One of 2011's great games was The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. CD Projekt released the game on PC last Spring, but players on Xbox 360 are about to enjoy a taste of The Witcher 2 on their platform as well with The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition. This new version of the game features enhanced UI, controls, gameplay mechanics and other tweaks to get The Witcher 2 running perfectly on Xbox 360 - no simple console port here.
We had a chance to chat with Animator Thomasz Baginski, CD Projekt RED Studio Head Adam Badowski and CG Supervisor Maciej Jackiewicz to talk about some of the exciting features in The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition. Take a look at the interview below!
Curse: How similar to the Enhanced Edition for the original game will the Witcher 2's Enhanced Edition be in terms of amount of content and type of content?
Adam Badowski: We’ve put a lot effort into every detail in the new edition. We’ve added 4 hours of additional gameplay and added new locations, characters. This extended gameplay will take place in the third act of the game and will close some loose ends.
The gameplay time is longer also, thanks to new movies and cinematics. The intro we presented in January is just a fraction of what we’ve got prepared. We also prepared some content to explain the game world and the events of the first game – we will unveil these later on. There are also over a hundred of new gameplay improvements.
All the DLCs released to date will be a part of the Enhanced Edition – this means you’ll have both the Tutorial and Arena mode when you install the game.
What is similar to the first game is that all of this content will be available free of charge for present PC users. When the game is available on store shelves for Xbox 360 and PC on 04/17, our current gamers will be able to download all the new stuff.
Can you talk a little about some of the notable characters who are being added?
AB: One of the most notable characters is Brigida Papebrock. She’s a 30 year old blonde noble, a member of the Temerian Papebrock family and a lady-in-waiting at the Temerian Court. She’s a seductive type, who wants to be as close to the crown as possible. Suddenly she finds herself caught between two nobles fighting for the crown. She’s levelheaded and resourceful, however; she is no damsel in distress.
She is a main character in one of the two new quests. I can’t say more about other characters for now, but you'll be sure to hear something about them later on.
Will the Enhanced Edition effect the game's combat?
AB: The Xbox 360 version gets an interface system designed for the console gamepad. Now the targeting system and camera system have been rearranged. The combat is still tactical, brutal and dynamic, but' thanks to our changes' console players can feel like real sword masters. Remember that it’s still the Witcher. These means you really have to plan your moves ahead and use your brains as well us your combat skills.
This isn’t a simple hack and slash game. So prepare for lots of challenges and fun.
What is the most exciting gameplay addition or tweak being added in the Enhanced Edition?
AB: I think that’s the new quests. New gameplay is what excites most players. We will close some loose ends, but no spoilers. You have to wait for the game.
We also are excited to bring our game to new players. Console audiences haven't seen a game like this. The protagonist is neither a white knight nor scum. Moral greyness is all around you and choices really matter – that’s the type of game we want to bring to the Xbox 360.
The trailer for The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings Enhanced Edition is phenomenal! Can you talk a little about the process for creating a trailer like this?
Tomasz Bagiński: We've already produced five films for "The Witcher" game in last five years. So I was very happy when I heard that we were to do another.
CD Projekt RED came to us with the idea for the script long before the production started. In spite of vast changes we made, the project went on hold for almost two years until it was brought back to life in Xbox 360 version.
As it turned out, these two years gave us the necessary perspective. We left the ship, main characters, but made significant changes in the plot. Some great ideas came at the last phase of working on the script - for example, the ice bomb. It changed a lot in the dramaturgy of the film and vfx team work.
How long does the entire process of creating a cinematic trailer take and how much manpower is involved?
Maciej Jackiewicz: The main production took 8 months. We had approximately 40 people working on The Witcher intro altogether. Of course they didn't work all that time. At each stage of production we had a team of around 10 artists.
What are some of the challenges of working on a piece like this one?
MJ: Definitely all the characters and the destruction of the ship were the biggest challenges.
There are almost 20 characters in the Witcher intro. Many of them are based on in-game models. That helped us to stay close to the style and look already carefully designed in the ‘Witcher 2’ game. Obviously lots of remodeling and tuning had to be done. The script assumed that each character gets his own ‘five minutes‘ in the film.
That meant that we had to pay the same level of attention to all of them. Each character had his own cloth setup - some up to five layers of clothing. The other big part of work was the destruction of the ship. Our FX team had to figure out how to do the destruction of a detailed model of the ship, covered by ice and, what's more, match it perfectly with the timing determined by layout and music.
Special thanks to CDProjekt for taking the time to talk about their game with us! The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition launches on April 17th, 2012 - visit http://www.thewitcher.com/!