Witcher 2: Meet Geralt

By Shamus Posted Wednesday May 4, 2011

Filed under: Video Games 142 comments

I’m sort of infamous for my seemingly incongruous dislike for The Witcher, due mostly to the fact that I hated the protagonist. I hated his leathery, lecherous greaseball guts and I didn’t care to steer him through the world. I didn’t care. Also, his head was too small for his body, and it bugged me.


On the other hand, developer CD Projekt released, for free, a revamp of the game that fixed many of my other problems with it. (Including awful translation and long load times.) They put out a rough game, but they made things right in the end. They made a deep gameworld with thought-provoking choices and thought-provoking situations. They also run Good Old Games, the DRM-free, bargain-priced utopia of retro PC titles. How could I not love these guys?

So I’ve been wondering what to do about The Witcher 2. Do I ignore one of the most important RPG developers in operation, or do I suck it up and support the good guys by buying a game I will probably loathe?

Now I encounter this story at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, which gives us a look at the new Geralt…


Geralt = Clint Eastwood (more Unforgiven-era than Rawhide-era). I wasn't sure about him in the first game â€" he seemed a mix of tortured hero stereotype and cocky lech, but he's had a bit of a character redesign as well as a new face for thes second game. He's still macho and self-assured, but resigned and battered, not too talkative, even a little bit torn about what's the right thing to do, rather than just a surly hard-nut with a mysterious past. He does a wee bit of wise-cracking, and he's also prone to rolling eyes about other people's fancy talks and stupid ideas. Rather than forever being ‘I am master of all I survey', he's got a vague air of “oh for God's sakes, not again.”

Sold. Let’s do this.


From The Archives:

142 thoughts on “Witcher 2: Meet Geralt

  1. overpowered ginger says:

    i was wondering if this would happen

  2. Gantidae says:

    I liked The Witcher for its setting. I love a good gritty, dark setting and The Witcher delivered. Sure it was a bit rough in places. It was just the fact that nothing was good or evil sold me. Things just were. There were no easy choices. The Witcher 2 is already bought. I very rarely buy games at full price point anymore. The Witcher 2 I actually pre-ordered. Let’s hope it’s worth it.

    The face you posted, Shamus, was his original design on the new face. After a decent amount of fan protest CD Projekt redesigned him again and came up with this. I can’t find any in-game renderings.

    1. Winter says:

      Wait, what? That first redesign was way better. What was wrong with it?!

      1. X2-Eliah says:

        Too pretty, allegedly. Geralt in the second game is, after all supposed to be dead, post-amensiastic and gone through events that would crush any normal person.. He is not an invulnerable superhero, the scars all take their toll.

        That, I think, is how the official explanation goes.

        Also – He is supposed to be really old, and that face before remaking was way too young to match someone from the books.

        1. Torsten says:

          It could also be that too many people got the reaction “Oh look, it’s Sten from Dragon Age” when first seeing the picture

          1. X2-Eliah says:

            What are you talking about? Geralt doesn’t have horns nor blue skin…

  3. Vegedus says:

    Wait, the Witcher people run good old games? Interesting. That actually makes a lot of sense, now that I think about it.

    I own the first game, but have yet to get into it. I tried, only to be met with very confusing control. Spent 15 minutes only trying to figure out how to swing my sword, before putting it back in the pile of “to play later”.

    1. Irridium says:

      If your still wondering, you just have to click on an enemy, then click again when fire flashes on the reticle. Its like Diablo, but you need a bit more timing.

      1. Alexander The 1st says:

        Actually, that sounds like typical MMORPG meets Mario Party.


      2. Vipermagi says:

        I had the exact same issue as Vegedus, but already got past the “play later” bit.

        And then stopped playing after ten hours because, while the story was quite nice, the combat is not. Coincidentally, I spend a lot of time playing Diablo II (albeit a mod; Median XL).

  4. Eric says:

    He’s actually had another redesign since that screenshot to look older and more along the lines of the model used in the first game. The “pretty boy” Geralt received a lot of flak from fans, so they’ve gone back and sort of done something in between the two looks that I think preserves the feeling that he’s old, tired and worn out, but also doesn’t look quite so… I don’t know, ugly? Like if Ubisoft’s redesigned Sam Fisher for Conviction didn’t look like a Calvin Klein model.

    Anyway, you made the right choice. I mean, even if it’s looking like The Witcher 2 will be much more of an action title than the first. And the music isn’t as good.

    Also, CD Projekt are a case study in making good games, and making them right. I’m pretty sure the budget for The Witcher 2 was under $10 million, and they have a relatively small team, yet they ended up making one of the most visually impressive, artistic, expansive games to be seen in a long time on the PC. The fact that they achieved such great results considering their limitations as a studio is really damn impressive and really makes the AAA studios, not just in the RPG business, but industry-wide, look like amateurs. There’s a lot to be said for not burning out your employees year after year by making them work insane hours month in, month out, and actually creating stuff you care about.

    1. Sean says:

      …aaand EA buyout in 3… 2…

      1. krellen says:

        CD Projekt is, IIRC, the game company in Poland (sort of the Polish equivalent of Activision and EA in one.) And corporate law doesn’t work in Europe as it does in the US, so a buyout by EA may not be possible at all (I very much doubt CD Projekt is interested in selling, frankly.)

    2. Irridium says:

      Its because they’re in it to make good games, instead of just in it to make money.

      1. Mistwraithe says:

        They don’t even mind Good Old Games! (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

      2. Trix says:

        If they make a company out of it and sell products, they are in it to make money. It just happens to be a way of making money they enjoy, and they may get a good sense of worth producing quality products.

        Just because they try to profit doesn’t mean they don’t care about how good they make their games – despite what some companies might lead you to believe.

        1. krellen says:

          I really do not understand the need of people to believe that businesses exist for profit as an end, and the refusal to believe that profit might just be a nice side benefit to whatever it is the company actually exists to do.

          1. Audacity says:

            @Irridium & Krellen — If they weren’t doing it for profit, they wouldn’t have started a business to sell their games. I don’t understand why people see making a profit as a negative or as being somehow evil. They’re a group of talented people who make quality products (So I’ve heard. I have yet to play anything they’ve made.) and treat there customers with respect (This is why I keep buying stuff from GOG.com.); why must they be in it for something other than money? Sure they probably enjoy their work, but they’re still people who have to eat and want to own things. What is wrong with that? Making money and owning a business doesn’t magically turn people into asshats.

            1. Moridin says:

              Just because they want to make a living out of it doesn’t mean they’re in it for money.

              1. Raygereio says:

                You just literally said just because they want money, it doesn’t mean they’re in it for the money.

                1. Shamus says:

                  If you’re driving to a gas station, does that mean you own a car in order to acquire gas?

                2. X2-Eliah says:

                  Heh. Why would one drive to a gas station? If you can drive, you already have gas, if you need gas from a gas station, you’re outta gas and can’t drive ^^

                3. Raygereio says:

                  If you're driving to a gas station, does that mean you own a car in order to acquire gas?

                  Nope (though it does something feel like that), but it does mean you’re currently driving that car to acquire gas.

                  Let’s get somewhat pedantic; is their another meaning to the phrase “making a living” that I’m not aware of other then acquiring money to purchase housing, food and other things to live?
                  Sure, there are other reasons to have a job. It would be nice that you actually like the thing you do at that job, for instance. But ultimatly if you’re not making money at that job, then you generally end up screwed in current day society.

                  Similarly, if a company’s prime objective isn’t making money, then they also generaly end up screwed. The companies that are “nice” still have a burning desire for your money. They’re just being more strategic about it and do their thing to get the customer’s money without pissing them of so that the customer will willingly (without more effort from the company) come back again later to spend more money.

                  1. Shamus says:

                    I think this thread comes down to a difference over what “prime objective” is.

                    I’ll add that this goes back to the thing I’m always banging on about: Character Matters.

                    A leader with character sees making money as the means, and making a great product as the end.

                    A leader without character sees making a product as the means, and the money as the end.

                    In a lot of situations you can’t tell the difference. But sometimes you can. “Games designed by marketing” is a pretty good example of someone who simply sees making a thing as a way of making money. The thing being produced has no value to them and they will do with it whatever seems to make the most money.

                    Again, nothing wrong with money, but here is where the character comes in:

                    A) We can’t dumb down our game into another shooter! It might grab a few sales in the short term, but in the long term it will hurt our reputation as creative storytellers.

                    B) Bah. Change the game to whatever works. I mean, it’s just a game. It’s not like it matters, as long as people buy it.

                    I think, in the long run, people with character are actually better at making healthy, self-sustaining companies that turn out quality products. But it takes years for these differences to appear and play themselves out, and it’s easy enough for the artless hacks to blame their long-term failures on “market forces”.

                4. Raygereio says:

                  I think, in the long run, people with character are actually better at making healthy, self-sustaining companies that turn out quality products.

                  True. Looks to me like we pretty much said the same thing there; what I call “being intelligent and strategic” (and probanly made it look a bit more devious then I intended), you call “having character”.

                  The end result is the same between the two; if you’re smart as a company and produce quality items, treat your customers well, etc, you’ll get a – for a lack of a better term – a fanbase of loyal people who will come back.
                  Meanwhile companies that don’t do this will have to spend extra resources trying to get people to come back.

            2. Irridium says:

              Oh I’m sure money is pretty high up there. But its not the number one priority. Thats what I meant. Should have probably explained it better…

              1. Falcon says:

                I’d say they are in it to make money (they have to be to stay in buisness) but they are trying to make enough money not bleed every last penny out of everything money

                1. Chargone says:

                  fail at this thought is why most corporations suck so hard…

                  (“enough” money being ‘what is required to cover all costs, fund the next project, pay all staff enough to live off, and have some shinies left over, without screwing the customer over.’ roughly.)

                2. Bai Shen says:

                  A lot of that is driven by the stock market. If you’re not constantly making more money and growing, your stock is worthless. So managers will do whatever they can to get the stock price up in the short term. Who cares if it screws over the long term prospects. They can always move to another company when the current one tanks.

                3. krellen says:

                  This only applies to publicly traded companies. The companies that we’ve been discussing in Shamus’s comments these past couple weeks aren’t publicly traded.

          2. Mari says:

            It’s a funny understanding of the fact that, after all is said and done, the human body needs food to keep doing what you love. *shrug* Personally, I equally don’t understand why setting “make money” as one of your goals makes you bad in some people’s eyes. Call it an inherent difference in life views. Can we agree to disagree and leave this poor equine corpse alone now?

            1. Chargone says:

              because shareholders are in it for the money only, corporations are owned by shareholders and do things entirely with the goal of putting more money in the shareholders’ (and execs’) pockets, and corproations regularly screw over the general public in the process of achieving this.

              then indulge in a little conflation of concepts and broadening of terms and it should make sense. or this might just be an example of me being terrible at explaining something that otherwise makes perfect sense *shrugs*

              ‘the love of money is the root of all evil’ i guess?

            2. krellen says:

              “One of your goals” I’m fine with. There’s always someone posting along in here insisting that making money is “The goal”, which is what I take issue with.

              1. Mari says:

                The OP said “If they make a company out of it and sell products, they are in it to make money.” There was no qualifier in there that they are in it ONLY to make money, nor even PRIMARILY to make money. Simply that one of the goals is to make money.

                1. krellen says:

                  That statement is a heavy implication that making money is the prime, if not solitary, goal. If they meant something else, they would word it differently (or they’re poor communicators.)

                  1. Shamus says:

                    I think this is simply a matter of semantics. I assume they mean “The thing you must do to live”.

                    I live to enjoy life. I eat to live. I can fail to enjoy life and continue to live. I cannot fail to eat and continue to live.

                    You could say eating is my “primary” goal in the sense that it’s something I MUST do, but it doesn’t change the fact that enjoying life is my overall goal.

                2. krellen says:

                  And yet no one ever feels the need to post “of course Shamus needs to eat; eating is why he exists!”

                3. Audacity says:

                  Making money is the prime, but not solitary, goal of business. It must be, otherwise the business ceases to exist. If they didn’t want to make money they would create games as a hobby and give them away. Just because they enjoy their work and take pride in creating good games doesn’t mean they don’t have to, or don’t want to profit.

                  In fact, by creating and standing* by quality products CDProjekt gained a great reputation and loyal world wide consumer-base, after releasing only one game, which will ensure them greater profit in the longterm. Valve has been doing this for years now and been very successful because of it. Blizzard used to be another example, but I’m not so sure anymore.

                  I think the difference between Shamus’ examples of the two producers isn’t personal moral character so much as it is how far forward they’re looking. I would argue making money is the end goal of both, just as it is the goal of anyone who accepts payment for their work, the difference is whether they want less money now, or more money later.

                  *Such as the way they completely revamped and debugged The Witcher for the special edition and then released all the fixes and new content for free to the people who already bought the original; instead of selling it as an expansion pack or DLC.

                  1. krellen says:

                    There’s also a difference between “making a living” and “making a profit”, and a difference between “making a profit” and “maximising profit”.

                    One can wish to make good games and make enough money off doing so to live comfortably, and this does not mean the company they’ve set up to do so exists “to make profit”. I don’t think anyone anywhere in this conversation has ever suggested that games should be given away for free, that game developers should not get paid, or anything along any lines that implies that no exchange of lucre should be taking place.

                    Businesses exist for myriad purposes, just like people. And just like people, most of them wish to survive, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have drives and desires beyond mere survival. Why should we believe businesses (and the people running them) are so primitive that they care only about survival?

                    1. Shamus says:

                      “Why should we believe businesses (and the people running them) are so primitive that they care only about survival?”

                      I like that. Good way of putting it.

                      And of course, it’s more complicated when you think about the makeup of a company, which includes a myriad of people. I actually do suspect that Bobby Kotick is a “maximize profit” sort of leader. I also Think you can find strong evidence that a lot of people at Blizzard are in the industry for more artistic reasons.

                    2. Audacity says:

                      One can wish to make good games and make enough money off doing so to live comfortably, and this does not mean the company they've set up to do so exists “to make profit”. I don't think anyone anywhere in this conversation has ever suggested that games should be given away for free, that game developers should not get paid, or anything along any lines that implies that no exchange of lucre should be taking place.

                      I’m not trying to say that profit/survival is the ONLY goal of a business/individual, simply that they it is the PRIMARY goal that overshadows any others. Regardless of how much you do something out of simple love for it, you cannot continue to do it if you are out of business/dead.

                      The only difference between the terms “making a living” and “making a profit” is that one refers to individuals and the other to business. You are profiting when you make a living. You would not go to work if you didn’t receive compensation that you valued more than your time. Whether this compensation is monetary or not is up to the individual.

                      It’s much the same for business, except that businesses must receive monetary compensation. If a business does not have a monetary intake higher than its monetary output it will eventually die. Without profit it cannot invest in capital and therefore cannot innovate or compete with its rivals who do.

                      In terms of software development, if CDProjekt does not profit (eg make more than they spent/do more than break even) they have no way of financing the development of their next game, or — if they want someone else to finance it — paying their employees until they find a publisher to do it for them. Thus they must profit, and it must be their primary goal if they are to survive long enough to achieve anything else.

                    3. SomeUnregPunk says:

                      The Primary goal in a non-charitable business is to make money.How they achieve that is what differs them in their industry.

                      For example: — I’m simplifying a lot. —
                      There is two pharmaceutical companies which I can not divulge the name of… lawsuits suck….

                      One company was not publicly traded. It main goal was to make money. They had one primary goal which was controlled by a secondary goals. 1: make money. 1a. A safe reliable product.
                      They made large amounts of money by creating high quality products. The goal (1a) controlled their main goal (1) from hurting their money making. They used their money top invest in different products to create and manufacture. They made risks in new stuff while making sure each product was of a high quality one.

                      Another company had one clear goal it followed. Make money.
                      It decided it had had great idea for a product and wanted to make it themselves. They were publicly traded. They spent a good amount of money into lying to their investors that they were making a high quality product. The money they received from investors and the rise in their stock value create a false impression in the leadership that they were making money.
                      They did not have a clear 2ndary goals that controlled their main goal. They suffered from skipping steps in there procedures and faced fines and red tape from the FDA. Which leads to the loss of faith in their investors and the company is slowly dieing.

                      Primary goal in all business is to make money. Their secondary goals shape how the company will achieve that.

                    4. krellen says:

                      I disagree – strongly, as my many comments suggest – with the premise that making money is even the “primary” goal of most businesses. Making money is on the list; it is rarely on top of it, and when it is, we notice, and (for the most part) deride it.

                      The reason Bobby Kotick is so reviled is precisely because he is operating under a prime-motive of profit, and very few people defend him. Most businesses, like most people, operate under motives far more complex and noble than “survive”.

                    5. Audacity says:

                      @Krellen – I think I finally understand where we disagree. Correct me if I am wrong though, I don’t want to put words in your mouth.

                      Your argument (Again please correct me if I’m wrong):

                      Kotick has a duty to his shareholders to increase the value of their stocks. To do this he must show an increase in ActivisionBlizzardVivendiSuperMegaCorp’s profits. Therefore his only goal is to see those profits increase, he isn’t interested in the content or quality of the games released only that they sell well, no matter how many need to be shoveled out. This is wrong/evil.

                      Marcin Iwiński and Michał Kiciński on the other hand seem to care about whether their games are actually fun and thus allow their employees to create games which are unique and enjoyable. The fact that they are payed is just a bonus. This is good/righteous.

                      My argument:

                      I don’t think there is any real difference, in a moral sense, between these companies. They just approach the industry in two different ways.

                      What Kotick does is not morally wrong*, just short sighted in a business sense. Conversely I don’t think what Marcin IwiÅ„ski and MichaÅ‚ KiciÅ„ski are doing is morally right, but it is good business. I think all of these people are trying to make money; as much money as they can. I am 100% certain that if you walked up to any of them and offered to double what they make to keep doing what they do, no strings attached, none of them would say no.

                      That is to say, while Kotick and company use an assembly line, and Iwiński, Kiciński and company are handcrafting, they are all in business to make money. This is the only reason to go into business. Any other side effects are just bonuses.

                      *If he were selling something other than toys it might be a different matter, but as it stands I don’t have any moral issues with it, he can get away with what ever his customers let him. Though I personally have never purchased and Activision or even a Blizzard product, and don’t see that changing anytime soon.

                    6. Shamus says:

                      I know it’s not really related to your discussion here, but in my view the morally wrong stuff from Kotick is his lawsuit bullying. Perfectly legal, morally reprehensible.

                    7. Audacity says:

                      @Shamus – I certainly agree, Kotick is an asshat. But he is an asshat because he is an asshat, not because he is a CEO at ActivisionBlizzard. Assuming we are speaking of the same sexual harassment lawsuit.

                      Conversely, for all we know Newell, Iwinski, or Schafer could all be complete douchebags as well. That doesn’t mean they don’t produce quality products.

                    8. Shamus says:

                      I didn’t even know about the sexual harassment suit. Wow. Now I have to look that up.

                    9. krellen says:

                      Accepting a doubling in salary to keep doing what you’re already doing doesn’t mean money is your first priority. It means you’re not stupid.

                      In the real world, that doubling of money never comes without strings, of course. What those strings are is what makes the difference between priorities. That string can be as little as “work for company X instead of company Y”, but that requires looking at what company X does as opposed to company Y, and whether supporting company X over company Y is worth it to you.

  5. Mark says:

    I am interested in this game, but I have heard that you need to be familiar with the first one in order to know what’s going on, and I am not interested in that one.

    1. Irridium says:

      Not really. From what I’ve learned about Witcher 2, it’ll be a stand-alone game. Yeah it’ll have references to the first, but you won’t need to play the first to understand whats going on and whatnot.

      I didn’t need to read the books the first is based on to understand the setting, so I’m sure you won’t need to play the first game to understand the setting either.

      1. Jarenth says:

        Sweet, this is also what I was wondering.

        This is starting to look like a good deal, then. Though I’ll probably try to play The Witcher (‘1’) again just for the hell of it; I’m fairly certain I own that somewhere.

      2. X2-Eliah says:

        Erm, well, the story of Witcher 2 is a direct continuation of where the first witcher left off – so at least watch the youtube vid for the ending cinematic of the first witcher, to get a rough idea where you’ve left off.

        The actual details of the 1st’s story aren’t that important – it was a contained tale, after all – it’s just that at TW2, you are right after that.

    2. Abnaxis says:

      According to the article Shamus linked, it seems like they expect you to at least know some of the politics of the land going into the game. Of course, I’m obsessive about crap like this anyway so I have to play the first one…

      Ergh….too many games to buy…

      1. Someone says:

        Well, if it’s anything like the first one, the extensive ingame “witcherpedia” has an article on everything, from political succession of local nobility to the traditions and customs of coloring underpants in different cultures of the land.

  6. Phoenix says:

    The Witcher has a wonderful setting, which portaits racism betwenn humans, elves and witchers in a touching way. I’ve read some books (The Last Wish and Blood of Elves) from which the game is inspired, I’ve also seen the tv series, but the videogame didn’t do a bad job.

    I’m not a huge fan of its combat system (timed clicking), but they changed that in the sequel.

  7. JohnW says:

    Judging from that pic, he’s corralled Eva Green’s sister as his adventuring buddy.


  8. Ben says:

    Question Shamus, did you ever finish the Witcher?

    Even with all updates its still very rough around the edges and it has its own share of problems but the game world is well conceived and a nice change from the ren-faire style of most fantasy RPGs, and the C&C is probably the best from any mainstream developer in the last 10 years.

    1. Shamus says:

      I INTENDED to go back once the fixed edition came out, but never got around to it.

      1. Ben says:

        I know how a games to play list can quickly turn into a FINO queue but I’d really recommend actually going back to it. There are a couple of really outstanding pieces of quest design that are well worth the price of admission, for example the over-arching quest of chapter II but yeah chapter I does still suck.

        1. poiumty says:

          Really? Because most quests in The Witcher are MMO-ish borefests. I can’t remember any good ones in Chapter 2.

          1. Ben says:

            The entire investigation quest in chapter 2 is a nice piece of work. There is some kinda odd stuff with the suspect quests but overall the quest line has some interesting branching paths that easily lead to the less then optimal solution. In general the way the decision points weave into game play in unexpected ways is really well done, it gives choices meaningful consequences that often follow the law of unintended consequences.

            There are some very MMO-ish quests with the gathering monster parts but I never found that I had to go out of the way to get those, I generally had more then enough just from exploring.

            1. Stefano Marone says:

              I started to playing it, but stopped at the end of chapter 2.
              I disliked the bugs (go on the spot on the map and kill monster xy, got there and since I killed it an hour before getting the quest… I got stuck). I loved the sexscenes, but when I realized that I was playing more for whoring than for questing… I quit.

  9. Irridium says:

    Witcher 2 is a stat-based RPG with a true branching story that actually changes based on your choices, a dark fantasy setting that puts all the seedy stuff up-front instead of just hinting at it, selling itself on the premise of story rather then “epically awesome combat, yo!”, and selling it for no DRM.

    Its like they read my private diary, and made a game based on what I want.

    Only way I could be more excited is if it was set in space.

    1. krellen says:

      Fantasy-beast hunting in SPACE? Can such a thing be?

      1. Richard says:

        Space? Gotta go to space.

        1. krellen says:

          I’m the best. Best at Space!

          1. Jarenth says:

            I’m proud of you, son.

        2. Gale says:

          Careful. Let’s not make space the new cake, yeah?

          1. Chargone says:

            well, given that the space is clearly not a lie…

            1. krellen says:

              The cake wasn’t a lie either. GLaDOS was completely up-front about it: “You will be baked, and then there will be cake.”

          2. Mathias says:

            Tyranid Hunter, anyone?

          3. Alexander The 1st says:

            Oh boy, I can see Yahtzee mentioning that for his Portal 3 review. “You know, I thought nothing could get more annoying then the fans globbering over the ‘the cake is a lie’ meme, and I mentioned as such in my Portal 2 review, but then ‘Oh, a challenge’ goes Valve, and now we have ‘CAKE…IN SPACE!'”

            Now if only I could do a British accent, I’d do a parody video of this.

          4. Richard says:

            Meh, it’s not old yet.

            In a year or so (maybe sooner), I’m sure it will be. But it’s been what, less than a month since the game came out?

    2. Ben says:

      If you are expecting a totally stats based affair you will likely be disappointed, going by what they’ve said and comparing to the Witcher 1 the leveling system in more GoW style then Fallout style.

      The Witcher 1 and 2 are for good or ill action RPGs, 1 still had a great atmosphere and some great C&C but it was an action RPG. Also lest you be disappointed as good as the branching factor is (in 1 and I suspect in 2 as well) it never deviates from the broad thrust of the story, how you see the story can and does change significantly but the environments are all mostly the same in mostly the same order.

      This RPS article should give you a good idea what to expect in terms of choices in the Witcher 1 (couple of spoilers for early game choices), which will probably be true of 2 as well.

      1. Irridium says:

        Not really expecting a totally stats-based affair. Seems like it’ll alter how you play the game, but doesn’t force you into a particular play-style, which is what I’m happy about.

        As for the branching, I was referring more to the story rather then the environments. But I’ve read that what environments you go to in Witcher 2 is based on what you chose throughout the game. So its an improvement over the first.

      2. Falcon says:

        For me I don’t really care much one way or the other. I’ve played my fair share of pure stats based RPG’s (old Bard’s Tale type stuff, to JRPG’s like the FF series). I’ve also played a fair amount of your action type RPG’s. Honestly I don’t care what combat style they use, gimme good writing and story, sod the rest.

        I read that article, and it made me really really want to play the first one. I don’t care how atrocious the combat is (apparently bad) for that level of impact on story? I’d almost be willing to put up with combat comprised entirely of QTE’s to see that.

        On second thought maybe not QTE’s, perhaps they’d take beating your head against a wall instead as an acceptable combat mechanic.

    3. Sumanai says:

      It was such a promising read until the bit about giant spiders and spider queens. I’m so sick of giant spiders in fantasy games and even more sick of “spider queens”. Still thinking about pre-ordering though.

      1. Dumbledorito says:

        They fill you with lolthing?

        1. kanodin says:

          No but that pun did.

          1. Chargone says:

            i loled.

        2. Trix says:

          You make my brain hurt…and then my inner (outer?) nerd cheers.

        3. Irridium says:

          Drow, that hurt.

          Well, I tried. I’ll leave now.

        4. Mari says:

          I love you. Have a nice day :-)

          1. Mathias says:

            Critical failure on your Pun check?

            1. Mari says:

              Naw, I just used Sense of Humour as my dump stat. Low sense of humour = easily amused by geeky puns.

        5. Sumanai says:

          Yes, and I wish the person who keeps suggesting to put those things in games would be drowned.

  10. AxiomaticBadger says:

    In a recent press announcement, a yellow-eyed spokesman from EA commented that CD Projekt “has the attention of those infinitely thier greater”. He then went on to say that “That which you know as EA are gaming’s salvation through destruction”.

    Also, is that supposed to be Triss???

  11. Infinitron says:

    The Geralt of the first game was sort of belief-defying, in that he was simultaneously a confused amnesiac that needed to have everything spelled out for him, AND an uber-confident, cocky seducer of women.
    I think the game would feel more real if you actively avoided the option of seducing women.

  12. Deadfast says:

    This is the first game I have pre-ordered (over at GOG.com) since I started playing video games 10 years ago. I guess that says a lot.

    1. Bubble181 says:


      1. Rosseloh says:

        I’d say same but I hadn’t seen it was available at GoG (with all the goodies) until after I had pre-ordered it on Steam…..doh!

        (Seriously considering buying another copy, honestly. Just because I like to support CDProjekt)

        1. Bubble181 says:

          Gog -> No DRM
          Steam -> Steam and Starforce.

          Dude, un-pre-order and rebuy ;-)

          1. Rosseloh says:

            Working on it. ;) Steam sure doesn’t make it easy to get a refund. Makes sense I guess, but in this case I don’t even have a game yet, so it should be easier than digging through their support website….ah, oh well.

  13. Dumbledorito says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I see less Clint Eastwood and more Bronson Pinchot in that photo.

  14. rofltehcat says:

    Ok, I’m a little slow right now…
    Where can I get the remake for free? I already own the Witcher on Steam.
    *ducks to avoid Shamus’ laser beam eyes of DRM-wrath*

    1. Corsair says:

      Remake? I thought the Enhanced Edition was a patch.

      1. Veloxyll says:

        Tis indeed a patch.

    2. Gildan Bladeborn says:

      Well the only version that Steam seems to have NOW is in fact the Enhanced Edition, and I seem to recall the release of the Enhanced Edition coincided with the game showing up on Steam? But if that isn’t the case, I would suggest heading here to the official FAQ, which is bound to have the answer and link you want, somewhere.

  15. Galad says:

    Good to see you’ve finally seen the Light, Shamus :P

    /fanboy out

  16. RCN says:

    I also neglected The Witcher. Mainly because I heard it had MMO gameplay (so… it was Yahtzee’s fault, basically).

    I never got around to actually try it yet, while I keep meaning to. It’s just too much games to play. As a strategy gamer my work is simply never over…

    “Hey, let’s take this saturnday afternoon to play some Galactic Civilizations”

    “Hello? I’m busy.”
    “Mister RCN, we’re calling to tell you you’re fired for failing to show to work for 2 whole weeks without justification.”
    “Aww, not again…”

    1. Trix says:

      That was sort-of my reason for avoiding the game for a while, but then I got it when it was on sale (it did pique my interest) and tried it out to see for myself.

      …I wasn’t really disappointed, but it wasn’t quite engaging enough for me to go back in favor of other games. Of course, I only really did the first section, so I might have missed many of the good bits.

  17. Dan Has Answers says:

    So they traded one masculine stereotype for another? Oh well, could be worse.

    1. Bret says:

      Stereotypes are all in how they’re filled.

      Also? If they’re awful stereotypes.

      Garrus was textbook “Loose cannon cop on the edge who doesn’t play by anyone’s rules. NOT EVEN HIS OWN!” in Mass Effect, and he’s great fun to hang out with.

      Meanwhile, ME1 Liara was textbook nerdbait, and she was intolerable.

      Basically, smug Lothario is a lot less fun than Clint Eastwood.

      1. Mathias says:

        Remember, now, Tropes Are Not Bad (you’re welcome)

  18. Rosseloh says:

    Ha! That last line in the quote is basically the vibe you get from Geralt in the books. Good to see that they’ve made it something you’re willing to try, Shamus. I loved the first one despite it’s flaws, and it got me into the books (rather than the other way around). So I’m definitely looking forward to this one.

    Of course it sports the bane of my existence, quick time events. But it seems like it’s more The Force Unleashed-style cutscene action than “press now or die”, so I can probably live with it. (well, according to the preview video they released like a year ago, I guess. Things could have changed)

  19. X2-Eliah says:

    Um. The Geralt in the first game was a cocky letch if you played him as a cocky letch. Nothing was forcing you to sleep with everything, nor to approach situations as an arrogant bastard, you know.

    Well, whatever. To be frank, I’m not particularly following your opinions on the witcher simply because I know you didn’t give the effort (or don’t have the willingness) to give it a fair try – or that our ideas clash strictly from the very get-go about the game. In this case I prefer to stick batons in ears and go “Lalalalaa idon’tcare the witcher is the best rpg I’ve played”, and, you know, it’s actually a really good stance. It is just so irksome to see you bashing the game for something I have great trouble even seeing in there – a bit like you bashing a house because of the supposed ghosts in there, where there really aren’t any.

    As for heads too small for bodies – Boy, then I can’t wait what you’ll say about Deus Ex: Human Revolution…

    1. Chargone says:

      Moe: quit bagging the house!
      /dubiously well remembered simpsons quote.

      1. X2-Eliah says:

        Ah Moe. Bless his ugly mug.

    2. krellen says:

      You realise this post was a “I really should have liked the Witcher, and stuff I’m seeing for Witcher 2 looks good, so I think I’m going to go ahead and give it another shot” post, right?

      1. X2-Eliah says:

        Yes. I’m just saying I won’t really pay much attention to every time Shamus will write “Aaaaand … unlike in the first witcher where the pc was a total lech”. And I bet you it will happen.

        Like I said “I’m not following [Shamus’s] opinions on the witcher.” – I didn’t say anything about Witcher 2. I’m still interested in that.

  20. Phoenix says:

    If you want better proportions you should look at the actor of the series. I think they inspired from him, actually looks better the actor than the videogame counterpart.
    http://witcher.wikia.com/wiki/The_Hexer or check The Hexer on google image.
    Also it’s closer to Geralt of the book, the videogame leaves much freedom and maybe it’s a bit too cocky.

    Now that I think about it the atmosphere of the witcher reminded me the feeling given by the atmosphere of the old videogame pagan ultima VIII.

  21. Jokerman says:

    Much better looking now :D sexy even!

  22. Nevrim says:

    Man I thought it was a poster for a metal band. Now he looks like some kind of rock superstar
    If someone among you likes manga try reading 1/2 prince.
    It looks like someone did the same to Geralt.

  23. Phoenix says:

    I can’t belive I deleted the save games… -_-

  24. Rack says:

    Unfortunately I don’t have the alien future machine you need to run this monstrosity. I can just about max Crysis so the best I’ll be able to do according to these requirements is see the menu screen.

    1. X2-Eliah says:

      The dev diaries have said that the game is pretty well on scaling – if you match minimum specs, then you should actually run it pretty well on medium specs. Also mind, that even the ‘low’ settings in the game are far better looking than high/medium of last year games.

      Checked the witcher forums – the recommended specs are for running the game in 1080p, full AA and AF. So CDProject is actually giving valid specs instead of ‘lowest you can get’ thing other games do >.>

  25. StranaMente says:

    On a somewhat related note:mass effect meets call of duy , as Riccitiello assured it will become a rpg meet shooter, as trivial things like choices and dialogues will be cut out (really, I hope not).
    My gamer self feels like he’s been kicked in the nuts.

    1. X2-Eliah says:

      Need. To. Hear. Shamus’s. Opinions. On. That. NOW!

      But seriously. WTF Bioware – do you want to sink the space-opera-rpg completely and prove that only thing in space worth making are bro-fisting marines?

      1. krellen says:

        And corrupted cores.

        1. X2-Eliah says:

          I stand corrected, good sir.

    2. Sagretti says:

      While nothing in the actual quote is very definitive, it’s still a very unsettling thing to hear. Still, I’d love to see the levels of bile Spoiler Warning will have for the game if the rpg elements get reduced to something around the level of Bioshock or worse.

    3. GiantRaven says:

      Surely if were Bioware were aiming at a larger audience, they would attempt to strike a balance between shooter and RPG crowds. I really don’t get this whole uproar. Mass Effect 2 played a lot better than the first game so, to me, it just seems like people want the game to be less fun play. I don’t see the harm in beefing up the shooter aspect of the gameplay, as it works well with the Mass Effect universe. Also, there isn’t anywhere that the article states that aspects of the series such as dialog and choices will be cut out, other than the ridiculous speculation of the article’s writer (who is making the assumption that ‘wider audience’ = ‘purely a shooter’).

      1. StranaMente says:

        I exagerated that bit about cutting out things, I thought it was more clear, sorry. :-)
        As for the combat, making combat more accessible is good, cutting out choices, dialogues, npc interactions, small commerce with merchants, fiddling with your stats (things that are stereotipical for a rpg) is bad.
        I’m afraid of what they could mean with streamlining the game.
        And I’m feeling a bit of fps/tps fatigue and I’d really prefer to work things out talking more than fighting my way through waves of enemies when in the end nothing I’ve chosen mean anything (I’m looking at you Dragon age II).

    4. some random dood says:

      Just read the piece. A quote that jumped out (and kicked me in the nads) – “We're huge believers in the IP and are purposefully shifting it to address a larger market opportunity.” They believe in the IP so much, that they abandon the original gameplay and stylings for YACS (“Yet Another Corridor Shooter”).
      Yup, agree with you StranaMente, I am feeling well and truly abandoned by BioWare.

    5. Raygereio says:

      While I’ll be the last person to defend BioWare on anything after ME2 and DA2. This was a EA CEO talking to investors, so I’m fairly certain that what the quoted CEO was really saying was “The developers need more time in order to make the game not be a shitty mess. Here are some fancy words about RPGs and shooters to confuse the hell out of investors – as well as a few assurances that this game will make a lot of money – so that the investors won’t ask too many questions about why we’re missing a christmas launch.”

      Seriously, this is a CEO talking. Start worrying when anyone actually involved in the development starts to spew crazy talk.

      1. GTRichey says:

        Anyone involved with EA or Bioware at any level saying things like this is cause for worry. Saying it to investors is slightly less worrying but the fact is ‘wider audience’ is about as likely to mean they’re going to really bring the space opera in ME3 as… ah I don’t even know… it’s extremely unlikely. We already saw them abandon it for the main plot of ME2 so the only way they’re going to reach a ‘wider’ audience (keep in mind Bioware has already said they want the COD audience) is to eliminate any sort of depth in the companions (the only place where there was any sort of depth left for ME2). I’m not saying it will be a bad game, but it’s not going to be the game that those of us that loved the first game because of what it was and frankly didn’t care that the combat sucked, were willing to put up with one of the most painful inventories ever. It was a space opera and it promised to be a trilogy, and dammit we were excited. Then ME2 goes corridor shooter and they’re trying to further broaden the appeal of ME3. This makes me sad.

        Also claiming the publisher is not involved in development is a falsehood. Publishers are extremely involved which is why we don’t have more developers that simply won’t release until the game is good and damn ready. Publishers are often at least partly responsible for the buggy releases that are far too commonplace now. Also cutting content out and selling it later at additional cost (I’m not saying all DLC is bad… Dead Money was very good and it looks like other New Vegas DLC will be as good and significant. ME2 DLC on the other hand… I’ll just not say anything on that to avoid causing trouble).

        1. GTRichey says:

          Missed edit window with this… Hopefully though we’re all wrong and this means the exact opposite of what we’re afraid of (i.e. they’ve heard complaints in response to things they’ve said and are trying to change it to make those of us wanting a space opera happy again). Though this seems incredibly unlikely because that kind of delay isn’t a holiday 2011 becoming Q1 2012.

  26. Zaxares says:

    *reads the article* OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG- *takes breath* Only 2 more weeks to go! Can’t wait! :D

  27. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Im about as ambivalent as Shamus.I tried starting witcher three times,but it never got me enough to continue with it.Especially after the(first as far as Ive heard)pointless sex scene.

    1. X2-Eliah says:

      Yes, after the completely optional choice-based cutscene.. If you play like a dude who has sex left and right, why do you complain if your character has sex left and right? JustSayNo.

      Edit – it is just as if you had a game with optional overpriced apparel DLC, and you’d complain that the game sucks because you ‘have to’ buy all the apparel items.. Oh, wait :rolleyes: nevermind.

      1. Zukhramm says:

        Geralt pretty much makes the choice on his own, so choosing to say no is not as easy for the player as it seems. And just because it’s optional does not mean no one is allowed an opinion on it.

        And, the difference with Portal 2 is that it’s clearly external, there’s no “hat encounter” inside the game where GLaDOS offers to sell you hats. Also, buying a hat you don’t get a nude card with Chell and Wheatly.

        1. Raygereio says:

          “Also, buying a hat you don't get a nude card with Chell and Wheatly.”
          Whoa there, you might be on to something. Valve, you guys listening? This might actually get me to buy Portal 2!

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Riiight,optional.And that makes it less pointless?You know,there are other ways you can interact with someone who you went through a fight with and helped them not die.Leave or have sex should not be the only two options.Plus,why cant you ask her about your lost memory before you have sex?

  28. Simplex says:

    As it was already mentioned, most of the sex scenes are optional and can be avoided. I know I am just a random guy on the Internet, but I’d like to ask Shamus to give Witcher another chance.

    Perhaps this will be a good excuse: for a limited time The Witcher Enhanced Edition will be available on GoG.com for $4,99 which is a steal:

    It will have no DRM to boot (well, the latest patch removed DRM so no surprise here) and many additional goodies (soundtrack, wallpapers, etc.) that GoG.com is famous for.

    I am probably going to buy it for the third time :)

    Incidentally, I am not a Witcherophile ;) I mean I am Polish, I read the books, I bought the game, but I only finished it a few days ago, motivated by the imminent release of Witcher 2.

    I started playing Witcher shortly after it was released, I persevered up until the ending of Act 2, or maybe beginning of Act 3.

    When the Enhanced Edition came out, I tried again, started from scratch and played up to the ending of Act 3 and stopped playing in April 2009.

    I picked up the game 2 years later, I could not force myself to start from scratch for the third time so I picked up where I left 2 years earlier, read finished quests description and some lore (monsters, characters, locations, etc) and I managed to finish the game.

    Oh, and also I am not fond of RPGs as a genre and Witcher is the only RPG I ever finished. The second RPG I ever finished will probably be Witcher 2.

    Also that is interesting read, sorry if it was already linked here:

  29. DungeonHamster says:

    I still haven’t tried the first Witcher. Too many other games to play, and several people I know who played it were giving me opinions not all that unlike Shamus’. Will probably give it a try now, though, seeing as how GoG’s releasing it soon with the first couple of weeks on sale for about $5. To tell the truth, though, I’m more interested in Skyrim that Witcher2.

  30. neothoron says:

    I have been getting excited for a while about The Witcher II (thanks to RPS’s awesome previews) – I was wondering whether you would try it, and am glad to read that you will.

    Oh, and I am sure that it will make a good candidate for Spoiler Warning in a year. ;)

  31. Zak McKracken says:

    Oh, isn’t it ironic that the witcher (according to the review you linked to) has no loading screens? I’ll be delighted to know how they did that.

  32. Bubble181 says:

    Just for the record, The Witcher and the GoG people aren’t the same company; they’re both owned by the same holding. They’re sister corporations.

    That aside, I love them both.

  33. somecrazyfan says:

    What’s the meaning of even leaving a comment if Shamus is not going to read it anyway? There’s allways his small group of snobs writing everything that passes through their head and other people can’t actually reach Shamus, not even with email.
    I mean, look at some posts. “I was unable to figure it out that I need to click on enemies in order to attack them despite the tutorial and the manual”.
    WTF? I know Shamus’s opinion about interface and how it should help even people that play a video game for the first time, but that’s really too much. No, I dismiss that post as being a way of trolling.There’s no other way.

  34. Zaghadka says:

    Doing the same, with the exact same misgivings about the series. Still, I hope they make a mint off of this marketing strategy. I would love to see DRM-free games become a viable industry.

    Here’s hoping the bastards don’t drag it down into the mud.

  35. Licaon_Kter says:

    …i’ll just leave this here :D

    The Witcher 2: How To ‘Mouse Invert’

    Add Invert=1 to the [MouseInput] section.





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