GameCon ’10 Ripport, Day Too: The Witcher 2

By Alec Meer on August 20th, 2010 at 2:14 pm.

It took me eight straight hours to crawl through the sewers, beneath Cologne’s conference centre and then up through an impossibly tight U-bend into a disused toilet somewhere in the North Hall, but finally I was back at GamesCom. The guards had turned me away when I’d tried to enter through the main doors – disgusted by the foul breath that had resulted from eating a sleeping tramp’s shoes and by the rotting pigeon-skin loincloth I had been forced to don once I’d sold my last clothes to afford a cup of frightening grey coffee. I thought of Quintin, and his shoes made of finest unicorn hide. Perhaps he could spare me a promotional t-shirt to cover my filthy body? But not. He would have his minders throw in the Rein on sight. Better to carry on, and to my next appointment. At least the world of this game would mirror my own condition. Onwards, and to the Witcher 2.

Meaty. It is the Witcher but it isn’t. It’s meaty. Magic assassin-ninja-superdude Geralt and his world are solid and physical, moving with dynamism and variety rather than the light looping of before. Where the first game sometimes struggled to reconcile RPG with action, this seems much more confident: a game that knows looking good as men get chopped doesn’t mean roleplaying subtlety and intelligence has been overlooked.

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.

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.

In the demo, I start typing frantically. One of the devs seems to glance towards someone at the back of the room with some consternation. ook, I’m not going to make this preview about the Witcher 2′s attitude to women, and I’m enormously optimistic about this game, but coming off the back of the controversy about the gotta-bed-’em-all sex cards in the first game, it’s impossible not to mention this. I know this is meant to be a game for adults, featuring adult situations, and it’s absolutely fine that it features sex and nudity. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t. But it doesn’t have to throw all discretion to the wind at the same time. Fine, show us perfect nipples – but don’t do it just because, no matter what the context may be.

But let’s leave that alone, wait and see what the rest of the game is like in that regard, and instead go backwards to the context of this demo. The situation in question sees Geralt breaking out of a prison he’s been locked in. In an earlier part of the game, the player had chosen whether to kill a guard or to simply render him unconscious. If he’s killed, we end up in the rescue scenario above, which leads the bereaved mother to help Geralt’s own escape, even if she can’t forgive him for the death of her son. She is of noble blood, and calls upon a sympathetic local general to send his guards to the wrong part of the dungeon while Geralt makes his escape.

Alternatively, the son was merely knocked out. As Geralt creeps through the dungeon – with an appealingly tangible stealth system that involves extinguishing torches and quaffing a potion that renders nearby guards’ circulatory systems glow-in-the-dark – he stumbles across this chap (Arjan) being tortured by his former colleagues. For reasons I’ll admit I didn’t quite follow, apparently his shapely mother has likely been killed rather than captured.

Cue fighting, in a brawling/swordfighting fandango that evokes the crunchy cinematic style of Arkham Asylum rather than the mechanical wait’n'stab of the first game. It looks like a cutscene, but it’s entirely controlled by the player. It’s brutal and impressive. (That there’s a box-quote if ever there was one).

Arjan’s rescued, but he’s in bad shape. So Geralt takes him on his arm and leads him out the prison. Against, it’s physical and meaty, not two marionettes following each other across a textured surface. It looks like one guy hauling an injured foe about – the weight and closeness of it.

Recovered, Arjan’s fury about his presumed-dead mother takes hold. Angrily, he torches the entire dungeon. Geralt flees amidst sound and fury, not amidst stealth and a partial pardon. You can damn well bet that’s going to shape the game later. This is just one example, one early quest, and one simple decision had led the game down an entirely different path.

Actions mean consequences, and constant ones rather than long-term ones. That’s clearly the mantra of the game. It even extends backwards – import your Witcher 1 savegame and you’ll see one of three different introductions, plus a slew of changed states throughout the game. Treated the elves like crap last time? They’re going to remember. Oh, and a dev assures us that people without their saves will be able to make a bunch of up-front choices to make the game reflect how they’d like to have kicked off.

We’re also promised no fed-ex quests, no empty collection of trinkets. A tale often told by RPGs and MMOs, but they seem to mean it. They want to make something earthy and real and vicious and smart and subtle and grown-up. I think they can do it, but I do expect a few slips. Nip-slips, if you will.

The game jumps to a later section – another world, a fiery, hellish battlefield in which spectral soldiers battle eternally. It looks incredible – hundreds of lost souls lunging at each other, flames everywhere and, amidst it, lumbering demons made of mystically-magnetised armour. Not matching suits of armour – random collections of shields and helmets and greaves mashed into roughly humanoid form.

Above it all looms the Draug, leader of these demons. He’s immense, seemingly made of shields. He summons archers, artillety, flame upon flame. Geralt hacks away desperately, with chunks of the metal’n'leather construct’s patchwork armour-shell falling away as he does. It’s a boss fight, all special attacks and careful dodges, but it looks gloriously apocalyptic. Remembering the annoyingly little ghost-dog boss and the big angry plant of the first game, I smile. This is a world apart. This is taking on the big boys of roleplaying head-to-head and very possibly winning.

On screen, the grim fight continues. The Witcher appears doomed. Fade to black.

It’s by and large an excellent demo, affirming my long-held belief that this will be one of the most satisfying RPGs of the last few years. Who’s watching the witchmen? Me, and closely.

Want to see all this yourself? GOGOSHAKYCAM.

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144 Comments »

  1. Lars Westergren says:

    *faints from exceitement*

    Quite a lot of disappointment at the booby thing. I had hoped they had outgrown that in the sequel. But hey, you can’t get everything.

  2. Tori says:

    This looks very good. The first game was a blast, this thing is a day 1 purchase.

  3. jpfabre says:

    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.

    What is wrong with tits for the sake of tits? Nothing around you is really mature. People, filthy supposedly-mature people, enjoy the day-to-day stolen glimpse of breast or ass in a totally immature and appropriate way, fueling their childish erotic fantasies. Women and men around the world build a totally useless duality between objectifying crudely their bodies while maintaining an appearance of impossible reach. Such is the game, and I like that. So what if The Witcher wants us to drool?

    • mrmud says:

      Nothing wrong with tits for the sake of tits.
      But when you place them as tits for the sake of tits on someone who is supposed to be suffering there is a problem

    • AndrewC says:

      It’s the visual dissonance between filthy world and shiny boobies. It’s like all the Koreans in Crysis having 2D smiley faces.

    • Rinox says:

      I thought the (state of the) girl in the vid fits the Witcher’s tone and universe perfectly. You have a beautiful young woman tied up in a random basement with random male guardsmen guarding her? What’s more, with the specific intent of mistreating her/making her fess up information? Umh…I don’t think I need to tell you that situations like that are prone to become even worse (rape) than pulling down their dress irl in every sort of similar situation ever. It makes perfect sense, definitely in a medieval setting like that. Sad but true.

    • tomwaitsfornoman says:

      Agreed. Gratuitous violence > gratuitous nudity?

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Simples. RPS cock gags (as it were) are acceptable, but tits aren’t. Or is that just KGs posts?

    • Zogtee says:

      There is this weird “OMG-TITS-WOMENS-ARE-BEING-EXPLOITED” kneejerk reaction to the nudity in The Witcher. I thought the sex cards were harmless and amusing. What people tend to gloss over was the context surrounding the cards. The relationships between Geralt and the girls was reasonably convincing and mature. Geralt liked his girls and some of the girls liked him and sex happened. Much like in real life. The cards was a (very) small detail in a great and very impressive game, and I think it’s quite unfair to focus so much attention to it. You might even say it’s immature.

    • Aerozol says:

      It’s not knee-jerk at all.
      We’re meant to fantasize about a mother who’s lost her child, being tortured, and naked. And the visuals apparently don’t mesh with the theme of the rest of the game.
      Your reaction is incredibly knee-jerk by the way, he justified his reaction all the way.

    • YogSo says:

      We’re meant to fantasize about a mother who’s lost her child, being tortured, and naked.

      No, we aren’t.

      … he justified his reaction all the way.

      The problem is he also linked a video -that you obviously have not bothered to watch- that, in my opinion and in the opinion of most of the commentators, contradicts his statemets about gratuitous titillation.

      Maybe you shouldn’t take Alec’s opinion at face value and examine the facts yourself: it’s very easy, you just have to watch the beginning of the second video.

    • Kadayi says:

      Is there some kind of bizarre confessional going on here?

    • Aerozol says:

      I watched the video, it’s real fucking inappropriate.
      She’s only topless for one reason, and that’s if they were sexually assaulting her. When she takes her hands away to pull her top up, it’s purely to make it sexually appealing to the male audience, and it’s just not the time.
      I go on this blog to listen to opinions, and I find it lame that he’s accused of ‘knee-jerk reactions’, when it’s pretty clear that gamers are just extremely sensitive to comments that imply that games are being shallow and sexist. Sure, that might get thrown around a bit much, but for a reason, and if Alec was put off by it in this video, then I don’t want him to keep quiet about it, because a bunch of guys are ready to say “It’s only a game!” – doing a disservice to the entire industry.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Aerozol

      I’m fairly sure this is an M rated game, and I’m fairly sure that if an adult has the wits to install a computer game they’ve probably got the wits to find locate and ‘enjoy’ stuff a lot more graphic than this with (shock horror!!!) real people in. Personally I find the prudish hays code moralising of the Hivemind at times all very Daily Mail.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Ha, some of these comments are priceless.
      The fact is this is aimed squarely at the hormonal teenager/desperate middle agers. The dissonance between the gritty authentic medieval setting and rampant supermodel boobs in the witcher was hilarious, because it ruins the (rather fantastic) attempt to invoke an atmosphere. Case in point is while the game world is packed with fat balding men constantly sprouting lines such as ‘my balls itch’, every woman in the game is either ridiculously attractive or an old crone. The only two types of women the target audience believe exist (mother figure and jizz fodder) It cheapens the experience.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Tetragrammaton

      In my sad middle aged and desperate life the “gritty medieval setting with supermodel boobs” atmosphere worked just fine. In fact the mild bit of eye candy and being able to role-play as a hunky warrior who can choose to get laid (or to start a family) is far less problematic for me than knowing where to look last night while working at a private fancy-dress birthday party packed full of beautiful, rich 20 and 30-somethings dressed up as naughty nurses, the village people etc and wiggling their bottoms around dancing to funky-house-techno-glitch.

      Yes I am fat (don’t go to the gym enough) slightly balding (started age 16), have a slight hunch (inflammatory arthritis/fused spine) and slight limp (motorcycle accident age 20). I see plenty of very cool/young/sexy people being “sad” in real life – they are djs, snort coke and are ultra cool and zany and letch over “supermodel boobs” just like everyone else (or they have “supermodel boobs” and letch over djs, coke-dealers and the cool and zany – or some combination of the two … and everyone letchs over money or fame and people who have it, of course).

      Just like I prefer shooting people in videogames to getting into macho fist fights on saturday nights, I also prefer to pursue an escapist ‘super-pimp’ (or ‘super-dad’) fantasy lifestyle in a videogame, while in real-life trying to pay attention to or get to know decent, kind and non-superficial persons rather than very pretty yet shallow or selfish people.

      How many old people (outside of MI6 headquarters) do you see in a James Bond movie? How man ugly people outside of villians? Sure if you took the implied values (sex / violence / money / etc) from various entertainments and fictions and lived them in real life it would be highly objectionable, stupid and morally bankrupt. Maybe some people do genuinely think that shooting people in the face or shagging everything that moves is a great aspirational lifestyle, but you should make the literal-minded mistake of simple assuming that the developers or other players/viewers have this in mind or are ‘advocating’ every action or character that appears in their game/movie/novel/song.

    • ssh83 says:

      When i saw the torture theme. I thought, damn they’re probably about to do nasty things to her. These guards are sick.

      I didn’t think “OOOH TITTIES! They put tits in my face to make me oggle at them!!”

      I think the problem is as much the developer’s attempt sell the game with sex as it is the audience’s own maturity. It’s just tits, it’s everywhere. It’s not a big deal. Grow up and get over it already. o.o

  4. Skinlo says:

    I didn’t like the first one (well the demo at least), will I like this??

    • Pemptus says:

      The first Witcher’s demo doesn’t tell much about the game at all. TW’s first impression is admittedly not a good one, and the demo level is the equivalent of a boring sewer level in a demo of an otherwise fun fps.

  5. DJ Phantoon says:

    Wow. This actually got me interested in a game I thought I’d never even blink at upon release.
    “Oh, and a dev assures us that people without their saves will be able to make a bunch of up-front choices to make the game reflect how they’d like to have kicked off.”
    So they learned the Mass Effect 2 lesson huh?

  6. Marar Patrunjica says:

    “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.”

    Yes, and so are the guards I presume.

    Men shamelessly getting aroused at tortured women, it’s been going on since the beggining of time, it’s not pretty, but neither is the game.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      You do a torture scene and shoot it like a porn scene, you’ve fucked up or you really just wanted to do a porn scene. That’s Alec’s point, as far as I can see.

      KG

    • AndrewC says:

      PC gamers would be embarrased to buy a porn game, but happy to buy a torture game with porn in: discuss.

    • westyfield says:

      “PC gamers would be embarrased to buy a porn game, but happy to buy a torture game with porn in: discuss.”

      Incorrect. I think porn is more socially-acceptable than torture, especially for games – e.g. entertainment. What would you react to more; a friend telling you about a great porn game they’re playing, or the same friend but with a torture game instead?

    • mrmud says:

      @westyfield

      They show SAW and other torture movies in a lot of theatres where you would be hard pressed to find porn.

    • AndrewC says:

      Well, I don’t know. On an online forum like, say, RPS, violent games get praised for 100′s of posts, while porny games get ignored or derided.

      Both, of course, fare better than games that deal with emotions.

    • Dinger says:

      if more people masturbated while watching slasher flicks, they wouldn’t show them in the mall’s octodecaplex either.

    • Sonic Goo says:

      “You do a torture scene and shoot it like a porn scene”

      You should watch more porn. :P

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Yes – but that’s not torture, that’s porn. That’s the point!

      (Worth noting – I’m just succinctly stating Alec’s argument. I haven’t watched the footage or seen what Alec has)

      KG

    • Freud says:

      “(Worth noting – I’m just succinctly stating Alec’s argument. I haven’t watched the footage or seen what Alec has)”

      It’s at the start of the second video linked here. And yes, Alec is overreacting to that particular ‘scene’. I do agree that some Easter European developers have a slightly pubertal approach to women but this scene isn’t something that sticks out. And generally the visuals weren’t the big problem with the first game but rather how women were assumed to throw themselves at Gerald just because he said something vaguely suggestive or he gave them a flower. It was too much and too easy that it just became stupid and insulting in the end. I wasn’t even surprised when he started banging monsters and other species, because why the hell not. I was more surprised I didn’t get a leg hump combo move for combat.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Isn’t the “women throw themselves at Geralt” thing an aspect of the fiction, rather than a creation of the game?

    • DarkNoghri says:

      I flipped open The Last Wish at a bookstore the other week, and in the first two page chapter there were boobs, so I’d say yes.

    • Saul says:

      I have to agree– this is pretty mild. It may be a little immature, but it’s pulp fantasy.

      Your Englishness is showing, Alec!

    • Nick says:

      Yeah, I think torture films are scarily mainstream thanks to the likes of Saw and Hostel. Fucking awful crap that they are.

    • Collic says:

      I agree completely with the general consensus. There doesn’t seem to be any lingering, no jiggling, or anything really in that scene. I wouldn’t even have given it a second thought if it hadn’t been pointed out.

      I think the sex cards from the first game (which I still think were made far too much of) is leading some to look for giggling immaturity that just isn’t there.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      I’ll admit, now I’ve watched it, I don’t think what’s shown in the video is that bad either – but I’d also note that the video demo has a gap in it. It’s not the whole presentation, so it’s entirely possible Alec’s seen something we haven’t. I also doubt Alec actually watched the videos to check whether what he was talking about is shown.

      (Alec’s away this weekend, so I can’t actually just ask him.)

      KG

    • Helloes says:

      Yes, the whole ladies throwing themself at Geralt is part of the fiction. Part of it as far as I understand is because Witchers are sterile, in a world without birth control having sex with a well trained man with no consequences must seem like a pretty attractive thing for the ladies.

  7. Rinox says:

    This is probably the game I’ve been looking forward to the most ever since it was first announced. Can’t wait. Nice write-up too!

  8. Turin Turambar says:

    “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. ”

    Wow. You really need to mature.

    She was a prisoner. With normal boobs, nothing particularly porn star-like. Geralt untied her, she said thanks and said she wanted to cover up, Geralt turn around and she go off the camera and baam she is already covered. End of the scene. It doesn’t seem particularly explotative or sexual. I find pretty realistic that the dress was broken by a guard to look (or who knows what more). Why should she be bothered? It was only some boobs. I can see boobs going to the beach 10 mins from here. She was just rescued from torture and possible death, the fact that someone could saw her tits for 10 seconds is pretty irrelevant in perspective.

    • YogSo says:

      I agree with Turin Turambar here.

      “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.”

      What? Maybe it’s a cultural thing (I’m Spanish, that is, Mediterranean; we are typically more “relaxed” about sex and the sight of nude bodies), but I’ve watched that scene and I can’t for the life of me understand what has prompted Alec’s reaction. By his description, I was expecting something like that infamous Miranda scene from Mass Effect 2, with boobs instead of ass. But the fact is in the Witcher’s case the game makes no effort to highlight the boobs, or to direct the player attention to them. There’s no zooming, no panning, no “lingering” on them. The woman is there and we, as heterosexual males, can’t avoid noticing the naked boobs. But it’s just that, the game makes no big fuss about that, there’s no final “titillating jiggle” in there (as far as I can see on that video). In fact, as Alec himself says a bit latter: “The game doesn’t seem terribly bothered.” And I think that is the crux of the matter: yes, she is a naked prisoner being tortured -in the same way Geralt was a naked prisoner being tortured before- and she is a woman. So what?

    • Lilliput King says:

      I’ll agree that there isn’t really any lingering to speak of (for the interested parties, the boob bit being discussed is at the very end of the first video and the beginning of the second).

      The camera doesn’t seem to bothered. On the other hand, those boobs aren’t normal.

      Those boobs are fucking pristine.

      Along with the rest of her appearance, to be honest, which does seem a little far fetched, given the situation. On the other hand, the Witcher’s universe is fairly pulpy in terms of its fiction, and thus it may make sense within that structure.

    • Uhm says:

      “I’m sorry, I know you’ve been through a lot. But it’s impossible to sympathise with you when I’m staring at your breasts.”

      Somewhat ironically, Alec has made himself sound like he’s obsessed with breasts.

    • Carolina says:

      So, the problem isn’t the actual portrayal —I honestly didn’t notice a exploitative fixation on her nudity in the videos—, but the fact that her breasts are too perfect?

      If that’s the case, it’s a curious line of thought: if the lady in question is attractive, it’s clearly masturbation fodder. On the other hand, if she would be, let’s say, fat and ugly, would that make the scene a grisly portrayal of sexual violence in the middle ages?

      Maybe in real life good looking women aren’t allowed to be raped.

    • Lilliput King says:

      @Carolina

      That’s idiotic. This is nothing to do with real life – what goes into the game is consciously decided upon, and someone made a conscious decision to make the woman in question improbably attractive.

      We do have to wonder what motivation they had for making that decision.

    • Carolina says:

      @Liliput King

      “Improbably attractive”. Heh. I’ll refrain to make a joke about the kind of women you frequent, despite you including “idiotic” in your description about my comment.

      Let me put it this way: you aknowledge that the scene wasn’t treated distastefully or in a pornographic manner, and yet you label this as masturbatory aid because of the attractiveness of the character. So, in a way, you’re saying that a hot woman doesn’t have a place in a rape scene, because that somehow makes it exploitative.

      Have you seen Irréversible by Gaspar Noé, by the way?

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Carolina

      You make a fair point. However it was the original author – Alec Meer – who said the scene was ‘masturbation fodder’. He also didn’t seem to be saying the woman was ‘too hot/attractive’ – but that the body shape was ‘incongruous, improbable’.

      To some readers ‘perfect’ (or ‘too perfect’) could be ambigous – does it mean ‘what I like’ or ‘attractive’ or does it mean ‘unrealistic, exaggerated, artificial? The way I read it, Alec meant the latter.

      However KG has said Alec is away this weekend so it’s only fair to direct your criticism at him and give him enough time to defend/explain what he wrote, separate from what others have posted here.

  9. Swyyw says:

    The boobs don’t really bother me in the sense that our typical fantasy universe of swords, magic, and dragons isn’t particularly mature in itself.

  10. Vinraith says:

    Personally I thought the cards in “The Witcher” were a much better way of handling things than the painful, awkward, downright embarrassing cinematics you get in Bioware games. I could do without both, really, but I don’t see why the former should be more maligned than the latter.

    • The Innocent says:

      We’re in agreement. I just played through Dragon Age again, and that final “love” scene with Morrigan was… horrific. And while I thought the collectible cards in The Witcher were a bit pervy, since I live in repressed North America, they were packaged in the Repressed North American Version of the game and the ladies were (slightly) more clothed, which actually did make me feel a bit less like a horny teenager when Geralt would get down with pretty much every girl he talked to.

    • Earl_of_Josh says:

      Yes, I concur. At least the cards seemed pretty, even if a lot of people found the subject matter objectionable. I think its kind of funny, RPS definitely focuses on issues of sexuality in games *far* more than any other games website I frequent. Personally, I’m much more inclined to be put off by a game because the story isn’t interesting, or the mechanics suck, as opposed to “why are there suddenly tits where there is no business for tits to be?”. With all the immaturity found in not just video games but most entertainment in general, its hard to pick just *one* aspect that really gets my goat.

    • Pace says:

      Hey that Mass Effect 1 scene managed to actually be sexy, I thought. (but what they were thinking with those Dragon Age scenes is absolutely beyond me.)

    • ErikM says:

      @Earl_of_Josh

      That could be because most game-sites refuse to touch on the matter of sexuality. The topic tends to raise hell. We even saw that here with the whole Hey Baby drama. I think it’s good they bring it up though. It’s often worth discussing. Mayhap not in the case presented in this article though. But I reserve judgement as I have yet to see the manner in which women are represented in The Witcher 2.

    • Vandelay says:

      Perhaps the Bioware games are not the best example of this, but I would much rather a game that tried to build a relationship where sex is or becomes a part of, rather then the player just being able to bang every female character and encouraged to do so (if not through the game itself, then the publicity that surrounds it – be it from the publishers/developers or the press.)

    • Zwebbie says:

      Vinraith: I liked The Witcher’s cards much better too, but I think it’s because they try to do something entirely different; BioWare games shoddily portray romance, The Witcher cleverly portrays promiscuity. Mass Effect’s romance was so embarassing and stupid that I avoided it altogether, but the sex cards deepen Geralt’s character a bit and present a flawed hero, so I ran with it. Someone being brought up without parents in an all-male environment going on to objectify women isn’t even all that far fetched. Maybe some people are just afraid to play antiheroes?

    • Earl_of_Josh says:

      @ErikM Oh, absolutely. RPS has definitely done a good job pointing out (and explaining as per the “Hey Baby” ref) important issues about sexuality in games. At the same time now every time I see *any* nakedness in games my mind immediately springs to RPS wondering what those crazy kids are going to say about it. As a completely honest question (as I really don’t know) has RPS ever had a positive response about sexuality in games? i.e. that it was “done well” or the equivalent? I haven’t really thought about this very hard, but on a first pass in my memory no game sticks out where I thought “Wow, that was quite tasteful”.

    • Carolina says:

      …aaand that’s because Quinn is currently my favorite videogame journalist. That, and his most excellent piece on Pathologic, of course.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      My enormous piece on Sex in the Sims comes to mind.

      Oh – and I was relatively warm to Boneland’s demo and I had fun writing about the Edge Sex issue.

      RPS’s hivemind is particularly unhivemindy on the matter of sex and gender-issues.

      KG

    • Earl_of_Josh says:

      @KG thanks for the links, I’ll definitely check them out when I have retreated to my lair. a.k.a. not work.

  11. Antlia says:

    I’m extremely pleased that I didn’t uninstall my Witcher EE few weeks back. Now I know to keep my save files safe. I just wonder what file it exactly needs, because I have plenty :P

    Btw, when I was searching for the saves in Witchers Steam folder (wrong place), I stumbled upon some “making of” -movies in there. Moderately interesting. Just mentioning, as I don’t know if absolutely everyone knows that these movies are in there.

  12. markec says:

    TW2 >>>>>>>>>>>>>> DA2

  13. Dominic White says:

    Holy shit, you guys. Walk into a supermarket book-aisle anywhere in France and you’ll see more naked lady chest-bits than all of The Witcher, and I’m not even talking about the top shelves – they’re everywhere. This crazy freaking out needs to stop. They’re not that special.

    • The Innocent says:

      That’s not really a fair argument. Nobody’s saying that breasts are special — the problem is the context. It’s a given that the game is going to have sex scenes, and nobody (reasonable) has flipped out about that, because they take place within the proper context (a sex scene being a totally normal place for titillating breasts to come flying out of the bodices that they were unfairly stuffed into in the first place). But here’s a scene in which a woman is being molested. If we were to run into an instance of rape in the real world, I doubt that the situation would devolve into us leering at her tits as she suggestively hoists them back into her bra. She’d turn away and cover up, not because breasts are a bad thing, but because contextually her breasts shouldn’t be wagging about. And we would act like human beings and not lean in and try to smell her tits. That’s the problem that people are complaining about here: the context of the breasts, not their existence.

    • Huggster says:

      Speak for yourself!

    • Huggster says:

      Meant as a reply to Dom btw.

    • Collic says:

      The thing is, she does turn away and cover up. Watch the video.

    • Boldoran says:

      @ The Inncocent
      If this was not RPS I would dismiss your post with a “selfowned” but since this IS RPS I will say that you should go and look at the beginning of the second video before posting another comment.

    • Kadayi says:

      @The Innocent

      Did you watch the video or did you take meercats reporting as accurate? Watch the video. There’s no leering by the camera.

  14. Urthman says:

    I’ve been wanting to ask RPS — how does the gameplay in the original Witcher compare with something like Oblivion or the Gothic games?

  15. Jad says:

    Cue fighting, in a brawling/swordfighting fandango that evokes the crunchy cinematic style of Arkham Asylum rather than the mechanical wait’n’stab of the first game

    There. Right there, you sold me the game. Seriously, any time the world “fighting” is followed soon by “Arkham Asylum” it makes me happy. That game Did Stuff Right.

    (Caveat: well, not every time. If the new X-Com was a third-person beat-em-up like AA instead of an FPS, it would still be wrong. Or, say, ArmA picking up this style. But if you’re going to make an action-focused melee system, like Witcher 1 tried: just copy Arkham Asylum.)

    • PeopleLikeFrank says:

      I dunno, I’d be up for some tactical alien face-punching…

    • Lambchops says:

      I heartily concur. i’m currently playing the Witcher and i’m just kind of struggling to get into it. The combat is just a bit stale and nothing that much interesting seems to be happening (although this might be my own completionist tendancy to do lots of exploring and side quests meaning that the story isn’t moving along at a brisk enough pace).

      On the plus side of the first game there’s plenty of exploring and quests, some good dialogue at times and it’s about the only RPG where I’ve actually used potions frequently because they last for more than 30 seconds. Other RPGs should take note, the system of knowing who you are fighting in quests and preparing by quaffing a helpful bunch of potions before hand, while still having a few buffs saved for later if you get in a pickle is a cut above most other RPGs in my book.

      So yeah, Arkham Asylum stlye fighting has me on the way to being sold on the sequel.

  16. BigJonno says:

    “a game that knows looking good as men get chopped doesn’t mean roleplaying subtlety and intelligence has been overlooked.”

    Yay! I don’t know if it makes me a bad nerd or PC gamer or something, but I’ll take directly controlled action violence over semi-tactical point and clickery in my RPGs any day.

  17. Huggster says:

    HL2 and Mirrors Edge both have average built ladies – in those cases it was important otherwise the characters would just not be the same. And you do treat them as real people rather than “objects” – I am not sure had the models been different if you would.
    Personally I thought that aspect of the The Witcher was quite fun, probably objectifying, but still its just a game – I can separate a game from real life.
    I guess you don’t see it (intercourse/sexualisation) handled maturely / effectively in games much at all, or badly, which is curious as violence is handled *extremely* well.
    Make love, not war, man.

    • Xercies says:

      Actually violence isn’t handled well in games either. its all so unreal and well not as visceral as real violence. its just so fake you don’t go through the same gut wrnching horror as real violence so yeah games not very good for sex or violence to be honest. but then again they don’t really need to be. To be honest i’ve never really had any example of where sex would work in games without it being a horny teenager thing. I don’t see how it could be used artisticly in games.

  18. VonGriffin says:

    Judging from the vid i see no porn sceene, just boobs in an mature game

    But you wherent bothered about the gore and guts eh ? i agree that in most situations boobs can be more deadly…

    Kudos to the devs, at least thy are adamant, not like Bioware and the drama that blue ass in ME did do

  19. Lobotomist says:

    Witcher 2 : Magic, roleplaying and boobs

    Epic , i tell you ! Epic !

  20. Freud says:

    I will preorder this without any information about it. Funny how goodwill works. Make one amazing game and you have repeat customers.

  21. Lukasz says:

    I am with “i see nothing wrong” group. Topless woman. That’s a big deal? I imagined from the article a slow-mow cam panning over the body with close ups. What I saw was just a half naked woman imprisoned. Nothing more.

    Eh. What happened to the society when showing a pair of breasts is worse than showing people getting beheaded.

  22. PoweredByZen says:

    What ME2 lesson? Character-and-choices transfering isn’t exclusive to Mass Effect and it certainly wasn’t invented by Bioware. Although it’s certainly interesting how both CD Projekt and Bioware are trying to revive old-school RPG elements and make them appeal to mass audience. Yay for Renaissance?

    • PoweredByZen says:

      This was in response to DJ Fantoon and RPS Reply-O-Tron could use some improvement. Thank God the comment above is totally relevant to the discussion in general.

    • Lilliput King says:

      He was referring to the difficulty people had in importing their choices into ME2 after losing their ME1 save. The only real way to do it was to download a pair of saves belonging to someone else with the closest estimation of your choices and decisions.

  23. Sarlix says:

    “The rotting pigeon-skin loincloth I had been forced to don”

    See what these guys go through to bring us the latest gaming news!

    Except Quintin…. Apparently he gets to live in the lap of luxury eating grösfurters and wearing garments made from mythical creatures. Shame on you Sir. Shame on you.

  24. Moth Bones says:

    Personally I’m very happy that RPS discusses the sexual politics of games and long may it continue, but I don’t agree with the criticism here. The boobs are a bit too pert (for the context) but I didn’t see the scene as salacious – the lingering and jiggling Alec describes were not evident to me. To be honest, it looks odd, contextually speaking, for her to be wearing clothes at all apart from maybe a loincloth – you’d have thought all that torture would have torn off her full skirt. Anyway. I like The Witcher quite a lot – still playing it in fact – but this really looks like the business. Really appealing graphically – I love the infrared Cat effect – and seems to be packed full of content. I particularly like that ‘No clear distinction between good and evil’ is bullet-pointed as a major attraction.

  25. Sonic Goo says:

    I found the blue glow of the npc far more unrealistic than the breasts in question. Maybe that’s just me, though.

  26. Rinox says:

    16 different endings? 3 different game openings? Fuck yes.

  27. Jimbo says:

    If the combat feels half as good as Arkham Asylum then they’ll have done extremely well.

    The one issue I had with the combat in AA was that it felt like you couldn’t really lose a fight no matter how sloppily you played – the mechanics felt wasted a little bit because of the lack of challenge. I guess you could argue that makes sense for the sake of maintaining the Batman Power Fantasy, but I hope it isn’t the case in TW2. Similar mechanics – but with the tension of knowing you can lose a fight – would be perfect for The Witcher.

  28. Urthman says:

    It’s a role-playing moment. Geralt is a gentleman and turns his back while she gets dressed. The player, too, can avert his eyes for a moment if he wants to be a gentleman. Or if he’s a perv like Alec he’ll keep watching while the poor lady tries to put her dress back on.

  29. pipman300 says:

    i don’t see what’s the big problem with showing things like breasts vaginas and dongs.

    they’re just as real as blood splattered corpses, urban decay and all the mature things like jumping on top of a dude and shoving your sword into his back and killing a bunch of scary monsters

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      You are absolutely right, of course. But the issue here is the context. The narrative is set up so we feel empathy for the woman, but the way in which the scene is depicted (the camera and the appearance of the woman herself) negates any impact the scene would have. Boobs is all. Cocks and boobs are fine in games if they serve some purpose other than gratuitous perve action.

  30. Calabi says:

    I dont know, isnt it common for foreign films, european films to have people walking around with their boobs, arse and dangly bits hanging out.

    Or perhaps it comes across as juvenile in the game because what they basically are, is dodgy, awkward marionettes(like poser porn). If they were real would it be so bad, or would it be more pervy?

    The violence is there to titilate so why cant tits titilate? But I guess its just limiting its audience with that, saying its just for men, women, you wont like this, because we exploit ya!

  31. Rinox says:

    To be fair on Alec, even though I disagree with his take on that scene, the developers comments during the scene “actually a good moment to check out how good it looks. I mean the detail *nerd giggles in the crowd*” don’t make me very hopeful of them not going into collectibles territory.

  32. cjlr says:

    I’ll say this, at least: the cards in The Witcher were kind of decent. It was better than puppet sex. And for all that people complain about the number of options, consider that Geralt is 100% guaranteed to be a) sterile, and b) non-infectious. That’d be a big deal in a pseudo-medieval setting.

    Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 were painfully badly done wrt sex cutscenes. I mean, I actually thought ME1 was pretty tasteful (or at least quite passable), but I guess being hysterically denounced by ignorant morons is something Bioware is afraid of. Cowards!

    About combat: was I the only one who didn’t much care for Arkham Asylum’s way of doing things? Except, I think the problem there was that by setting up such a great flow it broke my suspension of disbelief. If you’ve got mannequins slapping each other I can ignore the fact that it takes fifteen hits to knock one down. When Batman delivers three very smoothly animated and heavy looking roundhouse kicks to a thug’s head and the guy just keeps coming like it’s nothing… that’s just silly. You might as well start flashing “biff” and “zonk” onscreen.

    In a perfect world combat systems would be based on Mount & Blade, except worked over extensively by a team with an actual budget and staff. One good hit and you’re done. Like reality.

    • Archonsod says:

      The difference being, in Bioware there’s at least a context given for the puppet sex. In the Witcher it’s little more than a baseball card collection. Sticking the odd mucky picture into your otherwise rather generic fantasy story does not make it mature, in fact it’s the kind of thing I’d expect from a pre-pubescent teen.

    • cjlr says:

      Hey, there’s context in the Witcher; Geralt is a card collector. But no, seriously, it utterly baffles me how people complain about being given the possibility of playing a skirt-chaser. The salient points I mentioned above would only make that more likely than the equivalent in historical terms, which was, actually, pretty damn common anyway. There’s not many ways to pass an afternoon in the 1600s.

      “pre-pubescent teen”
      Doesn’t puberty more or less coincide with the entrance to teenagerhood, leaving a prepubescent teenager to be a rather small percentile? And furthermore, prepubescent implies someone who hasn’t formed a sexual identity yet, thus not at all interested in such things. If you’d said horny teen I’d've agreed. Well, if the whole thing wasn’t god-damn optional.

    • Sebmojo says:

      The context of the cards (for me anyway) are they they’re Geralt’s memories. Done.

      I found the Witcher’s take on it better than ME2 – which I otherwise loved – in that it felt wildly dodgy to be sexing up your own soldiers. I mean, sexual harassment much?

    • BigJonno says:

      @sebmojo

      I have to agree with you there. I wish more RPGs would have more focus on relationships (not just romantic ones) with non-party NPCs. Sure, you’re going to build up friendships with the people you’re travelling with, but the focus on them tends to insulate you from the rest of the world. Both ME2 and DA are guilty of having a distinct lack of recurring characters. DA gives you plenty of cut scenes showing the bad guys, but you don’t get to meet them until close to the end of the game.

  33. Paul Moloney says:

    “coming off the back of the controversy about the gotta-bed-’em-all sex cards in the first game”

    I’m as far from the stereotypical Nuts reader as you can get, but I just find this a very manufactured “controversy”. The original PC Gamer review, and the rather wonky demo, put me off the game, which I only eventually picked up in a Steam sale. And I was surprised to find that these cards took up, oh, all of perhaps 20 seconds in 80 hours of gameplay of what I thought was a wonderful RPG which matched a good story with viceral combat.

    I mean, yes, it had a bit of titilation, but so does the average Angelina Jolie movie. Reviewers don’t spend paragraphs upfront saying “why oh why does Ms Jolie feel the need to show sideboob to her viewers?”.

    P.

    • Moth Bones says:

      Oh aye Paul, I barely notice the cards, first time I got one I didn’t even realise what it was. It’s a small part of the game. However, I’d agree with Alec if I thought he were right about this scene – it would be very dodgy to present torture (of men, women or others) in a titillating way. But I didn’t get the same impression he did.

    • TeeJay says:

      I found it less about any genuine “controversy” (Giants Citizen Kabuto wasn’t “controversial” just boob-censored in the USA). I feel bad saying this because I like and respect all the RPS crew but I can’t help thinking there is an element of reviewers deliberately choosing to emphasise their own self-identity and/or image as intelligent, high-brow “new men” and wanting to deliberately put some distance between themselves and any ‘macho’/meathead/laddish tendancies – rather than a well worked-out defense of an important point of priniciple. Hence it’s not so much the appearance breasts or the developers’ camera angles – it’s the knowledge that some of the audience are leering at them, the innuendo-leaden comments… and not wanting to “join in”.

      There are many dodgey and crappy subtexts and ideas in games that go without comment or examination (and also in virtually every Bond, Angelina Jolie or ‘pulp’ movie) but often “the media” and what passes for ‘public debate’ returns again and again to well-worn ‘sensitive liberal’ v. ‘laddish letch’ v. ‘conservative prude’ poses – more identity politics (tribe / fashion crowd / social group / sub culture) flag waving than a real debate about nakedness, sexuality/porn, sexism/genderism/etc.

      ‘Porn and games’ isn’t just about in-game (Witcher/Bioware/Rape-play) – for example The Escapist has their weekly “D&D session” video where a bunch of ‘alterative’ porn actresses, a stripper and a hairdresser roll d20 die: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/i-hit-it-with-my-axe

      Leigh Alexander says “websites like Kotaku have to publish articles about boobs” http://sexyvideogameland.blogspot.com/2009/12/about-that-article.html has done interviews with Playboy’s “Cyber Girl of the Year”, sung the praises of sexy games but draws the line at Raven Alexis writing a ‘sex tips for nerds’ piece (“an insult to gamers of either gender”).

      There is obviiously a difficult/ambiguous line to tread between enjoying eroticism and sexuality in games and objecting to it – “good porn” and “bad porn” as it were. A fine line between ‘valid’ and ‘gratuitous’ use of sex scenes. A fine line between feeling OK about watching porn and feeling ‘wrong’ (guilty? disturbed?) … maybe due to ‘rough’ becoming ‘violent’, due to ‘youthful’ becoming ‘underage’, due to ‘celebratory’ becoming ‘exploitative’, ‘sexy’ becoming ‘gross-out’ etc.

  34. Paul Moloney says:

    I found Morrigan the Sideboob Wizardess far more jarring, titilating and out of place. Seriously, woman; you’ll put your eye out.

    P.

    • cjlr says:

      One of the first quests I accepted in Dragon Age was called, “find Morrigan a real shirt.” Sadly, it took until about the halfway point to complete.

  35. bytez says:

    This is amasing.
    That boss fight… I think I need new pants.

  36. Moth Bones says:

    @ TeeJay – thoughtful points.

    “Hence it’s not so much the appearance breasts or the developers’ camera angles – it’s the knowledge that some of the audience are leering at them, the innuendo-leaden comments… and not wanting to “join in”.”

    Possibly so, but can you blame them? It reminds me of being a visiting supporter at Brighton & Hove Albion and cringing with embarrassment as a third of my colleagues launched into the highly original “Does your boyfriend know you’re here?” directed at the home fans. If you’re trying to convince people that your hobby isn’t the preserve of meatheads (football fans) or immature nerds (gamers) then that’s exactly the sort of thing that will make your heart sink.

    “what passes for ‘public debate’ returns again and again to well-worn ‘sensitive liberal’ v. ‘laddish letch’ v. ‘conservative prude’ poses – more identity politics (tribe / fashion crowd / social group / sub culture) flag waving than a real debate about nakedness, sexuality/porn, sexism/genderism/etc.”

    If you’re coming from a point where you’re alienated by the dominant culture – and whatever crap is written about ‘political correctness’ the dominant culture is male, white, straight and capitalist – then identity politics matters. It’s not about making straight white men feel guilty for existing, or desiring, or coming from a privileged cultural position, as is so often caricatured, but about trying to persuade people to think about those assumptions that are so often taken for granted.

    I get the impression that the RPS writers think that games can be an arena where assumptions are interrogated, and that this is something they’d like to see, and I agree with them. After all, science fiction (which I’d say is a bigger component of games culture than any other cultural form) has a very honourable history of being fertile ground for discussion of issues of race, gender, sex and sexuality.

    Can you expand on what form your suggested ‘real debate’ might take?

    Erm, I think I’ve moved away from The Witcher 2 now :D

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Moth Bones

      Of course I am sympathetic about not wanting to join in leering (or obnoxious chants etc.), but if this were the key issue then I’d express unease about parts of The Witcher audience reaction/response rather than the ‘trading cards’.

      I’m also not sure about trying to convince people that ‘gamers are not immature nerds’. Some are, some aren’t. A vast percentage of people are ‘gamers’ and ‘video games’ covers a large range of different things – from games for kids to ‘serious’ stuff, fluffy to violent, evangelical christian to tentacle porn. Maybe a better start point would be to a) admit to (and identify) some of the immature nerd-ism and b) ask what people object to about ‘immaturity’ and ‘nerdishness’ (or what we feel embarassed about).

      When I said “more identity politics flag-waving … than a real debate” what I was trying to say was ‘tribalism’ – as in framing the debate whole in terms of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ polarity. In this case the ‘them’ is people leering/letching, which is then turned into a ‘stereotype’, a kind of imaginary architype embodying all the negative things (exploitation of women, sexual abuse, rape, inequality) – a kind of personification of injustice and wrongness. ‘Us’ becomes the decent people who are standing up of this sort of thing. It turns into a court-room where people takes sides and paint each other as ‘left’ or ‘right’ or some similar polarity.

      In the context of The Witcher the discussion seems to consist of a claim that it is “sexist” (specifically the ‘card’ thing) and battle lines are drawn. The debate I’d prefer would be everyone actually admitting how much porn/erotica they watched if any (and how they define it) and owning up to their preferred ‘sweet-spot’ on the spectrum between puritan and libertine, people looking at their feeling of distaste or uneasiness and asking themselves what exactly is triggering it? How much ‘cultural’ baggage is involved? How far would the nudity or shagging or ‘achievements format’ have to be dialled back for it to become ‘ok’? Are we operating the same standard with movies and games (does ‘agency’ or active/passive role make a big difference)? Would extra literary/fictional devices provide a ‘justification’ for the content – and how far would this just be about ‘fooling ourselves’ (hence the old religious and classical themed paintings ‘allowing’ loads of naked flesh)? Generating discussion where people explore ideas rather than endlessly repeat tired old attack-counter-attacks on ‘Sun readers’ or ‘Guardian readers’ etc and where people are more confessional and open rather than defensive and confrontational…

  37. Irria says:

    I have commented on this before, but I will say it again: I don’t understand what is the problem with sex cards.

    First – it’s a game.

    Second – it’s a role-playing game. And the particular role you are playing happens to be that of a very attractive man. This is not the developers’ own invention, it’s canon in the books. There is, for example, a bit in one of them where Geralt is attending a wizards’ party and two ladies there are discussing what they would do to have sex with him. I distinctly recall one saying “i’d do it on a bare rock” with the other replying something to the effect “i’d do it on top of a porcupine”. After that, the cards seem very much in-character.

    Third – it’s optional. If you are that much disgusted with your character having consensual sex, you are free not to do it (much as in real life).

    As for the bit in the trailer – i think Alec needs to get some action ASAP. I was looking so hard for the promised jiggling and teasing, that i nearly missed the 3 second boob shot. The woman’s attitude is understandable too – she has been imprisoned in her own dungeon and her son was killed. Having her tits hanging out doesn’t seem so much of a problem in comparison.

  38. perilisk says:

    Is it just me or did people’s heads wobble an unnatural amount in conversations? It was a little weird looking.

  39. Dean says:

    The cards were an unfortunate choice but I don’t think they were a deliberately misogynist one. We see cards, we think ‘collectibles’. Years of other games and CCGs has hard-wired that. If the same art was just use in portraits, then it’d just be another way of handling the ‘sex scenes’ no worse than what Bioware does (except with nipples). The problem was, they chose cards.

    But other than that, there is no “gotta shag-em all” mechanic in the game. There’s no way to know if you’ve missed a card. There’s no way to leaf through all your cards. They’re not numbered. You can look at them again, but only in the character section of the codex. And there”s nothing here that even tells you if a card is available. They don’t get laid out in a grid with silhouetted cards of the ones you’ve yet to bonk, with an achievement for 100% shaggage. Some cards are mutually exclusive and they don’t carry over from one game to the next, so you can’t actually get them all anyway. And of course, there’s no reward for having lots of sex.

    There’s no mechanic in the game that encourages ‘collection’ of the cards. Or even helps with that aim in any way. It’s purely the fact that they are cards in the first place which has created this mentality that you should get as many as possible as part of the ‘game’. We’re imposing values.

    • Freud says:

      I think you are wrong. I think what is the issue here is that Geralt has the ability to shag every named female in the game, (except the madame with a heart of gold), including dryads, half-elfs and vampires that is what raises eyebrows. And it isn’t moral outrage, it is just a tired sigh of it being done in a manner that underestimates the intelligence of their audience.

      Having the ability to sleep with 25 or so women in a RPG is absurd. If they limit it to five it would still illustrate what a sly dog Geralt is without it becoming a parody. In the end, how they decided to implement the sex in the game led to a lessening of the mature themes of the game instead of adding to it. Hopefully they will show better judgement in the sequel because clearly they are very talented game makers.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Freud

      Out of interest, how many did your Geralt choose to sleep with when you played it?

  40. MOOncalF says:

    That use of boobs in the video was a non-event for me, I think we do the game a disservice by getting worked up over it. I like the solid connection of the blows in this game, the action seems a little slower but it seems so much more worth it to have a better sense of interaction rather than flailing unconvincingly at enemies. And the environments, yesh, that will do oh so nicely. :D

  41. VonGriffin says:

    For Bioware this is a matter of their standards: overfllow of blood OK, boobs not so much

    http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/141/index/4515707

  42. kenoxite says:

    What’s with all that head bobbing side to side? Have they used those toy dogs seen in cars as reference?

    I understand where they’re coming from, but the constant bobbing just makes those characters look even more unnatural. Maybe using it occasionally and not constantly would achieve the effect I think they’re really looking for.

    Apart from that, Geralt’s new face is still ugly as hell, and the girls seem to still look like talking inflatable dolls. Nothing major, anyway. Apart from the heavy metal take on “maturity” and sex that seems The Witcher never will get rid of (yes, the boobies thing).

    Still, can’t wait to play this. Loved the first game and I’m willing to blindly accept whatever they have to offer again.

  43. Schaulustiger says:

    Show a few seconds of naked breast in 45 minutes of video and everyone talks about maturity, sexism and, well, boobs instead of the wonderful game.

    Seriously, it’s not that big of a deal. CD Projekt know that a part of their audience will fantasize about every little bit of skin that is shown. Hell, people made nude Alyx skins for HL2 and that was one female character that wasn’t developed to look teasing.

    I remember my delightful fiancé playing The Witcher (one of the very few PC games she ever touched) and she loved collecting the sex cards because she found them to be well-drawn and fitting. She did read the books before, though and knew that Geralt would jump on nearly every woman.

  44. Igor Hardy says:

    I can’t see anything distasteful about the boobs scene either. On the other hand Geralt’s over-the-top fights with the guards are typical gratuitous fluff for kids and older kids. But is that really a bad thing? At least it looks far less silly then Arkham Asylum.

  45. Headless Monkey Boy says:

    I can’t beleive the amount of controversy this (the sex thing) has caused. people keep referencing immaturity (this goes for the first game to) and that the context of the way sex is portraid.

    My view is stop taking this sooo seriouly, the context is the source material, Thats what the witcher is is like. Its what he does. It is immature yes, but its fantasy but corrrectly me if i’m wrong but i’m sure the witcher isn’t the only traditional fantasy to include this sort of daft titilation.

    Its just a bit of fun, some pulpy, campy, roll your eyes material that breaks up the seen and would be be doing the core material a disservice if this kind of thing wasn’t included.

    Some how i don’t think there would be this contoversey over something so silly if it were James Bond in a simular position.

  46. Rhalle says:

    Let’s all just drop the pretense to maturity and admit that Witcher 1′s sex cards were fucking awesome.

    They were awesome, old-school, pinup-era classy raunch. And they rocked.

    It was the kind of thing not seen in PC gaming in years and years– at least not since the time that everyone knew exactly who DnD and cRPGs were for, which did not include women with chemical imbalances who enjoy anime and bondage or generation Z consoletards who can’t spell.

    Play a Bioware title if you want cloying, stiflingly politically correct, emasculated RPG for-the-masses video-gaming; EA Canada has got a stranglehold on that garbage: fantasy games made for sexless nerds and ‘romance’ freaks, written by women with technical writing degrees and an ex-hotel manager with a toupee who is a forty-year-old virgin. That’s what people should be complaining about, not some photoshop oil-paintings of big tits and a lusty lupine man- whore. Which are, as I said, fucking awesome.

    The fact is that Witcher is like Dragon Age, but for grown-ups.

    And I take back every Polish joke I ever told.

    • Kadayi says:

      I admire the cut of your Jib Sir (or madam).

    • Moth Bones says:

      Quality rant, Rhalle, though I knock points off for including that tired old phrase ‘politically correct’ (wtf is that actually supposed to mean? It seems to be generally used to mean ‘things I don’t like’). However, “lusty lupine man-whore” gets top marks.

      Anyway, I like The Witcher, and one of the reasons I like it is that I think it attempts to portray the societal aspects of a fairly brutal medieval/fantasy world. Including poor women having to prostitute themselves to survive, as well as racism and a rigid, overbearing class system. It also has a couple of good, strong female characters (in fact I’d really like to play a version of the game as Triss) and plot points where choices regarding emotional and sexual relationships actually affect the direction of the game. To my mind these factors are what make it ‘mature’, not whether or not it’s got tits in it. And yes, if those cards caused a big fuss that is rather silly.

      @ TeeJay – thanks for your thoughtful response.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Moth Bones

      I think I understand where he’s coming from. Albeit I enjoyed DA:O & ME2, there is something kind of ‘tame’ and predictable about them. Certainly bad things do happen (The female City Elf origin is pretty out there), but I don’t think I ever was presented with a choice in either that gave me pause for thought like some of the decisions in The Witcher did. They just seem to lack the grittiness of that title somehow.

  47. toro says:

    I have no words to describe my deep hatred for emasculated retards that are trying to post their indignation about boobs in a mature video game. I guess you really have to be uncomfortable with your sexual identity, if sexual objectification is everything you see in total disregard to the context, human nature and common sense.

  48. Lurklen says:

    I can’t speak as to nudity or the exploitation of women in gameing as a whole, but I didn’t get a porny vibe from this at all. From the article I expected a ridiculesly massive heaving bosom like someihing from, well a video game. But what I saw was a woman of normal proportions, in an extereme situation. A situation our hero was in not long ago, and in similar atire. About to recieve the same treatment Gerelt did. Then her captors killed she’s swiftly freed and almost immedietly covers herself then the hero turns around and the camera pans away while she dresses(some what out of character for Geralt but appropriate).

    Was she being exploited? Yes by her captors, until the players acts to stop it. Was the cutscene exploitive? I don’t think so or at least not anymore so than a torture scene is supposed to be. I really don’t think this was put in there for titillation but rather to say “Look at these guys they’re treating women badly they’re not good guys we should kill them.” Frankly I found the description in the article more lurid than the video. Now whether this level of nudity is appropriate/mature I can’t speak for everyone but as long as it’s used in this way it’s ok with me.
    P.S. The cards in the first game weren’t mature but that’s not nessecarily a bad thing sometimes it’s ok to be juvenile as long as it’s for the sake of humor and you don’t take it too far.

  49. SwiftRanger says:

    The tits weren’t that scene-filling or even misplaced in the scene’s context. Sorry, but you overreacted quite a bit here, Alec.

    For the rest, DA2 isn’t gonna stand a chance against TW2 with what we know and have seen so far of both titles. If only some of the specialised PC gaming press would notice too, the blind faith they’re showing in American studios is quite worrying. Poor Bioware, DA1 was their best game since BG2, could have been the start of something nice again but I guess that horrible DLC-stuff was a taste of things to come.:(

  50. Jimbo says:

    Better quality videos of this demonstration up on GameTrailers now. This looks phenomenal. Love the part where he steps out of the prison into the sun, with the massive castle right in front of him.

    The scene with the tits was good too.

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