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Witcher 2: Gop shrugs off “dumbing down” accusations

Tuesday, 22 March 2011 08:25 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Speaking in a Witcher 2 online fan demo, CDPR’s Tomasz Gop drops news gameplay specifics, shows Geralt’s final design and neatly dodges the console question. Full report by Stace Harman.

The Witcher 2

Much-anticipated fantasy RPG sequel.

Out May 17 for PC.

Developed by Polish firm CD Projekt RED.

Original released in 2007.

Official site.

“First of all, the combat has absolutely not been dumbed down,” Tomasz Gop, senior producer on The Witcher 2, is keen to assure those of us that have gathered for this online Q&A session.

“Nor has the game been consolised,” he continues.

That these words are juxtaposed with several seconds of frenetic mouse-clicking as Gop demos the combat in the Witcher 2 shouldn’t alarm too many people, as it later becomes evident that there is depth and flexibility in the combat system. However, it is clear that the subtle timing required by the first game’s combat system in order to build combos, is most definitely a thing of the past.

The ‘fast’ and ‘heavy’ combat styles from the first game are still present and, as before, each works better against a light or heavy-set foes. This time around the styles have been mapped to left and right mouse buttons respectively, allowing you to chain your attacks on the fly without having to switch between one move set and another.

There’s also more emphasis on the ‘signs,’ Geralt’s magical abilities that allow him to shoot fire from his finger tips or protect himself from attacks with a shield of electricity. It’s now possible to charge and aim these attacks, giving Geralt limited ranged combat options as well as being able to set traps for enemies. This is all reminiscent of, dare I mention it, Dragon Age.

Witcher 2 gameplay from E3 2010.

Criticisms that the majority of the additional weapons in The Witcher were entirely superfluous have been addressed, and Gop is keen to highlight that you’ll have the option to invest some of Geralt’s levelling-up progress in increasing his combat prowess with these tools, giving you options outside of his silver and steel Witcher swords.

Overall, Gop’s promise that “the combat has been made more accessible,” rather than dumbed down, seem to ring true.

The devil’s in the details

Gop goes on to discuss gameplay details, some reiterated and some new. There will be 16 ‘states’ in which the main plot, which Gop places at some 40 hours of gameplay, can end. Gop says that ten of these will feature big changes – such as the death of a companion or whether or not a particular country has been wiped from the map entirely – and the other six will be based on relatively minor details, such as which factions you’re on speaking terms with when the plot concludes.

The fashionable option of being able to import a save game from The Witcher is in effect here, but with no post-ending save available in the first game it’s unlikely that this will have major implications for the plot of the sequel.

Of course, there will be plenty going on outside of the main story arc, with numerous side quests, ‘romantic’ entanglements, and mini-games to entertain you. The fist fights and poker dice from The Witcher 1 make a return, though both have been tweaked, with QTE elements added to the former and physics to the latter, allowing you to manipulate the rolling of the dice. A new arm wrestling mini-game has been added and there’s now the chance to take control of characters aside from Geralt, with Gop confirming that Geralt’s bard companion, Dandelion, will be playable for parts of the game. At this stage, it’s not clear in what capacity you’ll play as him, or whether any of Geralt’s other companions, such as spellcaster Triss or the irascible Zoltan, will be available to play.

Man in the mirror

Gop was keen to address feedback he and his team have received about Geralt’s appearance in trailers for The Witcher 2. Fears that CD Projekt is looking to make Geralt younger or easier on the eye appear unfounded, and new concept art was released showing how Geralt will look in the final game. If anything, he’s has been made to look older, and the ‘poster boy’ looks of trailers released so far have been replaced by a more grizzled visage. The image shown wasn’t meant for mass distribution, unfortunately, so we’re not able to show it here.

CD Projekt has built a new game engine from scratch and the appearance of the game has benefitted greatly with some smart lighting effects, but the biggest improvement has been in the character models. These look more detailed, better animated than in the first game which, although pretty at times, suffered from some stilted animations, especially when the characters were engaged in conversation. The interface, too, has been overhauled, with abilities and magic now accessible from a radial menu that allows on-the-hoof selection and looks to further streamline combat.

What’s in the box?

Trevor Longino, head of PR and marketing of gog.com (Good Old Games, a sister company of CD Projekt) was on hand to outline the offer available through the digital distribution channel. Buying the game through gog.com will secure you the DRM-free digital download copy of the game – an exclusive to GOG – as well as a host of extras, including making of videos, the official soundtrack and a number of PDF downloadables in the form of an artbook, world map and papercraft models. Customers will also receive one free game from a selection of five on gog.com.

It hasn’t yet been decided whether pre-loading of game content will be possible, nor was Longino able to specify the size of the download, though Gop confirmed that the physical version of the game will ship on two dual-layered DVDs. Despite this, Logino is keen to assure us that gog.com is more than capable of coping with the expected demand.

Gop was pleased to confirm full native 3D support as well as controller support, a sign that neither gameplay nor controls would hinder any potential console conversion.

Asked whether this release signalled a change of approach for the download service which, up until now, has focussed on the distribution of older titles, Logino hinted that The Witcher 1 may also be made available. It’s difficult to imagine that new titles from high-profile third-party publishers will be made available on GOG, however, with one of the bigger sticking points for many a publisher likely to be the site’s ‘DRM-free’ mandate.

Technically speaking

Gop was vague when asked about potential plans to bring The Witcher 2 to consoles, stating simply that they would “like to see it happen”. Nor would he confirm what the team might work on beyond this game, stating that CD Projekt were very much a “one-game-at-a-time kind of team”. He did quash rumours that CD Projekt might next work on an MMO, however.

You’re not going to need too beefy a PC to play The Witcher 2. Recommended systems specs are yet to be released, but minimum specs are confirmed as: dual core 2GHz processor, 2GB RAM and a 512MB Geforce 8800. No Mac version is planned at this stage, nor will a demo be available prior to the game’s release. Gop was pleased to confirm full native 3D support as well as controller support, a sign that neither gameplay nor controls would hinder any potential console conversion.

Overall, the impression left by The Witcher 2 is very positive, with the key RPG elements from the first game remaining intact and combat being overhauled to give more direct control of the action. Hands-on time will reveal just how ‘consolised’ the game feels, but the signs are good that this will be a worthy successor to CD Projekt’s 2007 debut.

The Witcher 2 releases on PC on May 17.

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14 Comments

  1. Shonak

    Uh, nice, I can actually play this on my PC then. Ha, no console version needed anymore, although I still want one.
    I am still kinda worried about combat, I liked the “click-in-rhythm” system much more and the running around in combat in the pre-beta footage just looked kinda silly to me.
    Also I agree on those movements in conversations, it looks weird, but maybe that’s the way CD Projekt wants to show how different conversation in a different land may be – or smthg like that. Graphics are still awesome though.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Erthazus

    Graphics in the game are jaw dropping, but why they need something like that in the RPG i don’t understand.

    Anyway, looks super fantastic.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. viralshag

    Can’t wait for this game. Very happy about controller support too.

    Replaying the first game at the moment to make sure everything is fresh in my head and it’s awesome.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Maximum Payne

    @2 you complained because graphic are good?They make new engine Aurora engine was dated in every possible way.Better graphic are just bonus for developer…

    #4 4 years ago
  5. viralshag

    @4 It’s pointless to try and comprehend him. He is always banging on and on about graphics and it seems even when they are good, it’s still somehow wrong.

    Shame on you CD Projekt, this is an RPG, LOOK CRAP!

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Erthazus

    “Shame on you CD Projekt, this is an RPG, LOOK CRAP!”

    ok, i don’t need to talk to idiot like you.

    @Maximum Payne, it’s RPG game. I really don’t care about graphics in that genre. I’m fine even with the old one.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. viralshag

    @6 :(

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Nissanthen

    I can’t wait! I pre-ordered the Collector’s Edition on Amazon.co.uk and I also pre-ordered the GOG version.

    @ViralShag, I am also playing through The Witcher 1 and it is absolutely amazing!

    I hope that our console playing friends will be able to enjoy The Witcher games as well.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. OrbitMonkey

    Huh, consoles don’t need this, we got Dragon Age *wipes away bitter tears of jealousy*

    #9 4 years ago
  10. viralshag

    @ Nissanthen, It really is a good game. The only problem for me is the camera options, the OTS is a little too close and it can be hard to click for the combos depending on what enemy it is, other than that it’s great.

    I’m a big console gamer but I did invest heavily into a decent PC last Xmas, that’s why I am always happy to see controller support for games.

    @ OrbitMonkey, *Hug* It’s ok, dude, DA is good on a console, very good in fact. And in reference to my point above, I was really disappointed at the lack of controller support and I kinda wish I got it for the console instead.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Ireland Michael

    I’ll never understand the fan-wankery about this game.

    The first game had terrible gameplay, and it’s definition of ‘maturity” was juvenile at best. Kinda what a 15 year old would define as mature – lots of violence and lots of tits. And lots of overacting. I find absolutely no appeal in the lead character at all.

    Please, I’d love for someone to explain what exactly it is that I’m missing, but I simply don’t get it.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. viralshag

    @ Ireland Michael, I guess for the same reason millions of people like CoD, Halo or DA: Origins; it’s just their cup of tea. Personally, I thought DA: Origins was boring as hell but I seem to get told I’m crazy for thinking that most of the time.

    I like the story, character and developer. The “maturity” aspect of it doesn’t really mean anything to me, I just like it as a game.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Crysis

    I thought the combat was absolutely shit, this isn’t a JRPG, I don’t want turn based or QTE battle in an RPG… Well that’s just my opinion.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. YoungZer0

    @13: What are you talking about? Witcher never had Turn Based Combat.

    @11: I don’t think there is a real seal of maturity. But Sex, Brutality, Racism, the Quests, the impact of your decisions, the goal of some characters, Mass Graves behind the Church. It’s not what i would Call Mature, but it’s definitely closer than games like Dragon Age: Origins or Dragon Age 2.

    #14 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    With the recent leak of older, pre-alpha footage of the The Division, rumors over the game’s contents have been swirling, and today we have a video for you discussing said rumors. Once of the rumors pertain to the game is that it contains 50-100 Player Dark Zones, which are PvP areas. Supposedly, these areas also […]

  • Here’s a look at MGS5: The Phantom Pain emblem creation, limited edition bionic arm

    A look at how to create your own emblems in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain was demonstrated in the latest Kojima Station broadcast, along with a look at the bionic arm replica included in the limited edition. A Venom Snake emblem will come with the limited edition version of the game, parts of […]

  • Elite: Dangerous coming to PS4 once Xbox One exclusivity period ends

    Elite: Dangerous was announced for Xbox One at GDC 2015 yesterday, and those disappointed over the lack of a PlayStation 4 announcement will be pleased to know it’s in the cards. According to Frontier boss David Braben the space-sim will head to PS4 at some point, once the console exclusivity deal with Microsoft has expired. […]

  • Here’s two new The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt screenshots to salivate over

    Two new screenshots from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt have been released, and they are gorgeous as always. The screenshots follow the two released over the weekend. You can look at the new images in full HD glory over on Only Single Player. CD Projekt Red is at PAX East this weekend showing off the latest […]

  • Microsoft looking into streaming PC games to Xbox One

    With Windows 10, Xbox One users will soon be able to stream their games to PC. Microsoft is also looking into streaming PC games to Xbox One, according to news out of GDC. Speaking with Polygon at GDC 2015, Xbox program director Mike Ybarra said the company is also looking into the ability to stream […]

  • Free! Vindictus Lann Revamp codes worth €25

    We have 400 Lann Revamp codes worth €25 to giveaway for free to VG247 readers. All you need to do is enter your details in the box below and you’ll be given a code to redeem in game. The codes are for warrior character Lann and offer a 7 day unlimited Inner Armour pass, battle […]

  • US eShop update: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, OlliOlli, more

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, OlliOlli and a demo version of Azure Striker GUNVOL. Your full update is below. eShop Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars – Wii U, 3DS – Cross Buy OlliOlli – Wii U, 3DS – Cross-Buy Proun+ – Proun+ […]

  • Rock Band 4 confirmed for Xbox One and PS4: supports old instruments and 2,168 songs

    Harmonix has lifted the lid on the long-rumoured Rock Band 4, stating it will support 2,168 previously released tracks and last-gen instruments on PS4 and Xbox One. The game will be out this year. Harmonix has yet to reveal specific features for the game, but it has been built with a completely new engine. As […]

  • First run of Rodea the Sky Soldier copies on Wii U come with Wii version

    The first print run of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will come with the Wii version packed in, NIS America has confirmed. The publisher confirmed today in a press release that anyone who buys the first run of the retail version of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will find the Wii […]

  • Unreal Tournament 4 lets modders sell cosmetic items to players

    Unreal Tournament 4 is a game built with the help of the modding community. So it’s only natural that it will feature a marketplace where all cosmetic items can be sold. Epic Games has confirmed that it will allow modders from the community to sell the cosmetics items they’ve created on the game’s marketplace. The […]

  • D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is coming to PC – rumour

    SWERY 65 has shown off D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die running on PC at GDC this week, teasing that a possible port may be on the way. D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is SWERY 65′s latest project. An episodic detective affair, D4 came out on Xbox One last September and utilised Kinect as its main […]

  • Valve’s Lighthouse, VR controllers and more explained

    Valve’s less-talked about prototype VR controllers and its Lighthouse technology have been shown in more detail. When HTC announced Vive, the VR headset it’s working on with Valve, it mentioned “base stations” and ergonomic controllers. Now we know what they meant by that. The controllers are still in prototype phase, and will look better when […]

  • Listen to two professional Counter-Strike players explain why Dust2 is so popular

    Hear what makes iconic Counter-Strike map Dust2 one of the most popular maps in shooter history from two former eSports players. Sal “Volcano” Garozzo and Shawn “FMPONE” Snelling are both retired professional Counter-Strike players who are currently working as designers. At GDC this year, the pair hosted a panel titled “Community Level Design for Competitive […]

  • Core Morpheus hardware locked in, no plans for wireless version

    Sony has finalised the core hardware for its VR headset Project Morpheus, and does not currently plan on releasing a wireless version. SCE Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida spoke to Gamespot at GDC and confirmed that the core hardware of Morpheus is “pretty much done” but that “lots of tweaks and improvements” are still being […]

  • Watch the full Phil Spencer keynote from GDC 2015

    The full GDC 2015 keynote of Xbox boss Phil Spencer is now available to watch. In case you missed last nights’s Phil Spencer keynote at GDC 2015, the whole thing has been made available to watch on YouTube. The address is titled “The Future of Gaming Across the Microsoft Ecosytem,” and it’s where Spencer announced […]

  • Elite: Dangerous won’t be “dumbed down” for Xbox One

    The Xbox One version of Elite: Dangerous will in fact be the same as the PC one. Elite: Dangerous developer Frontier came out on stage last night at GDC to announce the game making its console debut on Xbox One. Some have feared that the port would not provide the same experience as the PC […]

  • Virtual reality: by gum, it’s really happening

    Virtual reality has exited the realm of peripheral gimmick and turned into something that just might go mainstream. VR has an uphill battle ahead of it. The tech is going to be expensive, and there are a number of problems that need to be solved before it could be considered an inclusive technology (motion sickness, […]

  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor takes Game of the Year at GDC Awards 2015

    And the winner is: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor beat out Alien: Isolation, Bayonetta 2, Destiny, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft to win Game of the Year at the Game Developer’s Choice Awards 2015. Elsewhere in the awards, Ustwo’s mobile hit Monument Valley was a stand-out favourite, with wins in the Innovation, […]

  • Alien: Isolation was prototyped in third-person – video

    Alien: Isolation is one of the most effectively scary triple-A games in years, but it didn’t start off a perfect creation of pure terror. Creative Assembly prototyped Alien: Isolation in third-person perspective before they nailed down the final approach. The developer revealed this during a GDC 2015 presentation, and it’s a good reminder that games […]

  • Madden 15 added to EA Vault

    Madden 15 is now included in EA’s all-you-can-eat subscriber service. Madden 15 is the ninth game to be added to the EA Vault, a stash of games available on demand for EA Access subscribers. It's still Madden Season for EA Access members – Madden NFL 15 is now in The Vault for all members. Go […]

  • Source Engine 2 doesn’t have hidden costs or royalties – but is Steam exclusive

    Three major engines went free at GDC 2015, and each of them is monetising in a different way. There’s been a heck of a lot of discussion about development tools and the costs associated with them during GDC 2015. First Epic announced that Unreal Engine 4 would be free, bar royalities on successful releases. Then […]

  • Final Fantasy creator hates sequels

    Final Fantasy, a byword in prolific franchises, was created by a man who hates sequel. Final Fantasy games are famous for being reinvented with each core release, and it was not until series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi began to withdraw from the franchise after Final Fantasy 9 that we started seeing regular sequels and spin-offs. Speaking […]

  • Guardian complaints led to the closure of Destiny’s Loot Cave

    Destiny players are to blame for the shuttering of the much loved Loot Cave. Early in Destiny‘s history, many players got hugely excited about the “Loot Cave”. Accessible shortly after starting the game for the first time, this high-volume spawn point allowed players to stand in one place, taking out waves and waves of low-level […]

  • Xbox and PC games boss Phil Harrison to leave Microsoft – rumour

    Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business VP and EMEA head of games Phil Harrison is rumoured to have thrown in the towel. Microsoft has not issued a statement on Harrison’s alleged departure, despite repeated questioning by press at GDC 2015. Instead, word comes via multiple sources speaking to GamesIndustry at the show. According to the rumours, Harrison […]

  • Metal Gear Online commentated trailer explains stuffed dog – but not invisibility

    Metal Gear Online developer Kojima Productions has provided significantly more insight into how the multiplayer side of The Phantom Pain works. Metal Gear Online is the online multiplayer component of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Konami hasn’t shared a great deal about it yet, but we did see a very cool Metal Gear […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Xbox One trailer shows off space MMO

    If Elite: Dangerous looks this good on Xbox One we have nothing to complain about. Microsoft revealed Elite: Dangerous is coming to Xbox One this year during its GDC presentations today. We don’t know very much about the port, but I suppose we ought to have expected it; Frontier Developments has a very close relationship […]

  • Battletoads to appear in Shovel Knight Xbox One

    A Battletoads remake must be on the horizon. Right? Right?? The Battletoads will appear in the upcoming Xbox One version of Shovel Knight, Yacht Club Games revealed today. The Battletoads drop in for a fight! Shovel Knight is headed to Xbox One and meets up with @RareLtd brawling trio! pic.twitter.com/OCQIuWbH3W — Yacht Club Games (@YachtClubGames) […]

  • The Division pre-alpha footage leaks, Ubisoft says it’s well out of date

    The Division fans finally got a look at Ubisoft’s MMO this week, but the publisher has said the footage is not in any way representative. Pre-alpha footage of the The Division was leaked this week, but has since been thoroughly smacked down by takedown notices. All that remains are a few screenshots and a GIF: […]

  • Microsoft HoloLens designer killed in hit and run accident

    Very sad news out of Redmond this week, as Mike Ey was killed in a tragic accident. Ey, 30, was one of the key project designers on Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset. He was killed on Saturday morning in a rear-end collision. The driver of the second vehicle fled the scene but was tracked down by […]

  • AMD throws support behind VR with new low-latency anti-nausea tech

    GPU manufacturer AMD has released a new SDK compatible with “a broad set of VR devices”. Called LiquidVR, the tech is designed to “bring better content, comfort, and compatibility to VR applications” including games, simulation, entertainment, education, social media, travel, medicine, real estate and ecommerce, apparently. AMD said maintaining comfort and realism in VR environments […]

  • Danganronpa 3 in the works, but a long way off yet

    A new Danganronpa is happening. Danganronpa 3 is in the very, very early production stages, writer Kodaka Kazutaka has confirmed. Nothing about the project is “set in stone”, Kazutaka told Polygon, so there are no details to share yet; the characters and story may change several times before being finalised. The writer said he’s weighing […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League 2015 schedule announced

    Major League Gaming has announced the full schedule for the 2015 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League. The eSpots firm revealed two more seasons of Pro League, a live Relegation tournament for Season Three, and a season ending World Championship with $250,000 up for grabs You can watch all the action on MLG.tv […]

  • Happy Birthday PlayStation 2, you are almost old enough to drive

    Amidst all the GDC 2015 hoopla today, we forgot to wish PlayStation 2 a Happy Birthday. The system turned 15 years old today, going by its March 4, 2000 launch date in Japan. It was released in the west that autumn, and had shipped 100 million units in less than six years post launch. PS2 […]

  • Here’s what the final version of Valve’s Steam Controller looks like

    A look at the updated Steam Controller has surfaced via a hands-on post from Polygon. Valve said what you see in the images below is the final version of the controller. The controller has gone through numerous revisions since it was first revealed, but it seems Valve has decided on two touch pads which work […]

  • The Sims, SimCity developer closed down

    The Sims 4 developer Maxis has been shuttered, EA has confirmed. The Sims, SimCity and the rest of the Sim franchise has traditionally been helmed by Maxis, which had its flagship studio in Emeryville, California. Now EA has confirmed with Kotaku that this studio is being closed. “Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to […]

  • Gigantic MOBA coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One with cross-play

    Today during GDC 2015, Microsoft announced that the new IP from Motiga called Gigantic will be cross-play enabled. Slated for Windows 10 and Xbox One, the five-on-five third-person battle arena game allows the player to select from an array of heroes with distinctive powers and play styles. Players will then make their way through areas […]

  • Here’s a look at Unreal Tournament DirectX 12 gameplay

    Epic Games is creating Unreal Tournament using Unreal Engine 4 running on DirectX 12, which Microsoft says “sets a new bar for visual fidelity.” DirectX 12 is a single API developers can access across Windows devices, which can result in a 20% improvement in performance over DX11 running on the same machine. The Unreal Tournament […]

  • Wireless adapter for Xbox One controllers out later this year

    Microsoft announced at GDC 2015 today it will that all wireless Xbox gaming accessories will be designed for and supported on both Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs moving forward. Later this year, a wireless adapter will be released, allowing current Xbox controllers and future devices to be used wirelessly on PCs. This will […]