During our Gamescom coverage, Nisute posted an article about the presentation of The Witcher 2, outlining what was shown and some impressions about it. A day after, a different team from Nisute got the opportunity to interview producer Thomasz Gop about the game, and had the chance to hear some interesting insight from one of the creative minds behind the title.
According to Gop, the major focus of the sequel was to hold true to the original recipe of the first Witcher game, and stick to the hardcore oldschool story-driven role playing game genre. The key feature of the Witcher 2 is its interesting and diverse story, which stems from an already established universe, and places its own characters within it to form an engaging and exciting narrative to drive the game along. He mentions that the Polish fantasy writer Andrzej Sapkowski is the creative mind behind the world that the team has taken and adapted in their game; he has written numerous stories and developed a fantasy world, and all the mythology around which the games take place. The team feels that by working with an existing world, and not making one up themselves, they can place a lot of focus on the actual narrative and player interaction, rather than on developing the universe it is all set in. The games hold true to the settings from the novels, according to the producer, and interestingly, the team has been in contact with Sapkowski on multiple occasions just to make sure their creation is consistent with his established universe. There have been times that the writer has had to correct them in one area or another, but on the whole it would appear that the game holds true to its inspirational material.
As the story in The Witcher 2 is its main feature, Gop mentions that there have been roughly 20 people in the studio working on the story over the course of the project. There are literally thousands of pages of storyline and dialogue, and the story was written before any production even began on the game itself. Gop mentions that obviously the story had to be iterated during actual production; it’s impossible to foresee all problems they may possibly encounter when translating a story into an interactive medium, so they have to try to stick to the writing as much as possible, but be flexible enough to make a change when necessary. When a game really relies on its storyline so heavily, it’s no wonder that so much effort and passion has been put into the story and the preservation of the narrative within the gaming experience.
The game itself is all about choosing what kind of person you are, and the choices you make through both your actions and your dialogue will determine how your story unfolds. There are about sixteen different endings, according to Gop, but there are many different branches making up the main portion of the storyline. A lot of branches are closed, and end up meeting back up with a different branch after a small detour, rather than keeping the story off on a completely separate tangent. For example, one of the key points of the demonstration was the fact that two developers were playing the same portion of the game simultaneously, but both were tackling the same event in totally different ways; one was being reckless and violent, and the other stealthy and compassionate. In both cases, they reached their goal, but both players saw different areas of the same dungeon, and neither will ever see some of the areas the other passed through unless they play the game for a second time.
Some interesting things Gop mentions about the game are the fact that the team entirely re-wrote the engine from The Witcher before starting on the sequel, and that the player can import their save game from the first into the second. If the player imports save data, they could actually have a different starting point in the story from someone starting from scratch, so it is definitely important to the passing from the storyline of the first game into the sequel. The team developing the game has been made up of roughly 80 people, according to Gop, and if their interesting and entertaining presentation of the game is any hint, they seem to be a relaxed, passionate and talented group of individuals who no doubt will deliver a high quality experience unlike any other on the market today.