You talked about the side quests being elaborate, complicated. You know, if you talk to people who play Fallout or something, there are so many other RPGs these days, you'll hear, "I spent so much time on side quests, I barely even touched the main story."
TG: That's how I played Fallout 3.
That's interesting, right? Not just that, but you hear the side quests are way more interesting than the primary story sometimes.
TG: But we probably have to remember that it depends on the game.
TG: I mean, The Witcher is a game ultimately driven by a story. It is. In that way, side quests are cool, but you wouldn't finish a game doing only side quests, and you wouldn't like see all the locations doing only the side quests. It is like story has its hubs that you have to complete, and you can go because we still believe like... Have you seen the presentation where you get out of prison?
It's one of the quests in the game. It's one of the main quests of the main storyline. There are four ways to get out of the prison. You could do it on your own. You could meet one character. Or if you killed that character previously in the game, you meet another character. And yet depending on other factors, you leave the prison with help, or without their help, in different directions by different exits.
So, it totally looks the same, and this trailer addresses this fact. It's like two people arguing on how actually Geralt got out of the prison. It really looks different whether who is telling the story. And at the end, it comes out still to the same part of the game, because it still is a quest about exiting the prison, about escaping from it. It's just that it plays totally different for different people, so you can actually make a single-player story-driven game, and it feels different for different people.
I like the idea you mentioned -- if there were dwarves and elves in the world, how would they realistically act?
TG: You have to put yourself in that position. This is cool in a game. I really like that.
I do, too. That's a more nuanced way of looking at it than it has been looked at in the past.
TG: There are a lot of, obviously, factors that helped that, that aided that. For example, graphics; it's easier to feel that with all the things that you have. But still, depending on how you approach it, the story has to be consistent as well. We always believed that it was obvious for us.
RA Salvatore, the author of the Drizzt Do'Urden books, which are in a similar milieu The Witcher said that he modeled the Drow society on The Godfather and the mafia, and just sort of adapted it so it would have a framework that makes sense. And I think that's the kind of thinking that's going to, at least for me personally, make things like fantasy games function. These are elaborate, large productions.
TG: They are. You know, I have to tell you that I have a really good example picturing the concept that you just touched on. It's like because we have a non-generic fantasy world, and because Andrzej Sapkowski spent a huge part of his life writing these books, it's like when our designers sit at the table, and when they think about, "Okay, let's think about a cool twist in the story," it turns out they feel like, "I know. Let's put an elf guardian soldier in here."
They don't waste time thinking whether it's a guy on a dragon, or a guy in black on a dark horse, because you know that it's the second one, because you read the books. So, it's comfortable to us because we have a non-generic fantasy world, and in this case, you said about the consistency, it worked for us because of that.
It's interesting that these are based on books, because I have the impression that the author is not into games. He's not a gamer.
TG: Not at all. I mean, all we've done with him is consulting with him, things like maps, like glossary, and everything, names of places and monsters and so on and so on. It worked well, but in the end, he's not into playing our game.
He's more like... This guy is really old school. I mean, I recently exchanged emails with him, and all of the emails I got for him, they were as formative as you would form a real sheet of paper. Like, "To Tomasz Gop, CD Projekt Red. Regards to topic of something, something, something." I was like, "Wow."
Certainly you need some literacy with games to get into a game like this, so if he's not a gamer, then it's not really possible.
TG: That's why we have our own story. That's why we didn't even think about doing a game on a story that he has written. That is one of the things obviously because of his attitude towards games. And the second one is we wanted to adapt it because it's different media, the book and the game. We had to do it our own way.