Witcher 2 Xbox 360 Interview With CD Projekt
We sit down with The Witcher 2 developer Marek Ciemak at CD Projekt to chat Xbox 360, Skyrim as well as PS3.
How long have you been working on Witcher 2 for 360?
We started working… it’s hard to say. We were creating our engines for a couple of years now and while creating the engines, we were already thinking about console. But on the other hand, while creating Witcher 2 PC, we weren’t thinking of moving it or two platforms at the same time. So it’s a quite difficult question. To be honest, we started working on the Xbox version just after releasing the PC version, after we had some spare time and manpower.
Did the reaction to the PC version change what you did for the 360 version?
No, I believe not. Different people are playing casually Xbox games and PC games. So we know many people are waiting for the game to come to consoles because they always wanted to play but they didn’t have PC or the right PC but now they have a chance to play the game.
One of the quotes in the demo said you’re going to be the biggest non-linear RPG…
On consoles. Obviously, people will compare you to Skyrim and…
They will, for sure. Sure they will. But that’s our target, first of all, and we believe that it’s hard to beat us in terms of story and storytelling. We’re really story heavy and we have a great, great intense background thanks to the first part of the game so we’re not afraid to compete. Our story and the way we’re putting it into the game is one of the best ways it’s ever made on consoles.
So do you think Witcher 2 will beat Skyrim?
It’s hard to say. Of course, we’d love to be, let’s call it, ‘the best’ in terms of storytelling and stuff but I don’t think I’m the right person to judge. I’m sure the players will do that. But on the other hand, personally, I think we’re two different games. They’re focused on their huge open world exploration and we’re a little more into the intense storytelling with a lot of dialogue, focus on story… so we’re still RPG games, sure, but two sides of the same genre, you know?
How hard was it to get a game that big onto Xbox 360?
It was… it still is quite challenging because the game is really complex. That’s one thing. The other is that it has a lot of graphical assets and it was pretty heavy even on PC. But we have some great technology, which helps us to move it.
Our RED engine was already prepared for consoles a little bit so it works great on this project. We see it as a new challenge. We don’t have much experience in creating console games, at least not as a studio. So we’re approaching it and doing our best and it looks okay at this stage. So I think it’ll be a really cool, challenging and interesting experience.
Was it easier or harder than you thought it would be?
I think, in some aspects, it was easier but there were some problems connected to hardware that were a little more physical than we thought, so it depends who on the team you ask probably. Different tasks meant different amounts of thinking about.
What about Witcher 2 on PS3?
That’s not something we’re thinking about at this stage. Right now, we’re focused on the Xbox 360 version just like before we were focused on the PC version. Sure we would like to see the game on PlayStation and we’d like to deliver it to those players. But we can’t do everything at the same time and it’s a little more difficult than the Xbox version for us. Maybe if we have more manpower it would be a little bit easier.
So the team isn’t big enough to make a PS3 version?
Yes, yes, of course. We really like PlayStation as players and the team, we all love the console, but it’s more a business decision and how much we can carry right now at this moment. We can’t do everything at the same time.
What do you hope the legacy of Witcher 2 will be?
I know that’s a broad question.
Yeah, that’s a big question. We hope to bring a really good RPG to consoles so we hope to gain interest of mature players who are looking for something story driven and story heavy, but we hope to prove heavy RPGs aren’t only made on PCs but they can also be played on consoles and can be successful there. I hope that we open a way for other big, strong, story heavy RPGs to find their own players on consoles, not only PC.
Why are the story-heavy RPGs only on PC?
Hard to say. Maybe it’s tradition a little bit. But a lot of games are dated back to when they were on PC like Baldur’s Gate and Morrowind series… okay, Morrowind is now on consoles also, but the beginnings were on PC. So maybe many players who used to play those story-heavy RPGs stick to it and still play them on PC. So that’s one thing.
The other is probably… ahhh. It’s hard to say. It’s an interesting question. I’ve thought about it a few times already but I don’t know the right answer. I can only guess. Maybe it’s tradition, maybe there are a different group of players playing PC games and console games but to be honest, nowadays, many people own many different machines. Not only consoles but also PCs. So it’s all beginning to change and open to a bigger market.
Having worked on Xbox 360 and having seen the technical side, what are you hoping for from the next generation of console hardware?
We’re hoping it’ll be much faster and stronger than the current generation, obviously. The equipment has been around for a couple of years, right? Many, many people have already pushed it to the limit. It’s not as exciting as it used to be before, when you didn’t know what the limits are.
So we hope someone will deliver a console that’s really, really powerful first of all. And then there’s a huge excitement when you’re creating a game and you don’t know what you can achieve because no-one’s been there yet.
I’m sure you’ve seen there’s already been a lot of talk on the Xbox 360 version vs the PC version and which one is better. What have you got to say on that?
It’s the same game. I don’t know how you can try to compare those two games because we’re doing everything to deliver the exact same game. Of course it’s going to be a little bit different in terms of visual aspects of the game. The resolution will be just like the one that should be on Xbox but all the content, all the story, the quests, the equipment will still be in the game. In our opinion, those are the two same games.
Are you surprised that there’s so much focus on the one version versus the other?
No, we’re not really surprised because nowadays, many developers try to deliver some extra content only for one platform and then different content for another platform and that’s not our target. We just want to create a great game and deliver it to as many people as possible. We don’t want people to think what platform they should get to play the game. We want the experience to be exactly the same on both platforms. That’s our philosophy.
The more people who play it, the better.