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The Witcher 3: The Skyrim debate, the game on PS4, nuggets of clarification and a whiff of multiplayer

"Game director Konrad Tomaszkiewicz raised eyebrows when he said Skyrim's story and quests were often "generic". He said he couldn't name five characters from the game by memory, and he played the game a lot. His point was that The Witcher 3 could improve on that. It could be an open world RPG like Skyrim but with a strong story as well. It could be, he said, the "perfect RPG".

"He was harsh too much," reflected Adam Badowski, managing director of CD Projekt Red, when I spoke to him last week.

"What does it mean, generic? It's a different type of gameplay experience. We know how to make hand-crafted quests and we have tonnes of ideas for quests. It's a different level of detail.

"We have different tricks for how to fulfil - how to make the living world. And really it's not the same way Bethesda has. It's a different approach."

"Sorry," he chuckled, "but we are pretty confident we will make it.""


"Today, CD Projekt Red employs 150 people. They're split into three teams: one for The Witcher 3, one for Cyberpunk 2077 (which is currently smaller) and one for the proprietary Red Engine. More people will be hired, Badowski told me, but the upper limit for the studio will be a headcount of 200."


"Not so. "We don't want to make any compromises in storytelling," he told me. "We simply needed to come up with a larger-scale story. That's it. The world is bigger so we need to fill it with good stories.

"We don't want to change the gameplay into the sandbox experience - that's not the plan."

Badowski reiterated: "We don't want to lose anything that we achieved in The Witcher's six years. Don't expect too many sandbox, mechanical solutions in The Witcher 3. It will be hand-crafted very precisely.""

"That renderer will soon boast DirectX 11 "bells and whistles", but the initial focus was on creating a dynamic game world - beautification could come later. And with the game not due out until next year, "we have time to achieve it", Badowski said. Also: "I can tell you that screenshots are taken from our desktops and our policy is not to pimp up anything on screenshots.""


""For transitions between plains, forest/woods and cities, it will be seamless," confirmed Badowski. "You can travel from one point to another without any loading, and loading is in the background, so there's no difference between woods, plains, castles.

"The only difference is if we're going to have very dense internal locations. I'm talking about small, highly detailed rooms, and we are doing some prototypes. But I can't confirm it yet whether everything will be accessible without any loading; probably yes, but let me suspend the final answer."

Hero Geralt can explore the open world of The Witcher 3 in new ways, too. He can jump now, and he can climb. It's "not exactly" the climbing you'd find in a game like Assassin's Creed, said Badowski, "it's similar to what we have in Uncharted". "For example," he added, "climb up and there are special sequences, there are special animations built into the system.""


"You can go wherever you want, you can travel wherever you want," he said. "There are no invisible barriers in the world; you can jump down from the cliff and simply die."


Scripted quick-time events (QTEs) have been dumped for The Witcher 3. "We won't have any quick-time events," confirmed Badowski, and that lack of scripted battles means you can stumble upon and kill powerful monsters when you are only comparatively weak. "This time around you can defeat your enemy taking point by point," he said. "If you are good enough as a player you can do it," although "it will take hours and hours" to do so.

The Witcher 3 will also have a slow-motion ability you can use in combat to target vulnerable parts of monsters. It was thought that this was similar to Fallout 3's VATS system, but actually it's a part of the The Witcher 3's Senses mechanic. Geralt uses this to build up a detailed knowledge of his foe before battle. He can use his Senses to pick up tracks and spot clues that other people miss, and then he can literally deploy that accrued knowledge in battle. "And the game helps you," Badowski said, "slowing down a little bit, and you can use the perfect moment to have a killing blow. But it all depends on your knowledge."


You won't be able to kill civilians in the open world of The Witcher 3. That's to do with Geralt being a pre-defined character with a fiction he needs to adhere to. "I can't imagine that Geralt is going to the village and killing everybody," said Badowski. "It's just stupid. So we have to prevent such situations in some quests."

The Witcher 3 is due at the end of next year and there's still much we don't know about it. For instance, will it have multiplayer (a first for the series)? "We're thinking about something," Badowski answered, "but I cannot explain it now. You can expect some information later on. Sorry for that!" I probed about whether it could be something similar to the Dark Arena mode in The Witcher 2. "I don't think so," he said.

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