E3 2007: The Witcher Impressions
One game I came away from E3 2006 lusting after was The Witcher. I’ve covered it a few times here on Gaming Today recently but yesterday I got first hand experience looking at the latest build of the game. Its come a long way over the last year, the already impressive graphics running on a mostly re-engineered Aurora engine (the same engine that powered the original Neverwinter Nights). The Witcher will be the first title from Atari’s staple under Microsoft’s Games for Windows label but it will be playable on both Xp and Vista unlike recent releases like Halo 2 and Shadowrun.
The title is based upon a series of popular polish dark fantasy novels and due tot he darkness of the setting will contain many elements that guarantee a mature rating. Speaking with the developer it was made apparent that the game is mature not only for violence but also a number of ethical and social situations. Players will not choose the traditional good or evil route but rather which evil or a good act that ultimately results in more possible evil. The example given concerned offloading your extra weapons to an NPC only to have the NPC go off and kill someone. This act makes the player at least partially responsible for the act and adds a certain level of gray to every choice no matter what your motives start as. The game handles situations that might even mean the version we get here in the US will be sanitized to some extent though no one is sure yet.
Spouting figures like 80-120 hours of gameplay, over 250 individual skills and a detailed crafting system might make the number geeks happy but ultimately the key to making a game is fun. The Witcher looks fun. Unlike most RPGs the game features a combo based real-time combat system that plays more like a fighting game than a sword and sorcery epic. There is still an element of strategy to the title but pulling off finishing moves and sword combos should keep the player more engaged in the action – which is what developer CdProjekt wants.
The Witcher is slated for an October release and the novels upon which the game is based are making an appearance in the UK and possibly the US sometime later this year as well.