The Witcher Updated Impressions

We meet with CD Projekt at the 2006 Games Convention and check out the latest version of its upcoming role-playing game.

LEIPZIG, Germany--During the recent 2006 Games Convention in Leipzig we had an opportunity to spend some time with CD Projekt, which we last met with at the Electronic Entertainment Expo earlier this year. CD Projekt has been working on its Andrzej Sapkowski-inspired role-playing game The Witcher for some time now, and although the presentation that we were given on this occasion bore more than a passing resemblance to the one at E3, progress has clearly been made in the months between the two events.

The environments you'll get to explore really are quite beautiful.

For part one of our presentation we were ushered into a small makeshift theater, where we were reacquainted with Geralt, the game's main character, via a beautifully prerendered movie. We then watched a cinematic cutscene powered by the game engine, which will appear at the start of the game and which went some way to showing off just what CD Projekt's modified version of BioWare's Aurora engine is capable of. At first glance, The Witcher's environments reminded us of those in Fable, but they're a lot more detailed here, and it appears that you'll have much more freedom to explore them in this game than in Molyneux's 2004 offering.

The first area of The Witcher that we were invited to take a look at during our meeting was its combat, which will be played out in real time and appears to be quite fast-paced. Since Geralt is a swordmaster, many of his moves--which span some 200-plus animations--are based on medieval combat techniques. Geralt is skilled in six different swordfighting styles, which include steel and silver variants of the strong, fast, and group techniques. Each of these styles will be effective in a different situation and against a different kind of enemy, so while the group steel style is best used against gangs of weak human thugs and the like, for example, the strong silver style will be useful when you're confronted by large monsters, such as werewolves.

In addition to his skills as a swordsman, Geralt will gain access to magical abilities as you progress through the game. Details on these are scarce at present, but during our presentation we got to see fireball projectiles and a spherical shield, the latter of which was shown only after we'd watched Geralt deflecting incoming arrows with his sword. We were also told about a magical trap ability that will let Geralt lay a trap that stuns enemies who walk into it, a telekinetic blast, and a mind-influencing power, but we didn't get to see any of these in action.

Next up was a tech demo of sorts, in which we got to watch Geralt walking around a picturesque environment while a member of the development team sped up the day and night cycle and triggered weather effects on command. The transition from day to night--complete with clouds moving across the sky and a beautiful sunset--was quite impressive, as was the sunshine giving way to gray skies, drizzle, torrential rain, and ultimately a thunderstorm. We were told that many of the monsters in the game will come out only at certain times of day or when the weather conditions suit them, which promises to make traveling through the same areas a different experience each time you do it.

When admiring a sunset, remember that some monsters like to come out after dark.

Our demonstration of The Witcher came to a close with a sneak peek at two of the potions/elixirs that you can brew using your alchemy skill and then use to temporarily augment your abilities in the game. Interestingly, all of the potions are poisonous, so when their effects wear off you'll have to deal with some nasty side effects for a while, such as losing consciousness, temporary blindness, or a noticeable reduction in one of your attributes. The first mixture that we saw was a night-vision potion, which turned the entire screen black and white but highlighted living things in color--more like thermal vision. The second was alcohol, which blurred the screen and did a disturbingly good job of making us feel like we had double vision for a time. Alcohol will adversely affect your abilities in combat, but after drinking it you'll find that your improved social skills let you get more information from characters that you're talking to in a bar, for example.

No publisher has been confirmed for The Witcher at this time, but CD Projekt hopes to announce one in the near future. We look forward to bringing you more information on the game as soon as it becomes available.

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Discussion

45 comments
john_jk22
john_jk22

Truly think this game has become a classic in only a few weeks, think this opinion is shared by lots of players so far although some game sites can`t look and think outside of the box as they should. It`s 2007 now and we`ve been waiting and always yearned for something to happen to this genre, it finally did I think. And this is only the beginning. Just to add, I`m happy to see gamesites recognising its true value but not having any joy in seeing Gamespot`s view on The Witcher, a major website on which i`ve been a member for almost 6 years now. Although the review may be considered fair by many, the initial "Best and Worst of 2007" poll did not include the aforementioned, which I find it to be quite oblivious.

prog5uk
prog5uk

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

godsend1989
godsend1989

this game its a shame dont play it if u are a really rpg player u wont like it if this is u first rpg maybe u will like it no one will beat oblivion

zoniq
zoniq

Now I finnaly get my copy of The witcher...czech version named "Zaklinac" btw. collectors edition :P.....and.....this game is the best I have played last year... The Witcher is an absolutely charismatic character and other characters have their own charismas too (some are simply the best NPC's I've ever seen).....superb story-line, open world, awesome graphics, very, very nice music and fx, superb character development.................this game absolutely rocks:)

Maupertus
Maupertus

I was eagerly awaiting this game....that was in 2005. I think this game will stay in production limbo (as they still haven't got a publisher...STEAM anyone?) I think that the moment this game comes out the press will hammer it to pieces as the graphics will be dated and/or other RPG's will have beaten it in gameplay, although Morrowind and Gothic have probably already done so.

Lumenadducere
Lumenadducere

Hmm...looks good, but I'm waiting for more details until I make my final decision.

avruk
avruk

i must get this game! im a huge sapkowski fan and i think thist will b a legendary game, just like morrowind or baldurs gate! im waiting Geralt...:D

bit77
bit77

looks amazing, I´ll be tracking it. The medieval combat techniques are inspiring, can´t wait to see it nearer to release

Cammaris
Cammaris

I ´ll buy this game ... can´t wait .... this will be long winter :-(

GirlUntold
GirlUntold

Certainly sounding good so far, but there's not enough information out yet on whether I'd buy this or not.

Shadow_Pro
Shadow_Pro

Great!!! is good! GAME!!! WOWOWOWOW xD

Daerdin
Daerdin

@vedicpi - spring 2007 ;)

vedicpi
vedicpi

Great, let me try it!!!

_luzak_
_luzak_

I'm a bit sceptical about this game. I know we got good "graphic designers" in Poland and I'm afraid that coders will fu* up everything. It's like in some movie trailers. You see a glamorous explosion here, some stuntman tricks there. And when you finally see the movie it occurs to you that scenes that were put in the trailer where the best parts of the movie and the rest was just bullsh*. That the plot was boring and actors played fairly... catastrophic. BTW. Can somebody explain to me what the hell Hayden Christensen was doing in SW saga because he surely wasn't acting. Of course you usually don't have any actors in a game (only voices), but I hope you understand what I mean. I'm just afraid that this great potential will be wasted by a lots of bugs. But if it won't. Well... I again will be proud to be Polish. Maybe it will let me forget about all this rednecks in our parliament.

Atomic_Mutant
Atomic_Mutant

One of the biggest challenges for this game will be localization. Sure, in Polish it would be based on a tale short of an amazing epic adventure, but in garbled English (as many of previous Russian games can unfortunately attest) other merits of this game would be gone to waste.

THE_WITCHER
THE_WITCHER

Hi, I'm from Poland, The Witcher is fantastic game. The Witcher will be largest production in Poland, I hope you enjoy this game :)

ninjoslot
ninjoslot

been reading about this the witcher game from the net and game mags. i do hope its as good as they are making it out to be. the screens are cool, and i'm about to watch a video of it right now...hope i like it.

BounceDK
BounceDK

I pray that this game wont be Starforce infected. I really want it, but that won't happen if it's infected by crapware.

Daerdin
Daerdin

@MartinRiggs15 - I can assure you, you will play this game hell longer ;) I had the chance of playing a tiny little bit of it and I could do it all day long ;) @mof0 - we know that already - check previous posts. But thanks for bringing it up once more ;) By the way - all the latest news from the world of the Witcher can be found on the official game site - www.thewitcher.com - and our GameSpot Union - http://www.gamespot.com/pages/unions/home.php?union_id=Witcher

mof0
mof0

Atari Europe has picked this up for European and Asian publishing.

MartinRiggs15
MartinRiggs15

It looks interesting. If I get a nice job i'll consider picking it up. My commitment is questionable so I dont want to dump money on something I'll play for 5 hours.

_Sam_
_Sam_

I'll be tracking this game

arczero01
arczero01

sounds cool and interesting if i get a good PC i might look into this

MightyCowM
MightyCowM

It looks impressive so far. Nice attention to detail.

norbee007
norbee007

MadMinstrel: THX! I thought it's a best seller, that everyone loves in Poland ... like Lord of the Rings (hope I haven't said anything stupid).

Bill-Rizer
Bill-Rizer

looks interesting, I hope the combat isn't a glitchfest . . .

cruzolo
cruzolo

Go Poland :). I hope it will be at least as good as Painkiller is...

juancorazon
juancorazon

Sounds Great Can't wait to play it! Don't you love when Great Stories Mesh into Great Games. Hope they do it right.

Daerdin
Daerdin

"No publisher has been confirmed for The Witcher at this time" - not true any more :) For Europe and Asia it's - ATARI Europe. They have signed the agreement today :D

adres666
adres666

...andrzej sapkowski is one of the coolest and inteligent writers, not only as fantasy creator but in general...love, hate, power-up drugs and mutations...witchers are mutant with special skills, they can have lots of powers coz they use alchemy...its really good stuff guys...this is a good link ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Wish-Gollancz-S-F/dp/0575077824/sr=1-1/qid=1157032390/ref=sr_1_1/202-8842213-5263021?ie=UTF8&s=books )...soon enough sapkowski will be translated into English and all of u may read about witchers :D...that book is 2 or 3 story about witcher...good humor is also one of the best things in sapkowski work....just imagine dwarfs piss to milk in one of the inn's :)....i hope that game will have all cool stuff

MadMinstrel
MadMinstrel

norbee007: Don't worry. The books are not that great. They seem fine until the third or so. Then Sapkowski spoils everything with lots and lots of anticlimatic elements. I hope the game isn't based on the plot of the book and inherits only the setting and the protagonist.

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

There are not enough RPG's. But there are too many fantasy RPG's within that group. I doubt I will be buying any fantasy RPG in the next year or so. Between Morrowind and Arx Fatalis and Gothic and Oblivion I am fantasy'ed out, I am fed up with Orc and Wizard and Goblin killing and same-o spells. For the life of me I don't know why we can't have Western themed RPG's (A U.S. Marshall who has to pacify the State), WWII 'proper' RPG's (Running the Frech resistamce and taking on sabotage missions), 'proper' sci fi rpgs (Along the lines of '2001' more than Star Wars), etc. And the sooner someone brings out an rpg/adventure that is not about fighting and killing, the better (A detective agency solving crimes thru clues and conversation, like the infocom adventure 'Deadline' for example), or this hobby is going to whither and die.

norbee007
norbee007

I have been waiting for this game since it has been announced, so I am looking very forward to it. But I sad, because I can't read Andrzej Sapkowski's book, because it hasn't been translated in my country (Hungary). :'(

GoFeR24
GoFeR24

I am from Poland, and i know, that The Witcher is greatest games ever (in my country) :).

Boo_looDODO
Boo_looDODO

Sounds pretty sweet doesnt it? Lots of effort being put into the detail, like changing weather patterns etc. I wouldnt mind finding out about the specs though, but for me this is a must buy! :)

blackIceJoe
blackIceJoe

I also am looking forward to this game.

Lilac_Benjie
Lilac_Benjie

Really looking forward to this game! I won't be surprised if Witcher ends up being the next cult RPG to enter the scene. Too many RPG sequelsnowadays. :)