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The Witcher Enhanced Edition Interview
The days of good PC single-player RPGs certainly aren't numbered. Last year, we've witnessed The Witcher -- the first major release from Poland based computer game publisher/developer CD Projekt. We've rated the game 9.1/10.0 and found it to be one of the most enjoyable single-player RPGs in quite a while.
Recently, CD Projekt decided to return to the game and give it a proper polish. In addition to adding technical improvements, they also promised new content and other cool surprises.
We talk to Michal Madej, Chief Designer on The Witcher, who explains more about what CD Projekt is doing to improve the game.
ActionTrip: Generally speaking, how are things at CD Projekt right now, after the successful release of The Witcher?
Michał Madej: Generally speaking - very enthusiastic, but we're also a little puzzled. We always believed that The Witcher is an outstanding game, but still we are surprised how well it does all around the world. I am very glad that editors and gamers understand our vision of a modern role playing game. On the other hand, we feel a great responsibility, so now following titles will have much higher expectations and we can't disappoint you all. Hopefully, it will inspire us even more, but not paralyze our creativity.
AT: You guys obviously went to a lot of trouble polishing and addressing issues from the original. What key aspects of the game your team is looking to improve in The Witcher Enhanced Edition?
MM: There are four main qualities of The Witcher we want to polish in Enhanced Edition - customization, performance, immersion and the interface. First of all, we plan to cut down all loading times, improve GUI texture cashing, remove obsolete copy protection, as a result the game will offer more smooth, faster gameplay and without any delays. Secondly, there's immersion - we plan to make the world of The Witcher even more realistic. We are adding over 50 new NPCs' models, another 100 emotions animations, eye tracking, improved facial expressions and foremost corrected dialogs and translations (especially in German version). Last but not least, we will improve the general handling and the interface - in-fight response will be faster and we plan to redesign inventory and the weapon/style choice panel. Those are the most important changes, which I hope will meet gamers' expectations. Additionally, the Enhanced Version will be shipped together with our editing toolset Djinni, enabling players to create their own adventures.
AT: Does the new content feature any main story tie-ins? Also, will players be able to find out more about Geralt's backdrop?
MM: We don't want to change the main story, but instead add some more background for Geralt's past. So, the Enhanced Version will include two completely new adventures, featuring over 8 brand new quests. Those additional adventures will take part in Geralt's past.
AT: It's good to hear that current owners of The Witcher will be able to get all the extra content via a downloadable update. However, you mentioned that the update also contains patches released so far. Can you tell us roughly how large an update can we expect (500MB, 1GB...)?
MM: Yeah, all additional features and adventures will be available for free; for all registered users. I can't tell right now how big it will be, but considering such a huge amount of changers like new models, dialogs, etc. it will be probably compared to full The Witcher game (i.e. a few GB).
AT: The Witcher was well-received. Do you think this new, improved edition of the game will increase its replayability for gamers who've already experienced it?
MM: We are sure it definitely will. Playing the game once more, you always pay more attention to small details, notice background characters, discover side plots and explore locations more carefully. Moreover, playing once more, you don't have the same motivation to deal with certain bugs, performance issues and user non-friendliness. The Enhanced Version gives much more diversity, details and immersion, so I'm sure many gamers will return to slightly different world, with a lot of new small things to discover and enjoy. On the other hand, they won't have to struggle against some inconveniences and troubles, they had in the first edition of The Witcher.
AT: What are your further plans for the franchise? The Witcher already has a strong fan base, so I think it's safe to expect a sequel or add-on at some point in the future, right?
MM: At this point we are completely focused on The Witcher Enhanced Edition and on supporting it, so future plans still remain the future. For sure, this is not our last tribute to the role-playing genre, and we still see huge potential of The Witcher world license.
AT: It's been reported that you are still considering a possible Xbox 360 version of the game. Have you made a decision about that yet?
MM: Of course, the X360 version is a very tempting idea, but still requires very thorough consideration, tests and prototypes. We are still evaluating different scenarios and haven't made a final decision.
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