Projekting: Hands On With The Witcher 2

By Jim Rossignol on April 14th, 2011 at 12:01 pm.


What follows are impressions of The Witcher 2 based on the limited preview code that Namco and CD Projekt recently released to the press. It’s the prologue and first chapter of the full game, and as such makes up a healthy chunk of play time. People are saying about ten hours, but I think I spent longer than that with it. I’ll avoid specific narrative spoilers, but I won’t be avoiding game-mechanic spoilers. What that means is that I’ll be talking about how the game works, but not that much about what actually happens. This is not a game where you want to know about the surprises.

So let’s take a look at everything else.

In the light of the Crysis 2 crisis, it seems funny that The Witcher 2 – a game that couldn’t be more PC-focused if it tried – should come with such limited graphics options. You can change the resolution and the overall detail, from “low” through to “ultra”, and that’s it. Now this is a preview build, so maybe more options will be exposed in the final release menus, but maybe not. There’s a console in-game, which I suspect will come in handy, but I’ve not investigated that. All I can say for now is that I set the game to “Ultra” and got on with my adventure.


The prologue is, thankfully, elegantly delivered. Told in flashback form, it sees Geralt explaining the events that led up to the current time. Needless to say, he’s a in a bit of a predicament. This pre-story story takes place in the midst of a huge castle siege, which makes for a spectacular backdrop, and at least as spectacular as the Ostagar portions of Dragon Age: Origins. And of course – with my “ultra” settings – the game looks far better than any RPG has so far looked. Surfaces glisten, eyes glint, distances blur, textiles warp and weave, and particles, um, particulate? Of course tech is nothing without artistic vision, and this is potent, although better in some parts than other. The prologue, while formidable in scope – the towering fantasy castle is being attacked by a gigantic army, with trebuchets going off in the background and a battle raging across the city below – is a fairly unsurprising environment. The first chapter on the other hand – an evil river, murderous gangs, a factionalised medieval village, and a sprawling, ancient forest – is a vision of grimdark fantasy worlds as they were meant to be.

And that’s not simply down to the complexity of the environment, but also the life that the characters bring to it. Children run about, incidental NPCs chat and moan, key personalities wander around the areas, getting on with their tasks, climbing ladders, picking up objects and so on. It’s exquisite stuff. If it lacks anything at all, it seems to be general ambient life – it could do with a few bugs, birds, and miscellaneous beasts. (There are some flocks of birds, come ot think of it, but they are occasional and incidental and quickly gone.)


It’s Chapter One where you begin to see the game open up a bit. Having followed a ruthlessly linear story for the few hours, you are then given access to a village and the surrounding forest. There’s quite a lot to explore, and a decent area to roam about in. There are, of course, multiple sidequests, and these are fun, interesting and convincing. Nothing has so far struck me as too ridiculous, in the way that game quests so often do. There’s also scope for foraging for herbs, and even collecting other general crafting crap to be carted back to the village and turned into stuff – assuming you have the formula for doing so. All very much the familiar fantasy ways of doing things, but pleasing to play with. Geralt’s inventory is going to become a management game all on its own.

Combat, then. Yes, it’s better than the original. It also took me longer to grasp than the original. I was a little surprised that there was nothing more than a tooltip at start of the game to explain what is actually a fairly sophisticated melee system. It feels pleasingly organic, once you have the hang of it, however. Essentially you have a basic ability to do a quick light blow, or a slower heavy blow. You can also hit E to block. These basics allow you to take on any opponent, although selection of that opponent is frankly a bit wobbly. I’ll probably get used to it.


A dude with a sword and shield might always be able to block your hits, but as soon as he takes a swing, he’s open to a quick attack. You’ll soon become comfortable with that, and start timing your blows accordingly. It’s not always possible to block blows, either – a dude with a big old polearm will beat you to the ground whether you have your sword raised or not. That means you do have to think about positioning. You can roll about with the spacebar to your heart’s content, and you will be rolling, too, because the AI, while not perfect, does work hard to flank you, and attacks from behind do significantly more damage. Being flanked by two competent enemies is death. There’s also situations where there are bads on all sides, and that can basically be impossible to get out of. (Skills also unlock some other abilities in combat, such as being able to parry in all directions.)

As before, some enemies are non-human, and require a silver sword to kill. I find this a little arbitrary, but whatever, it’s part of the lore of The Witcher’s world. Also part of that law is the skill and magic set which lies behind your effectiveness in combat. This is a traditional level-based RPG, of course, but the actual skill tree is somewhat unusual. It’s a large network of related skills which can be unlocked if a connected skill is already unlocked. Skills can be pumped up a couple of levels to max them out, or you can expand into their little tree to get similar bonuses. You won’t be filling these all out, however, because there won’t be enough points to spend. Your Geralt build, therefore, could potentially be unique in different playthroughs, and that’s without all the fiddling with potions and equipment that you could possibly get up to.


What isn’t clear from this preview build, is just how flexible core quests are going to be in terms of what you can choose to do. So far I haven’t seen much deviation from the linear path, despite chapter one’s general openness. While I made radically different choices during one key scene, the outcome was always essentially the same. I am hoping that later chapters will be far more forked and give us genuine choice and consequence. But I guess we’ll see.

There are some other issues in this preview build that I think people will find significant. The first of these is the save function. Generally the game auto-saves at important points, but there’s potential in the more open areas for you to cover a lot of ground between auto-saves, and therefore lose a lot of game time if you die. This is covered by there being a quicksave function, which is only available outside of combat or specific set-piece scenarios. Weirdly, however, there is no manual save. Seems like a bit of an oversight.


More far-reaching for the game experience is the inclusion of quick time events (QTEs). These modes of interacting with action sequences certainly divide people, and the QTEs in The Witcher 2 divided me. That’s because some of them are pretty good – the QTEs for fist-based fights (as opposed to normal, lethal melee) are great. You use the WASD keys to time moves on your enemy, and you take a beating if you fluff it. There are other sequences, however, such as one in the prologue where you are being chased by a monster, where the QTEs fall into the standard trap of being irritating push-button cutscenes that might just as well have been non-interactive cutscenes for all the enjoyment they add to the game.

And let’s not be confused about the nature of this game: there are a lot of cutscenes, because there is a lot of dialogue. While the majority if your time is going to be spent running about and poking things with a sword, there are dozens of people to talk to just in the limited slice of the game that I’ve seen, and there’s a tonne of exposition if you can be bothered to listen to it. Fortunately most of the dialogue and voice-acting is superb. There are a few tiny moments where things fail to flow or phrases seem out of place, but they are mere niggles. The talky bits seem superbly produced , and that extends to the overall design and delivery of the characters. (Although not to its map, which is a bit disappointing.)


Most important among these characters is – so far at least – Triss Merigold, the sorceress and lover of Geralt. She is – thus far in the game – only one of two women to expose her breasts, and it’s done surprisingly tastefully. Triss is there to be sexy, but fortunately the attitude towards her seems bawdy rather than offensive. She’s brilliantly sarcastic and makes for a strong female lead in game that is set up to be overly masculine. She does walk like she’s on a catwalk at all times, of course… but at least she doesn’t take any shit. Geralt has so far kept his trouser-snake on a much tighter leash, too, and I suspect one of the major choices in the game is going to be whether you stay faithful to Triss or get it on with the game’s other bosomed beauties.

Ultimately The Witcher 2 is looking strong. It’s beautiful (on a i5 2500k, 8gb RAM, and GTS250 at max settings it was doing a steady 20 fps in the most intense of scenes, rising to over 30fps for general running about). It’s pretty challenging – every fight seemed to have a risk of death. Mostly importantly for an RPG, however, it seems to have a solid grasp on its themes, its sense of place, and its world. It’s looking like it will be a great story, well told.

Yes, this is probably a good reason to upgrade your PC. No, I don’t think the game will be without significant flaws. Yes, this is a good time to finish the original. And yes, yes, I’m now quite anxious play the full thing and tell you wot I think. It’s going to be an excruciating wait.

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245 Comments »

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  1. Will Tomas says:

    It was never going to be perfect, what with CD Projekt’s track record, but it does look fun, and facinating. Which is all I wanted, really, even if the QTEs are a rather disappointing addition.

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      Maltose says:

      Not much of a track record, considering Witcher 2 is only their second game.

    • Heliosicle says:

      Its CDP reds second game, but fairly sure CDP themselves have released and published a fair few games.

    • mlaskus says:

      Well, CDP is a publisher, so that is rather unsurprising.

    • TariqOne says:

      Didn’t we just excoriate Dragon Age 2 for betraying its CRPG roots by only having pausable party-based combat with a camera that could only partly pull back to a nearly isometric view with queueable abilities that didn’t have nearly non-flashy-enough animations?

      It was said often at that time that The Witcher 2 would save CRPGs from the consolized horrors augured by DA2. Are we sure?

    • Inarborat says:

      Just watch some of the latest gameplay videos. DAII was lambasted because it’s a terrible, rushed game.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      The Witcher 2 won’t “save CRPGs” in the sense that many people mean, because it is not a party-based RPG.

      It is going to make DA2 look pretty lame, however.

  2. Kill_The_Drive says:

    Just when you thought nobody could add more bloom.

    • Turbo says:

      Really? I thought the bloom looked more tame compared to other gloom and bloom games.

    • MasterDex says:

      The bloom doesn’t look bad at all. It’s a far cry better than most where bloom=blinding light of the gods.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      There are few scenes where the bloom is really bad.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      I’ve seen Star Trek, the levels of Bloom in this are nothing.

    • gwathdring says:

      Kirk: “Computer, shut down all the lens flare generators”
      Computer: “Lens flare generators deactivated.”
      Spock: “I was unaware that we had those …”
      Kirk: “I know, right? I mean, who designs a star ship where lights shine right in your eyes from virtually every angle?”

  3. Lilliput King says:

    “Essentially you have a basic ability to do a quick light blow, or a slower heavy blow. You can also hit E to block… A dude with a shield shield might always be able to block your hits, but as soon as he takes a swing, he’s open to a quick attack. You’ll soon become comfortable with that, and start timing your blows accordingly.”

    How Is This An RPG Anyway

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      jaheira says:

      ‘cos it’s a game in which you play a role?

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      Okami says:

      I laugh at your feeble attempts at elitism and declare that the only true role playing games are pen&paper games. This allows me to feel even greater contempt for the foolishness of people whose use words to describe things in ways I do not approve of.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Since when are RPGS more about fighting than about story and choice?

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      Oozo says:

      It’s an RPG because you can talk to the monsters.

    • Merlkir says:

      True, true RPGs make you click a gazillion times to attack once your turn’s up, count action points and once in a while use a special attack or a spell.

      Obviously nobody can roleplay if there are no turns and action points.

    • Defiant Badger says:

      I think Rpg’s (or at least CRPG’s) have become more than what their actual name suggests.

      Here* is a link to an interesting article I have saved just such an occasion, while it’s not as universal or as defining as it would want to be, it certainly is an interesting start.

      *http://sinisterdesign.net/?p=785

    • Spakkenkhrist says:

      The words every woman is dying to hear.

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      drewski says:

      You have to admit that’s not a purist’s RPG system, though.

      I don’t know if that *matters* or not.

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      TheApologist says:

      beacuase its so essey

    • JackShandy says:

      We could stand here defining RPG’s by their trivial fripperies until we’re blue in the face, but come on. It’s only a true RPG if it has interactive toilets.

    • Bloodloss says:

      Yeah, at least is still has choices and…

      “While I made radically different choices during one key scene, the outcome was always essentially the same”

      Oh…

    • Lilliput King says:

      im just trying to make a point here!

    • subedii says:

      @ Lilliput King: Don’t worry dude, I got the reference.

      @ Everyone else excluding TheApologist:

      You might want to look this up, largely beacuase it’s hilarious:

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/01/10/is-it-supposed-to-be-stick-dudes/

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      drewski says:

      Sorry, I didn’t realise we had to shout about how smart we are that we got a reference before launching into a related serious tangent.

    • subedii says:

      Well first off, I don’t recall saying I was “smart” about anything (or shout for that matter?). It’s a nerd reference.

      Second off: U mad?

    • Krimson says:

      @JackShandy

      So Duke Nukem 3D was an RPG?

    • jackflash says:

      Swords and conversation.

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      drewski says:

      @ subedii – firstly, I know. I just don’t need to shout about getting it just because I got it. I laugh, then address comments made by others.

      And secondly…u troll?

    • Wizardry says:

      Joking or not, Lilliput King is right. When a significant portion of the interaction, in this case the combat, has a greater emphasis on player skill than character skill, it dents the game’s CRPG credentials.

    • subedii says:

      I fail to see how I’m trolling. I thought most people were missing the reference, so I posted the link.

      And then for some reason you seemed to get upset about it.

    • Starky says:

      Blam this piece of crap!!!!

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      drewski says:

      Correcting a foolish misapprehension is not getting upset, honey.

      “U mad?” is a notorious example of internet trolling, so either you’re now being disingenuous because you got called out on it, or you don’t understand the reference; either way it was unnecessary.

    • subedii says:

      Correcting a foolish misapprehension is not getting upset, honey.

      “U mad?” is a notorious example of internet trolling, so either you’re now being disingenuous because you got called out on it, or you don’t understand the reference; either way it was unnecessary.

      If you say so.

      I asked because you genuinely look as if you’re getting upset over this, so I was pointing that out and hoping you’d recognise it. Still if that’s not the case, and since you’re so adamant that I’m trolling you now, let’s just drop it.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Wizardry: Semi-serious, yeah. Drewski’s first post hits the nail on the head, for me. I don’t know if it matters in terms of quality of ‘game,’ but it’s interesting that a PC exclusive RPG appears to be subject to what people generally refer to nowadays as consolisation.

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      TheApologist says:

      I also kind of assumed that some people in this thread had perhaps missed the reference in the original post, and were therefore maybe reading it as less ambiguous – and fun – as it was.

      So, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to try to correct what was reasonably interpreted as a misunderstanding. There be no trolling to my mind, AND that is a fun video.

      HUGS!

    • Chris D says:

      Okami

      I’ll see your “not a true RPG unless it’s on paper” and raise you “It’s not a true RPG unless it has a hex-grid, uses at least five different types of dice and has detailed critical hit tables for each combination of weapon and armour type.” None of your dumbed down lightweight d20 system and square grid maps thank you very much.

    • mondomau says:

      @Lilliput – If that’s what you meant, your first post was incredibly misleading to the point a less generous person would accuse you of of trolling.
      To quote Drewski “You have to admit that’s not a purist’s RPG system, though.
      I don’t know if that *matters* or not.”
      This is where you are both working from flawed logic.
      There is no hard and fast definition of what exactly defines an ‘RPG system’ in reference to video games, – sure, there are established trends and favoured implementations, but no objective hard and fast rule.
      It could be interpreted as including some or all of the following:
      – literal role play
      – Stat build up and progression
      – Player influenced storyline
      – Levelling
      – Turn based combat
      (Not to forget that no video game is a purist’s system because you don’t play it around a table with your mates using a billion dice.)

      There is huge mis-uses of the term ‘RPG elements’ by both developer/reviewers/fans and the term ‘True RPG’ by elitist ‘aficionados’ when one of these aspects is or isn’t included in a game.
      I’m not saying either of these types is you or Drewski – it strikes me that what you were saying is that Witcher 2 looks more like what you would consider a traditional console rpg than a traditional PC one. Which is fair enough, but it’s not what you originally posted.
      Pedant, away!

    • subedii says:

      @ TheApologist:

      *HUGS*

      *Lightly refrains from stealthily lifting Apologists wallet.*

    • Rii says:

      Gentlemen, the definition of an RPG is something I’m not interested in. And I’m not interested in this. Ergo, it is an RPG. Case closed.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      @Lilliput King:
      “Wizardry: Semi-serious, yeah. Drewski’s first post hits the nail on the head, for me. I don’t know if it matters in terms of quality of ‘game,’ but it’s interesting that a PC exclusive RPG appears to be subject to what people generally refer to nowadays as consolisation”
      The Witcher 2 isn’t PC exclusive. It’s going to be on Xbox 360 and PS3.

      Edit: Okay, not officially confirmed, but it’s still in discussion. It’s a PC game first, but still, console is in the talks and not ruled out so people definitely are making console connections to this game.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      The first Witcher didn’t have a “purist” CRPG combat system anyway, so I don’t know why anybody expected anything else. I know Lilliput was making a reference, but this is directed at other people.

    • Wizardry says:

      @ScubaMonster: Purist CRPG combat systems (whatever they are) don’t exist any more outside of a select few independent games and Japanese games. The Witcher didn’t do anything to mend the situation, but it wasn’t its job to do so. The point when purist (I hate this term) CRPGs died was when Knights of the Old Republic and Morrowind were released on the Xbox. Knights of the Old Republic told the console world that CRPGs were about story, characters and romances (leading to games such as Dragon Age and Mass Effect), while Morrowind told the console world that CRPGs were about single character action combat. Console gamers never really got a taste of the tactical, turn-based, party-based combat systems that were far more common on PCs. If you ask the average gamer what the difference is between CRPGs and JRPGs you’ll probably be told that JRPGs focus on turn-based combat while CRPGs focus on story and characters. 15 to 20 years ago gamers would be saying the complete opposite.

    • Sarlix says:

      Christ, it’s escaped the confines of the forum.

      BACK, BACK I SAY!

    • Lilliput King says:

      mond: I didn’t intend to cast aspersions on the Witcher 2’s RPG credentials or quality. I was mostly having a bit of fun. Still, I do find it interesting that the approach CDP have taken to combat is being received so generously.

    • Nick says:

      good job trolling.

    • Archonsod says:

      “I do find it interesting that the approach CDP have taken to combat is being received so generously.”

      I think the old “turn based or nothing” purists have been banished back to the 80s where they belong …

    • Ashrik says:

      How is it an RPG? Besides the whole leveling up abilities, playing the role of Gerahlt, gaining xp, crafting, story development, and spellcraft?

      How is it not an RPG? The phrase describes more than Final Fantasy games. Though you could make the argument that it would be better described as Action-RPG, but that hardly seems necessary if you’ve read this piece.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      @Ashrik:

      Did you… did you read any of the discussion?

    • Grey says:

      Bah. You guys make it complicated. RPG is role-playing game. So yeah, we role-play as someone in the game universe. SO YEAH, Crysis 2 is an RPG where you role-playing as Alcatraz.

      Oh wait, a more traditional RPG. Last night, me and wife. She loves role-playing too.. :P

    • AndyE says:

      I guess like Gothic is an RPG?

    • Melf_Himself says:

      “It’s an RPG because you can talk to the monsters.”

      This may be the best thing I’ve read all week.

    • noodlecake says:

      Genre labels are holding back creativity in gaming. It’s good that these terms are getting more blurry. Games like this and Dragon Age 2 moving away from done to death approaches to fantasy games can only be a good thing in my book.

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      Joshua says:

      @Melf Himself

      IT is awesome because it is soo true as well. You could actually even make deals and align with them :D, which is something I really loved in the original Witcher.

      @ OP (Lilliput?)

      You level up, you gain abilities, you can make different choices during quests which matter, etc.
      THe effectiveness of your quick blows, your blocking, and your power blows will probably also be decided based on how much you invested in those skills. It’s combat system is probably more RPG-ish then oblivion’s was.

  4. Brumisator says:

    Penultimate line: spelling: “finiosh”

    *captain nitpick awaaaay!*

    I’m getting more exited about this game than I was before, Although I never finished the original. But I attribute that to having it put down for a month and not remembering or caring what I was supposed to be doing next…I always do that with RPGs…

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      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      @Brumisator

      First line: spelling: “exited”

      *captain nitpick awaaaay!* :-P

    • patricij says:

      It should be captain Nitpick, nitpick….
      *bonus chain combo acquired*

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      sonofsanta says:

      Shouldn’t that be Captain Nitpick? Capitalise neither or both.

      /ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: triple irony combo/

  5. KauhuK says:

    Time to continue the original. The Witcher’s problem is that if you take a break from it, it’s hard to get back in. It is good game but it is much more demanding than other rpg:s.

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      Keymonk says:

      So true. I was trying to get back into the first the other day, but my god it’s heavy when you’ve forgotten where you have and haven’t explored and what to do next.

    • Ian says:

      Herein lies my problem. I’d like to go back and get into my save that I abandoned shamefully early, but while the good bits have been really good the bit I got bored with involved seemingly endless repeated journeys between the first city and a wooded, swampy place.

      I’ll be paying attention to Witcher 2 because it looks great, and debating whether or not to try and persevere with the first one to see if it gets better after the bit I tired of.

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      Keymonk says:

      For me it wasn’t so much that I was bored as much as me just being easy to distract.

    • Zenicetus says:

      @ Ian: the initial Swamp quests do get tedious after a while… sort of the Witcher’s version of “The Deep Roads” in DA:O. It does get better in the later chapters, and you get to see some different locations.

  6. SilverSilence says:

    GTX250? No wonder you couldn’t get decent FPS that card is ancient.

    • SilverSilence says:

      Ninja’d, I figured that out after a second.

      I’d say a GTX460 could max this game easily at 1080p

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      daphne says:

      Yeah, I gotta say it’s a weak card to pair with that CPU and the amount of RAM, given both are fairly future-proof. I guess it works for him, but a 1gb AMD 6950 or a NVIDIA gtx560 would have been more reasonable for 1080p setups.

    • Vague-rant says:

      I see a glimmer of hope for my slightly sub-minimal-requirements PC…

    • newton says:

      I’d say a GTX460 could max this game easily at 1080p
      Not easily, but basically yeah. Got around 30 FPS out of it on my 460.

      Interesting thing is, the game looks quite good even on the lowest settings. This german site has a sweet comparison (just use the slider) where it shows there’s not as much difference between LOW-MAX as one would expect.

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      phuzz says:

      A friend of mine is playing Stalker:SoC on a woefully underpowered laptop, in a tiny window, in what can only be described as slide-show mode.
      He’s loving it.
      Pretty graphics are nice, but a good game will shine through even if it looks like someone poo’ed on the screen.

    • bill says:

      Oh good, criticisms of other people’s hardware. The highpoint of any PC blog.

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      PoulWrist says:

      The word “1080p” is a terrible thing to say. Especially considering that all monitors are now apparently being ruined by the resolution that hides behind this word.

    • Nick says:

      Its not ancient, don’t be a moron.

    • SilverSilence says:

      I hate 1080p as mush as anyone, it’s just easier saying x will run at 1080p (My monitor is 2560×1440 btw)

      The GTS250 IS ancient, considering it’s literally a renamed 9800GTX+ it actually came out in early 2008 which by GPU standards is oooooooooooooooold. We’ve had the GTX3, 4 and now 5 series since then.

    • adonf says:

      Why say 1080p ? PC monitors have been non-interlaced since the days of VGA or maybe even before. It’s the first time I see this regarding PC games (it’s rather common in console-speak, but a lot of people still have TVs in 480i)

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      UW says:

      Ahah, this conversation reminds me of a work colleague recently telling me they were going to upgrade their 22″ 1680×1050 monitor to something else because they wanted one which supported “HD”.

      I admit I did a double take on the graphics card, looking at the rest of the hardware I was certainly expecting something more powerful. That said, I am still rocking an 8800 GTX so I can’t be any judge. I love that card.

  7. Delusibeta says:

    Over 10 hours to get to the end of Chapter 1? That’s certainly not bad. Disappointed about the lack of graphics options, however. Hopefully, that will get fixed, since that’s a bit patronising.

    I’d imagine that some of the people who wanted Baldur’s Gate 3 would start backlashing against the fact that The Witcher 2 seems to be very much an Action RPG. There’s also a rumour doing the rounds that the game will only support 16:9 resolutions, and there’s been some whinging from that.

    • Astalano says:

      The original game was also an action game, so I don’t think there’s a problem.

      The new combat system sounds and looks deeper and more consistently awesome than the original, which was great at its high points and quite dull at its low points.

      I don’t have a problem with the choices made in the first chapter not making much of an impact in the same chapter-The Witcher also used this, as the consequences of your choices only became apparent hours later.

      I don’t have a problem with the graphics options, because unlike Crysis 2, I don’t expect this to be a graphical powerhouse-the fact that it looks so beautiful is just an added bonus.

      I’m somewhat worried about QTEs for anything other than fist fights (the original’s fist fights were awful so this is a welcome change) but as long as there aren’t too many I can forgive them.

      Overall I am really glad I pre-ordered this.

    • Bloodloss says:

      I certainly wouldn’t want another glorified dungeon crawler like Baldur’s Gate. I wouldn’t mind this game having some choices and consequences like they constantly claim and utterly fail to deliver, though.

    • FalseMyrmidon says:

      “I certainly wouldn’t want another glorified dungeon crawler like Baldur’s Gate.”

      …you can go sit over there now…

    • Tuor says:

      FalseMyrmidon:

      Go for the eyes, Boo! Go for the eyes!

  8. Po0py says:

    Looks interesting. Is there any more news on CD Projekts plan to send threatening letters to alleged file sharers with the bare minimum of evidence? This really is a game changer for me. They won’t be getting my money with that kind of carry on.

    • Merlkir says:

      Fuck those bastards! How dare they want to protect their property?! This is a completely new practice too, it’s never been done before by any game company ever. Also it’s a fact this will happen to everyone who bought the game too which will be annoying and unjust.
      Those moneygrubbing pigs!

    • Kaira- says:

      I stumbled across this last night when seeking info on TW2 retail DRM. Most of the time I’m content with “hardcore” pirates, as they don’t keep too much noise, but now this thing seems all backwards. “No DRM, but you still don’t want us to pirate it? Fuck you you greedy faggots”. One of those moments in life when you can’t help it but call those people asshole.

      And to refer your original question, no, I don’t think it has changed. Letters will be sent, maybe.

    • Inarborat says:

      Really? So basically you weren’t going to buy the game anyways.

    • Po0py says:

      My point is about the shoddy evidence that is used to hunt down pirates. It’s basically an IP address. That’s it. There is no regard for people who share an internet connection like someone who lives in a house-share or a landlord or business. No regard for the hundreds of thousands of open wifi connections across the country that anyone can jump on and start downloading.

      People have tried and failed miserably at this kind of racket before. If your IP address is on the list you are getting a threatening letter, it seams. Regardless of weather you are actually a gamer or not.

      It’s all a bit shoddy and poorly thought out, if you ask me.

    • JackShandy says:

      It’s the “No try, no buy.” line in that thread that gets me the most. If only developers would put out some kind of free Demonstration of their games! Well, until that perfect day comes, I’d better get to pirating.

    • subedii says:

      We can’t look inside the minds of CD Projekt’s bosses but it’s not totally inconceivable that they secretly hope that many people will pirate their games. After all, the pay-up-or-else schemes are more profitable than actually selling games.

      Haha, wow. I think that just… wow.

    • Po0py says:

      @subedii

      I don’t buy that argument either. Although, Andrew Crossley was a solicitor for the firm ACS:LAW and he was sending threatening letters requesting compensation of anywhere from £450 right up to £1000 pounds for downloading a single mp3. So, send out enough letters and the profits will pour in. A lot of people just panicked, realized that it might be easier to just pay up and make the problem go away without knowing that Crossley has never, ever taken anyone as far as a court room simply because his flimsy evidence would have been ripped to shreds by any competent lawyer. It’s not known how much CD Projekt will be demanding so I’m gonna stop short of comparing them with ruthless and heartless people like Andrew Crossley.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      CD Projekt s a company from Poland – c’mon, they know that fighting piracy is pointless waste of money. They grown up in a country where pirated stuff is in every single home.

      In most cases they take action because of Atari. But when given a free hand they are quite friendly to users – see: 1st Witcher got it’s DRM removed through the patch essentially allowing everyone to pirate it at will.

      They most likely will try to reduce piracy somehow, sure – eg. first step for it was releasing really good retail versions with various cool bonuses. But no wonder – everyone want and even: have to earn money. What’s good is that they are far from EA and Ubisoft idiocy with DRMs making impossible for people to play at all. You buy a Witcher 2 – you OWN the game, not borrow it as it’s with EA stuff.

    • wazups2x says:

      @JackShandy

      I agree. I do the same thing with the cars I buy. If the owner won’t let me take it for a test run thenn I take it from him anyways. If I like it then I pay him, if I don’t like it then I don’t pay him.

      “No try, no buy” is what I always say. AKA “No try, I steal”.

    • James T says:

      Kudos to wazups2x for manfully defending the world’s precious and dangerously finite copies of ‘The Witcher 2′ from those taffers who would whisk them awa–

      Oh, hang on, cars aren’t like kilobytes at all, are they! Whew, nearly bought into a broken analogy there.

    • The Colonel says:

      Someone still invested a number of years of their life creating those kilobytes with a salary at least nominally dependent on the product making money at the end.

    • James T says:

      No shit, Sherlock; that still doesn’t make “cars = computer programs” a workable analogy.

  9. Unaco says:

    That’s it! I know what I’m doing this weekend… finishing the first game (or certainly getting stuck back into it… just finishing Chapter 2, so another 3 or so to go). Then, I can end the embargo I’ve placed on Witcher 2 articles (I scanned through this between a crack in my fingers that were held over my face), videos, interviews and the like. ” This is not a game where you want to know about the surprises” goes for the 1st game as well… I was enjoying it so thoroughly that when 2 was announced, I didn’t want to learn anything about it, in case it spoiled anything from the 1st game.

  10. Kaira- says:

    So, if this is anything to go by there’ll be The Witcher 2 – Enhanced Edition sometime in the future, or then the retail build is much different with manual saves and all that.

    Despite your criticism, it sounds good to me.

  11. Reiver says:

    Regarding the choices and consequences I got the impression that CDPR were going for the long game with them rather than having an immediate result. They said something along the line of getting people to make real choices and live with them rather than choosing different options and reloading until you find the one with the most profit. That you choose the decision not the consequnce like you do with so many RPGs. So i imagine that, like the first, it might be a while before the conseuences become apparent so next chapter or even further down the line. Certainly the massive branching flow diagram of c&c that they showed in their preview presentation gives me no worries with that side of the game.

    • Schadenfreude says:

      Apparently you miss entire areas of the game depending on your choices (Or more accurately you see different areas of the game). So multiple play-throughs all around.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yeah, there is clearly huge scope for that stuff to play out. This is going to be a big game.

    • Bloodloss says:

      In other words, this likely means that you will get slightly different ending slides depending on your choices instead of proper ones that affect the game. But we shall see..

    • Picklesworth says:

      Indeed. I remember in the original I started with the same feeling about the game’s choices, then right at the end of the first chapter they hit me with “oh, by the way, you really fucked things up,” followed by “this guy died because of you” moments later. It was super effective :)
      I think it worked better than my choices having an immediate effect, because it made them permanent (no way am I going to immediately replay six hours) and it allowed for very surprising and deep outcomes. My choices were an indirect consequence of who my character was, instead of the one thing that arbitrarily defines him.

      The game never said horrible things like “this one dialog response will give you the bad ending, so you’d better save,” because it doesn’t always resolve to a single action. It just reminds you that it’s watching every now and then and the rest is yours to screw up in your own personal way.

    • paterah says:

      There are going to be 16 different endings and 3 different openings if I remember correctly.

    • Ohle says:

      Some quick responses:

      Graphics settings: Yeah, the final game will have more detailed graphics settings.

      Saves: There will be a manual save feature, don’t worry!

      QTEs: Oh, they’re not so bad, and they add further variety to the gameplay.

      Linearity: The game opens up significantly and has lots of variation based on the choices you make. As we’ve mentioned in previous demos, there are entire locations/portions of the game you will NOT see on your first play through. And, again, there are ultimately 16 different endings/end states based on your choices and actions.

      Piracy stuff: We’re releasing the game DRM-free on GOG, and in an hour or so (during the CDP Conference) we’ll talk a bit more about copy protection in other versions. Needless to say, we’re not big fans of DRM. That said, we’re removing the excuses that pirates tend to throw out there… so just buy the game if you want to play it, eh? I don’t see how that’s a problem :)

      16:9: Checking on this. If, worst case, there’s the letterbox (black up top and bottom) is that really a huge issue? It looks all cinematic-like, and that’s how many of us used to watch movies, remember? “Widescreen version” even though we didn’t have widescreen TVs?

      How it’s an RPG: Well, there’s character development, the ability to make decisions that impact the gameplay, item collection and crafting, a story, and… well…. yeah, it’s an RPG.

      Hope that clarifies some things!

    • Zenicetus says:

      @ Ohle: “16:9: Checking on this. If, worst case, there’s the letterbox (black up top and bottom) is that really a huge issue? It looks all cinematic-like, and that’s how many of us used to watch movies, remember? “Widescreen version” even though we didn’t have widescreen TVs”

      I hope you (assuming I’m speaking to a dev here?) are actually checking to see what it looks like on 4:3 ratio monitors, so you can judge the impact. If you only have 16:9 monitors, you won’t see the downside of scaling issues. Everything shown in the game gets smaller with letterboxing. It isn’t just the visual effect of the black bars.

      I use a 4:3 ratio display because I do professional graphics work that requires a highly color-corrected display, and the 4:3 screen I’m using now is the one I could afford. I’m enough of a fan of the first Witcher game that I probably won’t let letterboxing affect my purchase decision, but it’s still very disappointing to hear that 16:9 might be the only option.

    • Hematite says:

      @Ohle:
      I’m pretty pleased about the DRM-free release on GOG.com – I consider myself a spirit-of-the-law abiding citizen (I have been know to try before I buy, but my ‘buy’ record is respectable), and I hate DRM formalities which could only destroy my legitimate purchases.

      That said, and without a citation to hand, I remember the original announcement of the DRM free release being a bit weird, along the lines of “We’re pleased to announce that we’ll be releasing a DRM free version of the game for digital download from GOG.com. And if you f**king think about pirating it we’ll come around to you house and shoot your dog!”

      Clearly, hyperbole for effect etc, and I personally wrote it off as a poorly worded press release. I think there’s a lingering, and I hope misplaced, bad feeling on teh internets about it though.

    • adonf says:

      @Ohle: Yes, screen format is a huge issue.

      Letterboxing in films is good because it shows the image the way the director wanted us to see it. In a 3D game where the player can rotate the camera as they want it’s a completely different thing. In a film if the left and right borders are cut I will miss a part of the action, not in a game (or to be more precise I could miss the action just as much on a wide screen if I’m not pointing the camera in the right direction). As someone mentioned above, letterboxing will just result in a smaller screen with no visual or artistic benefits.

      A lot of us out there still have 4:3 monitors (I’ve had mine for 6 years and have no plans to change it) so I’m really hoping that The Witcher 2 will be compatible with this all screen formats.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Rinox says:

    I upgraded my graphics card a week ago, pretty much with the Witcher 2 in the back of my mind. So this is good news. :-)

    EDIT: also, re: Triss…I don’t want to start the whole cards shitstorm again, but even in The Witcher 1 I thought they did strong and believable female characters a zillion times better than the damsel-in-distress or tough-but-secretly- girly-and-yearning-for-love dichotomy of so many RPG’s. They actually had power of their own, and their own designs and wishes. Geralt is only ever a part of their life, not their reason to exist.

    • Premium User Badge

      Sunjumper says:

      Agreed with what you said about the women of The Witcher (1). I did not buy the game for a year or two because I found the idea of collectable women rather offensive and was only swayed by the constant praise heaped on the game by everyone who played it and the exemplary effort made to improve the game by CDR.

      In the end I was surprised by how well writen the female characters were. Compared to the sorry clichés populating every other game these were actually strong characters with their own motivations, living their own lives pretty much independent of the game’s protagonist.
      As Jim said above Tris doesn’t take shit from anyone and was clearly one of the most powerful characters (both personaly as well as politically) that Geralt came across during the game.

  13. fionny says:

    Sweet, nice run down… this has increased my interest levels

    Out of Curiosity is there any integration with the first witcher? IE does it import save files like ME1 to ME2.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      You can apparently import old saves, yes. No idea what that does.

    • fionny says:

      Cool im guessing it will play out something with Triss or Shani.

    • ran93r says:

      More notches on the bedpost.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rinox says:

      Since I went neutral in the end in the Witcher 1, I’m guessing that’ll mean I won’t have too many friends left then.

    • Inarborat says:

      Supposedly your major decisions from TW1 and inventory (possibly money and weapons) will carry over.

    • fionny says:

      Really looking forward to it now, confirmed my order on amazon today (cheaper then GOG by a fair bit!)

    • Premium User Badge

      Sunjumper says:

      If memory serves you also have a different startin location if you imported an old save game.
      (So no Castle Flashback before chapter 1)

    • Brumisator says:

      Any more notches on the bedpost would compromise the bed’s structural integrity.

  14. newton says:

    I didn’t mind the QTEs, they seem to be sparse and smoothly integrated into the game.

    Great easter egg hidden in the siege scene, btw. Keep your eyes peeled.

  15. Surgeon says:

    Jim, have you heard anything as good as “your Mother sucks Dwarf cock!” yet?

    It’s a shame about the general ambient wildlife, as there was tons of little critters running about in the first Witcher.

  16. Derpington Hurrrrrrr says:

    Now I’m even more exited about this game.

  17. Dominic White says:

    No quicksave in combat!? Simple, intuitive video options rarther than a different slider and toggles? An action-oriented combat engine focusing on blocking and counters? Ban this consoletard trash now!

    Oh, wait, it’s a PC only RPG. Expect near-zero insane kvetching from the angry Internet man crowd once this one lands. Sounds great, though. Will be nabbing it off GOG at launch.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rinox says:

      I can barely think of any major RPG in the last decade that allowed for quicksaving during combat, tbh. And how can you be against customization for graphics options? What’s wrong with choice if it comes with the simple “low-medium-high-ultra” slidebar too?

    • subedii says:

      Rinox put it better than I could.

    • Binman88 says:

      To be honest, if people do complain about the limited graphics options (which, seeing as this is a preview build, are yet to be confirmed for the full game), I don’t think they’d be unjustified. More complex settings usually allow you to find a better sweetspot for performance on your machine. There’s room for simple intuitive options alongside complex sliders and toggles for those that want them.
      I’d argue there’s nothing really intuitive about general names attributed to levels of graphical quality like “low, medium, high, ultra” anyway – at the end of the day, you’re probably going to have to test them all to see which one performs best on your machine. Different games have different engines – while I may be able to play one game on Ultra, another might need to be played at Medium, and so on.

      Edit: Basically what Rinox said, only with more words.

    • chickdigger802 says:

      I am pretty sure you couldn’t do that in the first witcher either.

    • subedii says:

      Re Witcher 1:

      I can’t remember in the “original” original version, but at least in the Enhanced edition you could set your video options via the aforementioned low /med / high, or you could go into the “Advanced” settings and tweak AA, AF, viewing range and all sorts of stuff, right down to density of local animals.

    • Premium User Badge

      sonofsanta says:

      @subedii: more importantly, you could turn grass down, which did wonders for my performance in some areas (such as the hospital garden)

    • subedii says:

      Yeah if a game’s running slow for me, I like that there’s a whole hierarchy of stuff that I can adjust to make the visuals look awesome whilst still moving down the performance hit.

      So say draw distance I’ll max out as far as I reasonably can, but textures and shadows I don’t mind if I cut down on a little. Light AF is nice, but I don’t really mind disabling Anti-Aliasing if I’m running at max resolution. Or maybe I’ll cut down the resolution and instead run at 2x or 4x AA, whichever gives a good visual result and runs smoother.

      It’s nice to have those options. Most games I find have a fairly poor implementation when it comes to things like motion blur, so being able to switch it off makes things look better and play smoother. Win-win.

    • Nick says:

      you can’t save during combat in Baldur’s gate, I doubt anyone is going to have a problem with that.

  18. Premium User Badge

    HopperUK says:

    It’s a shame that they don’t seem to care whether women want to play this game or not.

    • fionny says:

      Also given these are based off novel’s its kinda tied into what its doing…

    • orangedragon says:

      I’m a women, and I’m super excited about this game. All I really care about is good gameplay and RPG elements, and that seems to be the case so far. And I happen to find it entertaining to see a manly man like the Witcher woo a few ladies ;)

    • Premium User Badge

      Sunjumper says:

      To add my anecdotal evidence to the mix.
      The first Witcher was the one most popular with my female frineds and many (ok all of them) at one point or another said pretty much what orangedragon said above. Amusingly the one person who was the most avid collector of cards that I personaly know is a woman.

      I also believe that the Witcher is not made for men but rather for people who like these kind of fantasy stories and RPGs that go beyond the ‘My First Epic Fantasy Story’ adventures usually present in most games of this type.

    • Picklesworth says:

      Unlike Dragon Age, The Witcher is a role playing game; not a dating simulator. That is, you play a character who is not you in an imaginary world. Unlike some other role playing games, The Witcher takes a slightly linear approach by defining who your character is. This allows for some very powerful moments that you just can’t get in a sandbox game that lets your choose your character’s gender and sexual orientation.

    • Dominic White says:

      The female characters in the original Witcher books are generally written better than the men, and have very strong, nuanced personalities and lives outside of being ‘those chicks that hang out with the hero’. This carries over quite well into the games.

      The griping about how supposedly misogynistic The Witcher was (it wasn’t, really) really bizarre to see.

    • Ohle says:

      I’d say that some of our biggest fans on the original were/are women… and ultimately, romance (not just sexuality) is more story-driven and cinematic (sensual?) than in Witcher 1 and, well, most games out there… yeah, I’m biased, but I think that women will still really enjoy the game. It’s not just some big wank-fest for guys… remember, dudes also get kinda nekkid in the game. Guys just don’t generally have boobies.

    • nmute says:

      allow me to join in!

      as a woman (someone took a stab at me recently on EG comments for mentioning this so PLEASE PLEASE DON’T SHOUT AT ME ILL BE BACK IN THE KITCHEN SOON) i won’t be playing TW2 for several reasons, many of them obvious (whether or not you agree on their validity).

      also, was appalled at TW1.

      i’ll raise you +1 anecdote.

    • TariqOne says:

      I find it hard to believe people want to argue that this series/world is friendly to or attractive to the majority of women gamers.

      Indeed, the fact that someone who appears to be from the developer is here pushing the good-old “some of our best fans are women” chestnut suggests they’re not much interested in hearing about and addressing what was an exceptionally valid critique of the first game.

      Sometimes you should just take the feedback and onboard it and try and do better. Too bad that almost never happens.

    • Ohle says:

      Yes, it was valid criticism. Yes, it’s been addressed to an extent in The Witcher 2 by tying sexuality in with the story line more, making it more realistic/reasonable, doing away with the sex cards, etc. I’m not deflecting the concern… just saying that the team did listen to complaints with the original and has put a fair bit of focus on improving how sexuality plays out in The Witcher 2.

      That being said, of course people have a right to be offended or to otherwise not like the way it’s implemented. I know that a lot of people walked out of Black Swan (the movie) during the lesbian scene. Yet that movie won a lot of awards and garnered a lot of critical acclaim. Was it done tastefully? Did it fit within the context of the film? Yes, and I hope that gamers can get over this “OMG THERE ARE BOOBS” obsession to understand that not everything has to just be about sex for the sake of having sex. Some people will be offended with sexuality in The Witcher 2, and I suspect many of those same people will be offended with sex in ANY entertainment medium.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      You all do realise that there’s a bucketload of sex in the books. Right?

    • TariqOne says:

      Much like the members of Spinal Tap, accused of sexism in regards to their intended album cover: “what’s wrong with being sexy?”

      All depictions of sex are not inherently sexist. Most aren’t. Sex doesn’t offend me in the slightest. Puerile depictions of women, jiggle physics, gender locked PC avatars, and babe-balling minigames, on the other hand, are annoying. TW was annoying on many such fronts, none of it having to do with the general presence of sexual intercourse in the game. It remains to be seen how much has changed, but this seems as of this writing to be something of another ladfest.

      Again, this tired conflation of gender issues with sex is tired. Raise an issue of absurd underboob armors in a game and it’s “there’s nothing wrong with attractiveness.” Raise relegation of women to shallow sex objects and it’s “why do you hate sex?”

      I guess we all should take a similar page from Karl Rove’s book. Therefore, if you disagree with me, it’s obviously because you hate the baby Jesus.

    • James T says:

      When people are calling TW2 sexist, are they drawing their pre-knowledge from that old RPS post about the topless woman you can save from being tortured? Because that post was bullshit of the highest order, as anyone who’s seen the clip it ‘described’ can testify. I couldn’t stand the ‘sex card’ feature of TW1, as it was genuinely chauvinistic, but the game still had the best, strongest female leads I can remember in a videogame, and I see no reason to predict they’ll drop the ball in the sequel.

      Or is The Witcher 2 going to be sexist because it will address sexuality (presumably including Geralt’s callousness about it) at all? Please.

  19. Premium User Badge

    TheApologist says:

    Hmm – I think good first impressions plus attitude to DRM might well tip me in to preodering off GoG.

    If only I had time to play it. And the first one. And Portal 2. And I still haven’t got to Fallout:NV.

    Man, I wish PC gaming would hurry up and die already and give me my life back.

  20. Sidorovich says:

    What about the actual size of the game levels? Iknow we’re not talking sandbox here, but one of the reasons I left the orginal was the hemmed-in nature of a lot of the areas. Can Geralt at least jump fences and manage steep hills this time?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      He can mantle up at specific locations. The Chapter One location is large, and all barriers (so far, I mean this is the only the first bit of the game) are believable (river, sheer rock, etc.)

    • fionny says:

      Haha thank god, drove me mad not being able to get over fences no higher then 5inches high.

    • Premium User Badge

      Oozo says:

      Of all the possible improvements, this might be the most important one. It was MADDENING, especially in that village-part.

    • Archonsod says:

      The first Vizima sector is the worst for it, there’s a couple of areas where you need to double back and take another alleyway simply to get to the other side of a three foot wall.

  21. zergrush says:

    The combat system description made me pre-order, and the punch out minigame sounds quite cool too.

    Now I have a month to finally finish the first one.

  22. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Triss is there to be sexy, but fortunately the attitude towards her seems bawdy rather than offensive. She’s brilliantly sarcastic and makes for a strong female lead in game that is set up to be overly masculine.

    Overly straight, you mean. I don’t see how a woman (who has no love for herself) wouldn’t enjoy playing Geralt and bang every rendered boob for a playing card cutscene. Anyways, Triss being more dominating serves the psyche of most teens, for whom banging a woman with a strong personality, instead of the bimbos they usually hang out with, grants them eternal respect among their friends, as well as even more bimbos for banging later.

    You can tell this banging-women side of Witcher is my least appreciated aspect of the game. I wished the second game would cut down on this nonsense and proceeded to tell a good story (which it certainly has) without making me feel like I wasn’t supposed to be playing this game because it certainly has a target audience, and that’s not me.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rinox says:

      Overly straight, you mean. I don’t see how a woman (who has no love for herself) wouldn’t enjoy playing Geralt and bang every rendered boob for a playing card cutscene. Anyways, Triss being more dominating serves the psyche of most teens, for whom banging a woman with a strong personality, instead of the bimbos they usually hang out with, grants them eternal respect among their friends, as well as even more bimbos for banging later.

      Say what?

    • Premium User Badge

      HopperUK says:

      Precisely. Triss may or may not be a strong character, but she certainly isn’t there for women to enjoy.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Right, it is very straight-male because of the focus on Geralt as a character.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      @HopperUK,

      But Geralt is; the male banging machine. Women can enjoy this game too. It seems weird they do? Well, they certainly liked the first game. Certain types of women, that is. But that still amount to a good number.

      “A Witcher! Hide your women”, the fact that every woman in the game was begging to be banged by Geralt, even the playing cards “conquests”, are certainly appealing to many women who enjoy the figure of a strong, white-aired yummy banging everything they aren’t poking their sword with.

      Every sort of excuse can be made about the sexual content of the Witcher — usually because there’s so many other things to love about the game, that people want to find excuses for those that are more troublesome. But the game is plain and simple sexist. And sexism isn’t an exclusive of the male gender. Women can like that too.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      @Jim,

      Yes, that goes without saying. But that wasn’t the focus of my post. Almost every game out there is like that. I focused however on the use of “male”. The game can also appeal to women. It has in the past.

    • JackShandy says:

      Anyways, Triss being more dominating serves the psyche of most teens, for whom banging a woman with a strong personality, instead of the bimbos they usually hang out with

      Was that an “Oh snap” to every single teenage girl? Or are you suggesting that us male teen PC gamers are so used to our leagues of vacuous sex slaves that we find a women with a strong personality strange and exotic?

      EDIT: Oh, in the game. I see.

      EDIT: Wait, why would that grant them eternal respect amoungst their friends?

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      It takes a special kind of contempt for women to view every teenage girl as a bimbo, to be honest.

    • Archonsod says:

      Only if it’s specific to female teenagers, rather than the more common contempt for teenagers in general. Then again, most of them pretty much are idiots.

    • John P says:

      Mario’s right, The Witcher is blatantly sexist. But it is at least consistent and seemingly aware of it, and contextually it works. Contrast that with Certain Other Games where the sexual innuendo springs from simple immaturity in male-dominated development teams.

      They have ditched the conquest cards this time around from what I understand.

    • Bhazor says:

      Well done Mario

      One of the least comprehensible and yet offensive comments I’ve read in a while.

    • bwion says:

      I’ll admit, I’m getting really tired of having to say “Okay, this game? It’s an awesome game, it looks beautiful, it runs perfectly, the gameplay is excellent, the storyline sublime, the characters complex and well-realized, the music is spectacular, every aspect of the game is damn near perfect. (P.S. the women are barely dressed, but it’s totally okay because they’re complex and well-realized characters in addition to being eye-candy for the guys.)”

      I mean, I’m a straight guy. You’d think it’d be awesome having basically every creative work in the world designed specifically to appeal to people like me. And, if I’m being honest, it does have its advantages sometimes. And yet.

      A fair bit bit of the fun I get out of entertainment is sharing it with the people in my life, some of whom are women. And it’s just…tiring, you know? Feeling I have to apologise EVERY DAMN TIME, having to say “Oh, well no, you aren’t really the target audience here but you’ll probably enjoy it anyway, because, you know, women quite often do enjoy things that weren’t explicitly made for them.” (I wonder if it’s possible that this is a skill that women have developed of necessity?)

      I mean, maybe I could just tell them to deal with it, and live a guilt-free existence as one of The Elite, but there might be one or two unforeseen consequences to that approach.

      I think that what’s being asked for, quite often, isn’t very much, really. No one I know, or care to associate with, is going to lead a NO MORE BOOBS crusade. I’m no Puritan, and neither is my girlfriend, my female roommate, or most of the people we know. Not a one of us is gonna get offended just because a lady is showing a bit of ankle, or a bit of cleavage, or even quite a lot of both. I think, however, that the women in my life would be happy getting the same eye-candy/complex well-realized character opportunities that I get handed all the time in basically every aspect of my life. Maybe a few girls and guys who aren’t there to be ogled at all, too, while we’re at it. You know, just for variety’s sake.

      And don’t get me wrong. I feel a whole lot less conflicted over “strong, complex , interesting female characters who are also eye candy” than over the usual ‘boobs as scenery’ approach that quite a lot of games take. Just because Choice A is better than Choice B, though, doesn’t mean you have to settle for either.

      How much this game fits into any of the above, I couldn’t really say. Based on what I’ve read and seen of it so far, I expect I’ll play it (though not right away, still need to play the first game and throw some money into the old computer), I expect I’ll enjoy it a lot, and I expect I’ll have that cringing moment where I have to say FANTASTIC GAME (oh and she’s topless but it’s okay, this game was, after all, made for me but you’re probably allowed to enjoy it too if you like) once or twice.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      @Bhazor,

      Thanks. I try my best, but somehow the incredibly ignorant people that can actually understand what I write keep showing up. But you know it’s just for those like you that I bother doing it.

    • nmute says:

      i like this bwion chap. i like the cut of his jib.

      well posted.

    • TariqOne says:

      BTW, I love how people around here can blow an endless supply of collective temporal arteries over horseshit like DRM, consoles, and GFWL, but when the gender issue in games gets raised there’s a general view that people are making a big deal out of nothing.

    • D3xter says:

      So bwion, do you have to sit down while you pee?

    • fionny says:

      Jeebus, for god sake!

      The story is what allows this, if you have so much trouble with Geralt running around riding everything female then vote with your wallets and dont buy it.

      What happens when you try to give all things to all men like ye are asking is you get a washed out game with little coherence and lame characters that dont fit with the plot JUST to appease people like you… just get on with it or dont play it.

      Simples.

    • TariqOne says:

      Its always so heartbreakingly cute and pathetic when, on a place set up to discuss a given topic, the inevitable rube is moved to bleat for people to stop talking about the topic.

      So yeah. I’m going to vote with my wallet. I’m also going to gripe about it on this site. Cheers.

  23. sakmidrai says:

    Mr. Jim, I like your articles and all, but I hate you a little bit right now.
    Have a nice day.

  24. Premium User Badge

    Durkonkell says:

    Eagerly anticipating a WIT on this one. If the characterisation and storytelling is good, it could easily fill the epic RPG gap left by Dragon Age 2: Shambles.

  25. Lobotomist says:

    Cant wait !

    And yes , love Triss !!!

  26. deadstoned says:

    Good preview Jim! I want this game!

  27. Juuuhan says:

    HopperUK> If you visit the official witcher forum you’ll notice that there is actually quite alot of females playing The Witcher, and I don’t think for a second there will be less females playing The Witcher 2.

    Jim Rossignol> Some items will be transfered to the second game (If I remeber correctly) also some people will have different attitudes towards you. Nothing major (to spoil it for newcomers) but still a little reminder that they’ve appriciated that you’ve played the first game.

    As for the main story you can expect alot of nonlinearity, as there is 16 different endings and it branches out quite nicely along the way.

    Also Jim, did you experience any bugs or flaws when you played or did the game (what you’ve experienced so far) looked solid?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      A couple of minor graphics glitches, but nothing painful so far.

    • Premium User Badge

      HopperUK says:

      I didn’t say women wouldn’t or didn’t play it. I played it. And I wish you success with the sequel, goodness knows.

  28. Zepposlav says:

    There is also a more in-depth but a bit spoilerish preview on Destructoid if someone wants to know more details. ;)
    Anyways, too bad there are no dwarfs in the video previews. :<

  29. Premium User Badge

    Lessing says:

    I wish the date would be more May 17th already!

    Thanks for the preview Jim, and nice work keeping it spoiler-free.

    For anyone who hasn’t finished number 1 yet, do it now! Now I say!
    I put the game down for a good while, but picked it up again last month and finally finished it. Once Chapter 2 was over I couldn’t put it down.
    The sequel sounds like it is going to excel and I just can’t wait to fall into its world and be swallowed up.

  30. orangedragon says:

    Did you play on the hardest difficulty? I think I recall them saying you would only have one save or something.

    • Giant, fussy whingebag says:

      I have to say, I like the sound of not having a bunch of saves to juggle – provided the game is low enough on bugs that I probably won’t end up with a wrecked game part way through.

      I’m the sort of person who loads the game until I get the outcome I want. I often choose things in conversations that I don’t want, deliberately to see what could happen and then restart the conversation ‘properly’. This is terrible. I know that I would enjoy games more and feel more emotional impact if I just let things fall as they may. But with the saves there, I’m too tempted to get my ‘perfect’ outcome.

      I’ll be glad if that option is taken away from me, because my will is weak…

    • orangedragon says:

      Sorry, I have a bad memory. What they said is that your saves are disabled when you die while on the hardest difficulty. You’ll be able to get sort of a similar effect…not sure if you’ll be able to load in combat. But yeah, won’t stop you from re-doing the convos. Would be interesting with only one save, I agree.

    • Kaira- says:

      I recall someone saying that the game has hardcore difficulty, which means permadeath. Die and your save will be erased.

  31. Sarlix says:

    I was searching for the recommended specs for the game when I found this site http://www.game-debate.com/games/index.php?g_id=860&game=The%20Witcher%20II which has a ‘can I run it’ test at the bottom. Apparently my PC will have an a aneurysm if I try to run it….OK maybe not that bad, I scored 4,8,6 with a big gray tick, not very comforting…Anyone else?

    Oh I have: amd x2 6000+, 4870 and 3gb ram..

  32. Bugg says:

    Are your attacks initiated by keyboard presses after locking on with something like the tab key, or are they manually aimed and executed with mouse buttons (one for light and one for heavy)?

    I felt that combat in the original was a low point, so I’m interested to see if this feels completely redesigned or just updated.

  33. woodsey says:

    “You can change the resolution and the overall detail, from “low” through to “ultra”, and that’s it. Now this is a preview build, so maybe more options will be exposed in the final release menus, but maybe not.”
    It had better change; there’s no reason whatsoever for it to be like that.

    • sebmojo says:

      Tom Ohle (from CDP) said that you could some posts back. There will be detail settings beyond ‘low/med/high’.

      Me, I’m ruefully contemplating my complete financial inability to upgrade my rig for the foreseeable. Might get it anyway, damn it.

      Oh, and obligatory sex card wade in – I thought they were vastly superior to Bioware’s uncanny Poseresque efforts. They’re memories.

  34. Premium User Badge

    sonofsanta says:

    Worth noting that a 250 is actually below recommended spec, so if you’re running it happily on that then it should look gorgeous for many people. Chiefly, I would say, because CD Projekt have rediscovered the Pot of Colours at the end of the rainbow that got lost a decade back.

    Really, seriously think this will break my “wait three months to buy when it is cheaper” rule. Only £25 on Amazon, with goodies… just… ah. Can’t wait. Finally played Witcher EE at the start of the year and nearly finished STALKER SoC now and I am full of love for Eastern European games at the moment.

    Infact: Eastern European studios now are what British studios were to the Amiga in the 90s. Discuss.

  35. subedii says:

    ReplyReplyReply.

  36. Skeez187 says:

    I’m a big fan of the first game and I know this one will be good, although I’m not fond of QTE’s at all. I’m pre-ordered up, can’t wait. Thanks Jim.

  37. coblenski says:

    I loved the first game, and really wanted to finish it, but I could never get past the hell dog killing all the villagers (and that was right at the start of the game too, I think!). It just kept stunning me and there seemed little I could do. Shame as well, it seems like I’d be missing out on some stuff if I launched straight into Witcher 2 without finishing the first before.

    • Premium User Badge

      Sunjumper says:

      Look at your Alchemy options. There is at least one weapon oil and a couple of potions that will help you through the fight. The fight is also not an escort mission despite what it looks like so you can concentrate on your enemies. Depending on your choice of signs you may also use them to your advantage.
      Like you I struggled with the fight, yet after tooling up and using all the options the Alchemy opened (to the point of almost poisoning myself) the fight was shockingly easy.

      You’ve yet got enough time to finish the game. Also if memory serves that is the only real difficulty spike in the entire game.

    • Unaco says:

      That is a difficult fight. I remember hearing a bit of griping from people that it’s one of the hardest (if not the hardest) Boss Fight in the game… and it’s at the end of the first chapter, you have no Silver Sword, limited Alchemy etc.. As Sunjumper says though, you (should) have some Alchemy options (Swallow, Tawny Owl, Blizzard for yourself, and some Spectre Oil for your sword)… use them, it’s what they are there for*, although timing their use is needed… do it AFTER the cutscenes, when the Hellhound appears and the fight starts. If you’ve taken damage, or you’re out of endurance, you can run away, and around the ‘arena’ to allow it to come back. Also, you can ignore outright, or just stun/avoid the Barghest’s… if they die, they just get resummoned, so concentrate on the Hellhound itself… once it’s dead, the rest disappear. The Hellhound is also susceptible to Stun/Knockdown, so you can be lucky and get a coup-de-grace on it. Oh, and use Strong style.

      It can be frustrating, especially as (iirc) you have to go through the cut-scenes every time you start the fight again… I had to try it 4 or 5 times I think. The game is definitely worth getting through that one fight though (I’m saying that and I’ve only played the next Chapter), and if you do get through it, it’s probably the most frustrating part in the game… so there shouldn’t be anything as bad as it in the rest of the game. Here’s some (possibly spoilerish/cheese) tips and info… http://witcher.wikia.com/wiki/Hellhound

      *One of the things I really liked about tW… I’m usually a terrible hoarder in RPG’s, but playing on Hardest of the Hard difficulty means you have to make use of your consumables, and secondary Alchemy ingredients, you have to prepare for fights, consult your Bestiary etc.

    • Kaira- says:

      The battle becomes very easy with this trick – pump many points to Aard, stun the boss and you can kill it with one hit.

  38. Kaira- says:

    I just noticed this – my laptop’s GPU is way over recommended, but on the other hand, processor is barely over minimum. Dang.

    • Vague-rant says:

      My processor is a fair bit over the requirements, but my GPU is slightly subpar… :(

  39. Premium User Badge

    elaking says:

    Does anyone know if anything has been said about the possibility to have Polish voice overs with English subs?

    I loved playing the first game that way after the extended edition came.

    • Ohle says:

      At launch the game will just have the ENglish version (if you buy it in an English-speaking territory, that is)… otherwise we’d probably be looking at way too many discs this time around. However, hopefully we’ll be able to get some solutions in place to play other languages.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      Yeah, I’ll add a +1 for this. I love playing the Witcher with Polish voice and English subs :)

    • Dominic White says:

      Agreeing that the Polish audio is the way to go. English Geralt seems to be channeling Agent 47 – way too monotone and deadpan. Polish Geralt may be a little hammier, but at least the guy has noticable emotions.

    • krisk7 says:

      Yes, if you register you will be able to download the Polish voice over.

  40. Outsider says:

    Thanks for this! I’m really excited.

    I hope they look at overall chapter settings too, as in the first game, I think it was chapter 3 (?) where you were out in that village that seemed to come right out of a German fairytale with the sisters and the marriage and whatnot. I loved that portion of the game because not only did it aesthetically appeal to me, but it was a nice break from the feel of the main quest while not being completely divorced from it.

  41. Navagon says:

    Damn. You’ve gone and made this sound amazing. I really hope they sort out the technical stuff before release. It would be a shame for something so easily sorted out to mar what otherwise sounds like an incredible gaming experience.

  42. Giaddon says:

    Mr. Rossignol,

    Any details as to what the significant flaws will be? (from the last paragraph: ” No, I don’t think the game will be without significant flaws”) Any game has flaws, sure, but it sounded like you were thinking of something(s) in particular. I’m curious.

  43. Aedrill says:

    That bit with non-linearity is strange, really. I’ve read different preview where the author said he checked different options at some point and the difference was HUGE.

  44. Nick says:

    From all the videos I’ve seen, I have to say I really HATE the rolling. Hate it.

    • Ohle says:

      Then don’t use the roll? :)

    • Nick says:

      Have you actually watched the combat? You need to use it.

    • Ohle says:

      I’ve played the combat :)… and sure, rolling helps, but you could also run away. Or block. What other options should he have? I’m just not sure how you’d otherwise escape a combat situation — run or roll.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Yeah, this bothered me too. A guy with a sword on his back, and another in his hand, rolling around on the ground? Seems like a good way to get killed. I know we’re not supposed to focus too much on realism in fantasy games, but c’mon… some things just break immersion. I felt the same way about the ridiculous high-leaping combat animations of Rogues in Dragon Age 2.

      I guess the big question is, how essential is that roll as a defense? How much do you handicap yourself if you don’t use it?

    • D3xter says:

      It’s a roll playing game after all! And dude, he’s their head of marketing and PR, of course he’s watched the combat xD http://www.linkedin.com/in/tomohle

    • Commissar says:

      @D3xter

      >It’s a roll playing game after all!

      Haha god damn it I laughed harder than I should have

  45. brulleks says:

    “..it could do with a few bugs…”

    Christ no, don’t encourage them Jim.

  46. protobob says:

    Not buying this until I can play it in Polish. Also not buying this until I actually finish the first game (which may never happen).

    • Anonononomous says:

      You will be able to download the Polish language pack on release day by registering the game.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Same, to be honest.

      It’s not that I’m obsessed with playing it in Polish, it’s just that’s how I played the first one, so now those voices are ingrained in my head as the voices of the characters. Having them change would be different.

  47. Delusibeta says:

    Sadly, they’ve also confirmed that the disc version (and all digital distributed versions that is not from GOG) will have SecuROM DRM, and will require activation scheme of some description (I’m going to disregard what they said because it wouldn’t work and guess a five activation limit with refunds on uninstall job).

  48. DrGonzo says:

    Games sounds fun and I will most certainly be picking it up.

    But, I’m not sure why everyone thinks of it as a very ‘PC’ game. They have said, it was designed to work well with a 360 pad and looks as though it was designed around that kind of game rather than a traditional PC RPG, not that this is a bad thing. They said Arkham Asylum was their main inspiration for the combat.

    Don’t get me wrong, it looks enjoyable, but I’m not sure why it’s regarded as somehow a pc exlusive title, it will probably be ported over to the consoles at a later date.

    No DRM etc is all excellent, but that is obviously outside of gamplay.

    Also, the game looks quite nice and all, but not a revolution of any kind. Still falls significantly behind Crysis, and the upcoming Battlefield, so why does it have such monster system requirements?

    • Dominic White says:

      It’s a single-character RPG about a guy that hits things with swords and occasionally uses some very basic quickfire combat magic. A full tactical RPG combat engine really isn’t a good match for that at all – Geralt is totally an action-RPG character, and the fact that the combat engine is designed with a gamepad in mind seems a perfect match to me.

      I’m totally going to be playing this with my 360 controller, sprawled out on my sofa.

    • Dominic White says:

      It’s a single-character RPG about a guy that hits things with swords and occasionally uses some very basic quickfire combat magic. A full tactical RPG combat engine really isn’t a good match for that at all – Geralt is totally an action-RPG character, and the fact that the combat engine is designed with a pad in mind seems a perfect match to me.

      I’m totally going to be playing this with my controller, sprawled out on my sofa.

    • Archonsod says:

      Because graphics aren’t the only thing that can require grunt?

      It’s a PC game because the PC is it’s main target platform. That said though I wouldn’t consider having a control scheme that will work well on a controller in any way a bad thing, just because the mouse and keyboard presents more buttons doesn’t mean they should all be involved in basic control of the game. Unless you’re making a flight sim anyway.

  49. hocevar says:

    DO WANT

  50. Premium User Badge

    Lessing says:

    I saw an interview with CDPR and they said there weren’t any load times except between chapters and for cutscenes etc (if I remember correctly?)
    Jim, is this correct? Is the game streaming new content in the background as you’re moving around the environment?
    Anyway, can’t wait!

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      That is correct, although there are occasional odd loading screens where you transition areas, but it is not consistent (sometimes happens, sometimes not, in the same transition).

    • Premium User Badge

      Joshua says:

      That has happened in ‘streaming’ games before, you know. When the system can’t keep up, you get a loading screen.

      (It for example, happens during Mass Effect (2) ocasionally, and in Fallout 3 too)