The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Interview: DRM, Open World, and More
GF: As we saw in the demo, you can also explore this big world more quickly via a fast travel system. Some open world RPG purists scoff at fast travel systems. Was it ever a point of contention among the dev team or was it an easy choice?
Ziemak: You don’t have to use it if you don’t like it. This world is 35 times bigger than the world in The Witcher 2; it’s massive. Because our story becomes so deep and intense, you’ll definitely want to get from place to place quickly from time to time, and I think fast travel is a good option.
GF: How about co-op play? The Witcher has always been a single-player experience, but it’s hard not to think about bringing a friend or two along for the adventure in this big open world.
Ziemak: We discussed it many times, but we’re 100% sure The Witcher is a single-player experience. That’s the top priority for us. We don’t want to introduce features simply for the sake of having them, things that could have a negative impact on the experience itself. We want to deliver a story heavy, character-driven experience first. We couldn’t think of any good ways to deliver multiplatform features that wouldn’t spoil this experience. So, right now, we are only focusing on the single-player game. It’s too important for us.
GF: On a somewhat related note, Horde mode found its way into The Witcher 2. Can we expect Horde to make a return? Are other modes, possibly with multiplayer, in the works?
Ziemak: I can’t really comment on that because it’s an area we’re still exploring. We have those types of elements in mind, and we have plenty of different ideas, but, like I said, the core single-player experience is our focus right now, so I can’t really give you a direct answer to that question just yet.
GF: Got it. Let’s talk about the living world aspect of The Witcher 3. Just how alive will it be? Are we simply talking about hawks hunting rabbits, or will it feature a persistent world where NPCs have jobs, homes, and relationships the player can potentially alter or impact?
Ziemak: We want to create the feeling of being in a world that’s alive. We are putting a lot of effort into developing an AI system for entire communities. The characters you see and meet in villages and on the streets have their own agendas, have their own businesses, they eat, sleep, and live in their own homes.
In some games, it’s as if the whole world is waiting for the player to arrive just to tell you something. That’s not how it will work in our game.
GF: NPCs will have their own houses, will players also be able to buy or build homes for Geralt?
Ziemak: I can’t really answer that question at this stage… we might have some crazy ideas. Remember, though, Geralt is a witcher, he’s a traveller, a monster hunter. He’s not the type of guy to settle down in a single home in a city.