Witcher 3 - Preview @ Edge-Online
Edge-Online is the lastest site to write up a preview for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
CD Projekt Red claims there will be another 40 to 50 hours of gameplay in the wider world, and that all of it matters: there will be none of what Szczesnik calls “Fedex quests”. Much of it will come from the series’ stock-in-trade system of choice and consequence, which will now see the results of your actions ripple across the world. Local communities, each with daily and nightly routines, will react to you in different ways depending on choices made elsewhere. “You can expect that each of your decisions will have serious, meaningful consequences,” lead quest designer Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz explains, “but at the same time it’s not obvious what those consequences will be.”
It adds up to a series that only seems to be gathering momentum, with around 75 per cent of the team that worked on The Witcher 2 and a third of the original game’s development staff still on board. Meanwhile, Badowski is hiring from all over the world to help realise the team’s ambitions. And with mid-tier studios bearing the brunt of big publishers’ risk aversion globally, there’s an obvious attraction to a growing indie studio that owns its IP and is so confident in its abilities that it was among the first to tip its next-gen hand.
CD Projekt Red’s confidence also extends to its in-house tech. Badowski candidly admits that neither the BioWare Aurora engine used in The Witcher nor the RedEngine 2 that powered its successor were up to the demands of the job, but “now the technology is fully capable and it’s ready to create an open world”. There’s an improved facial system, with the addition of 40 bones to power more expressive NPCs; another in-house program gives artists the power to change the fabric, pattern and colour of NPC clothing with a few clicks. And how many indies do you know with a mo-cap studio in the basement? (“We do everything in here,” Badowski says, “except the horse. He wouldn’t fit through the door.”) Everything has been set up to enable CD Projekt Red to create content and make changes quickly. The day before our arrival, it upped and moved a mountain.
Yet the team is mindful of its roots. The Witcher 3 is, like the two games before it, an RPG first and foremost. Badowski sees all these improved elements – the gentler introduction, the combat, the climate and communities, the scale of it all – as a means to do one thing more effectively. “We don’t want to build a sandbox experience; we want to keep storytelling as the main goal,” he says. “This studio will develop RPG games forever. We are storytellers.” If CD Projekt Red can pull it off – if it can take on some of the biggest videogame companies in the world at their own game and create the next generation’s first great open-world game – it will be the greatest story it has ever told.
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