The Witcher 3 Devs Reveal the Hardest Quests to Design
The Witcher 3's Bloody Baron and The Battle of Kaer Morhen proved to be the most difficult quests to write and design.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was praised for its "[a]bsorbing story" in GameSpot's review, something that was evident in quests like The Bloody Baron storyline and The Last Wish. Now, quest designers Pawel Sasko and Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz have answered questions on The Witcher 3's forums, where they revealed which quests were the hardest to design and write.
According to the two designers, the hardest quest to design was The Battle of Kaer Morhen, which was complicated in a number of different ways. First off, you try to recruit characters prior to the battle, and certain characters will join you based on what you've done for them in the story. Sasko says that in his 11 years as a quest designer, he's "never implemented such a technically challenging quest as Battle of Kaer Morhen."
"From the early state of paper design we knew that it was going to be a huge and complicated quest--and it turned out to be even worse than we expected," Sasko revealed. "Players could have between nine and 16 characters supporting them, depending on all other things they did--and those characters could appear in any possible combination, plus some of them had to have additional separate scenes (for instance: the dialog with Roche and Ves confronting Letho). I had to make sure that every player who brought a unique set of characters had a quality experience that would stay with them for a long time."
The complications didn't stop with just the story moments between characters; it also leaked into the gameplay mechanics. Each character performs a certain action during the battle, and there are characters who will team up in specific ways if they're both present during the quest.
"All scenes and gameplay situations were designed to give the player a reward from what they did in all the quests before," Sasko said. "At the end, I was proud of what we managed to achieve and I'm grateful that I was working on it."
Senior writer Karolina Stachyra had the job of penning what Sasko and Tomaszkiewicz say was the most challenging storyline to write. Sasko says that it "took a long time to get [The Bloody Baron's quest line] right."
"The topic we decided to tackle was difficult and ambitious and required special attention. Karolina Stachyra, who did all the writing, spent lots of time with me dealing with nuances," he said. "Both Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz and Marcin Blacha offered lots of feedback and ideas to improve the writing--we wanted to present [the] mood of Velen through the character of Baron and sketch the similarities between two fathers who lost their daughters (Geralt and Baron)."
Sasko also mentioned some of the side quests that he loves, which include The Last Wish "because it's a romance story with Yennefer, that was hard to pull off both technically and dialog-wise" and The Tower Outta Nowheres "because it's a pastiche and critique of DRM."
"The Hearts of Stone expansion pack contains some great quests as well, but for me personally the best is Scenes from a Marriage (for its unique design of puzzles that tell the story) and Dead Man's Party (for the absurd idea that worked unbelievably well at the end)," he added.
The pair of designers also talked about the design process, what it's like to work with the writers, and how they decided which characters and elements from the books would be implemented in the game. You can read the full Q&A over on the CD Projekt Red forums.
Players can look forward to more quests when The Witcher 3's next expansion, Blood and Wine, releases sometime this year. Polish gaming website GRYOnline listed the DLC with a June 7 release date.
You can check out Blood and Wine images full of color and mushrooms right here. And if you're not squeamish, you can take a look at this particularly gruesome image from the upcoming expansion.
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