Witcher 3 - Interview @ Gamasutra
Gamasutra has a new Q&A interview with CD Projekt RED about The Witcher 3.
Most games are very system-driven, but RPGs in particular have a lot of gameplay systems. How do you scope?
Marek Ziemak: Woah! That's a tough one, because there's a huge amount of different systems. It's very easy to overdesign, or spawn too many ideas. Because basically, I think RPG is a genre that can have an unlimited amount of features and it will still be okay for the whole game -- because it's this type of a game.
The more options you have, sometimes, the more fun for some players. Except 90 percent will not use half of them. But still, the game will not be broken because of the new options you have in the game.
I think it's difficult, but we have some experience. We always base it on the experience from our previous titles. It was much tougher in the times of Witcher 1, when we had to experiment a bit, when we had to create our own way of thinking. Now we have a basic amount of features that we know we must and we want to deliver. We are always adding a bit more, a bit more, a bit more every installment. So that's how we're working.
How do you protect against feature creep in those instances?
MZ: To be honest, we are not a very big studio, but we are doing a massive game. Feature creep is usually a feature that is not absolutely needed, but someone wants it. And once we get delayed with something that's really important, feature creeps are the first ones to get out of the plan. So, actually, life is making a decision here.
So if we set the priorities well, the feature creep thing will always be at the bottom of the backlog. And it will instantly jump out of the backlog at the first delay. It's impossible to plan everything perfectly, so they're constantly being cut here and there.
You also alluded to the possibility that you might put in features that 90 percent of the audience might not use. I know that's something you want to avoid, but how do you determine that?
MZ: Whenever we're deciding on delivering a feature, we want to connect it to other game elements. If it actually creates some coherent experience, if you're reminded that you're using it -- it's useful here and there, and it's quite cool -- then it probably increases the amount of players using these features.
And of course it has to be usable. If it's not balanced well, if it just makes no sense to use a feature, then players will just not use it. Usually feature creep features are useless most of the time, or they just fit a particular situation, so we're trying to get them out of the scope. And the ones that we are leaving in the game are supposed to be fun, and that there's a big budget to develop them, so they're not being perceived as something not worth using.
It would be much tougher if we had all the manpower in the world. Because then we'd be creating dozens of features, and we would have to have some sophisticated mechanisms of controlling it. But because we don't, we focus on the things that are really important.
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