CDP On Role Of Combat, Sex, And Choice In Witcher 3

By Nathan Grayson on March 6th, 2013 at 9:30 pm.

Geralt has a beard now. We know this much for certain. Oh, and I suppose he’s also got that whole open-world thing going on. But adding a new number to your title’s a big responsibility, and a simple promise that you’ll feed it, water it, and add boats for some reason (because year of the bow is over; hopefully year of the boat will be a worthy successor) doesn’t always cut it. So what else is going into The Witcher trilogy’s 50-100-hour swan song? To hear CD Projekt tell it, pretty much everything they could think of. The Witcher 3’s scope is beyond ambitious, but that doesn’t mean the Polish powerhouse is skimping on details. Read on to see senior quest designer Jakub Rokosz and marketing mastermind Michał Platkow-Gilewski discuss revamped combat, managing difficulty/learning curve, how big of an impact choices can have, using sex for the benefit – not detriment – of story, and what multiplatform development from the get-go means for the PC version. It’s all after the break.

RPS: How much have the nitty-gritty basics of combat changed this time around? At its core, is it similar to what it was in The Witcher 2, but with more abilities and more potions and things? Or have you totally revamped it?

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: What we wanted to do with Witcher combat is that we wanted to show how Geralt uses the sword. He’s the master of the sword. Geralt’s true mastery comes out in the crowd fights, where can take on five or six enemies on his own. What happened in Witcher 2 is that people were telling us that the combat was just a little bit too arcade. The rules were a bit too arcade, to be honest. What we decided is to go a bit more over to the tactics side, to give you the feeling of having absolute control over the battlefield. That’s what we aimed for.

For example, we improved the camera. We’ll always show the fights from the right angle or perspective or distance so that you’ll be aware of all the enemies around you. If they communicate among themselves and decide that it’ll be a good idea to surround you, you’ll see everyone who’s going around behind you.

There won’t be any situation where someone attacks you and you won’t know what’s happening.

There won’t be any situation where someone attacks you and you won’t know what’s happening. The enemies will move around you and you will move as well, but it’s not wild and frantic. It’s a slow walk, like a slow dance. With swords. For all the enemies, we’re using real fighting techniques, many valid techniques. We have a few experts on our team, and we’ll be using stuntmen with huge experience for that as well. But Geralt’s fighting technique, it’s like sword dancing. He’ll have cool movements that you wouldn’t see in a real fight.

Jakub Rokosz: But it’s not over the top. He won’t do a somersault with three twists. It’s still effective.

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: But he’s different. He’s faster and stronger than anyone else, so his fighting technique is different.

Jakub Rokosz: I think the camera helps a lot.

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: Yeah. That reminds me of another change. When you hit a button, you won’t see a sequence of a few swings that tend to get interrupted. Each press of a button will correspond to one swing, a swing generated out of 96 different animations that we’ve prepared for the fights. That means that when you’re in combat, you can create almost unlimited chains of swings – from the left, from the right, from different poses. You can change your target freely at any given moment. You can attack two times in front of you, then pierce the guy who’s approaching you from behind. If you know the technique for it, that is. You can chain those moves together without stopping. It all gives the impression that you’re the master.

Jakub Rokosz: So there’s no more jumping and stunning with one push of the button, like in The Witcher 2.

RPS: In Witcher 2, especially before you patched it a lot, the combat was really hard. Witcher 3 sounds like it’s being designed to be quite empowering, to say the least. But are you still going to have that element of sometimes merciless difficulty? And what does all of this mean for the learning curve?

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: We learned a lot from Witcher 2. We know that our learning curve wasn’t the best in that game. This is one of the most focused parts of the development of Witcher 3, the learning curve and the difficulty curve for players. In many aspects. The combat was hard at the beginning and became too [routine] later on at the end. The plot could be, for some, a little bit too complicated at the beginning.

Right now we’re taking a different approach. For the quests, for example, I believe we can say that we have a kind of rocket science behind it. I’ve seen huge graphs showing how much information we can put into players’ hands at any given moment of the game. We don’t want anyone to feel like they’re overloaded with information, but on the other hand, we want to keep everyone interested. The same goes for the combat. You’ll learn some moves during the game that you wouldn’t ever think of at the beginning.

RPS: In The Witcher 2, the ramifications of choices were often really, groundbreakingly huge. But what about in Witcher 3? How big will the changes be, based on your choices? I mean, I doubt you can pull anything like Witcher 2’s mid-game twist for obvious reasons.

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: Okay, first of all, it’s impossible to incorporate something like what we did in The Witcher 2. We were really happy about that experiment, but in the open-world environment, we can’t hide a huge part of the world just because you made a different choice at a given moment in time. Something like creating two totally separate second acts would be impossible here. So we had to change our approach. But we wanted to keep serious consequences for significant choices.

Jakub Rokosz: It’s pretty much like that. You have important choices, and a lot of people are counting on you to make the right one, but you never know which choice is the right one.

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: If you make a wrong one, maybe a lot of people will die somewhere.

RPS: You have these massive environments to work with now. How much do the effects of your choices manifest in those?

Jakub Rokosz: Yes, of course. It’s another way to lead up the narrative without dialogue, to be honest. You have to see the consequences of your choices. The fans really loved the way we handled those plots in The Witcher 2, where one of the party would have a feast and the other was the massacre. We really want to keep that approach in making our quests.

RPS: So Geralt’s pursuing someone who was once very important to him now. Having another person to be so dedicated to, will that affect his outlook on sex and relationships?

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: Actually, we liked our approach in The Witcher 2. I didn’t count the sex scenes. I didn’t keep track of how many women you can have sex with. So it’s hard to say whether there will be two more or three less. But I believe that we’ll be staying in the same place. If it’s not breaking immersion, if it’s not sex just for the sake of having a sex scene in the game, if it’s justified by the story, why shouldn’t we use it?

Geralt is far from being childish.

Jakub Rokosz: I think that some people thought that the sex scenes and our approach is crucial to our game. Which it is, because this game is really serious, and sex is part of being serious. But we’re not saying, “Okay, we need five more sex scenes. Write a quest where Geralt hooks up with five different women.” That’s not the way the approach works. It’s the other way around. You’ll need to do this or that, and maybe sex will become an option.

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: It’s not a Pokemon approach. It’s not a collectible.

RPS: I really liked some of the scenes in Witcher 2, actually. I mean, it was still creepy plastic people doing some mix between The Robot and The Worm, but there was legitimate character development underlying it. Like, Geralt and Triss in the first act. That’s one of the few videogame sex scenes I’d describe as “adorable.” In a good way!

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: We will not be changing that. When you look, not only at the games, but at the Witcher books as well, the sex was there, with different women. Geralt has needs and he’s fulfilling his needs along the way. He met women who were close to him, but they weren’t the one for him. It was never the ultimate goal for Geralt, to sleep with girls. That’s childish, and Geralt is far from being childish. He’s a very mature character. He has romances along his way, but he’s never going for sex specifically. That’s not what drives him.

Jakub Rokosz: From a quest point of view, it’s not like tits are the most interesting thing when you’re making a quest, just showing them off. The interesting thing is to give the option to the player to have sex with the Sorceress archenemy that’s really messed up your plans for the whole game, and then you can actually have sex with her, because she’s like, “Yeah, that’s all water under the bridge now, Geralt.” Just seeing what the player does there, from that point of view. It’s a way to give you a certain opportunity to role-play your character and show what matters to you.

RPS: I’ve heard tell of major plot twists and other finale-friendly razzle-dazzle. Some games pull those things off well, but others, er, not so much. At all. A twist for twist’s sake, after all, tends to come off as quite forced. Has the Witcher trilogy been leading up to these reveals all along?

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: Harry Potter will die [laughs]. You pushed me. Sorry for the spoiler. We’re planning a lot of twists, and I won’t tell you exactly what the level of the twists might be, but… We had to think about this game as the final part of the trilogy. In this part, a lot of things will happen. A lot of mysteries will be solved. This is also a place for us, for the studio, to use 10 years of ideas and to put them all in one game. It might be our last opportunity to do something.

Jakub Rokosz: And also, our world can finally fit all of that. Sometimes, in Witcher 2 for example, the world was just too small to fit in more quests there. It would just feel too crowded in some places.

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: Yeah. We have a bigger game, a longer game, and more places we can use our ideas that we’ve been thinking about for some time.

RPS: I know that, this time around, it sounds like The Witcher will also be launching on various consoles. Is PC still the lead platform for it?

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: We’ve never really thought about the term “lead platform.” For sure, we’ll be creating this game for the PC.

Jakub Rokosz: Our goal is to make sure this game looks the best as it can on every single platform.

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: On everything. We won’t be creating some kind of barrier and dumbing everything down to that level. We’re all working on PCs here. We grew up on PCs. Somewhere in our minds, for part of us at least, the PC will always be the leading platform. But I don’t think we have that kind of approach. Even when we were creating the Xbox version of The Witcher 2, a year after the release of the PC version, we treated that as an adaptation, not as a port. We had to rewrite a lot of stuff, and redesign some things as well.

Jakub Rokosz: Our approach was actually to make it look as good or better than on PC, which I think we did.

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: Yeah. Right now we’re just creating it on a few different platforms at the same moment.

RPS: Even so, you could create a very different control scheme expressly for a keyboard and mouse than you could for a controller. When you’re designing combat and things like that, what’s the mindset? Is it, “We need to make this be able to work on both,” or is it like, “Let’s design for keyboard and mouse right now and then figure out how to make that on a controller later”?

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: We’re designing for both in the same moment. We’re optimizing it for both. It’s not like, “Let’s do this for the one and then we’ll see what happens.” We can’t work that way, because we want to treat everyone seriously. More and more PC gamers are playing on game pads now. They’re plugging in and playing with those. We can’t assume that anyone, even a PC gamer, will play with a keyboard and mouse.

RPS: Right now The Witcher 2 has mod tools, the REDKit. Is Witcher 3 going to support something similar to that out of the box?

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: We made an editor available for The Witcher. Now we’ll be bringing it to The Witcher 2. I think that this is a tradition that we should continue. But right now it’s too early to tell you when it would be released, or to confirm 100 percent that it will be released. For sure, it would be great, and we’re keeping it in mind. But the ultimate goal for us is to release a really kickass game, a huge game. That’s what we’re focusing on right now.

RPS: The Witcher one and The Witcher 2 were more constrained and more focused games. This one is going to be a big open world. Is that the direction that CD Projekt is going to move in from now on, or could you see yourselves going back to maybe a smaller, slightly more linear RPG in the future?

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: Right now we’re working on two huge projects – Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077. Those are both open game worlds. So that’s our focus right now. That’s what we’re willing to do. It’s quite a challenge for us.

Jakub Rokosz: The decision about making an open world game didn’t come out of the blue. Nobody just said, “Let’s make an open world.” It was a decision we made because of what we wanted to show to the players in The Witcher 3. I guess that every game is a separate case. You have to look at it like that.

The most important thing in role-playing games is story and narrative.

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: Maybe we’ll come up with other ideas in the future, but right now, we’re fully focused on these two projects. Which means a full focus on open world games. We want to look into that field.

RPS: RPGs are moving in a lot of different directions, I think. One of them is obviously bigger open worlds and things like that. But where do you want to see RPGs end up? For you, what is the definition of an RPG? Are you afraid that, especially with the genre being sort of absorbed into other genres, that could go away?

Jakub Rokosz: For me, I’m a quest designer, so I’m a bit twisted to that side. But the most important thing in role-playing games is story and narrative. It always resembles, for me, the game master’s role in computer RPGs. The narrative works in the same way that a game master would work in a pen-and-paper RPG. It sets the mood, it tells you the story, it creates the mood around you, it lays out all that stuff. For me, personally, it’s all about the story. I would like to be involved in that way – making more awesome, non-linear, strongly narrative-based games.

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: From my perspective, I’m an avid pen-and-paper player, and I’ve had the great chance to play with an absolutely wonderful game master for 20 years now. For me, the definition of an RPG, a computer RPG, is similar to a pen-and-paper RPG. What it means to me is that you can do whatever you want, and the world adapts to your choices. I can go left, I can go right, and there will be adventure waiting for me on either side of the world. I can play a role in this world. I can influence it somehow. I’m not led to go a little bit left and do this or that. I’m free to play my role. I would love to play games like that. I think it’s close to what we’re doing right now. You’re playing the role of Geralt of Rivia. We give you the tools to play the role of the Witcher.

RPS: Speaking of pen-and-paper stuff, since CD Projekt is also working on Cyberpunk, how much back-and-forth is there between the two projects? Are you guys mostly keeping to yourselves, or is it like, “Hey, we came up with this thing for Cyberpunk. Maybe you guys could use it for Witcher,” and vice versa?

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: First of all, we like each other. We drink beer and we eat food together. On a social level it’s really easy. On the game design level, we have one part of the studio which is common for both projects. It’s not only administration and HR and stuff like that. We also have some divisions dealing with production – code, programming, the engine, things like that.

But we’re constantly talking about both projects, projects which are developed almost in the same moment. There’s a huge exchange of ideas. Of course, some of them can’t be adopted in both games. In some cases we just don’t want to adopt them, to make sure that these two games are different. It’s not like a version of one world and bam, we have another. They have totally different assumptions, which will influence the gameplay as well. But for sure, it’s a great opportunity for us. We have big teams of people exchanging really cool ideas.

Jakub Rokosz: It also gives you some perspective. For example, I’m working on Witcher 3 and someone is working on Cyberpunk. When I look at their stuff, it’s not like I’m so emotionally attached to it. I can see things that he can’t and vice versa as well. He judges my work on Witcher 3 while working on Cyberpunk, he can pinpoint the kind of problems that I otherwise wouldn’t see.

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: We have a huge group of professionals who can focus-test everything we’re doing. We’re not afraid like we would be if we were talking to someone from outside the studio. It’s super cool. We’re all sitting on the same floors. And I’m on two projects, so I get to be the lucky guy who’s involved in everything.

RPS: You said, in the run-up to the announcement, that this is the end of the Witcher trilogy, but it’s not the end of The Witcher as a series. If you bring it back, would it be as another single-player RPG? Would you consider, say, an MMO or maybe even something that’s not a typical RPG at all?

Michał Platkow-Gilewski: I’m not a big fan of talking about projects that aren’t yet announced. Right now we’re only thinking about the end of the saga, the trilogy. It would be a pity to leave such a wonderful world behind, though, so vivid and full of stories. I’ll bet that one day we’ll do something again. Most things about it will be something different, but… Let’s come back to that when we announce something. Maybe one day.

I spent way too much time on World of Warcraft [laughs]. My time there could be counted in weeks. I like MMOs as well, but right now we’re fully focused on The Witcher 3. This is an enormous job for everyone. We don’t have time to even think about anything else. Even if we would love to think about that, we have to think about Witcher. That’s our day and night now. Maybe without the night.

RPS: Thank you for your time.

You can find part one of this interview here.

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146 Comments »

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  1. Hungry Like the Wholphin says:

    Yes, but why can’t there be a FemGeralt with a beard?

    • The Great General Bazza says:

      I’m fond of the term ‘Feralt’.

      • MrEclectic says:

        And that’s why: because someone will comment “Oh! She’s Feralt in bed!” and all will be downhill from there…

    • Borisvdb says:

      I think because he’s not just a plot device.
      Also she would have to be lesbian.

  2. Hoaxfish says:

    What? No question about how on a scale of massive to huge misogynists they should be ashamed about or something?

    This won’t be making it into the RPS’ top 10 of privilege-checking of 2013.

    Also, will the women be “open world”?

    • Hungry Like the Wholphin says:

      That’s for the Privilege-Checking Kickstarter which will seek to raise 10,000 in undifferentiated currency to make a series of videos about the way in which privilege is depicted in RPS posts.

    • Premium User Badge

      Aerothorn says:

      If you’re gonna troll that hard, you really should try harder to get the first post. Second is no good.

    • Josh W says:

      They actually dealt politely and carefully with the relationship of the game to sex, both nathan and the cdp guys did it very nicely.

      • Jae Armstrong says:

        Yes, I thought it was quite well handled. Well done, Grayson.

    • Liudeius says:

      Lowbrow =/= misogynistic.
      Personally, I dislike the choice too (and the “Sex as a collectible” in the Witcher), but there is a MASSIVE difference between “I like boobs” and “Women are useless and inferior.”

      • kament says:

        I thought so, too. Then there was that Riptide marketing debacle, and I learned (on this very site, btw) that if you portray women as essentially breasts or sexual objects, in general, it’s mysogynistic, as it objectifies them. Or something along these lines. I’m not entirely convinced, but it seems like a good point to me.

        Do they portray women that way in Witcher? I think they do, especially in the first game. And there’s this Cyberpunk thing.

        So I think Hoaxfix raised a good question.

        • Liudeius says:

          The definition of misogyny is the HATRED of women.
          Hyper-sexualized portrayal of women may not be beneficial to society in general respecting women in general, but women are as guilty of hyper-sexualization as men (just go to any college). Would claim these women HATE themselves and their gender?

          Sex is a primal urge, to have such desires is not hatred of women (or do you call women misandrists if they consider men attractive?), sex is merely used as a “lowest common denominator” method to attract a larger audience.
          Would you claim Game of Thrones HATES women because they demand to have sex in every episode? Or are they just trying a cheap method to get more viewers?

          The number of gaming-related incidents I’ve seen which can rightly be called misogyny (HATRED of women) are extremely limited (pretty much only that one guy harrassing a woman at that fighting game tournament), for the most part it’s just “a large percentage of our audience are male teenagers, how can we sell more copies to male teenagers” (answer: sex).
          (And I’ve heard about plenty considering I read the tabloid-level Kotaku for a time before I realized how awfully written it was.)

          Hoaxfix did NOT raise a good question, he or she merely made a baseless claim to add to the sensationalism of modern media. While you may claim you support their point because of RPS, I certainly hope not, RPS seems to be one of the few gaming information sources which does NOT turn everything into a sensationalist shit-storm.

          • kament says:

            But I wasn’t talking about using sexual themes in vgames like it’s inherently mysogynistic. My (with a caveat above) point is, objectification pretty much equals abuse. If some women saw men as sexual objects only, I’d certanly call them misandrists.

            Now, I’m NOT saying CDProjekt is full of sexists. All I’m saying is that Hoaxfix was right pointing out RPS usual stance on things like sex cards in Witcher, that Cyberpunk pic and such, and wondering about smooth talk about sex in the next Witcher installment.

          • Liudeius says:

            “How on a scale of massive to huge misogynists they should be ashamed about or something?”
            True equality will never go anywhere when we have idiots spouting phrases such as this.

            Yes, I agree that certain aspects of gaming (and society as a whole) are oversexualized, but firstly, this IS NOT misogyny HATRED OF WOMEN, it is merely disrespectful (and even that is subjective, alternatively, certain feminists would claim a woman is only empowered if she hyper-sexualized herself).
            Secondly, you can not blame this disrespect on a single individual (as is always done in such cases) or company. It is society as a whole. You can complain as much as you want about Dead Island having a creepy breast statue sold with their game, but if you go outside, you will still see WOMEN THEMSELVES doing more harm to the general respect of women than any single corporate or public entity.
            Not that sex as presented in some video games (Dead or Alive, the Witcher 1) isn’t at all to blame, but that’s not the point.

            My point is not to assign blame for the state of the modern woman, or even argue whether a given presentation of women is right or wrong.
            I am saying that it IS NOT misogyny. People are using this word to refer to representation of women as often as Fox uses the term “Obama’s Watergate.” It has been rendered an absolutely meaningless insult to try to baselessly attack your target.
            There DOES exist REAL misogyny, and all these vile, sensationalist assholes throwing around the term like a pronoun for “male who said something I disagree with” or “low-brow entertainment” are just taking the focus off of the real problems.

          • myelbow says:

            ^
            This. Thank you for finally spelling it out. I’m about tired of the buzzword misogynist. It’s practically a meme at this point. Jesus…move on unless it’s justified, people.

          • El_Emmental says:

            @Liudeius : *slow clap*

            I don’t understand how oversexualization would be hatred.

            The only case where hate is associated with the sexualization of a person is with a certain type of rape, where the person raping the other one is actively trying to hurt the victim, both physically and psychologically, and not only raping to obtain a previously-refused sexual intercourse.

            If oversexualization is hatred, then the porn/erotic industry, “sexy” clothes manufacturers/designers, and advertisement in general are promoting hateful rapes, and any women participating in that system are accomplices. What about slut-shaming then ? Are we going to put a burqa on everyone, to avoid spreading the culture of hateful rapes through oversexualization ? Hide these naked hair, arms, legs, it’s oversexualizing people !

            Oversexualization in entertainment should be denounced as immature, of bad taste and “cheap”, but not immediately called a clear hatred of a gender – when they throw some ripped-abs of a Hollywood (male) star in a movie out of nowhere (they probably did that with Daniel Craig or Ryan Gosling), just to cater to the female (and male gay) audience, I just sigh and chuckle, finding it funny that “entertainment” (according to Hollywood) is always the same – I don’t feel like suddenly Hollywood hates men and think they’re worthless objects only there to please us (?).

            Hollywood is exploiting the perceived image of these actors to please the audience, and don’t have much respect for these perceived images, sure, but it isn’t aimed at a specific population : all genders, skin colors, ethnic origins, religions, shapes, weights, sizes, w/e are exploited in entertainment, because people buy and consume such cheap entertainment. Blame the people enjoying that kind of entertainment (and not just the entertainment featuring oversexualized women) if you want change.

    • quijote3000 says:

      misogynists, meaning, people who hate women
      Sorry, exactly, how did you get the idea that the Witcher team hate women? Taking your idea to the logical conclusion, I’m guessing that every single woman that makes porn is also a misogynist, I mean, look how much they are showing!!!!
      Unless you are just a troll

      • Eddy9000 says:

        Ignoring the fact that he didn’t call them misogynists: women acting in porn movies could be said to be doing so because of the misogynist discourses that they live within. The idea that people from a marginalised group can hold and promote the attitudes that marginalise them is as old as the hills and really shouldn’t be any surprise.

        • Liudeius says:

          Stop quoting pseudo-intellectual feminist theory.
          In a different situation wherein a man was complaining about women dressing too revealing, you would claim it is a woman’s right to present her sexuality as she pleases (directly contradictory to your current claim that women’s presentation of their sexuality is a sexist result of society).

          Equality is equality, all this means is that women and men have the right to be treated with the same respect. If a woman (in the US at least) chooses to present herself in a pornographic manner, it is her CHOICE to do so, and you can not claim the obvious sexual repercussions of that are sexist.

          • Eddy9000 says:

            You are deciding what I would say and arguing against it without me saying it. I haven’t said that women and men are or are not misogynist, in fact I find it very unhelpful to identify individuals as mysogynist as this would falsely assume that they are responsible for this attitude rather than representative of it; what I am saying is that both women and men exist within mysogynist discourse and can represent this in their actions. Also there is nothing ‘pseudo-intellectual’ about this assertion, it is well established academically, and as a 40 year old clinical psychologist who has studied gender and discourse extensively I feel that I am well positioned to comment. Nor is it ‘feminist theory’, falling more within theories of discourse. In fact I would go as far as to suggest that your calling this ‘pseudo intellectual’ does little more than demonstrate your own ignorance of the issue.

          • Liudeius says:

            Fine, I misspoke, it’s not psuedo-intellectual, its psuedo-scientific (with no objective experiments doable to prove it, it can’t be be proven or disprove, and therefore does not follow the scientific method). Regardless, it is little more than flowery words overly homogenizing the culture of the United States to a single archetype. (As well as once more using the word misogyny, HATRED OF WOMEN, incorrectly. Contrary to the common feminist argument, men do don’t consume pornography to control women, they consume pornography because they want sex.)

            As for putting words in your mouth, I apologize, I was extrapolating based on what the majority I’ve seen discussing such issues would say.

          • Eddy9000 says:

            It is not pseudo-scientific because it makes no claims towards being an understanding born from scientific method. There are many ways of understanding the world other than scientific method, and many knowledges to be known that quantifiable hypothetico-deductionist scientific methods would not represent adequately. Qualitative methodologies in particular are one alternative group, and have found widespread acceptance in the academic community. The only thing that I am arguing here is that women are just as able to represent misogynistic discourses through their actions as men are, although men are empowered by these and women subjugated. Being as you argue that sex is a natural drive and presumably just as necessary for men as women you might like to consider why it is that pornography depicting women for men is so much more prolific than that depicting men for female consumers. Everyone is interested in sex, however one gender is objectified pornographically far more often, therefore ‘people like sex so porn is not political’ rings very hollow to me.

          • Liudeius says:

            You realize it’s worse to deny my claim that you’re quoting pseudo-science than it is to object to it. You just admitted your claim is 100% subjective.

            As for the gender balance of pornography, women are statistically less interested. A significantly smaller proportion of women attest to regularly viewing pornography than men, but it’s not as if there is an absence of pornographic material for women. Why do you claim only women are objectified by porn? While I’m sure the majority targets men and therefore focuses on the woman, there is certainly pornography that focuses on the man (but you will never hear claims of male objectification, even if that was what third wave feminism was centered around).

            This is getting kind of off topic though. Let’s say women in porn are always objectified (and that it is wrong, it is porn after all, that’s kind of the point), no one has ever objectified a man, and your claims aren’t entirely subjective.

            Where do you go from this to I HATE WOMEN, THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY INFERIOR? (aka “misogyny”)
            You can’t.

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    LTK says:

    I foresee myself calling in sick for a week when the release date rolls around.

    • Paul says:

      Definitely. I will be willing to take two weeks off for this game. Same with Cyberpunk. Thank god they come out at different years.

    • DarkFenix says:

      Only a week? Such a lack of commitment.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    You are being attacked by a dire bear. Do you:
    – Combat
    – Sex

  5. MasterDex says:

    I’m really looking forward to it. Can’t say I’m not worried about the open world aspect of the game though. I hope they pull it off.

    • Bhazor says:

      The most troubling part was in the original reveal trailer where they gave their reasoning. It was not “We believe this is the natural evolution of our…” or “We feel this is the best way to tell our story” it was “Everyone likes open world games”.

      • tetracycloide says:

        “We knew that if we wanted to give you the feeling of Geralt searching for his meaning and knowing the world, this wouldn’t work. The open world was the only right approach for this, to be honest. Geralt, right now, after two games and restoring his memory and stuff, I think he needs to find himself again. This is part of his journey as well.”

        Sounds like the former is closer to the truth really. Maybe be less worried?

        • Bhazor says:

          One positive statement negates one negative statement I guess. So I guess my result is neutral.

          The “monster hunt” quests still sound uncomfortably close to the Witcher 1 bulletin boards of “Collect 5 monsters glans for unspecified reward”.

          • The Evil Moose says:

            I remember reading about the monster hunt quests in one of the earlier interviews and they sound like they will be quite good this time around, they sound much more similar to that one quest in Witcher 2 where you track down the Succubus than they do to the slay x amount of y hunt quests from the first game.

          • tetracycloide says:

            It’s all in what details you read into things as the monster hunt quests could also be like the trophy quests from Witcher 1. I think the progression from 1 to 2 in most aspects is a positive sign for 3 but at the same time I’m reading these interviews too and thinking ‘this… this is really ambitious.’

            One of the things that made the trophy quests in the first Witcher work was that the fights were generally harder. Another was that you usually got a pretty good reward out of it and the reward tied directly into whatever your progression was at the time because the game was linear. In an open-world though where’s the incentive to tackle a monster hunter quest if it’s not a difficult fight and the rewards are crap, a virtually certain circumstance in an open world game (see TES’s daedric quests). The fear is that it then becomes a checklist and that’s… just not that satisfying past a certain point. They could save it by having some truly decent writing and character development so there’s a third option of ‘i’m doing this because I actually care about these people’ but that’s… really ambitious.

      • yrrnn says:

        A poor choice of words in one press release perhaps, but I think their reasoning is probably more like, “we really enjoy playing open world games/enjoyed recent open world games, so we wanted to make one, because we want to make a game we want to play.”

        And I’m perfectly fine with that.

  6. Aedrill says:

    If they got rid of rolling, I’ll be happy. Seriously, I can’t wait to see some videos of fights in this game.

    • RandomEsa says:

      My back still hurts from all of that rolling first in Witcher 2 and then in Dark Souls.

  7. wodin says:

    Why did you have to mention an MMO..please don’t give them ideas..and don’t give them the idea we want it either.

    • Premium User Badge

      lasikbear says:

      Kart racer! Kart racer!

    • Thoric says:

      CDPR would be a splendid MMO dev.

      Not afraid to push the technological envelope or to experiment with their own gameplay designs, really dedicated to polishing their products, great with community feedback… Someone other than CCP needs to carry that immersive sandbox MMO torch, might as well be them.

    • Grim_22 says:

      I’m with Wodin on this one. The MMO genre needs to evolve quickly into something new or be killed off. I’m certain that I don’t want to risk the last great RPG developer by having them try such a thing. Don’t get me wrong, they’d likely make a great game, but even so, it would probably go F2P after 6 months and force them to lay off half of their staff.

      Not worth it.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Gabbo says:

    May I suggest they actually follow up the Witcher Trilogy with the Dandilion game (Saviour of Queens) they teased on April Fools Day a year or so back. Probably a lot of parkour getting into and out lady’s bedrooms.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      Only if they hire a new voice actor. I’m American, but American accents are terrible for this kind of stuff. Someone who is as elaborately wordy as Dandelion should never, ever be played by anyone other than an Englishman. Especially when everyone outside of Geralt, Triss, Dandelion, and that assassin witcher seem to be European!

      • Davie says:

        I’m actually pretty damn tired of nothing but regional British accents in fantasy games. I mean, sure it fits usually with the setting, but so would literally any other accent from the European continent.

        I seem to recall vaguely Italian and Scandinavian accents in TW2 as well as American ones. I prefer it to having everyone sound like they come from the same village in rural England.

        • Aedrill says:

          That’s true. There are many different kingdoms in this world, so people should have different accents. Dandelion, however, should speak posh British English, that’s the only valid choice for him. No matter where he was born, he would learn to speak like that to sound more sophisticated.

          • kael13 says:

            It’s funny, when I first heard his voice I found it a bit grating but over time it really grew on me.

          • Aedrill says:

            I didn’t mind his voice but I think could be better.

        • Drinking with Skeletons says:

          I’ll take just about anything, just not American. Like I said, we Americans just don’t have the right accents to pull off eloquent turns of phrases. They sound off. Southern accents would probably work, but a combination of defeat in the American Civil War and decades of regressive politics and entrenched ignorance have made Southerners (of which I happen to be one, though I don’t have the stereotypical drawl) innately unappealing and easily mocked.

          Actually, one of the things I liked about the assassin Witcher was that his accent seemed sort-of Southern, like the voice actor either couldn’t do a convincing one or was intentionally trying to be off-putting. The accent wasn’t anything like the European accents of the game, but didn’t stick out like a sore thumb like the flat accents of Geralt, Triss, and Dandelion. Of course, he was also a big, thuggish-looking guy (which was actually a minor plot-point), which feeds back into stereotypes and why you typically don’t encounter a lot of Southern accents in pop culture.

  9. Hug_dealer says:

    As a huge fan of both the books, and the computer games.

    This is fantastic. I have always liked The Witcher for the same reason i liked the Conan series. The short stories and adventures they go on. Not always are they “fate of the world hangs in the balance” stories, but enjoyable and provide a deeper look at the character, or how the character has changed since the last story. Young Geralt and Young Conan are both very different characters from when they are older.

    This is the perfect way to do lots of Smaller adventures tied to a larger plot.

    • Fenriff says:

      I loved The Last Wish and Blood of Elves, hopefully the rest of the books get translated soon. The Witcher 2 was sooo good and I can’t wait to get my hands on this one as well.

      • HothMonster says:

        I wouldn’t hold my breath. I’ve been waiting for those books since the first game. Whoever holds those distribution rights is a moron.

        • Fenriff says:

          Just had a look on amazon and apparently the next one, Time of Contempt, is coming out August 27. A ways away but at least it’s coming!

          • aardcore says:

            You both should know, there are fan translations. Google ‘The Witcher books fan translations’

            They’re on The Witcher community forums. And totally worth reading. There are 5 more then the official English ones. And The Sword of Destiny is technically the Second book, not “Blood of Elves’. The publisher skipped it. Honestly, read them all, best fantasy I’ve ever read. And I like/read LOTR and Game of Thrones. I implore you to check them out.

  10. Bhazor says:

    From a quest point of view, it’s not like tits are the most interesting thing when you’re making a quest, just showing them off.

    “But that won’t stop us using them in every trailer and press release. We don’t fans who are interested in our deeply nuanced morally ambiguous stories with stirring combat and beautiful graphics.”

    • Hug_dealer says:

      Did you watch the trailers for Witcher 2.

      http://www.computerandvideogames.com/301424/the-witcher-2-gets-five-launch-trailers/

      I think that pretty much blows a hole in your statement. These are probably the best trailers I have ever seen for a game. They are movie quality.

      My favorite is Disdain & fear.

      • Bhazor says:

        3 of those trailers showed the Triss sex scene, 1 was ingame footage of a fight and 1 was a pretty good trailer describing the back story.

        I love the Witcher games and CDProjeckt except from that one time http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/12/15/cd-projekt-threatening-alleged-pirates/

        The fact that they are primarily known for their sexual content and the way they keep using it in a way familiar to anyone who remember Evony tears me up inside.

        This is a company who advertised their last game with a Playboy centrefold of their female lead and advertised the first game with a deck of sex cards. They also had a topless 50 year old female torture victim tied spread eagled to a wall until it was pointed out to be in very poor taste and looked completely ridiculous.

        • Thoric says:

          Let me get this straight, three out of five trailers show the protagonist and his love interest kissing?

          OH THE HUMANITY
          THE PERVERSION
          THE OPPRESSION

          And FYI the topless torture thing is actually still in the game, exactly the same as when it was shown back at E3. It hasn’t caused controversy since then.

          • Bhazor says:

            No they show a sex scene. A sex scene that like I said featured in almost every single trailer and preview.

            And no the torture scene was changed. The version shown at E3 was the altered version.
            Either way I don’t understand how you can say it was anything other than incredibly tacky to sexualise a rape/torture victim in that way. Let alone to show it in a trailer.

        • Pray For Death says:

          Go home. This game is clearly not for you.

          • Premium User Badge

            PikaBot says:

            Except for that part where she (he) prefaced her (his) statements by telling you that she (he?) loved the games?

          • JackShandy says:

            Try using “Hen”. it’s Swedish and gender neutral.

          • Grim_22 says:

            Please don’t. That word is an abomination of our language and the mascot for a mentality plaguing our country that draws focus from actual problems.

          • Premium User Badge

            PikaBot says:

            Or I could use the singular they, which is. You know. English.

        • Ruffian says:

          I’m not disagreeing with you or anything by any means, but the playboy thing had been done by a bunch of others before them – does that make it any better? – certainly not – but it does make me think that it was more of a novelty thing rather than explicitly planned sex-driven marketing. I could be entirely wrong of course.

        • Davie says:

          The only reason CDP is known for their games’ sexual content is because they include it at all and don’t skirt around it, unlike most other developers. How is it gratuitous to imply that sex happens in the trailer? It’s part of the game. In TW2, at least, it actually helps develop the plot and the relationships between the characters. This may come as a surprise to you, but sometimes sex in media is more than just fanservice.

          Besides, it’s not like those trailers focus on the sex to the exclusivity of all else. They’re just telling you what to expect from the game, so three seconds of Geralt and Triss in the bath along with three seconds of Zoltan hugging his friends, three seconds of Geralt fighting monsters, three seconds of the dragon, etc.

          I’ll not deny that the cards in the first game were pointless and silly, but this notion that they’re marketing their games almost entirely with tits is ridiculous.

          • Bhazor says:

            Every image in a trailer is an advert.
            “Look at these characters”
            “See these amazing sights”
            “Are you tempted by our story?”
            “Imagine how fun this combat is going to be”
            “Listen to how great the soundtrack is”
            “Don’t you want to go here?”

            What is the advert for including a sex scene in the trailer? “Hey everyone! Look! We have sex scenes! WITH NIPPLES!!!!”?

            Using sex scenes is tacky but one of the trailers was pretty well done. The scene where Triss is shown from behind sitting in a bath tub whilst Geralt fiddles with his shirt in front of the mirror. That tells you so much about their character’s relationship. Another scene shows her giggling as he falls of his barstool, thats cute and again tells you alot about how they know each other. What does them fucking in a pool show? That Geralt enjoys the feeling of putting his penis inside a lady?

          • JackShandy says:

            Sure. That’s a big part of his character.

            (teehee)

        • gulag says:

          So I went and watched those 5 trailers.

          I’m curious as to how you characterise ‘sex scenes’, as quite frankly your description borders on misrepresentation, of not downright dishonesty. If you expect anyone to take seriously the claim that two characters shown from the shoulders up, at arms length, qualifies as a sex scene, then you are not basing your arguments on a perception of reality close enough to the consensus to warrant any favourable attention.

          Best of luck with that.

  11. aliksy says:

    Will you be able to back up without turning around this time? Witcher2 had some control issues.

  12. Ernesto25 says:

    Im sad i cant get engrossed into the witcher like everyone else it never grabbed me. I feel like John did whne everyone else was enjoying hotline miami. Still trying to keep going with 1. Although i did lol when i somehow said the right thing to have sex in the tutorial level. Maybe ill keep at it and eventually complete the game.

    • Svant says:

      I never really got into the first one either, but the 2nd one i loved to bits. Did not replay it yet though but the first playthrough was glorious. Sure you get your ass handed to you in a couple of fight at the beginning but thats how it should be. Learn or die. I really do not see what all the fuss was about in Witcher 2, the dragon thing? Sure died 2-3 times there no big deal. I really really hope they do not turn Witcher 3 into a 10 hour long tutorial where the game holds your hand every step of the way.

  13. Maniac says:

    Nathan, for the love of sodding god or whomever you worship as a deity (Alec, John, etc), enough with the snippet-quote-things! They’re just annoying (atleast to me), especially considering the massive amount of real-estate it takes up in the article just to make you read the same thing twice – Its naught but cockery when in actual magazines which dont suffer a lack of space such as this site tends to, and its hardly that it helps “wow” the reader in like in a magazine, since you’ve got to scroll to even see ‘em ._.
    Then again, it may just be me. But they feel very, very forced and misplaced.

    • JFS says:

      No, it’s not just you. I find them unnecessary, as well. It’s okay in magazines or on websites with a more “artsy” approach, but it doesn’t fit in with the standard RPS style.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      I concur. In a magazine the pull-quotes grab attention and can make you stop your flip-through to read an article, but on RPS we’ve already clicked through to the main article. We’re already here. We’ve already stopped. We have already ceased browsing and are in consumption mode.

      They serve no purpose.

      • Maniac says:

        Having the almighty Lord Custard agree with me is truely one of the most extraordinary things to happen to me. Anyway, I probably should’ve said something along the lines of “for the love of Horace and his never-ending ursine (and thus divine) might”
        Or something. But yeah, glad I’m not the only one that doesnt like them :]

        • Low Life says:

          Sir, I would like to congratulate you on your recent accomplishment! I can only hope to be able to formulate opinions worthy of Lord Custard’s agreement. Someday…

          • JackShandy says:

            Oh boy, I’ve replied to someone who’s replied to someone who Lord Custard agreed with, wait ’till the lads hear about this one!

          • Lanfranc says:

            I don’t have anything to add, I just wanted to post in a thread where Lord Custard agreed with someone.

        • Supahewok says:

          Get Wizardry to agree with you. THEN you’ll be getting somewhere.

      • Kamos says:

        I have measured about 800 centi-smings in that message.

    • Eldiran says:

      Agreed! I spent about 2 minutes looking for the source of that quote, when in fact it came from a paragraph later on. Please stop : (

    • coffeetable says:

      Hear hear. Enough with the sodding pull quotes.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      Agreed. Those quotes bear no informative content (“The most important thing in role-playing games is story and narrative.” – really?) and make your articles look silly. If the reason for their recent appearance is related to the formatting of the posts, please consider alternatives.

  14. Arkh says:

    We can’t assume that anyone, even a PC gamer, will play with a keyboard and mouse.

    Goddamn I’m the only one who only plays with a mouse and keyboard? I’m going to be so mad if this is released like Dark Souls combat control. And yes, I’m playing Dark Souls with a mouse and a keyboard.

    • aliksy says:

      I don’t know where this cult of the gamepad is coming from, but they must be stopped!

      • Arkh says:

        I’m not bashing gamepads. They can have gamepad but design something to work mostly with X than Y is taking away choices. I’m asking for proper keyboard + mouse support.

    • yrrnn says:

      I think they’re taking the right approach. They simply mean that they are making a good system for the gamepad, and a good system for mouse and keyboard, but since some PC gamers also like to use gamepads, the gamepad system also has to be included on the PC version as well, and not just the console version.

    • Mephz says:

      mouse and keyboard here, if games are unplayable with that setup I simply don’t play them.

      • F3ck says:

        …nor should you feel obliged to try.

        Any game that cannot be played with native PC hardware is not really a PC game.

        Having said that – I find I’m able to find a comfortable solution/configuration with most games (even the more complex RPGs) using a standard keyboard…

        …it’s usually a camera issue (ports which are particularly un-mouse-friendly e.g., Dark Souls) that breaks the deal for me.

        ( also, I’m presently playing Witcher 2 for the first time and am enjoying it immensely)

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      It’s a bit worrisome to read this, seeing how The Witcher 2 suffered from issues with menu navigation / design after launch. Let’s hope they get it right for both M+KB and gamepad users.

      • dr4gz0r says:

        Just a heads-up: they said (it was in the Game Informer coverage) there’s gonna be different user interfaces for mouse+keyboard and pads, and CDP also mentioned they know they screwed up the inventory big time because of the balance they tried to create between different peripherals.

        I myself am not a big fan of pads, but I believe this is the right approach: many gamers these days have more experience/feel more comfortable with them (guess we can call it console background), and are turned off by games which don’t properly support their pads. CDP is basically just making sure both pads and mouse+keyboard work great.

        As long as my mouse+keyboard setup work works wonders (and they don’t go with an inventory interface which only caters to pads, boy that was horrendous in TW2) I have no problem with them supporting pads too, it means more people will be able to enjoy the game.

        • Screamer says:

          If its a different interface for M/K then I’m happy. Even though they released W2 on PC first it clearly was made with consoles in mind.

    • gulag says:

      I added a gamepad to my setup about 2 years ago, and I’d say it has had as big an impact on my enjoyment of games as my last graphics card upgrade. Like it or not, some games play really well with a gamepad, and having the choice has meant I’ve broadened my options in terms of fighting games, racers/driving games, 3rd person bashers etc.

      For FPS and RTS, KB&M is king, but everything else is up for grabs. If you don’t have one, don’t automatically berate the option until you’ve tried it.

  15. Jae Armstrong says:

    If it’s not breaking immersion, if it’s not sex just for the sake of having a sex scene in the game, if it’s justified by the story, why shouldn’t we use it?

    It’s not a Pokemon approach. It’s not a collectible.

    By George, I think he’s got it.

    Now, is it just me or is this something of a change of tack from the last time CDP talked about this?

    • tetracycloide says:

      Let’s hope that and the ‘tits for quest reward’ quip are an awareness of how cheesy the sex was in the first game since the sex cards were absolutely a Pokemon approach and tits often were a quest reward.

      • woodsey says:

        It’s almost as if there was a step in-between this game and the first game where they’d demonstrated that understanding already.

  16. yrrnn says:

    While the story was hard to follow in the previous Witcher games (partially just because I’m not Polish) and their view on sex is probably a little immature (sure, I like how they treated sex scenes similarly to how they are done all the time in movies as a part of the story, but it still seemed a little unnecessary and gratuitous, but I digress…), I really love the guys at CDP. They remind me of games and developers of old. They may not always get things right, but they always learn from their mistakes and continue to improve, and are all about making fun games with a story to tell. You can’t get much better than that, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do next.

  17. Mephz says:

    I really only want to know if those modding tools will be made or not. Mods are the greatest fun in open world titles like elder scrolls.

  18. kodjeff1 says:

    Does anyone else find it ironic that fling sex to fulfill ‘needs’ is considered ‘mature’? I’m against this whole approach. Would love the game otherwise.

    • MarcP says:

      I hear you. It seems condescending to the players, too. Most of us move out of that “need to have sex” phase somewhere in our mid-twenties, if not earlier.

      Is every dev at CDP younger than that? Unlikely. Are they all super nerdy geeks who never got any and hence still feel that need? Even more ludicrous.

      The only way to rationalize this, to me, is that they know most people playing their games are young men, and they’re very deliberately marketing towards that demographic. “Look at us, we are so much more mature than those teenagers who play CoD, and so are you, because you play our game”, etc..

      Sex is just sex. It’s OK to have fantasies and to put them in a video game, it’s silly to claim you’re not ashamed by sex and then spend so much time justifying it. It’s hard to see “dude bones archenemy just because” as particulary deep and insightful character development.

      • Aedrill says:

        While I agree partially (I never liked it when in books Geralt was shagging women he knew he’ll probably fighting to death the very next day) I think you’re missing something. The reason why they’re justifying sex all the time is because people won’t stop asking. All they want do do is to add sex scenes where they think it will benefit the story, or character creation but every single journalist is asking the same questions over and over again – are you sure you need sex? Isn’t it immature? Don’t you think it’s sexist to show breasts? And so on.

    • Supahewok says:

      Not really. Some people go through life with a hole in their soul that they desperately try to fill with whatever they can get their hands on. See: alcoholics, drug junkies, sex junkies, (sex junkies =/= prostitute by-the-by, that’s not what I’m saying) or some other harmful obsession. People generally don’t fall into these pits without something or someone to push them in. In his life, Geralt has been persecuted, lost friends, lost his brotherhood, (that whole pogrom against the Witchers thing), has actually died and come back, and made decisions that have resulted in the deaths of many people, friend and foe. The man has his demons. And portraying them through a particular vice of his is a very mature and adult kind of story to tell.

      Whether that will be what happens is up in the air, of course.

  19. Logeres says:

    I’m confused. What’s the “huge mid-game twist” in Witcher 2 they’re talking about? I played through the game twice, and I don’t remember no twist.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      I believe they mean the fact that Act 2 changes enormously based on whether you side with Roche or Iorveth. I think this aspect of the game is a bit overrated, since they don’t do anywhere near enough to justify siding with Iorveth, who is never shown to be anything other than a dangerous terrorist fighting for what seems to be a lost cause, while Roche is basically on Geralt’s side from the beginning (at least in the sense that they have the same goal of finding the assassins).

      And I know it took a lot of work on their part to make it, but still. I played Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together not too long after playing TW2, and it does more with the branching plot idea than TW2 and is better written, despite being nearly 20 years old.

      • Arkh says:

        I agree with you, Drinking with Skeletons. Should I side with my pal who did not wrong me or the roisterer that greeted me with arrows, trying to kill me?

        That’s not a hard choice.

        • GH Moose says:

          That’s funny – I feel the exact opposite. Why would I want to side with the group that’s bordering on genocidal and enjoying it far too much for my taste when I could instead save some from said genocide? After I got over the fact that I was greeted with arrows because I was traveling with a man that would’ve killed them in a heartbeat if given the opportunity, I ultimately found that the nonhumans were more appealing to me.

          That being said, I played through both ways, and I think both are fleshed out well – either choice you make, you’ll probably feel some pangs of regret at one point or another. And this greyness of choice, from my point of view, is a good chunk of why this is one of my favorite RPGs of recent years (if not THE favorite).

          • gulag says:

            This. On my second play-through I went opposite world, and it became very apparent that the writers had done a good job of presenting the player with a choice that always felt as if you were going to screw someone over, no matter which way you went. Neither side are particularly snow-white, but both are capable of presenting a reasonable case (providing the player gives them both the time of day.).

        • Blackseraph says:

          Non humans have perfectly good reasons for hating humans in witcher games, however funnily enough if you are nice enough for them they are the better people, than genocidal humans.

          I never saw good enough reason for siding with Roche in act two.

          And when you compare Henselt to Saskia. Ughhh…

          • Drinking with Skeletons says:

            It’s not about the characters having justification for their behavior, it’s about the player having justification for his/her behavior. I’ve played the game enough that I feel I have a good grasp on Roche: a bit violent and amoral, but also someone who pulled himself up by his bootstraps to become a power player in Temeria and who offers that opportunity (as well as his own personal loyalty) to others (see Vess). That’s all before you have to make the choice.

            Now, you might be opposed to Roche for any number of reasons. That’s fine. But there’s not any evidence that Iorveth is actually a better choice. The bookseller in town talks about how Iorveth’s antics make life worse for every other non-human. That drunken seer (what was his name?) is a former Scoi’atel who sees nothing but failure and grief in Iorveth’s path. The player isn’t given an opportunity to determine that Iorveth is a good choice, merely that Roche is a bad one. That is not a true choice.

  20. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    At the risk of sounding like Wizardry, I just don’t agree that story is the most important part of an RPG. What I want is a game that plays differently based on my decisions. People complain about Skyrim not being reactive enough for their tastes, but in Skyrim I can make characters who play wildly differently from one another, from heavy-armor and restorative-focused paladins to glass cannon mages (well, thanks to the magic-buffing mod I made; it ain’t perfect). In the Witcher, I always use swords, magic, and potions in about the same amount, but one of them is much better than the others.

    One of these games I’ve played for over 200 hours and counting to see the gameplay to my satisfaction, and one probably 50 or so to see the story.

    And it’s not even as if that story is amazing. Iorveth’s path is full of stereotypical fantasy BS that’s worse than anything Bethesda’s put out simply by virtue of seeming to not realize that it’s BS (advice: think twice before cracking wise about Lord of the Rings, fantasy videogame in which the protagonist is a magic-casting mutant who can sleep with any woman he wants without worry because he’s sterile and immune to disease). Meanwhile, there’s not really any symbolic or thematic content to analyze throughout the game as a whole to really make it satisfying to analyze and consider. The most TW2 offers is a troubling homophobic subtext–no matter how you play you will meet no more than two gay characters, both of whom are treacherous snakes, one of which is to be ogled–and some halfway decent female characters (although that is something to be proud of).

    So I get an entertaining but ultimately fleeting tale with little depth or resonance, and the game is going to be basically the same, mechanically, no matter what I do with the story. Why is that considered role-playing and not just a really good action game?

    • Strangerator says:

      I share some of your concerns… how customizable will Geralt really be? Open world games need to have a fairly robust and engaging system for character progression, since you are spending so much time in the world. In the absence of actually allowing your decisions to make a difference, most open world RPGs just hand you a boatload of ways to customize your character, so that at least your choices for how you approach the world will change your experience as compared to someone else. Perhaps CDP will finally nail the concept of a player’s actions actually changing and making an impact in the game world, but that’s a pretty tall order.

      It’s a little unnerving to see that they feel so passionately that RPGs are ALL about the story. To me, pen and paper roleplaying is all about the players actually having a say and shaping the story and outcomes based on how they play. This is the holy grail of what an RPG could achieve, but we are so far away right now I’m not sure if it will happen in my lifetime. Too many developers seem to focus solely on the story THEY want to tell YOU. And too often the stories they tell are trite or suffer from the personal bias of the authors.

    • FeiFae says:

      Well see, there are generally two major types of RPG players (speaking form pen and paper side). First group plays for the stories, for them the only important character developement is how the journey shapes them. Often time they will bend the strict rules to fit the story and logic better just to avoid absurds that can happen if you follow the rulebook to the letter.

      Second group are people who play RPG for the stats. They prefer combat oriented campaigns where they can crunch the numbers, go for the best possible skillset and get tons of shiny loot. For them every dice roll is a challenge and they will do everything they can to make it as favorable for them.

      Both are valid ways of approaching RPGs, hwoever on this matter I side with the devs. I’m a ucker for Story Teller approach more so than Dungeon Master. If I can play in a session where dice get used only when it’s unavoidable and everything else can be resolved by logical actions I’m more than happy.

      That’s why for me Skyrim was just endless boredom. The story was nonexistant, the quests were boring and I can’t be bothered to care about stats on the items. Story provides me hook that gets me through the game after the novelty of mechanics wears off, and if a game lacks the story there is good chance I won’t bother finishing it. At some point, from mechanics point of view, most games become just AI stomps. Imagine if StarCraft campaig had no story and was just series of samey, boring skirmishes against AI – that’s how I felt after 3 hours of Skyrim.

      • Drinking with Skeletons says:

        I’m an English major, so I love a good story. But when I play a game, I expect some actual mechanics; if I just want story, I’ll watch a movie or read a book. And if the game is going to be 100 hours long, I want something pretty engaging.

        And frankly, I’m extremely skeptical that they’ll actually be able to deliver both a decent open-world experience and a plot that’s as reactive as they are promising. People act as if the NPC reactions in Skyrim are basically nothing, but there are a huge number of logistical issues that arise in open-world games that make doing more largely impractical. Fallout: New Vegas wasn’t any better in that regard, even though the writing overall was better. “Reactivity” mostly means shuffling NPCs around or removing those who die. Maybe offer a line or two to NPCs who would notice that change, but nothing for the (vast majority) of NPCs who don’t.

        The Witcher 2 was able to do more because it was an extremely linear game and the devs had very tight control over what was happening at any given time. The same is true of Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (which I’d argue does more with the branching plot conceit), which benefits because it’s equally linear but far less technologically sophisticated. Ironically, the more freedom the player has within the world, the less reactive it can be. Maybe The Witcher 3 will buck that trend. I guess we’ll see.

  21. The Random One says:

    I keep missing the first comma in the title.

    I don’t want to do combat sex. Everyone should come out a winner!

  22. Strangerator says:

    I think games might not be yet ready to depict sex in any meaningful way. When you boil it down, you are trivializing human courtship to the level of satisfying logic-gated requirements. Flip enough 0’s to 1’s and you get to roll in the hay. Even better, hop onto a gameFAQ that has step-by-step checklists of how to get into bed with whichever character you want. This really does trivialize things. You’re not ever really asked to “get to know” characters, aside from clicking through dialogues, etc. The emotional component just isn’t simulated well enough yet. I don’t have any problem with depictions of sex in games, but I think we’re still quite a long way from having meaningful sex scenes. Arguing that the Witcher’s sex scenes are worse or better is a bit ridiculous, in my opinion. I have always sort of put myself in my game characters’ shoes, so it always comes across a little… icky when I’m sleeping with the same women as thousands of other (mostly male) players have. Imagine how many millions of men and women have slept with Liara from Mass Effect? If there were a real person like this, you can bet that there would indeed be a website with a step by step “how to sleep with Liara” guide. I guess the solution here is to go with more procedural generation, where the activity of “getting to know an individual” was able to be accurately simulated. It’d be a start at least.

    I’ve met dirtbags who have attempted to impose the same trivializing logic gates on real life women. “Oh yeah, her. All I had to do is buy her X and she’ll give me Y.” In fact, this guy from college was practically a real-life witcher. He posted his negative STD test results on his refrigerator (the height of class), and basically went through a woman a week. Pitiful creature, really. I’m guessing he was emotionally sterile. No white hair or swords though.

    • Arkh says:

      Wait a second, your logic about Liara is flawed. There are not millions of men and women sleeping with Liara, a more comparable approach would be that there are millions of Liara’s in millions of parallel universes sleeping with one guy/girl.

      • Strangerator says:

        We’re not really in parallel universes though. A closer approximation would be a bunch of us buying the same sex-bot for personal use. Parallel universe would imply we would not be aware that millions of others were having the same experience.

    • Premium User Badge

      PikaBot says:

      Yes, if you leave out the dialogue, where one gets to know the character, we aren’t ready for this at all!

      What on earth are you talking about?

      • Strangerator says:

        My point was that games currently don’t really have the ability to depict sex in a non-trivial manner. I also wrote that I don’t have a problem with how it is done now, because that’s all we can do.

        • Premium User Badge

          PikaBot says:

          No, I understood your thesis. I’m just trying to figure out how you got to it without engaging in logic that only makes sense to martians.

    • JackShandy says:

      Do you apply this logic to everything? The Alien’s been killed by millions of Sigourney Weavers.

      • Aedrill says:

        It’s a genocide, we should stop it!

        #SaveTheAliens

      • Strangerator says:

        I draw a distinction between passive and active forms of entertainment. In a novel or movie, it is explicitly a passive experience, where we are all watching “how it happened.” These experiences are non-singular in nature, and we can discuss events that occurred with others as the way things “definitely happened.”

        In a game, presumably, we step into the shoes of and therefore become the protagonist. If the game offers you any agency at all (and really good games should do this) we have some impact on the way things go. So game experiences inherently bring some degree of singularity of experience. In my opinion, games have a unique ability to imitate real life (since we each would definitely describe life as a collection of singular experiences). So my point is that you’re playing a game in this “singular experience” mindset, but then all of the supposedly emotional interpersonal stuff is tacked on in a decidedly non-singular way that can be boiled down to meeting a list of conditions.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      While it’s true that it’ll probably never be possible to simulate the complexity of sexual relationships, it’s still always worth trying to depict them accurately – this is true for other media too.

      Just because it hasn’t been done in games yet, doesn’t mean it can’t.

      Edit: Oh yes, and your suggestion that Liara is some kind of meta-hoochie because loads of other people are ‘sleeping with her’ in their games is not only mad, but also kind of offensive.

      • Strangerator says:

        The breakdown for me is in the passive vs. active forms of entertainment. It just feels different, because when you’re playing a game to some degree you are the protagonist. I would agree with you that games can progress to the point where all types of relationships, sexual or otherwise, can at least feel a little more meaningful by moving away from non-singular character design.

        As to Liara, to me it is a bit offensive that relationships in games are often trivialized down to a “to-do” list. I find the concept offensive that there are “guides to unlock romance options” online. However, I recognize that some people are willing to accept games as passive experiences, and treat them more like movies. In that case, then sure, game sex is no more offensive than movie sex. I guess what I envision as the role of video games is to become less passive in all respects, since we already have an abundance of passive modes of entertainment.

  23. orient says:

    I wish people would stop bringing up MMOs to developers as if it’s the next logical step for all large-scale RPGs. Look at The Elder Scrolls Online. Just look at it. The only saving grace is that it’s not taking away from Bethesda’s single player games.

  24. Kamos says:

    I really like the Witcher games. In general. But if there is one thing that really bothers me is how Geralt seems to have been knocked off a horse and banged his head when the game starts, and then moves from being an inept Witcher to what he should have been in the first place (a badass killing machine).

    Yes, I understand that most computer RPGs have inherited the idea of character progression from D&D… But seriously, go play some modern PnP RPGs! It has been what, 20 years since the games industry created its “RPG mold” from the early hack ‘n slash PnP RPGs?

    I swear, if Geralt starts another game being the most inept Witcher ever I’ll just pretend he is a random guy wearing a Geralt costume. It will be easy too, now that the character has a beard. ;-)

    • aliksy says:

      People freak the fuck out if they can’t level up and make their numbers bigger. If you don’t have a big chunk of leveling, people will say it’s not an rpg.

      • Kamos says:

        Yes. It makes me a little bit sad. Someone should try to make a computer RPG that actually tries to be anything like what a Pen & Pencil RPG is like. You know, go back to the roots. Make a list of everything that makes a RPG be what it is, and then come up with a completely fresh mold for computer RPGs.

    • Svant says:

      He never really felt that weak in Witcher 2, he just learned more fancy moves along the way. But the story actually did involve him loosing his memory.

      Hopefully he will start Witcher 3 fairly badass but still have things that let you move him in different directions i.e. choose if you want sword/signs/alchemy as your primary combat mode.

      • Kamos says:

        I hope they manage to add an in game justification for going from “badass” to “even more badass”. I’d be fine with the “climb a mountain to meet a legendary swordmaster” cliche.

  25. Nate says:

    I’m so appreciative of it when developers actually talk about what they’re doing, instead of spouting little PR bits. PR always comes off as phoney. Special thanks to Rokosz and Platkow-Gilewski for giving honest answers to the questions asked. Their excitement about the game speaks volumes more than any breathless feature list.

  26. Foxly says:

    I’ve enjoyed Witcher 1 & 2 and read the books as a result. I’m really looking forward to Witcher 3. Go CDP!

  27. Fuz says:

    “RPS: Even so, you could create a very different control scheme expressly for a keyboard and mouse than you could for a controller. When you’re designing combat and things like that, what’s the mindset? Is it, “We need to make this be able to work on both,” or is it like, “Let’s design for keyboard and mouse right now and then figure out how to make that on a controller later”?

    Michał Platkow-Gilewski: We’re designing for both in the same moment. We’re optimizing it for both. It’s not like, “Let’s do this for the one and then we’ll see what happens.” We can’t work that way, because we want to treat everyone seriously. More and more PC gamers are playing on game pads now. They’re plugging in and playing with those. We can’t assume that anyone, even a PC gamer, will play with a keyboard and mouse. ”

    Oh god.
    I’m kinda worried about this answer.
    Please don’t fuck it up for mouse/keyboard users.

  28. Brun says:

    Bleh. The rather generic fantasy plot of TW2 wasn’t compelling enough to make me want to wrestle with the terrible map and invisible walls long enough to finish the game. The scope of this sequel is completely outrageous, I can’t believe people actually think CDPR will deliver on half of these promises. Just goes to show that good image management and a little community pandering will take you a long way in this business.

    • jerf says:

      RATHER GENERIC PLOT???

      Sorry for caps, but please, please bring me an example of a game with a non-generic storyline, if you think that The Witcher 2 had a generic one.

      • cHeal says:

        He’s just expressing his butt hurt over the fact that The Witcher 2 is widely accepted as better than Skyrim. And like a closet homosexual attacks homosexuals to distract attention from the truth, he attacks The Witcher for having a’ generic plot.’ This from a fan of TES games? Featuring the single more generic and dull fantasy lore imaginable….

        It’s at least the second comment in the past few days where he has made reference to CDPR ‘pandering’ to the community, and he has not failed to comment on any of the latest Witcher stories to tell us how from his reasoned and unbiased perspective, it was generic and dull but that he hopes the next will be as good as it sounds. Of course that could not be further from the truth, he wants nothing more than for this to be a total failure so he can trumpet Bethesda for being the only ones up to the task of open world fantasy RPG games. He is so far up Bethesda’s backside, he’s giving them an upset tummy.

  29. ButchCore says:

    “sex is part of being serious”

    Hum, absolutely not necessarily.
    And it’s hard not to grin (the bad way) at that vision of the “serious adult world” these comments brings to my mind, as if all this was of such (superior) significance…
    It also makes me think many people still wrongfully consider the concept of being adult as recognized by society (with its share of “responsibilities” -of what kind…- and dedicated activities) an equivalent to being mature, which in my opinion doesn’t carry any “tangible” criterion in essence but rather the notion that you managed to develop a conceptual apparatus allowing you to understand things and act with much more hindsight and regard (being the first step towards wisdom somewhat, which requires more intelligence).
    But words they are…

    My point being that the themes can be pretty much anything, this is the way you deal with it (and not just how it looks either) that makes your work rather mature or not…
    That scene Nathan refers to, I would rather qualify it as risible pathos, according to my own sensitivity. Not much because of the sex component specifically though, but for this overall observation that the game takes itself seriously rather than being genuinely deep, which is further along evidenced by the truly second class politico-ethico-philosophical discussion of the same vein in that same scene… Not that I would complain much about the way they approach things if they weren’t trying too hard to keep it serious in order to pretend situations like these are “so mature”, however…