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A cancelled Witcher game of the 90s had tank controls

Which Witcher is which?

Here’s some interesting trivia for fans of emotionally stunted pest-control men. Footage of a long-cancelled Witcher game has surfaced thanks to some of the Polish developers who worked on the would-be adventure RPG back in the late 90s. This was before CD Projekt Red started work on their own version of The Witcher, and shows the white-haired swordsman we’d come to recognise as Geralt waddling around in dungeons at the mercy of ‘tank controls’ and taking swings at a burly man in a bar. It looks a bit like Resident Evil, except here the annoying camera angles fly sickeningly across the room.

Here you can listen to former developers Kacper Reutt and Jarek Sobierski talk over the old build they made for the game, which they’ve got running on an emulator. This was more a “proof-of-concept” they admit but say it was a good representation of what the studio, Metropolis, were hoping to make.

The project began in 1996, led by Bulletstormer and Ethan Carter vanisher Adrian Chmielarz, after he met the writer of the “Wiedźmin” stories, Andrzej Sapkowski, and convinced him to let his studio of the time make a game based on the author’s adult take on Slavic mythology. But the game itself died soon afterwards. You can read the whole story about that thanks to Robert at Eurogamer, but the short version is that technical problems and “publisher doubts” meant the game was put in a cupboard and slowly forgotten.

Eventually, the rights to the Witcher fell into the hands of CD Projekt Red, who took the cat-eyed womaniser in their own direction. But this is still a curious reminder of the fragility of videogame development, a glimpse of what might’ve been.

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Brendan Caldwell

Features Editor

Brendan likes all types of games. To him there is wisdom in Crusader Kings 2, valour in Dark Souls, and tragicomedy in Nidhogg.

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