Still Hardcore? Studio Boss Adam Badowski Talks The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

It’s been two weeks since we saw The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in action at E3, and we’re still chatting enthusiastically about Geralt’s next open world monster hunt. We also still have questions, and the folks at CD Projekt Red were gracious enough to once again provide answers.

This time around, studio boss Adam Badowski chimed in on The Witcher 3’s redesigned combat system, more user-friendly UI, difficulty level, and more. Sharpen your swords and ready your spells, it’s time to talk The Witcher 3!

Is The Witcher 3 still PC first? It’s a question that’s been on our minds since CDP announced it would ship all three versions of the RPG simultaneously. While Badowski said The Witcher 3 is being designed for all three platforms instead of for PC and then ported, he assured us the PC version would have suitable bells and whistles for high-end enthusiasts, while still scaling well for everyone else.

“In the previous generation, architecture varied between machines,” Badowski said. “With the new consoles, their build is actually pretty similar to that of a PC, so we don’t have to dedicate separate teams to work on consoles and computers.

“We plan to make The Witcher 3’s graphics look as close to modern CGI as possible, at least in several areas, like the character quality along with the mimics, or film-like effects. Achieving such cutting-edge visuals will require a suitably advanced rig. High-end hardware will certainly help, but don’t worry — don’t expect that everyone will have to upgrade their PCs.”

After making the leap to Xbox 360 with The Witcher 2, we asked Badowski what the design team learned and in what ways, if any, those lessons were applied in creating the third installment.

“The biggest lesson learned during the Witcher 2 console adaptation is to make sure we deliver equal content,” he said. “Many console ports suffer in terms of controller management, for example. In an RPG you should fight monsters, not the controls.

“PCs have keyboards, meaning there’s a multitude of buttons and possible control design schemes,” Badowski continued. “Consoles, on the other hand, have a finite number of buttons and your GUI has to work with what you have. You don’t think about these things when making a PC game. Porting from infinite to finite teaches you a sort of humility — the next thing you do is you start to apply this design philosophy the other way around, even if you have an infinite number of combinations, you start to want things to work in a very minimalistic way — it has to be easy and simple. And it works.”

But does that mean our beloved hardcore dark fantasy RPG will become the victim of dreaded console “streamlining?”

“The Witcher games have been hard-core and we don’t plan on breaking with that tradition,” Badowski said. “Combat will become more difficult as players progress in The Witcher 3. To add realism, monsters won’t scale, which means that Geralt will be able to come back to a particularly tough creature after he’s gained more experience. The player’s familiarity with the new combat system will also play a key role in this regard.”

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