Impulse Gamer Interviews Grzegorz Rdzany, Technical Producer (The Witcher 2) - -

Impulse Gamer Interviews Grzegorz Rdzany
(Technical Producer from CD Projekt Red)

Tell us how CD Projekt RED came together?

Grzegorz Rdzany, Technical Producer: CD Projekt RED studio was founded in 2002. It grew from CD Projekt Ė a Polish game distributor and publisher. The company was started by Michał Kiciński and Marcin Iwiński, who are huge fans of RPGs and are gamers themselves.  To expand the company they wanted to made a console version of a famous PC RPG, but this project suddenly changed into making a game development company, which created The Witcher in 2007.

Whose idea was it to create The Witcher based on the novels by Andrzej Sapkowski?

You must know that Sapkowski is sort of a cult writer in Poland. In high schools and colleges almost everyone has read him and he is considered our best popular writer. I canít exactly name the person who said Ė letís talk to Sapkowski, but you must know Ė that almost everyone in Poland knows him. And if you look at it, youíll find the witcher a great character for a video game. A professional monster hunter, subjected to mutation, with a variety of skills that allow him to overwhelm many foes.

What were your first steps in translating the book to the video game?

The first step has to be reading the book. This might sound obvious, but Sapkowski created a really extensive universe and when we chose to make it the setting for a game, we wanted to make the best recreation possible. This gives the game an authentic feel and allows players to dive deep into the lore. Our story team knows the books by heart and I must say, I admire how they recreated the world and I really feel like Iím in the novels.

The best part of this is that the games give a very good introduction to the setting. You donít have to know the novels to know whatís going on. This is a great thing Ė fans will feel at home, while newcomers will have an idea of whatís going on.

What programming language was used to create the Witcher?

We used  C++ and our own scripting language, but the details aren't really that important. We used a lot of tools while creating  The Witcher 2. If you want to talk more about the technical aspect of the game, keep in mind that we created our own in-house technology, the REDengine. We created it from scratch and designed it for our own needs - making complex and non-linear games. You can see the results by playing The Witcher 2. Itís a perfect set of tools for our own needs and it proved to work for both platforms the game works on. 

Is it difficult in porting the game from the PC to the 360?

We donít know. We actually adapted the game to the Xbox 360 and didn't port it. This means we have completely rewritten big portions of the game code so it feels native to the platform. This requires more work than a simple port and is more difficult, but hard work is usually the solution to any problem.

We also added new content Ė 4 hours of new quests, new characters, animations and cinematics. You canít call this approach the usual porting. So if you consider porting difficult, we made something that required even more work. 

Tell us why Geralt of Rivia is such an interesting, likeable and cool character?

Although he is a mutant, he feels human.  There isnít a lot of pathos to the character, but in the same moment he feels unique.  Like our whole world he is somewhere between good and evil. This makes him more believable.

As I mentioned before Ė Geralt is a natural choice for a video game character. He is more deadly than an average human and the possible range of encounters is so wide, that it can give player multiple development options.

What are some of the Easter Eggs (hidden surprises) in The Witcher 2 that we may have missed?

And which have you found? Did you see whatís not so far from the ballista in the prologue?  Thatís one of the easiest Easter eggs to find. But we encourage players to look around them to find pop culture references and so onÖ I donít want to spoil your fun :)

Why did CD Projekt RED decide to create an enhanced edition of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings for the XBox 360?

We wanted to introduce the idea of mature RPGs to console players.  We also knew from our PC fans about some things that could be corrected before the release Ė thatís why we decided to create the Enhanced Edition for this platform (and to treat PC players right give them the upgrade for free).  We thought that consoles lacked a title like The Witcher. Sure, there are many great RPGs, but we have some unique aspects which distinguish us from other titles. We are a truly story driven experience, which shows that your actions have significant consequences. Also we treat players as grown-ups Ė both in matters of content and also in the difficulty level.

Will future editions support the Kinect or PlayStation Move?

Itís too early to talk about the future editions of our game. We want to make games for a mature audience and at this point, I donít see how motion controls could be implemented to our game.  It is very likely that waving your hands or controller when playing such game could break the experience instead of enhancing it.

The game is currently sitting on 90 out of 100 on Metacritic, have you had your party yet?

We were partying, because we made a great game.  There is too much fuss about Metacritic in the industry today. Really there are other things we can cheer about: our game sold well, we made our first console release and fans love our title. So we partied hard. Polish style. Although the amount of tequila we had would suggest something more of Mexican style ;)

There has been some controversy that Warner Bros staff have been asked to post "high" user scores, is there any truth to this rumour?

Some reviewers suggested that on Metacritic Ė thatís where the rumor comes from. Of course itís not true. People in the industry have better things to do, than write reviews on Metacritic. The PC version got also great user scores and nobody suggested that those were written by developers or publishers.  Haters gonna hate Ė so you canít take your information from one angry internet comment.

What was the most difficult part in creating the world of The Witcher?

Every team member would give a different answer to this, but for me itís fitting all our ideas into the time and technological constraints. Sometimes it was really painful to abandon some great ideas because we hadnít had enough time to implement them. Hopefully some of these ideas will appear in our future games.

What was your favourite part of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition?

In the Enhanced Edition I liked both the new side quest lines. The third act is superior to what we released earlier. One of the reviews I read said that it felt like a Doctor Who episode in a fantasy setting. That's a great compliment. Also I love the new intro Ė itís really breathtaking. As for my favorite element of the game itís the whole of Act 2. Iím a great fan of RPG games.  For me one of the most important things in such games is having an influence on the story line and the world. I love to see how things are changing depending on my choices. Act 2 is very strong example of showing to what extent your actions can change the situation in the game. Depending on few important decisions in Act 1 you can have a completely different setting in Act 2 Ė including different location, set of quests opened for you and characters you can meet. Thatís what I was always waiting for in true RPG games.

If you were in the game, which area would you like to visit?

Elven baths ;)

No, but seriously it probably would be forest around Flotsam. On one hand dangerous and somewhat scary place, on the other, very beautiful  and full of secrets like the remains of fallen civilizations.

In The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition, what should gamers look out for?

Everything. Itís not a game that holds you by the hand. Itís difficult if you forget about preparation before combat. So you have to watch out all the time.

Remember Ė this game isnít impossible to beat Ė you just cannot treat it as a hackíní slash. Our combat is actually tactical

Why did you decide to make The Witcher games adult orientated?

We thought that the market lacked games like this, i.e. titles for a demanding gamer who wants ambitious gameplay. We ourselves wanted to play a game like that and couldnít find it. Thatís why we decided to address our game to adults.

And the second aspect Ė it wouldnít be faithful with the novels if it werenít just like we made it. The world has to be adult to present moral greyness. You canít have this aspect of the game in a land of butterflies J.

Who came up with the idea of the sex scenes in the game?

Our game has a fantasy setting, but uses themes from the real world. Nobody came up with the idea of sex Ė it just exists around us and is something normal. Sure it might be a subject of taboo, but in the world of people struggling for power it has to be a major theme.

For those who are still playing the game, can you elaborate on some of the "special" items in the title?

The most unique items are found on the Dark difficulty setting. In each act you can craft a set of cursed gear. Together, these items simply work and are really powerful, but if you donít have the complete set they work against you. Also even with the full set, wielding a ďdarkĒ sword causes the world around you to change. These items really make the Dark mode more interesting.

When will the PlayStation 3 version of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings be available?

We just finished one release and itís hard right now to talk about future options.

What is the most powerful potion in The Witcher 2?

There is no such thing. Every potion and magic sign has a specific purpose. One potion will be crucial in a boss fight  and will be useless in another situation. The same can be said with most tactical items you can find in the game Ė bombs or traps. If you look at the Mongoose potion, for example, it has an absurdly high poison resistant buff Ė but is useless when you fight with most enemies.

Have you begun making The Witcher 3 and if so, what is the estimated release date?

You have to wait for an official announcement to hear more about it.

What can we expect in the Witcher 3?

You can expect that it should be a worthy sequel to The Witcher 2.

What will be the title of The Witcher 3 be? (We tried to get a scoop!)

The Witcher 3?

Ten words to the fans of the games?

Thank you guys for all of your support you show us in various occasions. It really matters for us and gives us more power to achieve even more ambitious goals.




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