The Witcher 3 Dev Says the Key With Sex Is to Not Sell Your Game on It

CD Projekt Red discusses sex in games and the challenges of developing for consoles.

With The Witcher series, developer CD Projekt Red has not shied away from the matter of sex, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be no exception. As long as developers are "tactful" about their handling of it, level designer Miles Tost says there's nothing wrong with including sex in a game.

"We make mature games for mature players (every Witcher game is for adults only), and sex is, well, a part of adult life," Tost said in an interview with PlayStation Lifestyle. "The key thing is not to overdo it, not to sell your game with sex. As long as you remain tactful in what you do, as long as you have a legitimate reason to put sex in your game, I think it's quite safe to do so."

CD Projekt Red told GameSpot earlier this year that Wild Hunt's sex scenes will not be interactive, unlike those in the God of War games. The non-interactive route is one also taken by games like Mass Effect, which presents sex in the form of a brief cutscene--though that didn't prevent it from proving to be controversial nonetheless.

Tost was also asked about the challenges of developing the console versions of Wild Hunt, which is coming to Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 in addition to PC. This is the Polish developer's second game to be released on consoles, the first being the Xbox 360 version of The Witcher 2. Wild Hunt is, however, its first game on a PlayStation system, and the first on current-gen consoles. Despite the major improvements Xbox One and PS4 offer over last-gen systems in terms of horsepower, Tost said, "A locked performance budget is one [challenge]--PCs, although I'm not saying this is a best practice, allow you to raise the bar in terms of visuals because you can always upgrade the hardware.

"It's different on consoles, as you have a fixed performance budget, you need to stick to. Also, there's a lot of [technical certification requirements] you need to meet to pass the certification process. We had to learn all that."

Following a delay announced earlier this year, Wild Hunt is now scheduled for release next February. CD Projekt Red has promised not to delay it again, and is showing off a 30-minute gameplay demo at San Diego Comic-Con this week. For more on Wild Hunt, check out our latest preview.

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MrBlondeX

Chris Pereira

Twitter/Xbox Live/PSN/Nintendo Network: TheSmokingManX
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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297 comments
l0ngshot
l0ngshot

Direct jab at Dragon age inquisition lol. Love it! 

oldtobie
oldtobie

The only reason that makes me appreciate all the so-called tasteful sexual content is the fact that it weeds out a good chunk of the 11 year-olds. Good to have fewer of them around.

ahpuck
ahpuck

In other words, don't do what Bioware is doing with Dragon Age 3.

popman183
popman183

I like the Witcher series, and I will be buying TW3, but I find it painfully ironic that the newest E3 trailer is doing exactly that; selling the game on sex. It splices in clips of sex scenes and kissing much in the same way a Hollywood blockbuster might, and has done so since at least the launch trailer for TW2.


I agree with their philosophy about sex not being central to the experience, but to say that they are not at least somewhat selling the game on sex would be entirely false.

MasterSatsujin
MasterSatsujin

I prefer the graceful romance scenes from Dragon Age more than The Witcher's tasteless scenes. Bioware actually makes gamers use their imagination. I think The Witcher 3 should have followed in the same direction as Bioware. It's a shame to see they didn't.

VakarianGirl
VakarianGirl

"As long as developers are "tactful" about their handling of it, "


Well, they're failing right out of the gates then - because there was absolutely NOTHING tactful about The Witcher 2's handling of sex.  It was frivolous, casual, base and immature.

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

My body is sooo ready for the Wild Hunt ;)

Xmus942
Xmus942

I like da booty sir. Give it to me. 

rmiller365
rmiller365

I remember playing fable 2, being completely devoted to my wife, and still finding I had 13 STDs in my status menu... Anyone else notice that? Lol

deadeternityx
deadeternityx

I personally find it all just awkward to watch. Whether it's in movies, video games or books. I don't mind when it's implied, but I don't need to see anything. That's how I prefer it to be done in my entertainment. But whatever... it's not like I wouldn't play a game because of it.

nurnberg
nurnberg

Please do not put any ga-y content in this game.

jasspur
jasspur

Sex is a part of our adult life, but between my wife and I; not cartoons. We buy the the game, because it's good; not because it’s good and has sex. That is just a way to get false statistics; thus leading to worse games that focus more on turning on people who are sexually attracted to things like the kids from "The Magic School Bus." Does that qualify under the "Q" category of "LGBTQ," because I'm pretty sure they already have everything covered at least twice?

xantufrog
xantufrog moderator

@jasspur what? are you saying the witcher series encourages perverts attracted to the magic schoolbus children to video games and ruins the quality of games in general?

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

So what does talking to the press about the fact that your game has sex in count as then?

joey2010
joey2010

Ah this brings back the hot coffee mod memories from San Andreas.

daikkenaurora12
daikkenaurora12

Key With Sex Is to Not Sell Your Game on It, but to sell your sex on your game.  

ThePope2k6
ThePope2k6

When I was a single guy, I never had a problem with sex scenes in adult games, for the reasons the developer stated.

Now that I'm married, it's a little bit more problematic.  My wife doesn't play video games, nor does she really care for them, but she does understand the idea that the character on screen is a digital representation of me.

It's all well and good if sex is an optional part of the game world (a la Fable), but what happens when it's a major part of the main story?  If my wife walks into the room while I'm in the middle of a sex scene involving my character, does that present an embarrassing situation?  Could it cause hurt feelings?  Obviously, for me, it's just part of the game and doesn't mean anything, but for someone who doesn't play games, that relationship may not be so obvious.

That's something that developers really need to pay attention to.

Bellum_Sacrum
Bellum_Sacrum

@ThePope2k6 The character on screen is not a digital representation of you. That's freaking weird what you just said.

jonmar
jonmar

@ThePope2k6 If you think it might be a problem I would suggest that you talk to your wife about it before it happens. Tell her about the game. Tell her it has mature content including nude sex scenes. Tell her also that they're just part of the story like they are in a movie. This way she won't be surprised if she walks in on you while you're playing (unless you have your pants down :P). But really I don't see why it would be a problem. Do you have a problem watching movies with sex scenes with your wife? It's basically the same thing. The character in the game is not really a digital representation of you except for maybe the moral choices you make if you make them the way you would do in real life but as far as the sex and violence is concerned you should inform your wife that there's a disconnect there. You're not Geralt.

oversoul53
oversoul53

@ThePope2k6 It's a bunch of pixels... anyone who gets mad over that needs to recheck their priorities. 

daikkenaurora12
daikkenaurora12

@ThePope2k6 Would your wife get jealous?  Its a friggin game and she's your wife.  What if there's a sex scene in a movie?  Do you get embarrassed?  

Bellum_Sacrum
Bellum_Sacrum

@TheCanadian0495 @Bellum_Sacrum @ThePope2k6 You are confusing the puppeteer with the puppet. Especially in the case of the Witcher, since he's an established character with his own personality. He's a complete third person, you're just exploring the possibilities of what HE might experience. Projection is just a sign of psychological repression.

ThePope2k6
ThePope2k6

@jonmar  There's a pretty significant difference between watching a sex scene in a movie and watching (or participating a la God of War) in a sex scene in a game. There's a question of agency that doesn't exist in a movie.

I, as a long time video game player, am able to view my video game avatar as an abstraction, so it doesn't present a problem for me to have my video game character engage in a sexual relationship.


That abstraction is not necessarily something that my wife, who doesn't play video games, would understand.  It's easy to explain to my wife that the mass murder I engage in while playing violent games does not represent something I'd ever do.  She knows I would never kill someone.  Sex is a different matter though.  That's something we both enjoy.  So to engage in virtual sex, could be seen as a betrayal. If it's just a cutscene, then that's one thing, but it becomes much harder to explain if it's participatory, or even if it's a cutscene that emerges from my actions and choices within the context of a game.


I'm not saying that sex shouldn't be in games, only that designers do need to be aware of the real-life implications that can emerge from including such content. 

Darkhol0w
Darkhol0w

@ThePope2k6 Well you can do something about it..lock the door in the room you're playing in. Unless you wanna play this on a console in which case I'm sorry.

TheCanadian0495
TheCanadian0495

@Bellum_Sacrum @ThePope2k6 I can understand where he's coming from. Especially in a game like Witcher, because you're the one making the choices. In a linear action game, it's not a representation of you because you have no control over what your character does. In RPGs, and games like Witcher, you make all of the choices, so in a way it's a representation of you, because you're choosing what the character does. In response to the whole marriage thing though, your best bet is to just play it when she's not home, cause this game is worth it ;)

jonmar
jonmar

@ThePope2k6 @jonmar I get what you're saying. I'm married too but fortunately my wife is an avid gamer like me so she understands all these things. It seems to me that it's a trust issue. You said she knows that you would never kill someone. Are you worried she doesn't know that you would never cheat on her and that's why she could get upset if she saw you playing a game with a sex scene going on? Again the best thing, in my opinion, would be to just talk to her about it beforehand. Just say "Look I bought this game. It's a bit more mature in it's story and content and it has some sex and nudity in it". See how she reacts and then go from there. I'm sure any reasonable human being wouldn't get too upset about it. Talking is the best option for everything. If you buy the game and don't tell her about it and try to play it when she's not around and THEN she walks in on you during a sex scene that's going to be way worse for you because it will look like you were trying to hide it. And that will probably have the exact result you're afraid of because it might make her feel like you are betraying her even though you're just playing a game. Just be open about it and if she has concerns you can explain things. It's probably best to do it even before you buy the game.

xantufrog
xantufrog moderator

@ThePope2k6 I don't think people should jump on you for this - it's a fair point. I love the games and my wife doesn't mind, but I can see how this might be awkward for some and it's good you are sensitive to her feelings

cody55419
cody55419

@ThePope2k6 No, that is NOT something the developers need to pay attention to.  You need to pay attention to the game's rating and play it appropriately.

axiilotl
axiilotl

@ThePope2k6 It appears to me that you and others haven't played the previous games. All the sex scenes are initiated by the player, besides seeing bare breasts about two times for a few seconds throughout the game.

qu1x0t1c
qu1x0t1c

@jonmar That's what a rational and intelligent person would do, too bad there aren't many of us around anymore... Thank you for stating the obvious though. It would seem there aren't too many people with common sense alive today, heh.

Prometheus
Prometheus

Uh, sex cards? And btw, all your fans can talk about is how much more 'mature' the sex scenes are in the Witcher and how they don't want Bioware's g.ay *** in their Witcher romances.

darkrayne
darkrayne

Saying this is..er.. selling your game on it.

RIIIIKU
RIIIIKU

Its the main reason why am not buying this game

Talavaj
Talavaj

Says the dev who slapped sex as the first thing you see in The Witcher 2.

Darkhol0w
Darkhol0w

@Talavaj Sex? You see a naked woman implying they were together after Witcher 1 events (since Witcher 2 is happening 2-3 months later).

Go play a T game if you can't handle some nudity.

4kgamer_lmxxx
4kgamer_lmxxx

I don't have any issues with sexual content in a video game, but it shouldn't be forced upon the player. It should be optional so the player can decide for themselves if they want to encounter it or not...