The Witcher. A mature RPG.

The Witcher. A mature RPG.

Postby Requiemourn on Thu Apr 20, 2006 1:33 pm

[This is almost exactly the same post I have made on Warhammer Alliance forums.]

Imagine travelling through a tract and coming upon a wooden support with a reeking elfish corpse hung from its arm. The wolves, or something much more horrible, have eaten one of the carcass' legs only contributing to the decomposition process that's already long underway. This corpse is only one of the first along the road. The words "Elven Traitor" are written in red paint on a wooden board that's hanging from its neck on a thick rope.
And now imagine that this is how The Witcher's booth at last E3 looked like. Yes, they actually recreated the stench.

I don't know how many of You have heard about this RPG created by a polish developer, CDProjekt RED, for around 2,5-3 years now or about a largely acclaimed in Eastern Europe author, Andrzej Sapkowski, on whose books the game is based on. Since they were never translated into english (though to a lot of other languages, german, french and spanish including, if I recall correctly), I'm guessing - not many. But as Warhammer Online got quite some attention here and it can't be denied that it is a type of a much more mature world than your typical D&D, I thought many would be interested.

A short intro to the world (You can skip it if You plan to pick up the books anyway):

Sapkowski's books are full of violence, eroticism and grim humor (all you need to add now would be rock and drugs - well, wait, he also has drugs...). Their main character, the title witcher Geralt, is a mutant created by a mercenary-like order of likewise individuals trained to fight various monsters for money. The mutations induced by the order when he was just a kid have caused Geralt's hair to loose all pigment, his eyes are now more similar to those of a cat, he can survive digesting poisons that could kill a horse (in fact, many alchemical bewerages witchers make to even further their extraordinary abilities are also very potent poisons), he's a master in swordsmanship, his reflexes are unmached, he knows a limited form of magic (called signs) and he practically doesn't age (however, no witcher has ever died of old age) - plus, a lot of high-born women and sorceresses seem attracted to his rough demeanor. And yet all that comes with a price. The normal folk fear the witchers almost as much as they fear the monsters slain by them. They live a life of solitude. Many mistake them for simple murderers and because of their abilities, they are sought after as such. Sometimes spilling the blood of human beings is unavoidable. Geralt in particular has a talent for getting himself in situations where the only choice he is able to make is that of the "lesser evil". And sometimes you just can't help but scorn him for what he has just done.
Simple folks don't have it easy either. The long and exhausting war with Nilfgaard (many similarities to WWII here) has left the world scarred. Beasts (mainly from eastern-european folklore) roam the countryside, hide in the crypts and in the sewers - sometimes even on palace courts. Elves, despising the ways of humans, are pushed back to the mountains and are forced to fight for their dwindling habitat. Scoia'tael - the squirrels - are formed and wage a guerilla warfare on the invaders - killing men, women and children as ruthlessly as their oppressors. Elven seeres fortells the Age of Ice - the End of All Times.
The witchers couldn't have wished for better times to practice their profession. But they have problems of their own to deal with...

Hm, this might have came out a bit more depressing than I had wished for... Well, if You haven't read the books, just trust me when I say this - I was laughing out loud on more than a few occassions when reading The Witcher. Sapkowski is truly a master of dark humor (I'd reckon it's one of the reasons he's so popular where I live) and there's always a ray of hope piercing through the darkness present in his stories - and that's also what CDProjekt RED wishes to convey in their game.


Here's a linky to the official site, also available in english:
http://www.thewitcher.com/

And here some of my favorite screenshots:
http://www.thewitcher.com/inc/show.asp?n=463&t=1
http://www.thewitcher.com/inc/show.asp?n=437&t=1
http://www.thewitcher.com/inc/show.asp?n=365&t=1
http://www.thewitcher.com/inc/show.asp?n=363&t=1
http://www.thewitcher.com/inc/show.asp?n=316&t=1
http://www.thewitcher.com/inc/show.asp?n=312&t=1
http://www.thewitcher.com/inc/show.asp?n=311&t=1
http://www.thewitcher.com/inc/show.asp?n=301&t=1
http://www.thewitcher.com/inc/show.asp?n=247&t=1
http://www.thewitcher.com/inc/show.asp?n=241&t=1

And a render of Geralt:
http://www.thewitcher.com/inc/show.asp?n=283&t=3


Would you ever say that this is Neverwinter Nights engine? Well, it is. Personally, I find those screenshots more inspiring than those of Oblivion. And a machine for less than 2000 pounds will most probably be able to run it smoothly.

The Witcher got quite a lot of interest from the press last E3; FiringSquad called it the next Baldur's Gate II - I'd say it looks more like Fallout 2 or Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines in a fantasy setting. Interconnected and complex quests, moral ambiguity, multiple endings, interesting main character, events happening based on time, beautiful graphics, interesting and involving fighting system, swordfights motion-captured from the masters - what more to want from an RPG?

I have my concerns of course but this might very well be the second good polish game (after Painkiller).
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Postby Proto on Thu Apr 20, 2006 6:06 pm

Damn, wish this was an MMO. :-)

Then again, a hundred thousand Witchers running around would be somewhat incompatible with the back story (i imagine).

I wish they would translate the books to English so I could read em, they sound right up my street.

Fancy spending a few months on a translation Req? :-)

Love the booth. I'm sure that guy hanging there used to be in my Roleplaying club a few years ago...

edit: The render of Geralt kinda reminds of Faeathael a little... Take any inspiration from him when you rolled Fae by any chance?
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Postby Proto on Thu Apr 20, 2006 9:07 pm

Rashy wrote:actually at the weeknd will try to track down the publisher and see if there are plans to make available to us ( with the pending PC game they may just do so)


I'd say that's a good call and highly likely.
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Postby suzziq on Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:23 pm

http://www.polishwriting.net/?s=author&c=sapkowski

some translated stuff here - its not geralt though (I dont think - from your description, but not sure)

I enjoyed reading this, not enough of it though must...find...more...

Oh and I shut my eyes during the naughty bits... 8)

That picture of Geralt is yummmy.....


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Last edited by suzziq on Fri Apr 21, 2006 12:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Requiemourn on Fri Apr 21, 2006 12:15 am

Heh, thanks, Morgue, I was just about to post that link but I was busy reading it :). It's not about Geralt but it's nevertheless a very fine read, IMO - and it shares similarities with The Witcher.

As for translating The Witcher... the hell I will :P. Seriously, I can imagine it would be a damn hard job even for a professional translator. However, I have a little something-something to cheer You up:

http://www.thewitcher.com/files/Lesser_Evil_story.zip

It's just one of the short stories about Geralt. I think that the entire saga was better (not a huge fan of short stories meself) and, while being a rather splendid translation, doesn't give it justice (the dialogues suffer the most) but overall it should give a nice overwiev of the moral choices a player will make in the game (hopefully). And the devs promise that, unlike in other RPGs, events will happen whether you take part in them or not, so not doing anything might be a viable choice too.

The unofficial info is that the books are to be translated and CDProjekt will help in any way they can to make that happen. In fact I think "The Last Wish" (the first of the three books with short stories - then there is the five-book saga) is being (or is?) translated to english right now. The following link has been mentioned on the topic:
http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/0 ... 02-2401607


And as for inspiration for rolling Faea - nah, I just go for anything that looks bad-ass thus Geralt and Faea looking alike is just a coincidence, since they both do ;). Though, after I think about it, it might have been that ever since reading The Witcher I subconsciously regarded white hair as being l33t :)...
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Postby suzziq on Fri Apr 21, 2006 12:20 am

I just finished editing my post and you had replied tee hee

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Postby Requiemourn on Fri Apr 21, 2006 12:24 am

I know! :D I witnessed all the three edits You did on the post. I think we finished reading the exact same time. What are the chances for that, huh?

...Fate? ;)


Anyhoo, there was a movie and a TV series by the way (the latter available in english). If You ever come by it... run. Run for the hills and don't look back.

Well, two good things about 'em - the way Geralt looked (exactly like he should - save for the chain shirt) and the way Dandelion, Geralt's friend, an accomplished bard and womanizer (or was it a bard and accomplished womanizer?), was played.
But my God, when I recall the dwarves... the dryads... THE ELVES!... It's a good thing I didn't bought popcorn when I went to see The Witcher because I would have probably gouged my eyes out. With popcorn.
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Postby Proto on Fri Apr 21, 2006 2:29 am

Mmmmmmore!

A very enjoyable read i must say Morgue, ta!. Reminds me of my days playing the Pendragon RPG years ago, although that is of course to do with the setting and not the writing style, which I found to be remarkably high quality (for a fantasy writer).

I see what you mean about moral ambiguity and I have no complaints with that in a game (my cow in Black & White could be described as temperemental to say the least :wink: ), it will be a refreshing change to see it implemented into a computer RPG.

Next, going to read the short story you posted. My German is a bit too rusty to make much sense of the Amazon link :)

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Postby Requiemourn on Sat Apr 22, 2006 1:18 pm

http://media.pc.ign.com/media/682/682220/vids_1.html

Check out the latest from "The Making of" series, about combat training. I think it's very cool (I particularly like the ending). Actually, all of those movies are worth a look and all can be grabbed on the main site (the most recent one will be posted there today I think, for those not registered on IGN) - though You should absolutely see "vol 3. - Music & Sound". It's hilarious how they've made some of the sounds in the game...
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Postby Proto on Sat May 06, 2006 12:12 am

Latest news:

An Oscar-nominated company has been drafted in to make the cinematics for this game. Can they best the mighty Blur and their Warhammer Online effort? I cant wait to find out!

Story here
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Postby Requiemourn on Sat May 06, 2006 2:04 pm

Honestly, I woulnd't count on beating Blur. I imagine that there was an awful lot of time and money spent on just the Warhammer Online intro, both things that Platige Image probably doesn't get from CDProjekt. Since Platige is supposed to create not just the intro but in-game cinematics as well (something I find particularly pleasing), you can't expect the quality to be on par with Blur or Blizzard Graphical Department, which could focus on making only one movie.

But still, I am sure the cinematics will be great. The so far released renderings are beautiful (except maybe for Geralt's face). Also, more thanks to the game design than Platige Image itself, I expect the cinematics to be much better narrative-wise (shouldn't be hard considering that there was almost no story in DoW, WO or WoW intros).
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Postby Requiemourn on Sun May 14, 2006 8:22 pm

I have found quite an interesting link:

http://pc.ign.com/e3/2006/games/rank-asc.html

It's IGN's rating of hype of each game present at E3. Dunno on what basis was it made but that's not really important. What's really interesting is that The Witcher is rated at position number 215 (with over 38000 titles on this console-dominated list) beating, amongst others, Gothic III, while it's release date is still quite far away!
Neverwinter Nights 2 is way higher, true, but from what I've seen in NWN 1, from the screenshots released and from what I know to expect from a DnD game, I'm not at all concerned about it being a match for The Witcher. At that point I think Gothic III is the most dangerous contestant in the single-player story-driven RPG experience niche.

(And on a side note Warhammer Online is quite high there too, loosing only to Vanguard, which is being released earlier, and to the add-on to WoW, which is just a testimony of how tasteless and/or addicted people can be :P.)
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Postby Proto on Sun May 14, 2006 9:02 pm

Quite a curious read. I'd love to know the criteria for this kind of thing but it is ultimately unimportant I suppose. I'm just devastated that SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab, was only 37434th. That's just a travesty.

Vanguard is really well placed considering it's not released. Only the expansions for WoW and Guild Wars can beat it on the MMORPG front and the latter has been out for a wee while now.

Regardless of whether it will make any impact to the game itself, I think the recent news about SOE's involvement in the Vanguard project may put a lot of people off, especially those ex-SWG players looking for their next fix. A lot of Vanguards features seem to appeal to the kind of gamer who enjoyed pre-NGE Galaxies, so this might affect the game somehow. Still, like all the other games, it will sink or swim on its own merits pretty much. Personally I hope it rocks.
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Postby Requiemourn on Wed May 17, 2006 3:45 pm

Again an update I made on Warhammer Alliance too:

The Witcher got a lot of positive feedback on this year's E3 and seems (even to my own surprise) to already be quite hyped.

It's listed on position 34 on Gamestats.com amongst PC games:
http://www.gamestats.com/objects/682/682220/#
(By the way, WAR is listed there on position 14. Woot! Unfortunately, WoW and WoW:TBC still beat it :|.)

I hate being insolent but if you still aren't hyped about that game, I suggest you take a look because from the very positive previews it looks like it's gonna be BIG.
The previewers most of the time praised graphics, combat, animations and branching storyline; even (or especially) those that weren't following the game in the past were very impressed. The most important information for me taken from this E3 is that the combat looks to be taking a direction more similar to Severance (AKA Blade of Darkness) and that the game progresses well and looks solid. Also, from the screenies released by IGN it looks very organic, alive and realistic - better than Gothic 3 perhaps?
Here's something to whet your appetites:
http://media.pc.ign.com/media/682/68...g_3591852.html
http://media.pc.ign.com/media/682/68...g_3591881.html

Visit http://www.thewitcher.com and check the E3 news coverage.
The best of the articles I think was posted on GI.n:
http://www.gamersinfo.net/index.php?art/id:1057

So what are you still waiting for? Get to reading! ;)
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Postby Requiemourn on Mon May 22, 2006 6:05 pm

And the IGN award for the best PC RPG title of E3 2006 goes to...:

http://pc.ign.com/articles/709/709220p2.html

:D
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