?
TG: There are a lot of things, actually. You can see it even just in [this gameplay demonstration, featuring a combat encounter and branching dialogue]. There are systems that let us branch the story because we have more endings to this story than we had in The Witcher. Not one or two more; way more. We have a lot more factors that influence how the story branches and what you will see.
It's not only dialogue choices. For example, you want to take care of who you stick with throughout the game, your companions and so on. We also have companions in the battlefield. You don't command them directly, but they are independent guys or women who can help you, and they can change the outcome of a battle.
You have communities, societies. A lot of things are going on inside the cities, inside the places you will visit, and they're often independent of your actions. There are things that are going on that don't always wait for you to see them. Dialogue looks more lively. People can join in or join out of the dialogue. There's no limitation towards number of participants.
Sunday - August 29, 2010
The Witcher 2 - GamesCom Videos and More
If you recall the Witcher 2 GamesCom presentation videos we've posted recently from GameStar and Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Omega points out versions at GameSpot that are complete and better quality. There's 20 minutes of footage across One Approach, Alternate Strategy and Battle with Daug.
FactorNews has a French language preview (Google translation here) and, for a fun item from a couple of days ago, check out the fun marketing idea CD Projekt had for GamesCom via RPS.
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ G4
G4 made a preview of the Witcher 2 - Assasins of Kings, based on what the demo they saw at GamesCom. Since we probably all know the content of the demo, here's something about CDP's projects enthusiasm while showing the demo.
What We're Seeing Now:While I don't want this to turn into a review of the Gamescom presentation, rather than a preview of The Witcher 2 itself, it is important to mention how enthusiastic and entertaining the development team was at the show. People get tired at gaming shows and both developers and journalists can lose interest pretty quickly, but CD Projekt's energy was infectious. Despite it being the end of the day, the five-or-six strong presentation team ran through their clearly rehearsed, but genuinely funny, performance as if it was the first time.This sort of passion for their product is made even more obvious when they start describing the improvements made possible by the game's new engine. On screen is displayed a tangle of lines and nodes, stretching on horizontally seemingly forever. This is a visual representation of the game's story, showing every choice and consequence the player can make, and it is massive. It's pulled straight from the game's engine and demonstrates perfectly how they've redefined non-linearity for The Witcher 2.
Friday - August 27, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Video Interview
CD Projekt Red's Tomasz Gop talks at GamesCom about The Witcher 2 in a video for DigitalGames.fr found at Blip.tv. The background footage is from familiar trailers but Tomasz explains some of their goals and the features, such as the three openings and 16 endings.
While we're on this topic, Gamers Hell has a bunch of screens. They seem to be from the trailers we've seen but the hi-res might make them worth a look.
Monday - August 23, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ RPS
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a Witcher 2 preview from GamesCom after viewing a presentation similar to the footage we yesterday. Videos of the presentation are also included - they aren't as good quality as we've already seen but the two clips are much longer. I haven't had the chance to watch it all, so it might be worth a look to glean some extra details. Here's a snip from the preview text:
It’s a bigger, bolder game all over – a pre-demo stat-blast revealing that it has 256 cutscenes (160 mins) vs the first’s 130 (53 mins), 30 armour types versus 6, 16 game endings versus 3 and, most appealingly, 4 load screens instead of 700. (They say the increased cutscene count doesn’t mean it’s going to be one of those games that think they’re movies. Warren might not agree).
Visually, it’s a big step up too – the wounds on a newly post-torture Geralt’s back were visceral enough to make me grimace, and lupine hints to his face are unmistakable. Visual improvements are useful as well as superficial – the interface and UI is slick and modern, stripped down but smart. Dialogue choices float on the screen like artful subtitles rather than a brutalist box. The word ‘elegant’ is in my notes. This is, I suspect, going to be an enormously impressive game on a technical level. They’ve put the time, they’ve put the money in, and we’re probably going to look at Dragon Age 1′s muddy surface with a little bit of contempt following this.
Another source of the videos is Gametrailers, who have broken the presentation into five parts.
Saturday - August 21, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Gameplay Video @ GameStar
An excellent Witcher 2 video at GameStar with 13 minutes of new footage, based on an escape through a castle dungeon. The intro is German, of course, but the actual version on display is English. Well worth a look for anyone following CD Projekt's sequel.
Thursday - August 19, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Video, Screens
News on The Witcher 2 has been quiet so far but this is a small start. Omega points out a teaser trailer for their GamesCom presentation - it's short but has some glimpses of new footage. There's also new screens at Gamikaze.pl.
Monday - July 19, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ Worthplaying
Worthplaying previews The Witcher 2 based on the E3 demo they saw from Atari. No new information but they seem positive about what they saw:
The first thing that jumps out about the game is the camera switch. Everything looks a lot smoother, as CDProjekt Red has replaced the Neverwinter Nights' Aurora Engine with an original engine that revises all sorts of small and large elements of the game's five acts. The results also seek to have the world significantly change as a result of player actions and morality (or lack thereof), from wide to small details. The Witcher 2 uses full background loading to shorten load times and ensure that environments and cut scene switches occur quickly.
Thursday - July 15, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Wallpapers @ Official Site
Head over to the Witcher 2 site to nab three desktop wallpapers.
Monday - July 12, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Gameplay Videos @ GameSpot
Omega points out a trio of Witcher 2 gameplay movies at GameSpot. The situations will be familiar to anyone who has watched the official trailers but these clips show the dialogue and gameplay around these set pieces. Well worth a look.
Wednesday - July 07, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Combat Video @ GameSpot
Tuesday - July 06, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Preview, Video Interview
A site called MMOMFG has E3 impressions of The Witcher 2:
I was immediately impressed with the level of details and graphics already found in the demo shown behind closed doors. For such an early build, one can’t help but get excited about what hasn’t been shown yet. My biggest complaint about The Witcher was its camera system that felt extremely wonky at times and left the gamer unable to truly move their character where you wanted to go at times. There are no issues with this in The Witcher 2 in terms of camera angles, as it has taken on the 3rd person behind the character view, so complete control is at the gamer’s hands, either with a control pad or through mouse and keyboard. I could not be more thankful for this change!
...and G4TV has a video interview with Tomasz Gop over 4 minutes with footage playing in the background. Thanks, Omega!
Thursday - July 01, 2010
The Witcher 2 - E3 Preview @ Aeropause
There's a preview for this game at Aeropause, based on CD RED Projects presentation of the game at E3 2010. Here's a snippet about how your decisions will influence the story:
You decisions will affect how future relationships will come together, or possibly even fall apart due to your actions in these conversations, and with your actions as well. Also expanding the story is the fact that Geralt’s memory is starting to come back, leading into new story elements that will affect how he will react to people that he knows from his past.
Wednesday - June 30, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ RPGFan
Omega points out this preview of The Witcher 2 from E3 at RPGFan:
Fans of The Witcher will be happy to know that the story follows directly after the first game and continues straight apace. While we weren't able to see any in-depth plot devices, it was clear that the second game will have the same fantastic 'grey' dialogue that the first game had. For those who are fans of BioWare titles, you may know that the choices in those games seem to be very black and white; it's either give the orphan some food or murder him. Geralt is a "hero" in the vaguest sense of the term, and players are given choice in that fashion - there are no "paragon" or "renegade" choices, there are simply a multitude of choices that have different consequences. That is the major thing that made The Witcher stand out from other games, and The Witcher 2 carries that torch well. No longer using BioWare's Aurora engine (the engine from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic), but their own new in-house engine, CD Projekt RED is able to add and remove characters to conversations on the fly, making dialogue much more realistic and dynamic. No longer are you constrained to just talking to one person in any given dialogue. With this, CD Projekt RED can add events into dialogue, allowing characters to take action that wouldn't be otherwise available in a one-on-one dialogue.
Monday - June 28, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ Cyberludus
A website called Cyberludus has posted an interview with Tomas Gop, Witcher 2's senior producer. It's fairly lengthy so here's an excerpt:
CL: Which have you based the artistic direction on? How did you choose to represent the world created by Sapkowski? Which are the main features of The Witcher’s aesthetical design?
TG: We definitely don’t limit our design towards any particular factors – anything that is nice could actually influence us. Still however, I think that Slavic culture is the one that has most to offer regarding our ways to express of how the world where Witcher lives would really look. We’ve actually already done that during The Witcher (parts of locations, the way characters dressed, etc.), so because it works, we’ll probably push it further. The medieval times (in general) is great source of inspiration, but in our game we need something amazing, magical, so Slavic myths are the way to go.
Source: RPG Codex
Friday - June 25, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ Destructoid
A preview of The Witcher is up at Desctructoid. Luckily, the game supports us imcompetent RPG players:
As a genre, RPGs should be all about the story and have traditionally been attractive to players who might lack some of the skills needed for action games. If you're the sort who is likely to stumble your way through every combat encounter, an easier combat mode has been added just for you. I'm not really one of those people and this feature appeals even to me. Sometimes, I just want to know what the story of a game is and it's nice to see game design which can cater to that if I so choose.
There are also (hopefully) new screens at Gamestrust.de.
Thursday - June 24, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ The Escapist
The engine has been entirely rewritten to accommodate the branching story, multi-character dialogue system and new cinematics. We saw two sequences that showed off all three features to great effect. In the first, Geralt, his special lady friend, Triss Merigold, and a new character named Vernon Roche find themselves passing through a forest on the trail of a murderer. I won't spoil the story except to say that they encounter an elf named Iorweth. He's the captain of an elite unit that was destroyed in the recent war, and he and Roche seem to have had some sort of tension in the past. During the course of the dialogue, Iorweth and Roche do most of the talking, but the player, as Geralt, has the opportunity to interject from time to time with responses that are themed like those in Mass Effect and can steer the confrontation in a new direction. Things ended badly when we saw it, but there may be a way for Geralt to have a more calming effect on the encounter.
Monday - June 21, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ Shacknews
A short of preview of The Witcher 2 is up at Shacknews. Nothing new that I can see but here's a sample:
Though it may appear at times to be an action-oriented game, story, characters, and how they fit together in the world provided the strongest motivation to develop their own game engine. As with many modern role-playing games, how the story unfolds depends in large part on player-made choices. But unlike the typical question of whether to follow the good or evil path, the choices are less clear-cut, and become a matter of considering what the consequences could be down the line.
Saturday - June 19, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Preview, Interview
I haven't linked a Gamers with Jobs piece for a long time for some reason. Anyway, they have a short preview of The Witcher 2:
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.
The Witcher 2 - Assorted Media @ Voodoo Extreme
Voodoo Extreme has posted a variety of (hopefully new) E3-related media for CD Projekt's upcoming rpg, The Witcher2:Assassins of Kings, including a gameplay movie and a group of screenshots, wallpapers and concept art.
Wednesday - June 16, 2010
The Witcher 2 - E3 Previews @ CVG, IGN
Here's a couple of Witcher 2 previews from E3. First, a snip from CVG:
One thing that is definitely remaining is the distinctive stances - fast, group and heavy. In The Witcher 2, they won't be as separate as before. CD Projekt are aiming to allow for players to mix them together to produce a better flow to the combat.
Potion creation will be made less fiddly this time - more a matter of just making sure you have the right ingredients without having to go through the whole meditation and bubbling cauldron thing. In fact, the whole issue of character inventory and progression has been addressed. While not a major issue last time, your inventory could get cluttered up easily, so there are moves afoot to make sure this doesn't happen so much.
...and from IGN, who report some sort of Alpha Protocol effect with the dialogue:
We didn't get to play at E3 2010, but we did get a chance to see some of the game in action. Choice and consequence still factors into The Witcher 2's progression, as the choices you make in conversation affect how events play out further down the line. While in conversation you'll see the interface is much different, with a handful of short dialogue options appearing in the left middle of the screen as interactions play out. You're also given a limited amount of time to input each option, so you'll need to think fast as to how to approach each situation since the decisions can have far reaching effects.
The Witcher 2 - New Screenshots @ Eurogamer
You can see 35 new screenshots for Witcher 2: Assasins of Kings on Eurogamer.
Tuesday - June 15, 2010
The Witcher 2 - E3 Video Interview @ Gametrailers
Gametrailers has a video interview with Tomas Gop from CDPR to demo The Witcher 2. The footage in the background looks the same as we've seen previously, though I did rush through it.
Thursday - June 10, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ RPS
Rock Paper Shotgun talked to Tomasz Gop about the Witcher 2. Here's a snip showing where they get their inspiration:
RPS: So are you being influenced by, say, Mass Effect 2 and Alpha Protocol?
Gop: Well it’s our own game, obviously, but we cannot hide that inspirations are good. We take inspiration from other games, it’s not a bad thing. And we see games inspired by The Witcher, we are inspired by things from The Witcher. But I don’t know, we could mention some games we’ve found inspiring, like I could name Heavy Rain, or name Batman, or… oh. I just got a post it from Borys saying “hello” to you. [Borys Pugacz-Muraszkiewicz, senior writer on The Witcher.]
Wednesday - June 09, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ Faceoff Games
Omega sends word of this interview with Witcher 2 Senior Producer Tomas Gop at Faceoff Games. Here's a sample:
F.O.G: We've been told there will be no "FedEx missions", that missions wouldn't have the player going from point A to point B delivering packages. Is this really true? Other games in the past have claimed the same, and have failed to delivery. Can players really expect anything different from the Witcher 2?
TG: I guess you're gonna have to wait and see for yourself. I've seen quests implemented and have already played them - it really works. Second thing is, we've got a fully open world right now, so you can explore all parts of locations from the very beginning, so many quests are presented to you at an early stage.
Friday - June 04, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Video Dev Diary
VoodooExtreme has a Witcher 2 video dev diary with various CD Projekt folks explaining the design of the story. They highlight the choices, the use of Slavic culture, the save import feature that will reflect the decisions made in the first game, companions and the importance of interesting characters with good dialogue.
Tuesday - June 01, 2010
The Witcher 2 - DRM Comments
VG247 reports on comments from a Namco representative that were supportive of Ubisoft's DRM system and followup comments from CD Projekt Red. You may recall that Namco will distribute The Witcher 2 in some territories but the CDPR representative responded with "You know Cd Projekt RED’s opinion about DRM, right?”, which is reassuring at this point.
Friday - May 28, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Screen @ Official Site
The weekly screen at The Witcher 2 site shows Triss taking a bath...
Monday - May 24, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Screens @ VG247
Head over to VG247 for a bunch of Witcher 2 screens and art from a recent Namco event in Barcelona.
The Witcher 2 - Namco to Publish in Europe, APac
News that The Witcher 2 will be distributed in much of Europe and Asia Pacific by Namco Bandai:
THE WITCHER 2: ASSASSINS OF KINGS' CONFIRMED FOR EUROPE- NAMCO BANDAI Partners S.A.S. to Distribute Eagerly Awaited PC Sequel from
CD Projekt RED Across EMEA and Asia Pacific -
LYON, FRANCE – 24 May 2010 – NAMCO BANDAI Partners S.A.S. today confirmed that it will distribute The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings from Polish developer CD Projekt RED across EMEA and Asia Pacific. The sequel to the multi award-winning hit PC role-playing game The Witcher, which has sold in excess of 1.5 million copies worldwide, is scheduled for release in 2011.
“We're very excited and proud to be adding The Witcher 2 to our line up for 2011,” said Olivier Comte, VP Marketing, Sales & Publishing, NAMCO BANDAI Partners. “The team at CD Projekt RED is one of the most passionate and skilled in the world, and they are committed to delivering the best possible experience to their fans, which leads me to believe we will have an amazing game on our hands.”
“I'm very happy that we can put the last piece of the worldwide puzzle in place by confirming NAMCO BANDAI as our European distribution and marketing partner,” said Adam Kiciński, CEO of CD Projekt RED. “We've already put a lot of sweat and love into the Witcher 2, which we think and hope will be one of the best ever RPGs, and we're looking forward to sharing more details in the coming months.”
The second instalment in the role-playing saga continues the morally ambiguous adventures of notorious witcher Geralt of Rivia with a thoroughly engrossing, mature storyline which defines new standards for thought-provoking, non-linear game narration. In addition to the epic story, the game features an original, brutal combat system that uniquely combines tactical elements with dynamic action, letting players feel every sword blow.
Built from the ground up by CD Projekt RED, the new, proprietary game engine is responsible for the game's beautiful visuals as well as its sophisticated gameplay mechanics, and puts players in the heart of the most alive and believable world ever created in an RPG game. All the elements that made the first game such a global hit with fans, the captivating story, dynamic combat system, beautiful graphics and more, are all executed in a much more advanced and sophisticated way in The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, promising an unrivalled role-playing experience.
Fans can follow The Witcher on Twitter (@WitcherGame) and on Facebook.com/The-Witcher.
Friday - May 21, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Screen @ Official Site
Another new Witcher 2 screen at the official site:
Today’s SCREENHOT is dedicated to all The Witcher fans interested in the story background of the game, especially in the conflict between humans and Scoia’tael... Vernon Roche and his special forces commando have just arrived to the border between Temeria, Kaedwen and Aedirn.
Thursday - May 20, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ Games Radar
Omega points out this preview of The Witcher 2 at Games Radar. A sample:
That you could make decisions at an early point in the game that changed the way things happened much later, but not always in an obvious way, was one of the major selling points of the original. This time around, there’ll be more decisions and the consequences will run much deeper. Some places will be dramatically different depending on the choices you make earlier on.
Those choices will also be made more interesting for us Anglophiles by the mere fact our language is being used as the primary language in the game. While it might rightly annoy Polish speakers to see a game from their country made in English, the consolation for us is that we won’t be getting the substandard translation the original Witcher suffered from on release (and was corrected in the Enhanced Edition).
Tuesday - May 18, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Character Update
Triss Merigold has been added to the Witcher 2 character page, with a render, sketch and bio. The render's jaw-line looks too severe to me but I haven't read the original source material.
Monday - May 17, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Screen @ Official Site
Another week, another Witcher 2 screen at the official site. Head over for a pic of an Arachas.
Monday - May 10, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Screen @ Official Site
A new screen is up at The Witcher site. Here's the blurb:
No great story is complete without a hint of love. Or… at the very least, some sort of emotional stuff. Today we present a SCREENSHOT that contains absolutely zero blood, no swords, and not even a boring old forest. You will, however, find Geralt and Triss Merigold surrounded by beautiful red roses, enjoying the camaraderie that can only exist between two people taking a naked swim together. As with so many things in the world of The Witcher, these roses aren’t just there to tell a story of love.
Thursday - April 29, 2010
The Witcher 2 - New Screen @ Official Site
A new week, a new screen at The Witcher 2 site. Head over to see the outside of an Elven ruin - you'll have to navigate to the end of the gallery because of the Flash.
Monday - April 26, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Articles @ PC Games Hardware, Witcher Vault
Here are two new Witcher 2 articles, pointed out by Omega. The first is a technical discussion at PC Games Hardware with Tomek Gop:
PCGH: Is the second part of The Witcher based on the same technology as the first part or do you reprogram or modify the engine or even write a new base technology from scratch?
Tomek Gop: We definitely started from scratch. It was one of the first things our programmers sat to, right after releasing The Witcher. Our engine has been rewritten mostly due to specific, RPG related tool requirements that we've had. Of course there are things that inspired us from Aurora; ideas, solution approaches, but still - all of the code was written by us (excluding few middleware applications).
PCGH: Do you develop The Witcher 2 as a cross platform product or will it be a PC only title?
Tomek Gop: Right now we're making a PC version of the game. The main concern we've taken was to make sure our engine would be capable of doing a console game as well. It is, that's why we will get down to making The Witcher 2 for consoles - and of course announce it as soon as it starts.
...and IGN's Witcher Vault has a summary from Polish magazine, CD-Action, which contains some good info. A sample:
The world in the Witcher 2 is very large, but much denser than in first part (no more endless running to and fro). Three kingdoms - Temeria, Aedirn and Kaedwen will be explored, with additional parts like Pontar (what we've seen in all game media so far) and Dol Blathanna (The Valley of Flowers, epic location from the original lore) further increasing the range of Geralt's travels.
From the faction perspective, there're 4 distinct parties we can help or anger - Scoia'tael (the Squirrels, non-human guerilla known from Witcher 1), Villagers, Merchants and Non-humans (dwarves and elves living peacefully among humans). The web of intersecting interests is further complicated here as the Nobles and Kings have their own interests and motivations, sometimes quite different from what their vassals and nations would want. All NPCs in the second game have their unique features - no more clones. In addition to factions and unique looks, each NPC has a specific behaviour - daily schedule known from many other RPGs.
Friday - April 23, 2010
The Witcher 2 - New Footage @ PC Games.de
German site PC Games.de has new footage from The Witcher 2. The short trailer offers glimpses of a seaside village, an elf being hanged and combat scenes amid some more familiar stuff. If I understand correctly, this is a promo for an upcoming 20-minute video with their next magazine edition.
Thursday - April 22, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Screen @ Official Site
There's a single new screen at The Witcher site, showing off the elf at the heart of the new story. You'll have to head to their gallery, because the silly Flash means I can't link directly.
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ IGN
IGN's Witcher Vault has an very nice interview with Tomasz Gop who gives answers with usefull information about the ucoming game. Topics discussed are the new engine, the length of the game, combat, sexual content, the story and character development:
Witcher Vault: Let's talk a bit about the character development. We've seen ‘level up' several times during the presentation, and the ominous message ‘you have new Talents to train'. Will new system also base on qualitatively different (and amount-restricted) feat points?
Tomasz Gop: Yes and no. You invest into what you basically want to become, but we changed the approach - there's a lot less passive abilities to be found in W2. Another thing is, that aside from Talent allotment, you will be able to influence the type of the witcher you want to become. In Witcher 1 you had a lot of things to invest into. You could invest into atttributes, abilities, passive development, magic signs. Here you'll have a three-way split instead; three roads of development - Witcher Mage, Witcher Alchemist and Witcher Master Swordsman. You can mix the three, but first and foremost, it's a much simpler system. The limitation here stems from developing something at the cost of something else.
Wednesday - April 21, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ The Escapist
The Escapist talks with CD Projekt's Tomasz Gop in an article-format interview on The Witcher 2. A bit on combat:
"Not only does combat offer more variety right now, it's also more connected with the world of The Witcher and with character development," Gop said. "If you know how to kill one monster, you're okay. But if you want to get really good, you will need to make use of Geralt's expert monster knowledge to, for example, find out more about the ecosystem, nests, hierarchy of the creatures living around some area. Then you could use this knowledge (together with some handy tools, alchemy etc.), to exterminate more than just a single monster, using more sophisticated methods. It would, of course, reward you with better loot, more respect from the communities and such."
Tuesday - April 13, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Forest Screens @ Official
The Witcher 2 site has added some forest screens to the gallery, saying the designers want the forest to "be another character in the game".
Thursday - April 08, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ Games Radar
Games Radar have a preview up for CD Projects upcoming game The Witcher 2.
They have talked with Tomek Gop, Witcher's 2 senior producer. According to the preview TW2 will intensify everything seen in the first Witcher game. Here's the bit about how the story will unfold in TW2:
“I think that the story that we’ve written for The Witcher 2 is definitely bigger scale,” Gop says. “Whenever you make a choice, or do anything, you will see that it influences a lot more than one or two people. It might change history. We really pride ourselves on the moral ambiguity and choices you make. We don’t put them in the game because we have to have ten choices per chapter, we just think that they naturally fit in the story that we’ve created. And the difference in The Witcher 2 is that the world is going to change a lot more in the second part depending on your choices. Places will look really, really different due to your actions in previous chapters.”
Source: RPG Codex
Wednesday - March 31, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ VG247
Senior Producer for The Witcher 2, Thomas Gop, has been interviewed at VG247. There are a lot of "no comments", so here's a question that was answered:
VG247: Tell us a bit about the updated engine? What technological limitations did you come across the last time out, and how did you push through those with Witcher 2?
Tomek Gop: The Witcher 2 works on brand new engine created by CD Projekt RED, so it is not updated version of Aurora.
Previous technology limitations were mostly connected with the RPG core of the game. Dialogues, cutscenes, character interactions, scripting the storyline and so on. We’ve removed a lot of limitations, some of which were pretty obvious (the infamous obstacles you couldn’t leap over), and some closer to the production pipeline. Lots of things are now easier for designers, animators and artists to do without programmers’ help.
That’s one of the reasons the game looks so good a year before release. In one word, rewriting the engine was a mainly RPG-related challenge for us.
Saturday - March 27, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Gameplay Video
If you haven't already spotted this on our forums, Dagon showed us some shakycam footage, presumably from CD Projekt's Spring Conference. The presentation is in Polish, although the actual game version running is English, and we see substantial new footage in the nearly five minutes. Fans who felt a little hemmed in will love seeing Geralt vault over obstacles.
Thursday - March 25, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Videos, Screens, Console Versions
Here's a handful of new Witcher 2 items. CD Projekt has updated thewitcher.com, adding a new video showing some extended footage you'll recognise from the debut trailer. There's also a video dev diary from Lead Implementation Designer, Konrad Tomaszkiewicz, Project Lead Adam Badowski and others.
In other news, VG247 says CD Projekt's Spring Conference has confirmed console versions of The Witcher 2, although I can't verify the Polish source for myself. No surprise, though, I would say. Finally, VG247 has a handful of screens.
Wednesday - March 24, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Assassins of Kings Officially Announced
CD Project RED has written a press release officially announcing The Witcher 2: Assasins of Kings. Among other things we get to know that there will be a public demonstration tomorrow and a website dedicated to the game will be opening on the 7th of April.
Here's the full press release:
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Officially Announced Today, CD Projekt RED officially announced The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, the sequel to the award-winning The Witcher, which has sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide on PC alone. The second entry in the Witcher saga is characterized by an incredibly gripping, mature and non-linear plot. In addition, the new combat system is even smoother and guarantees a greater variety of tactical possibilities. The game is built upon completely new technology, designed from scratch by CD Projekt RED to develop role-playing games with non-linear plot. The new technology also delivers beautiful visuals, transporting players to one of the most vivid RPG universes ever."I am really glad that we can officially present what we've been working on for the past two-and-a-half years." - said Adam Kiciñski, CEO of CD Projekt RED studio. "We learned a lot during The Witcher's development process, and we are using all of that knowledge to ensure the sequel is one of the best RPGs people have ever played. We've concentrated on improving the most successful parts of the Witcher, and I strongly believe that The Witcher 2 will be loved both by fans of the original and newcomers. We know that we aimed very high while producing The Witcher 1. Now we are aiming even higher with The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings." The company also announced distribution agreements for various territories, Atari Inc. (North America), 1C-SoftClub/Snowball Studios (Russia) and CD Projekt (Poland and Central Europe); negotiations for Western European distribution are in progress. Moreover, CD Projekt RED signed a contract with Agora S.A., which makes Agora the co-producer of the game in Poland. Thanks to this contract, CD Projekt RED will receive financial and promotional support, and the know-how of one of Poland's biggest media corporations.Tomorrow the game will be presented publicly for the first time, during the CD Projekt Spring 2010 conference. The event will be transmitted on www.cdprojekt.pl/konferencje. Additionally, new video materials related to The Witcher 2 will be posted at TheWitcher.com, and on April 7th the brand new official website will be launched. You can follow The Witcher on Twitter (@WitcherGame) and on Facebook.com/TheWitcher
Additionally, Polygamia writes that CD Project intends to bring their browser-based game, The Witcher: Versus, to Apple's iDevices such as iPods etc. When you play through this, you will unlock access to concept art for The Witcher 2 - among many other things.
The Witcher 2 - Preview @ Gamespot
Gamespot has a three page preview of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.
Though we've seen only a brief demonstration of the sequel in motion, and although much of what we've seen is still very early in development, it's very clear that CD Projekt Red aims to produce a sequel that's far more eye-catching and more engrossing than the original game. At a glance, the new game seems a much better-looking action-role-playing hybrid with a more closely zoomed-in camera view, but it will also offer a revamped combat system, an improved character development system, and many more improvements we'll hear about in the months to come. Given that The Witcher 2 will offer a new experience with more-free-form combat, huge boss battles, and a brand-new, dark, mature fantasy story that continues after the first game left off, there's a lot for role-playing fans to be excited about. The Witcher 2 is currently planned for release in the early part of 2011 for the PC, and although CD Projekt Red is also interested in developing a console version of the game, other versions haven't been confirmed yet.
They also have a four minute video interview with Tomasz Gop, CD Projekt Red senior producer.
Tuesday - March 23, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Aiming for Q1 2011 Release
Wandering through The Witcher forums, I see our old friend Tom Ohle is suggesting a Q1 2011 release. More details soon, apparently.
The Witcher 2 - Website Teaser, First Trailer
TheWitcher.com's normal content has been replaced by a Flash image that simply shows "2". Is the official reveal for The Witcher 2 close? We would expect so, given that CD Projekt indicated all would be revealed in March a little while back.
Looking forward to it! Thanks, Mike.
[Update] And thanks to Starwars for pointing out the debut trailer at Gametrailers, with just under 2 minutes of story and footage.
Monday - March 08, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Principal Designer Moves On
GameBanshee has learned Artur Ganszyniec - principal designer for an unnamed AAA project (read: Witcher 2) has left CD Projekt Red. Artur was previouly lead story designer on the first Witcher.
Thursday - January 28, 2010
The Witcher 2 - Official Reveal in March
A short message at The Witcher site says official information on The Witcher 2 will be revealed in March:
All those who cannot wait to learn more about the continued adventures of Geralt of Rivia will be happy to know that in March of this year we will hold a press conference during which we will officially present our newest production: The Witcher 2.
We will also divulge some details about the new technology created by CD Projekt RED for the specific purpose of producing The Witcher 2.
Thursday - November 19, 2009
The Witcher 2 - Statement from CDPR
As with the last one, CD Projekt Red has responded about the recently released leaked Witcher 2 footage:
Unfortunately, I have to confirm that the video which appeared a few days ago on the Internet is indeed a presentation of The Witcher 2. It’s a video of a demonstration of the game during the so-called business days of the IGROMIR game expo in Russia,” said Adam Kiciński, CEO of CD Projekt RED.
“It was a closed demonstration for business partners, representatives of the biggest trade chains and a handful of chosen journalists – one of many such demonstrations CD Projekt RED has been doing in various countries. Unfortunately, despite a declared ban on filming and photography at all such events, someone managed to shoot a video at IGROMIR. Just like last time, we will not comment on that. Simultaneously, we can assure you that all confirmed information will be revealed soon after the game is officially announced.”
Does this happen as much to other developers?
Wednesday - November 18, 2009
The Witcher 2 - Leaked Video Footage
More leaked footage of The Witcher 2, this time some shakycam video from a presentation. Much of the time the camera is held at 45 degrees to avoid detection and everything is in Polish but you get to see a village and then an attack on an enormous monster. Watch it at Youtube or embedded below.
Thanks to our old friend Arkray for the tip.
Wednesday - October 07, 2009
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ Eurogamer
Eurogamer chats briefly with CD Projekt's Thomas Gop about the leak of The Witcher 2 video a few weeks back. There's no new information, other than stressing Rise of the White Wolf is on hold rather than canceled and a statement about the future may come soon:
Polish developer CD Projekt has told Eurogamer that The Witcher 2 and The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf were always - and still are - separate projects.
Furthermore, Rise of the White Wolf "remains suspended" rather than canned following Atari funding issues, meaning the console-only game could be back on the cards at some point. A proper statement about the future of White Wolf will be released soon, the developer told us.
Saturday - October 03, 2009
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ GameSpot
GameSpot serves up the first Western interview with CD Projekt Red on The Witcher 2, although it's apparently too early for much new information . Adam Badowski provides the answers and here's a sample:
AB: Geralt will certainly be in the game, as we've all seen. I must admit we plan to build the story of The Witcher 2 around Geralt, but it's too early to reveal any more details.
GS: There were some very interesting and very adult story themes in the original game--betrayal, sexuality, and bigotry. Will these themes be expanded in the sequel? What other themes with the sequel explore?
AB: We want The Witcher 2 to be even more mature, so we'll be placing a lot of focus on the design of the story. Gamers will face a very real and brutal world. The way in which we explore sexuality will be greatly improved, and we'll be putting a lot of work into showing the erotic dimension of life in a more natural way, rather than as a sort of minigame. We'll be using cinematic means to flesh out characters, who will differ from each other as they would in real life. These differences will come through in their behavior, their attitude toward Geralt, and how they react to the world.
Once again, the game won't offer any choices between good and evil. Rather, it will force you to decide what is important to you and whom can you trust. Many times you'll be left with real doubts about the choices you've made because the consequences of your decisions will be unpredictable.
Wednesday - September 23, 2009
The Witcher 2 - Interview @ Gry Online
A quick interview with Tomasz Gop, Senior Producer at CD Projekt RED, is up at Gry Online. It doesn't delve into the gameplay but does answer a couple of questions from the leaked video. On the loss of some of the original team:
Will the developers of The Witcher be involved in The Witcher 2?
The Witcher 2 is being developed by the same team which was responsible for the first one with some minor changes (50+ people remain from The Witcher’s development). It is true that there were some cuts in the development department at CD Projekt, but those were mostly connected with freezing development of The Witcher: Rise of The White Wolf.
Source: Voodoo Extreme
Friday - September 18, 2009
The Witcher 2 - Internal Gameplay Video [Updated]
A gameplay video of The Witcher 2 has apparently been leaked, offering over 5 minutes of Alpha gameplay footage with voiceover from CD Projekt's Marcin Iwinski. Despite the "internal use only" warnings, the form and presentation is clearly designed as a promotional tool, so perhaps it was released early but it definitely looks designed for public consumption.
Upgraded graphics, new day/night cycle, NPCs with independent motivations, NPC responses to the player's actions, combat quick-time-events and Havok physics are all shown or discussed - this is well worth a look.
Thanks to imnotaperv, who berates us for our lack of omniscience in not posting this earlier.
Edit: Ausir writes in with (presumably) the original source at Polish site Polygamia.
Edit #2: CD Projekt has repsonded with this statement on the official Witcher site:
“Of course, we can’t and won’t try to deny the facts. The movie that appeared on the various sites yesterday presents our newest project, The Witcher 2, which we’ve been working on for some time. We made something about half year ago, to present the first playable version of the game.” said Adam Kicinski, CEO of CD Projekt RED. “Currently we are looking for a potential publisher (or publishers) for this title, and this leak is an uncontrolled side effect of that process. For today, we are not commenting on anything that concerns the game itself.”
More information about The Witcher 2 will be unveiled alongside the official announcement.