Witcher Too: Former CDP Lead’s New RPG At Deck 13

By Nathan Grayson on April 6th, 2012 at 11:00 am.


When I awoke this morning, I could feel a certain electricity in the air. The animals near my home tensed and mewed restlessly, and my left shoulder blade pulsated with a dull ache. I knew these signs. This day, I realized, would be very, very Witchy. Predictably, CD Projekt trotted out Geralt in all his finest freebies, and I figured – short of, perhaps, a minor fluctuation in Wichita, Kansas – that was it for the day. Then I came across this Digital Spy bit detailing a new project from former CD Projekt senior producer Tomasz Gop called “Project RPG.” Today, it turned out, would also be very Project-y. What’s it about? Check out this:

“The world is set 1,000 years after the death of a God, whose corpse is a mountain that splits the world into two sides, each with their own philosophy.”

Ooh! More below.

Keeping with Gop’s formidable lineage, Project RPG will be action-based, with a focus on skill and translating play style into a story that evolves accordingly. Combat apparently takes cues from Dark Souls and Batman: Arkham City, so I’m expecting high-velocity air-to-surface sky tackling and a fittingly somber, understated tone.

The story, meanwhile, will center around that mountain that’s actually a long-dead god. As a result, the world’s split into two conveniently ideologically opposed sides, and you – lacking the convenient out of multiple personality disorder – must pick one. Can you imagine, though, if this game let us play as the mountain? We could suture the world’s strife-slashed heart and help people with their mundane day-to-day problems using avalanches. OK, yeah, I’ve been playing too many Molydeux games.

German studio Deck13′s doing developmental honors, and City Interactive – of Sniper: Ghost Warrior fame – is publishing. It’s headed our way “sometime in 2013.”

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54 Comments »

  1. fionny says:

    Amagagagagaagagad! Feed me more well made RPG’s and from a much loved dev! Smexy.

  2. Gink says:

    Is that a crashed Reaper I see?

  3. frightlever says:

    The potentially unfulfilled promises certainly sound like Molyneux.

  4. Premium User Badge

    lhzr says:

    >>> German studio Deck13′s doing developme..

    HNNNNNG

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      Does not look like they are trying their hands at “comedy”. That did help Venetica immensely.

      • Premium User Badge

        lhzr says:

        So you’re saying there are chances this might not be as awful as Ankh & co. That might be so, but I still expect this to have terrible writing, generic characters and mediocre gameplay and graphics. So I hope you’ll pardon me if I’m not reaching for my wallet just yet.

  5. JackShandy says:

    I’ve heard them quoted as saying “We want Dark Souls audience”, and in that article they say it “will focus specifically on player skill to progress forward”.

    So, yes, that was my orgasm there.

    • Phantoon says:

      Quite the audience to want, and the audience wants more games like Dark Souls. A win/win!

  6. Inigo says:

    I just looked up Deck13′s previous games on Wikipedia and I’m not sure what my reaction should be.

    • Premium User Badge

      Revisor says:

      Venetica was a great underrated game (unfortunately never released digitally) and Ankh should be great too from what I’ve read.

      They definitely understand games, I’m not afraid.

      • Squire says:

        Unfortunately I can tell you from experience that Ankh was not good, haven’t played the sequels but it was not fun at all really.

        I really wanted to play Xenoblade Chronicles though so this should satisfy my need for massive god-corpse-based worlds.

        • Drinking with Skeletons says:

          You “wanted” to get it? It’s out in Europe already and I think it comes out today in the US (Gamestop or direct-order from Nintendo only, for some baffling reason).

      • Casimir's Blake says:

        I’m normally a stickler for first person games, but watching some vids of Venetica I couldn’t stop myself from buying it. As RPGs go it had the most likeable lead character in years, and the British voice talent gave the game a friendly, enjoyable atmosphere. Combat was rather spammy, but still FUN. Underrated, indeed.

    • caddyB says:

      Venetica wasn’t bad.

  7. pkt-zer0 says:

    “The world is set 1,000 years after the death of a God, whose corpse is a mountain that splits the world into two sides, each with their own philosophy.”

    Sounds like someone played Xenoblade.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yeah, I was thinking that.

      Still, it’s wearing its influences on its sleeve, and they are good influences.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      The whole god = landscape thing is pretty common.

      Isn’t Ayers Rock supposed to be something like that? And I know the idea crops up in the Planescape setting.

      • Davie says:

        It’s pretty standard mythology, really. The Norse and several Native American cultures used it as well.

    • DudeBro says:

      Actually, I’m pretty sure the idea is based on a sc-fi/fantasy book, I remember seeing in Poland (where the devs are from) years ago – around 1999 or so.

    • apocraphyn says:

      First thing I thought of, too. But this is not a bad thing. Xenoblade is brilliant!

  8. Fomorian1988 says:

    I really like the idea for the setting (which would work great in a well-written fantasy novel), but the fact that it’s Deck13 developing the game certainly doesn’t fill with optimism, even with Gop on board. Not that they’re awful developers, just their titles are mostly mediocre. Carefully interested.

  9. Rich says:

    That’s the second biggest hand I’ve ever seen!

  10. NathanH says:

    In before Wizardry.

    So where’s the RPG here?

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      Good question. Action-based with combat from Dark Souls and Batman sounds hilariously not like an RPG.

    • Wizardry says:

      Keeping with Gop’s formidable lineage, Project RPG will be action-based, with a focus on skill and translating play style into a story that evolves accordingly. Combat apparently takes cues from Dark Souls and Batman: Arkham City, so I’m expecting high-velocity air-to-surface sky tackling and a fittingly somber, understated tone.

      Contradiction much? I’m not sure how a game could possibly be an RPG if it’s based on the player’s skill at hack and slash combat.

    • Chris D says:

      I’m usually first in line to defend a game’s right to be called an RPG but, to be honest, this doesn’t sound a whole lot like one to me either, though I’ll reserve final judgement till I’ve actually seen it.

    • DOLBYdigital says:

      Sounds sweet and I hope they stick with ‘meaty’ combat like Dark Souls. Big fan of challenging and tight fighting games like Ninja Gaiden and Demon/Dark Souls that really push my inner gamer. There aren’t enough games like that anymore!

  11. Casimir's Blake says:

    NOTE TO CDP: PLEASE allow us to play in first person this time. This is the one thing that stops me from playing The Witcher. (Yes, I’m quite serious.)

    • Fomorian1988 says:

      Really? I personally don’t care whether the view is first person, third person or isometric – if the game’s interesting, I play it.

    • Jimbo says:

      NOTE TO CASIMIR’S BLAKE: You’re going to be disappointed.

    • Malk_Content says:

      The only really popular 1st person games with melee combat are the Elder Scrolls and Gothic. Both have pretty terrible combat, especially the Elder Scrolls. Now I realize that games like Zeno Clash and to a lesser extent Mount and Blade (which I know has similarities with Gothic which I just disparaged but they managed to make a game in which I felt my progressing as a player made more of a difference than my character) made lovely 1st person melee combat but it’s very hard to capture and frankly a 3rd person view point allows the devs to make bigger more visually appealing combat which would just make me swear at my screen in 1st person if my camera kept doing leaps and twirls and sprays of enemy blood in my face.

      Not sure why someone would lock themselves into only playing games from a single perspective, just like I can’t understand people who only play one genre, or read one author.

      • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

        …Gothic?

        • Alistair says:

          None of Piranha Bytes’ games were first person. They attempted to work it in for G3, but it was never much good and they dropped it for Risen. I did a first person mod for the first game, now I come to think of it. It was like being a giraffe with a rubber neck.

      • NathanH says:

        The combat in the Elder Scrolls games are fine as long as you bear in mind that you are not really playing an action game.

        • Malk_Content says:

          I guess coming into Skyrim from Dark Souls was utterly unfair to Skyrim. But to be fair to them the combat system in any games series lasting as long as it has really should be better. Its biggest flaw is rewarding bad combat gameplay over good combat gameplay (i.e it is better to be hit by enemies so as to level up, whereas if you play well you don’t grow in power.)

          • NathanH says:

            Well yes, learn-by-doing is generally a bad RPG mechanic in general, so I don’t think it’s the fault of the combat. But I just don’t agree that the combat in the Elder Scrolls games are fundamentally bad. They’re not action games. They’re developed from RPG traditions. There is a little bit of player-skill icing in the more recent games by blocking correctly, but the action part of the games are mainly just pointing your screen in the right direction and clicking at a sensible time. I would strongly resist any call to action-ify Elder Scrolls games any more, because that’s just not the point. I would’t want any more player-skill emphasis than they currently have.

          • Malk_Content says:

            I guess we just want different things in our RPGs. I like roleplaying and solid gameplay, neither of which Skyrim really has and I’m sure I’d enjoy the sandboxey and setting elements of it more if I felt challenged or engaged by the mechanics of the game. I think RPG traditions in general are quite bad, and anything that adds to merely “throwing our stats at each other until we see who wins” can only be considered a bonus. This is coming from a long standing RPG player (Baldur’s Gate being the first game I really played, though I thought I wasn’t allowed to play it so I would play whilst my brother was at work and not save my game, I have played the first 3 hours of that game in so many different ways.) I feel a RPG game if it has stats should either have solid action with stats informing your play style or strong strategy with stats informing your choices, neither of which Skyrim has.

            Anyway we’ve digressed from the main topic which is, 1st person isn’t always the best way to go from a gameplay or artsyle design. Skyrim was merely a point to illustrate the (in general) suckiness of 1st person mechanics that don’t involve a) shooting people b) solving puzzles or c) experiencing tense horror games.

  12. aliksy says:

    I’m excited for a big pc RPG that’s not Bioware.

  13. elvencode says:

    I hope they are using a “serious” graphic style. When talking about fantasy themed games it’s strange that nowadays asian developers are trying to use western/darker styles (see Demon’s and Dark Souls, Dragon Dogma, Monster Hunter and other Capcom games, Metal Gear and so on), instead many famous fantasy games here are more and more cartoonish/stylized (WoW, Diablo 3, Torchlight, Kingdom of Amalur, Orcs must die?)

    Looking at the games Deck13 has developed (i own most of them, anyway) they prefer the latter than the former style…

  14. Navagon says:

    Could be good. I’m not predicting anything great. But you never know.

  15. top8cat says:

    You forgot the part were they also mentioned Kingdoms of Amular as an Influence for the combat.

    Having the simple but complexity of combinations available in KoA with the Skill, difficulty, and tactics of Dark Souls is a pretty fascinating idea add in the flow of combat in Batman: AC and you have yourself an amazing concept that will probably be incredibly difficult to pull off.

  16. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    As difficult as Dark Souls? UGH. Offer a brutally hardcore mode if you like, but some of us have limited time to play games and would like a game that doesn’t build repetitive grind and callous punishment into it’s progression structure.

    Did anyone ever play the original Devil May Cry? It was a pretty tough game, but the easy mode not only weakened enemies, but removed a few enemy types from the game and changed the makeup of some encounters. It made it manageable for those who couldn’t deal with the normal difficulty (which would have been Hard in most any other title) while making a difficulty change more than just making the enemies more of a pain in the ass to deal with. Why does this not happen more?

    • HothMonster says:

      While I respect your opinion I disagree with you statements regarding Dark Souls having a callous grind. The idea of that game is that progression is based primarily on player skill, not on leveling. They don’t want you to grind levels so the difficult parts get easier, they want you to challenge yourself and get better at the game. Observe your enemies and employ tactics to defeat them. Annoyingly grinding up 10 levels so you have the required stats to beat a dungeon/boss is more of a Final Fantasy move.

      I didn’t know that about DMC easy mode, I never dialed it down. It is an interesting way of making it easier. Just remove some of the more difficult enemies instead of making everything weaker and stupider. It sounds like a good way to actual make easy mode a stepping stone into normal mode.

      But really if you aren’t good at hard games why worry about it? I don’t complain that Once Upon a Monster isn’t challenging enough for me. I’m not trying to be a jerk, it is just that these arguments always sound like this to me: “My cup of tea is too strong, please water down the kettle.” Not a lot of games are really hard through mechanics and enemy design, most of them design around the “normal” difficulty that is meant to be beaten by anyone who can hold a controller and then ramp up the difficulty by making the AI increasingly unfair, so if a dev wants to focus on challenging combat were progression is based on skill I say let them do that instead of worrying about how to allow people who can’t be arsed to get better at the game to finish it.

      • gritz says:

        To a lot of us, spending hours developing the specialized skills to play a hardcore action game can be just as tedious as a repetitive RPG grind.

        This game sounds like it could have an incredible world, it would be a shame if overly punishing action sequences prevented me from exploring it.

        • HothMonster says:

          Sounds a lot like the statement about how games should have skippable action sequences that the Bioware dev lady got abused for making. I hate being an exclusionary elitist even though that appears to be the only thing I can make come out of my keyboard at the moment. But,

          To a lot of us, the reward of being successful after honing our skills is what makes these action game rewarding.

          This game sounds like it could have an incredible combat system it would be a shame if people’s inability to learn it prevented me from being challenged.

          I need a nap or something, i sound extra douchy today. I just think the Demon Souls, Ninja Gaiden type games with challenging and rewarding combat are few and far between, the original statement that got me all bristled ” but some of us have limited time to play games and would like a game that doesn’t build repetitive grind and callous punishment into it’s progression structure.” just make me want to yell, “then play a different fucking game and stop trying to dilute one of the few that is catering to me.”

          Of course they may make a fantastic easy mode for this game and are able to redesign every fight and every area so even people who are no good at games can play this and do so without taking time from making the fights and enemy placement more challenging. But really you can’t have all the time in world and I think there are far more games designed for people who don’t want to get really good at physical and timing mechanics and few for those who do.

          Of course I argue against the people who complain that a game like say Portal 2 doesn’t have enough twitch mechanics. It not that I think all games should be harder or that “everything has been consolized!” When I see a game that looks interesting but clearly isn’t designed for my playstyle I don’t lament the fact and get made that other people get to experience it and I don’t. I just play a different game.

          right, nap time

          /rant

          • Drinking with Skeletons says:

            Your points are valid, but it’s hard to evaluate a title without spending some serious time with it. I picked up Dark Souls because it was getting rave reviews from all corners, and I figured there had to be something there that would offset or justify the difficulty.

            I liked the structure, I liked the visual design, the actual mechanics were pretty decent, it was just that it was needlessly hard. I don’t mind getting kicked off a ledge, or dying from poison because I didn’t block well enough. I don’t mind enemies who are far more powerful than I can currently deal with being sprinkled around the environment to act as gating mechanisms.

            I do mind traps that don’t spring until you are far enough up a narrow staircase that you can’t dodge the rolling bomb. I do mind a knight who is positioned at a point where I can’t see him until he’s bringing his sword down on to me (that staircase actually punished me for taking my time and cautiously going forward!). I do mind having to do corpse runs over and over again.

            And you know what? I did go and play another game.

            Hoping that an upcoming game will not slavishly follow the design philosophies of a game I didn’t like is not the same as saying you shouldn’t get a brutally hard mode. My previous example, DMC, has always included one. Plenty of other games have as well. Developers can offer it both ways, so why can’t I hope that they’ll take advantage of that option?

          • HothMonster says:

            Funny thing is I am pretty sure know exactly what staircase you are talking about.

            I agree that the game can be cruel at times. I doubt you made it to the Sen’s Fortress, judging from your comment, its a trap filled maze. The game really does have no sympathy for you, but its suppose to be a brutal deadly world and you are suppose to be accomplishing something that millions have tried but no one has succeeded at. Not to say the game doesn’t piss me off from time to time, but I don’t find it overly cruel and unfair.

            The thing about those tough enemies sprinkled around and designed as gates is you can kill them at any level. The fight may be challenging but its winnable. I know I spent an hour or so trying to get into an area and was just getting pummeled by the monsters at the entrance. I gave up and came back a few days later and without upgrading my character at all was able to kill them easily after a few attempts. Its just a matter of learning how they fight and how to beat them, not needing to level up or find more equipment. Sure that will make the fight easier but no fight is impossible because you don’t have enough exp or gear. But even later in the game I have been killed a couple times for underestimating low level enemies. Sure I can kill them in a single hit but if I don’t respect them they can just as easily kill me.

            “And you know what? I did go and play another game.” I am sorry that you spent money on something you don’t enjoy. I know it one of the most frustrating things in the world.

            But again. Most games that have a hard or brutal mode are not doing that by adding mechanics. They just turn the AI up to unfair. Making them either too smart, too fast or too powerful. These games design the monsters and encounters for normal mode and then just adjust their stats for harder levels of play, instead of actual designing the monsters and encounters to be harder. DMC is, now that you told me, the only game I know of that seems to have done that the other way around. So I agree more game should do that but it seems like a lot of work to look at each fight in the game 3 times and redesign it for each difficulty, instead of just sliding the stats to more or less powerful as most games do.

            But really I do hope both of us can absolutely love this game. Hell I wish we both loved everygame we bought. Its partially because I was cranky this morning and partially because I just picked up Dark Souls not to long ago and said to myself, “this is an wonderful change of pace I wish more games were like this.” You incurred my elitist opinion because you hoped a game trying appeal to me was easier which would make it less appealing to me. Maybe it can be both easy enough for you and hard enough for me, but if they have to choose I really hope they make it hard enough for me :b

          • Drinking with Skeletons says:

            The thing that bugs me is that I think I’d quite like Dark Souls if the enemies–or at least the non-boss ones–were 25-50% weaker. It’s not that I’m not up for a challenge–one of my all time favorite games is Final Fantasy Tactics, which has a learning curve like a brick wall–it’s that I’m not quite up to that level of challenge, and can easily see how it could be adjusted to make me able to enjoy it. The fact that so many other franchises at least try to accommodate varying skillsets–Stalker being a great example–only makes it more disappointing.

            And I’m not saying that every game should redesign encounters for every player. That’s madness! :) Devil May Cry is an unusual example, but ramping up enemy damage and/or defense works just fine if the enemies are behaviorally interesting to start with. God of War has always done this well.

            Still, I respect your opinion. I’m also cautiously optimistic that the references to Arkham Asylum and Kingdoms of Amalur mean that they won’t be aiming for quite as much difficulty (or at least as rigid a difficulty) as Dark Souls.

      • Drinking with Skeletons says:

        Dark Souls is callous. In the first area (after escaping the prison) there’s a bomb that rolls down a narrow staircase at you, but only after you’ve walked a little ways up. You can’t jump over or away from it, so not taking massive damage–if not being outright killed–means you’d better turn around damned quick.

        Or what about those brutal knights? I finally got past that dragon, and was slooooowly making my way up a flight of stairs, and there was a knight at the top at the perfect angle to insta-kill me when I poked my head up. My only glimpse of him was as the sword was coming down.

        And regardless of whether or not I’m right, the fact of the matter is that the game is brutally hard no matter how “fair” it is, and a player will have to grind through areas multiple times, at least on their first playthrough. It shows no respect for the player’s time, and would be called padding if they hadn’t hidden behind the argument that it’s “supposed to be hard.”

        Games should have difficulty levels. Blocking entire game experiences behind obscene difficulty is somewhat elitist, and it’s hard to feel that a title is relevant or possesses artistic merit when it willfully and forcefully rejects all but a chosen few.

  17. Hoaxfish says:

    I was hoping for a Stalker-inspired sci-fi, but I guess this will have to do.

  18. Arglebargle says:

    Sorry, I am sure that premise sounded archly clever when spun in a meeting. Sounds pretty contrived to me though. The high concept stuff often stumbles over internal consistancy in their stories. This seems headed for a fall….

    ‘Die over and over until you figure out the trick’ gameplay is not for me, anyway, so I guess it is not going to be a great personal loss.

  19. sonofcaine says:

    Curiosity: stirred