E3 2008: Atari ,CD Projekt Talk The Witcher: Enhanced Edition
07.16.08 - 2:10 PM

Last year, Atari and CD Projekt released one of the best PC RPGs in years, The Witcher. A little less than a year later, a new version of the game with some fairly nice improvements that current fans will love and may make new players take the plunge.

Slated for release in September, The Witcher: Enhanced Edition can be thought of as the definitive version of CD Projekt's RPG. Having sold more than 800,000 copies of The Witcher worldwide, CD Projekt decided it worthwhile to go back and reshape parts of the game that players had issue with. While none of the changes made to the game are groundbreaking, there is a wealth of new content here that makes the game that much more worthwhile.

The first, and probably most important difference, is the fact that this version of the game includes an adventure editor, to allow players to make their own stories in the world of The Witcher. In addition to the editor itself, two new adventures from the folks at CDProjekt come with the package, fully voiced. Players will also be happy with the changes in the game's language and voiceovers - more than 5,000 lines of dialogue have been re-written and re-recorded, making the world that much more realistic. As well, players will be able to choose from the game in multiple languages - if players want to play with Polish voiceovers and French subtitles, they'll be able to do so with this edition of the game. That's not where CD Projekt has stopped with the dialogue changes, either. Characters now have an improved gesture system, where the game chooses from a preset bank of gestures based on a character's mood and adds the animation when the characters speak.

It's not just the dialogue system that's seen improvement, however - the game's loading times, inventory system, and the retail box itself have all seen some improvements. One of the first things we noticed about the version of the Witcher at Atari's E3 booth was the fact that area transition was much faster. CD Projekt attributes this major change to the complaints they received on their message boards about the massive load times in the original version of the game. For some areas in the game, load times have been cut to almost a third of their original length. Geralt's inventory management has been significantly improved as well. Not only are alchemical and standard loot now put into their own separate spaces on the inventory screen, players can also click a button to sort and stack all the items within. Looting all the items off a corpse is easier as well - player need only hold control and click to take all the items off a fallen foe. The most amazing thing about this September release is the fact that all of the changes in the game itself will be available for free to all those who already own the game. CD Projekt wants their fans to have the best game possible.

Those who don't yet own the game do have a little bit of extra to look at in their retail box, though. Atari is including several extras in this re-release, including a soundtrack CD, a CD of music inspired by The Witcher, a game guide, a short story by author Andrzej Sapkowski - upon whose work The Witcher is based, a making-of DVD, and a map of the world of The Witcher. All of this will be available in September.


John McCarroll