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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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    Either Castlevania creator Koji “IGA” Igarashi is working on a soon-to-be-launched Kickstarter for his new game, or someone is pulling an elaborate prank. At PAX Prime last year, during Keiji Inafune’s Mighty No. 9 panel, a flyer was handed out to attendees that showed what appeared to be a 2D game of some sort with […]

  • Destiny weekly reset for May 5: Heroic and Nightfall strikes detailed

    Tuesday is here and Destiny’s weekly reset is also here. Bungie announced that your weekly Destiny grind has now begun. The Nightfall and Heroic strikes are now live too. This week’s strike is Winter’s Run. Rainbow burn is back for the Nightfall, which means you do more damage with all elemental weapons, but also receive […]

  • PC version of Project Cars delayed in Australia due to severe weather

    Recent weather conditions in Sydney, Australia are responsible for a slight delay of the PC version of Project Cars in the country. Sydney recently suffered from storms that caused flooding in some areas. One of those is the place where publisher Namco Bandai was storing PC copies of Project Cars. The stock was “severely damaged,” […]

  • Twitch’s new process makes it easier for streamers to appeal flagged content

    Twitch has updated its appeals process concerning videos that have been flagged by the audio ID system. Towards the end of last year, Twitch introduced a new audio recognition system that scans archived streams and automatically mutes the audio whenever copyright music is identified. The system has been in-use ever since and Twitch has today […]

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a day one patch, but it’s not a major one

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will indeed have a day one patch, to make the first-time experience as smooth as possible. Like many modern games, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will have its day one patch. According to the developer however, it wasn’t born out of necessity. Miles Tost, level designer at developer CD Projekt […]

  • CoD: Advanced Warfare owners get free pistol today

    Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games is adding a new pistol to the game, free to all players. The M1 Irons is a new pistol that comes to Advanced Warfare starting today. The weapon is offered as a thank you gift from the developer. Sledgehammer says the Irons is good at range and packs a punch. […]

  • Fall down the Skullgirls Big Band music video rabbit hole with me

    Skullgirls is a pretty amazing fighting game, but did you know it’s also a passable music creation suite? Earlier today I was idly perusing an episode of PlayStation Underground showing off Skullgirls 2nd Encore, a re-release of the indie fighter packing in loads of new features and coming to PS4 – with full cross-play! – […]

  • The many uses of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood’s pipe weapon

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood adds a sick new weapon to BJ’s arsenal: a pipe. In Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, a pipe is not just a pipe. Not only can you bash nazis with it, you can use it to climb walls, reach hatches, and even break through some walls. Plus? You can dual wield it. […]

  • Mortal Kombat X teaser gives first look at Predator

    Mortal Kombat X’s next celebrity guest was teased during the latest Kast. Today’s Mortal Kombat X Kast was mostly about all about Jason, but also included a very brief nod to Predator. You can watch the full livestream to see the tease in situ if you’re really keen, but IGN shared this convenient edit: There’s […]

  • Rock Band 4 has count-ins, drum fills and vocal harmonies

    Rock Band 4 will more closely emulate the feeling of being a real musician with some neat personalisation touches. For Rock Band 4, Harmonix elected to double down on player ownership of their experience rather than technical precision. To this end, it has implemented a number of cool new features. I am wildly envious of […]

  • Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, Lost Planet 3 developer shuttered

    Spark Unlimited has gone down with all hands. The Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z and Lost Planet 3 developer has been shuttered and all staff laid off. Chief technical officer John Butrovich confirmed the news in a statement issued to IGN. “Spark Unlimited is closing as a video game developer. The ongoing opportunities for smaller mobile […]

  • PS Now subscription available on PlayStation 3 this month, Vita coming soon

    PlayStation Now’s all you can eat service has finally been dated for PS3. Subscriptions to PS Now, Sony’s cloud-based gaming service, will be available on PS3 from May 12 in the US. The all you can eat package will also be made available on select Bravia TVs and Sony Blu-ray players on the same date. […]

  • GTA 5 is even better with a gravity gun

    GTA 5 modders have made a dream come true, adding a gravity gun to your arsenal of mayhem-causing weaponry. GTA 5 isn’t ready for this. It looks like a heck of a lot of fun, but the poor old Los Santos po po can’t deal with the resulting carnage at all. If Rockstar were ever […]

  • “Mod makers should be able to make money from their creations,” says DOOM creator

    DOOM co-creator John Romero has weighed in on the paid mods debate. Paid mods are a hot issue right now. For years, Valve has been enabling content creators to make money from their work on Counter-strike: Global offensive, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2, but when it partnered with Bethesda to offer the same for […]

  • Watch WRC driver Kevin Abbring smash through a DIRT Rally challenge

    WRC driver Kevin Abbring has been participating in Dirt Rally’s daily events – and kicking ass. Dirt Rally seems to have ticked one of the most difficult to attain boxes of racing development – creating something professional drivers like to play, and which rewards their years of experience. Codemasters published the video below showing Hyundai […]

  • Mortal Kombat X patch to bring PC version up to console standard

    Mortal Kombat X PC will be fixed tomorrow, NetherRealm has promised. The PC version of Mortal Kombat X has come under fire for poor performance, including stuttering frame rate and bugs as plenty. About 45 minutes into a recent Twitch stream, NetherRealm boss Ed Boon said an update will drop tomorrow to address many of […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: all new Crucible maps detailed

    Destiny’s House of Wolves DLC will add four new maps to the Crucible, the game’s competitive multiplayer mode. Let’s take a look at all of them. Alex brings you new footage showing all of the four maps that will drop with House of Wolves. He goes over the layout, landmarks, gameplay styles, and other important […]

  • Custom Xbox One Star Wars controllers look very tempting

    Microsoft is celebrating May 4 by showing off concept designs for Star Wars-themed Xbox One controllers. May 4 is of course Star Wars Day and the controller concepts you’re about to see are just that, concepts. Or at least that’s what they said they are. There are four designs and they don’t look very practical. […]

  • Project Cars launch trailer is an anthology of race cars, set to the beats of Deadmau5

    Project Cars comes out this week and there’s just enough time for one last trailer. Project Cars, Slightly Mad Studios’ ambitious racer that has been in development for ages, is finally coming out this week. The racer received plenty of changes throughout its development based on community feedback and the final product will be in […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront dev reveals planet Sullust

    Sullust, a planet that has not been previously shown, will be featured in one of Star Wars Battlefront’s maps. Star Wars Battlefront developer DICE revealed today that planet Sullust will be one of the game’s locations. The planet was mentioned in the films and other Star Wars works, but was only shown today. DICE posted […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: Tower vendor changes

    House of Wolves will change the inventory of some of Destiny’s vendors and add new roles to others. Here’s everything that has been announced so far. You know that House of Wolves will bring a new social space to the game in the form of The Reef. But did you also know that the good […]

  • Nintendo apologises for Amiibo shortages, will reissue some out-of-stock figures

    Nintendo released a statement today to apologise for fan’s frustrations in finding some Amiibo figures and promised to handle distribution better going forward. Nintendo has been criticised recently for its lack of communication when it comes to new Amiibo figures. Something which has lead fans to not know if certain figures are limited to some […]

  • Halo: MCC “a black eye for us,” Halo 5 won’t suffer the same fate, says franchise director

    The development of Halo: The Master Chief Collection was of an “outrageous complexity,” which was one of the reasons it suffered a horrible launch. None of that will happen with Halo 5: Guardians, according to Frank O’Connor. Frank O’Connor, Halo franchise development director opened up to Xbox Achievements about the difficult task of developing The […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: weapon Reforging explained

    When House of Wolves drops in a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to change the stats of some in-game weapons. This process is called ‘Reforging’. Alex goes over all the details Bungie revealed about the new Reforging system. This covers the materials you need, the weapons that can be reforged and much more. Make […]

  • GTA 5 PC: control the in-game phone with your iPhone using this mod

    GTA 5′s latest mod lets you control the in-game phone with your real-life iPhone. Reddit user Planetleak wanted to see if he would succeed in getting his iPhone to control the phone in GTA 5. He did it and has a video to prove it. It’s not a mod per-se, but it emulates mouse and […]

  • SoulCalibur dev wants to know fans’ favourite characters for “something huge”

    SoulCalibur developers are probably working on a new game, because they’re asking fans to vote on their favourite characters. Project Soul, the longtime developer of the SoulCalibur series is soliciting feedback on fans’ favourite characters. The developer said as much in a post on its Facebook page. “Calling all SoulCalibur Fans! Project Soul would like […]

  • Jason Voorhees doesn’t look out of place in new Mortal Kombat X trailer

    Jason Voorhees comes to Mortal Kombat X starting tomorrow and it’s time to celebrate his arrival. Jason Voorhees, the first DLC character for Mortal Kombat X has been given the trailer treatment. Jason is part of the game’s Kombat Pack, owners of which can start using him tomorrow, May 5. Being an iconic horror character, […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition – Dragonslayer DLC announced, free to all this week

    Dragon Age: Inquisition is getting a multiplayer expansion this week. BioWare has announced that all owners of Dragon Age: Inquisition will receive a new multiplayer expansion, for free. The expansion is called Dragonslayer and it’s centred around fighting dragons, hence the name. Three new playable characters will join the roster as you explore an all-new […]

  • Sonder is still happening, and this is the best news of the week

    Sonder is a really interesting-looking new indie adventure, which I am quite excited to remember exists. We first heard about Sonder in late 2013, when its debut trailer introduced us to a Kamai Media’s ambitious vision. In the intervening months Kamai has been hard at work on its space station management sim slash non-linear narrative […]

  • Twitter axes playable Internet Archive embeds

    The dream has died: Twitter has disabled Internet Archive game embeds. Remember how for a few days you could tweet a link to an a game on the Internet Archive and it was playable direct from that tweet? Well, Twitter has cancelled that. All those tweets now just show links. GamesIndustry suspects it has something […]

  • Lords of the Fallen, Divinity: Original Sin developers will reveal new games at E3 2015

    Lords of the Fallen developer Deck13 and Divinity: Original Sin developer Larian Studios have new projects in the works which will be revealed at E3 2015. Publisher Focus Home Interactive is behind both new games. In a French press release [PDF] spotted by RPG Codex, Focus said it will show off the two unrevealed titles […]

  • Rare game announce expected at E3 2015

    Rare’s new game will be shown off at E3 2015, apparently. Rare hasn’t announced a reveal, and neither has Microsoft, but it looks like the news has slipped out anyway. IGN cites a tweet from Rare creative director Simon Woodroffe in which he says that a new project from Rare designer Gregg Mayles will be […]

  • Batgirl expansion included in $40 Batman: Arkham Knight season pass

    Here’s what you get in the $40 Batman: Arkham Knight season pass. Batman: Arkham Knight’s season pass was announced last week, but apart from the news that it would cost a whopping $40/£33, we didn’t get many details of what it would include. Thankfully, Warner Bros. has since acknowledged the clamour this caused, as players […]

  • Star Wars Day Xbox sale discounts Force Unleashed, Lego games

    Star Wars Day is upon us, and here’s an Xbox sale to mark it. Microsoft is offering discounts on Xbox 360 games to celebrate May 4. From my desk here in Australia the sale is a bit light on content – two Lego games, plus The Force Unleashed and its DLC packs. Your mileage may […]

  • Here’s hoping this tease means we see Mass Effect at E3 2015

    Mass Effect boss Mike Gamble has shared a teaser image, which we’re more than happy to draw speculative conclusions from. The new Mass Effect game in the works at BioWare Edmonton is a mysterious beast. Judging by how long it’s been in development, it feels like we’re about due for a proper reveal, to clear […]

  • Watch almost a whole hour of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is almost here. Are you ready for old-school shooter action? Wolfenstein: The Old Blood publisher Bethesda livestreamed almost an hour of the Machine Games shooter recently, and has now uploaded the archive to YouTube. Check it out below: Wolfenstein: The Old Blood launches digitally on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on […]

  • Splatoon lacks voice chat to promote a positive online experience

    Nintendo’s multiplayer game Splatoon will not contain a voice chat option in order to “focus on the positive aspects” of online gaming. Speaking in the latest issue of Edge magazine (thanks, GamesRadar), Splatoon co-director Yusuke Amano said personal experience with negativity in online voice chat was one of the main reasons for excluding the feature. […]

  • D4 on PC: differences from Xbox One version, system specs announced

    D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die – Season 1 is coming to PC, and Access Games has provided a list of features different from the Xbox One version. We’ve pulled most of the changes off the game’s website and posted them below, along with the PC specs. D4 on PC Kinect gesture input controls replaced with […]