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The Complicated Workings of The Witcher 2
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The Complicated Workings of The Witcher 2

May 17, 2011 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 4 Next

When you talk in terms of building the tech for The Witcher 2 to increase the capacity of storytelling that you can achieve, how much does the design team have an influence in the direction that you take in the technology?

TG: Most of it. It was the very beginning, the cradle of the process. The day we released Witcher 1, we already knew we would have to write the new tech. Then, for a year or a year and a half, the programmers sat down and started writing the low level stuff. And also within that process, they started writing the construct of the tools.

And every day, they spoke with designers, and said, "Okay, so topic of the dialogue editor. How do you want to have it?" "Okay, so I want to have free cameras. I want to have it in a graphical way so I can decide, graphically, that, right now, he gestures. And in another moment, they could interact. You can just grab someone and try to scare him," and so on and so on. These are features that we wanted from the very beginning, so designers were in control from the very beginning.

How much does it involve things like scripting to achieve results?

TG: It allows that.

But is it more scripting-based? Many developers are moving towards the idea that people who work in design don't necessarily have to have as technical foundation as they used to in the past. So, is that something that's a priority for you?

TG: What we've done, because we've actually faced that problem -- it's quite obvious we would sooner or later. We did. So, what we've done is that part of the design team, actually, the quest implementation team specifically, knows at least a basis of the scripting. And if anyone who is really in good with storytelling or writing dialogue, or whatever, wants any functionality, part of the team can write it for them.

They don't have to go to programmers, because they know basic scripting, and it's enough to write like a logical block that you can put in dialogue, or any gameplay situation, and it works. Logically, they don't have to know what's inside. So, with writing the tech from the very beginning, it was possible to get the idea of how we can do it and make it independent for the designers, and it worked. It really did.

Design is the most important function of games, I think a lot of people would agree, but it's also...

TG: It decides upon it being successful or not, I guess.

Compared to other disciplines, it's less codified. Art is very well understood. Programming is very well understood. Design, there's still a fair amount of debate. There's not a complete language for discussing it.

TG: Yeah. Okay. I gotcha. Well, because this is what sells the game. This is what determines whether people find it fun or not. There's no definition of fun, is there? For other people, fun is a different thing. There are even killers who consider fun things that are not fun.

So, I mean, we're not doing a game for killers, but I just got way off here! But what I was trying to say is... I don't think you can code it. Hopefully we will one day, but it's not going to be easy, I guess.

We were talking about players talking about the different choices they made, and you said, with this game, you're integrating social media into it.

TG: It's going to be optional. Don't get me wrong, you won't have to do it. For all these guys that put pictures on Facebook daily, they definitely would like to share their experiences, which would allow them to do that. This is basically the idea.

Which I think is quite cool.

TG: Yeah. I'll probably do it.

What gave you the idea of doing that? Has the team really embraced that?

TG: Most of our team uses Facebook, Twitter, and all that stuff, so it was like... They played Demon's Souls, for example. They always discussed on each of these media, saying, "I like this." "I like this." "Oh, Demon's Souls is so hardcore right now -- don't burden me with this." "Come on! But you can do this and this..." And a few people got convinced into [playing it].

So, what we thought about was -- let's integrate it with the game. Let's do tools that actually do it for you. It's like you can spend your time in discussion. All the publishing and everything, it's just when you play the game. It's simple, seriously. It was quite natural. It flew out of making a game, actually.

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