E3 2011: The Witcher 2 - Xbox 360 Preview Impressions

The superb PC role-playing game is coming to the Xbox 360, and CD Projekt Red showed the game in action at E3 2011

The Witcher 2 is undoubtedly one of the finest role-playing games in years--and certainly the most beautiful. Developer CD Projekt Red had already announced that this gorgeous RPG would be coming to the Xbox 360 prior to our meeting at E3 2011, but this is the first time we've seen it running on Microsoft's hardware. The game is not playable on the show floor, but senior producer Thomasz Gop showed us the game in action behind closed doors. Or more specifically, he showed the same section--the Prologue's dungeon escape--on two separate consoles to show off the various ways in which your choices can lead to a different experience.

But chances are you know about the extraordinary ways in which choice manifests itself in The Witcher 2. Your more pressing question may very well be: How does it look? The version we saw was a pre-alpha build, so it did not represent how the game will look at release. But our first reaction was, "Hey, this game looks really great on the Xbox 360." CD Projekt is aiming for the equivalent of the PC version's medium settings on the Xbox 360, and we noticed some animation hitches, screen tears, and a few frame rate dips, but that's par for the course at this stage. The art design still shone through, and Gop was proud of how the art design was always the team's first concern with the visuals. He stated that even Witcher 2 players enjoying the game on low settings are incredibly pleased with how the game looks. The team's goal is to make sure that The Witcher 2 runs smoothly at 30 frames per second minimum.

The demo impressed upon us the Witcher 2's flexibility. While one demo player focused on action during the escape, the other player chose the stealth route. (Stealth might be harder, but it also earns you more experience.) That is a minor difference compared to some of the other differences we saw in action. For example, depending on your choices, you might help Baroness La Valette escape her prison shackles--or team up with her son, Aryan. When you emerge from the castle near the prologue's end, it could be to a dark, quiet night--or the castle may be consumed by fire, all depending on your decisions. The combat looked perfectly natural using a controller, though that isn't a surprise: The game supports a controller on the PC as well. However, Gop assured us that this is not just a simple downscaled port and that the game will feel tailor-made for its new platform.

When released for the Xbox 360, The Witcher 2 will include any fixes and changes applied to the PC version to that point. In addition, just as on the PC, CD Projekt will not charge for downloadable content. That's significant, considering that the PC version has received a healthy number of downloadable packs already. Then, there's the other question we so commonly hear: Is the game coming to the PlayStation 3? According to Gop, The Witcher 2 is not an Xbox 360 exclusive, and the team is absolutely interested in bringing the game to Sony's platform. However, at this time, the team is focusing all of its efforts on the Xbox 360 version so that it is as refined, attractive, and playable as possible before tackling another project. CD Projekt Red hasn't announced a final release date, but it informed us that The Witcher 2 for the Xbox 360 will be released by the end of 2011.

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GameSpot senior editor Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play Rock Band because he always gets stuck pla

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Discussion

49 comments
kaem79
kaem79

For all you console gamers who haven't bought and played this masterpiece on the pc already. Go ahead and buy this game for your console. You won't be dissapointed.

mcdeigo96
mcdeigo96

I just hope that my Xbox allows me to download the extra content since, for some reason, I'm not allowed to purchase mature content. I've checked my settings, changed them all, and still nothing happens. Anyone else have this problem?

reavin81
reavin81

i cant wait this is going to be so sweet

AnubisofSumeria
AnubisofSumeria

just to answer peoples questions about combat... the xbox will be identical in terms of difficulty except for the 'easy' mode, they have tweaked it down alittle and made it more accessible to casual gamers

henrikimaru
henrikimaru

Oh God, I need this game on my 360!!! I can't wait!!! But I will not play this thing on my pc hehe

LordCronog
LordCronog

Though this game looks good I am afraid Skyrim overshadows this, Its a shame about the release date.

Moloch121
Moloch121

I'm still waiting for the news on that new IP or a future expac I'm dying to learn about the fate of the Northern Kingdoms.

quinholo
quinholo

PLEASE....release for ps3 too!!!!!!!!!!!!

jnoel47
jnoel47

The combat has already been dumbed down with the PC 1.2 patch so those looking for a challenge I hope that your not disappointed!! Perhaps they will rework the difficulty options again for the Xbox. The game looks magnificent even with medium settings so atleast that won't disappoint.

buft
buft

I cant wait to get my hands on this, sure im more excited for Skyrim but as anyone knows even the most exciting and comprehensive game gets old after a while and there is plenty of time in my life for 2 great RPGs.

ArticRecon
ArticRecon

They're gonna delay this till around Skyrim's release time.. TIMING-FAIL

ronnet
ronnet

@Gelugon_baat, After the dumbed down experience that Fable III, Gothic 4 and Dragon Age 2 offered, this game's difficulty is its main attraction to me. From what I gather it starts out rediculously hard, and remains hard but you get a sense of accomplishment as you grow stronger and learn the rythm of the combat.

metaltorn
metaltorn

@Gelugon_baat I do love a challenge that i've yet to have overcome. I accept that challenge when it does come.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

@Gelugon_baat, Thanks for the 'Heads Up'. For me the lack of 'Hand Holding' significantly enhances the overall experience, as i dont like being made to feel like a simple minded 'Noob', and enjoy a challenge in addition to learning for myself as opposed to the constant prompts and similar tools that are used in so many games nowadays.

Brokenhope69
Brokenhope69

Buying day 1 next year once it hits the PS3. Same for Diablo III

pelvist
pelvist

@slainta It is very likely to make it over to PS3 next year. This is good news for the 360 gamers. The game is great! Arguably the best rpg this gen, make sure you dont miss out.

tevic
tevic

Looking forward to the 360 version.

IceJester45
IceJester45

Saw some Xbox 360 gameplay footage. I have to say that it looks pretty good even this far from release. Great job, CD Projekt. Boo to Microsoft for not mentioning this brilliant game during the MS press conference.

YoussefS
YoussefS

Yes, gamespot, change your first screenshot. Sure most of us are adults but there is not even an age verification prior to coming to this page. My little brother comes to this website alot and I don't want him seeing naked women just yet. The title is attractive enough for a person to click on the link, so nudity shouldn't be there at all.

derek_brown
derek_brown

@slainta you guys have most of the good games...........god of war uncharted infamous................why complain

slainta
slainta

Damn! No PS3?? I was following this game, I was sure I understood it was going to be for the 3 platforms. How sad! :(

Vojtass
Vojtass

@blutiger_engel Well said, I agree completely. It's a shame that MS turns back to the core gamers. CDPR needs more recognition.

blueboykc
blueboykc

apparently they dont care what you think..and neither do i..

GymFox
GymFox

I think PS3 is a more viable platform for a game like this...

blutiger_engel
blutiger_engel

MS didn't even MENTION them in their press conference. I mean, they had no hardware to announce, only a few short trailers for Halo 4 at the end, Halo:CE, and the presentation for Gears of War 3. That conference was an embarassment on that front. If you weren't excited about kinect, or 2 to 3 shooters, then that's it. Why, when an AAA exclusive (at least timed) happens to fall into your lap, you opt NOT to show what is the best looking RPG to date? Tailor made for your hardcore audience with mature themes and a great storyline. That's the same group of customers, that you've been neglecting for the past year, instead investing time and money into kinect, gimmicks, and casual gaming. CDPR would gladly cook something up to reach millions of gamers watching that conference with the information on the sheer existence of TW2. We all know, that the audience always listenes more closely, when the word "exclusive" is being thrown around, and it will be, at least for now. MS would show the hardcore audience something exclusive to their console, that a 360 owner could be excited about, that's not called Halo or GeoW for a change, and CDPR would gain the notoriety they need for their title to sell even better. MS would only need to give TW2 maybe 2, or 3 minutes of their time, that isn't much. Just an announcement, that the game's in the works, with some footage, to warm people up to TW2 (you have to show them what are they supposed to be excited about). This is ridiculous MS.

spirit_777
spirit_777

Cool sounds good. I was excited to hear of a 360 version and hope its going to be just as awesome as the pc version :)

Vojtass
Vojtass

@StDrake New brand was a rumour.

StDrake
StDrake

I thought they gonna reveal their brand new project?

brain20035
brain20035

I'm playing it on the PC at the moment. I'm running it on low setting with a dual core cpu and geforce 9800GTX+. The guy is right, even on low setting this game's visuals are damn impressive. I may also pick it up for x360.

Vari3ty
Vari3ty

Whoa Gamespot! Someone decided to get a bit naughty with the screenshots lol...

Twin-Blade
Twin-Blade

I get the feeling that despite it only being in alpha stage, a game as technical & outstandingly good looking will still have some technical hitches come release. However I also feel this game is good enough to shine regardless.

TheEpicGoat
TheEpicGoat

@pooyanh They aren't limiting it to only X360 its on PC aswell

pooyanh
pooyanh

Well, if the worst should come to pass (no PS3 version), I can still play it on 360. I just prefer PS3, that's all. Besides, if they don't have a deal with MS, it'd make no sense to limit their consumers to 360 owners and make less money. I'm sure porting to PS3, with the 360 version already in hand, is not that expensive and/or time consuming for them.

blutiger_engel
blutiger_engel

@mdrewitt that makes NO sense. I'm from Poland, I have a gaming PC, I finished the game twice, and the game runs smoothly on ULTRA settings, on a 1000$ custom built PC, that will be a year old in july by the way, but MS won't buy the exclusivity of this title, they didn't even tell people that gathered to watch their conference, that this will be at least a timed exclusive on their platform. If they feel like they can do it, CDPR will port it to PS3. If not, they will start working on TW3 quite probably, hopefully on the PC as the core platform again, with ports to follow after the PC version is completed, and since they feel most comfortable with PC programming, that is quite possible .

mdrewitt
mdrewitt

@pooyanh seeing as its normally a PC only series i have a feeling this will be 'Microsoft only' but who knows.

fluent2332
fluent2332

Hopefully there is more to the game than just great graphics. I hope there is some level of depth to the game.

hakkafixi
hakkafixi

Really glad that it is going to have beautiful visuals on xbox, truly one of the best developers out there with lots of heart and determination to get their games appreciated as intended.

Vojtass
Vojtass

It's great on PC. Buy it on XB360, support CD Projekt Red! :D They deserve it.

siarhei
siarhei

Great game. glad it's coming to x360.

pooyanh
pooyanh

Great. Gonna wait for the PS3 version.

Neosword
Neosword

Still need to finish it on the PC, but I will probably buy this as well.