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Working In 'A Dying Genre On A Dying Platform'
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Working In 'A Dying Genre On A Dying Platform'

August 30, 2010 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

Do you work with the author at all?

TG: He's not a computer game fan. He doesn't play games himself. But during The Witcher, around the time we were closing the content of the game, we consulted with him multiple times to make sure we were consistent. For example, the first map of the world of The Witcher was created by us. Nobody did it before. The bestiary, the directory of characters, of stories and plots, of monsters, for example -- all of that is consistent. It's quite possible that we will do the same with the second game.

The story is our own -- don't get me wrong. It's our own story. It happens after the books have ended. We're trying to stay consistent, but we definitely have a lot of ideas to tell the story, and we do that.

So you feel like you have a fair amount of narrative freedom?

TG: Yes. We don't complain about it. If we want to introduce something, [we can]. For example, Vernon Roche, [a character in the upcoming game], is not even mentioned in the books, while Triss, the sorceress, is. I think it turns out well.

How does the writing process work? This is an early demo, but the English dialogue seems very natural. You don't write it in English first, do you?

TG: You would be surprised. Actually, at first, we think about "hobs" -- blocks of the story that have to happen. We call them hobs. Some of the major, important parts of the story have to happen, and the designers sit and think about them. Then they think about the dialogue, and we pretty much simultaneously write in Polish and English. So, English is one of the two first languages. The guys who write the game think about the approach to the dialogue, write it, and at the same time they consult our translation guy, and they do it together.

So you have dedicated writers on the team?

TG: Definitely. Some of them have spent 18 years writing scripts for television or for movies. They've done a lot of that. So, we've got quite a few people.

Does that feel like a luxury? It's still not standard to have that.

TG: It depends. I mean, for example, we might not have some luxuries in other aspects, but since this is a key feature of The Witcher, we definitely had to approach it in a more professional way. So, we try to hire people who really will do it right with the first approach.

When you talk about not having luxuries in certain other areas, where do you make those calls? At least visually, it looks like a game with pretty high production values. Where's the trade-off?

TG: That's not what I'm saying. I mean that this is the only game that we're making right now. This is our main project. And we definitely want to reach higher than with The Witcher.

But what I'm trying to say is that we definitely know what The Witcher is. We don't define this game as, "Well, if you're a slasher fan, it might be a slasher for you. If you're an RPG fan, this will be an RPG for you." We know that we address the game towards the people who love RPGs and storytelling. That's why we know that in certain areas, we can't be wrong. We can't make mistakes. And those are the most important ones.

We're not putting anything down. We're not trying to, I don't know, make the graphics look crappy. I think you've seen that they really look good. It's just that, at the beginning of the production, we spend most of the time thinking about our vision of the game and its story, and so on. Then everything comes together.

Do you feel like you know your audience pretty well at this point? As you said, this is a platform and genre some people keep saying are dying, but you managed to carve out a good chunk of people nonetheless.

TG: Well, we actually we already did while releasing The Witcher, and it turned out that after releasing the game, we had tons -- millions – of comments that inspired us to do the enhanced version, which means you never know what people think unless you release the game and really take the time to get feedback. We're curious this time, and we're careful, because we believe we put more effort than most studios do towards getting feedback and implementing it back.

So, in this case, yes, but we're being more careful than we were before, We still want to do a lot.

You gained a reputation for that receptiveness when you distributed the enhanced edition free for existing owners.

TG: That's one of the priorities for us.

Does it feel like that earned you some credit with the fans, that you can use to try some other things?

TG: We're not spending credits right now. [laughs] This is not what we're doing. Definitely no. We want to stick with our principles and rules. We never had any doubt that this is one of the most important things for us to do, to listen to fans and implement their feedback. This is like a bloodflow for us, a natural thing to do. It has to happen this way, and this is the way we're doing it.

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

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