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CD Projekt: The Witcher 3 Multiplayer Hardly Set In Stone

'Oh god, multiplayer's a terrible fit. Divert all resources to more super dorky goat helmets!'

If you think about it, Geralt’s basically a bunch of super cool dudes packed into one hyper-dude, by which all other dudes are judged. I mean, he wields two swords, has lived multiple lives between his various states of memory having-ness, and is approximately 22 million times lustier than the average bear. Also, his newfound beard is considered an above average bear by most leading ecologists and bear raters. So basically, he doesn’t need multiplayer. He’s more than multifaceted enough all by his lonesome. Red flags were raised, then, when CD Projekt studio manager Adam Badowski strongly hinted that multiplayer’s in the works for The Witcher 3. During GDC, however, I had the opportunity to clarify the issue, and – whether the traditionally single-player epic sprouts a mound of hydra-like new heads or not – CDP insists that it has no intention of giving fans reason to worry.

“That’s something Adam mentioned in the context of us always looking at the best ways to make the games we’re currently working on. So multiplayer’s certainly something we’ll investigate, but it’s not currently set in stone for Witcher,”  marketing head Tracy Williams told RPS.

“We think about different methods, but nothing’s for sure right now. We’re just investigating some opportunities,” added lead gameplay designer Maciej Szczesnik.

Obviously, though, CD Projekt’s interested in doing something that takes (at least) two to make things go right. Because really, who isn’t these days? It means potential longevity, and that’s precious monetary lifeblood in an industry where mindshare’s becoming a measurable commodity. That mentality, however, is precisely why CDP’s having second thoughts about including any sort of multiplayer in the first place.

“It’s tacked on [in other games], but that won’t be the case here,” stressed Szczesnik. “If we decide to have any multiplayer elements, they’ll be tailored to the game. It will be the best possible experience in the single-player experience first. [Even social mechanics] have to be optional. With single-player, you just want to jump in and enjoy the story. Huge multiplayer features can be more destructive than helpful. We’re not trying to have multiplayer just to have it.”

Naturally, then, it’s all pretty touch-and-go right now. The Witcher, after all, has carved out quite a sizable niche in a rather packed role-playing kingdom, and single-player’s been leading the charge entirely. Thankfully, CDP’s well aware of that, and its goal is absolutely to make a third Witcher game – not Marketing Survey Friendly Fantasy RPG XVIII: The Vanillaning.

“At the end of the day, it’s about playing as Geralt,” concluded Williams. “So we look at the core elements of that and what RPG players are looking for, and I don’t know if multiplayer is really at the top of that list.”

“I don’t really think it’s possible to make that kind of experience in multiplayer,” added Szczesnik. “So that’s why we’re trying to investigate other options.”

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Nathan Grayson

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