Before The Witcher became a surprise hit with PC gamers, CD Projekt RED was a mostly an unknown software developer. The popularity of the game allowed the studio to quickly ramp up and release a sequel, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, on PC and Xbox 360.
CD Projekt RED is now hard at work on the next instalment, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which makes it debut on the next generation of consoles. We caught up with gameplay designer, Andrzej Kwiatkowski, to find out more about the development process.
Has the popularity of the Witcher series outside of Poland come as a surprise?
CD Projekt RED gameplay designer, Andrzej Kwiatkowski (AK): When we started working on the first game, The Witcher books have already been a smash hit outside of Poland so it’s not like it came as an absolute surprise. However, we were quite happy with the response The Witcher received when it first hit the market. What made us super proud was the possibility to popularise the world that Andrzej Sapkowski created and give it a bit of our own flair.
What lessons from the past two games are you bringing over to the third title?
AK: Making games is a bit like playing an RPG in that you start out as a low-level adventurer with a dream to conquer the world. As you progress, you begin to understand how things work, gain skill and experience. We’ve learned an enormous amount of things from our previous games, from how to tell stories to ways of developing the technology to back up all the creative things that come to our mind. One crucial lesson we’re bringing is how to create even better games.
Witcher 3 is coming to PS4 and Xbox One. Do you find development for consoles is easier this time around compared to Witcher 2 on Xbox 360?
AK: Essentially, it’s easier because we’ve got the experience of previously working on a console. Sometimes the fact that you know what questions you need to ask yourself before you start working on something means a world of a difference in the long run. It’s also easier because of next-gens having a lot more horsepower and we can harness to make The Witcher 3 look great. Xbox 360 is a powerful piece of hardware but, when you compare it to the next generation, it provides only a fraction of what we need to power the vast world of the game.
Was there any consideration to release Witcher 3 on Xbox 360 and/or PS3 as well?
AK: No. When we decided to go open world, we decided to do it like no one else has done it before. We wanted a true next-generation experience to unfold before those who decide to buy the game. That’s why PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions were out of the question, despite everyone at the studio loving them very much.
How different or similar will the PC version of Witcher 3 be to the console versions?
AK: It will not differ in any way. We aim to deliver the same awesome experience on every platform.
Will Witcher 3 conclude the trilogy?
AK: It is the final instalment in the trilogy. It’s because we believe that an ending is one of the crucial parts of a good story. We’re certainly not the kind of a studio to milk the franchise and get people’s money for something that should have ended a long time ago. We all know examples of that.
Can we expect any further adventures of the protagonist, Geralt of Rivia, in the future?
AK: We’re closing one door but we’re opening others. The Witcher Adventure Game is on the horizon and we’ve got the The Witcher comic book coming from Dark Horse as well. All of these things are standalone, quality stuff you’d expect from us.
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