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Something Less Wicked This Way Comes

Crivens, this is unprecedented. Last year's most divisive RPG, The Witcher, is to be re-released. But not just re-released in a shiny box and with extra smutty collector's cards - re-made, almost. Loading times are to be cut by up to 80%, stability's in for a-fixin' and there are to be improvements in "interactivity and precision in combat." Most fascinatingly for me - as it was the often painfully wobbly dialogue that most kept the game from my affections - its script and voiceovers are in for a near-complete overhaul.

"The English-language version will, for the most part, be completely re-done. The amount of text in that version was reduced compared to other language versions and that was said to cause a significant decrease in immersion and atmosphere. Now the English version will be as polished and atmospheric as the other language versions."

That's still not all. Bloody hell.

"Over 50 new supporting character models will be added, so that the player won't run into the same person too often. The inventory panel will be re-designed and improved, and some elements of the main game screen will be polished. However, one of the biggest changes that will greatly increase the player's immersion in the game world will be improvements concerning dialogue scenes. Both Geralt and non-player characters will get over 100 new animated gestures which will make their body language during conversations much more natural. Additionally, the facial animation and lip-sync system will be re-created, making the faces of the speakers now even more natural, as well."

So that's The Witcher 2.0 then, with almost everything anyone bitched about due for a tarting up. It's a second chance to be the game its developers wanted it to be, it seems. That's pretty incredible - certainly, I can't think of any other game that's been officially re-loved to this extent post-release.

The Witcher's sold a truckload, truly one of last year's sleeper hits. So I wonder. Is this Enhanced Edition aimed at those who haven't yet played the game, or rather at those that have already sworn undying allegiance to it, and won't hesitate to buy a second copy?

Update - the new content will be free to existing Witcher owners, it seems. Me gazes forlornly at my timed-out, unpatchable, mega-buggy review code.

It's enough to get me interested in revisiting the thing, certainly - I really struggled to stomach the atmosphere-fracture of the clumsily-translated dialogue and cutscenes, but maybe this will cause the scales to fall from my eyes.

Whether new lines can make the unchecked misogyny any less risibly cheesy remains to be seen. Let's hope so.

More info on The Witcher: Enhanced Edition in this cut out'n'keep PDF.

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