E3 2006: CDProjekt Brings Something A Bit Different To The Table With "The Witcher"
05.12.06 - 5:56 PM

At first glance you might walk past The Witcher with a wave of the hand and the notion that itís just another version of World of Warcraft, you know... same game different name. Oh, how wrong you would be my friends! Firstly, the title isnít an MMORPG, or even an online title; itís a single player role-playing game. The game, based on the book series written by Polish fantasy author Andrzej Sapkowski, brings to life an unlikely hero, a ferociously darker world bursting with contemporary problems (such as terrorism, environmental pollution, and racism) and bleak choices that must be made in order to save the seemingly doomed surroundings players will quickly become engrossed with.

CDProjekt, the developers of The Witcher, have promised the industry a game dealing more with the sinister side of the fantasy world. Gamers begin the game as Geralt, a white-haired "witcher", or witch for hire, a world-renowned sword master with superhuman abilities and deadly fencing skills. Geralt is the main character brought to us by Sapkowskiís novel series. Subjected to magical experiments and trials, Geralt has been transformed into a killing machine, and has been left with not only his white hair, but with super-reflexes, stamina, night vision and the inability to age, to name a few things. While playing Geralt, you will be forced to choose, not between the usual good and evil sides, but between a great number of lesser evils. Like in most games your choices will have consequences; however, CDProjekt has promised that these consequences will not come to light anytime shortly after making the decisions. This design will prevent players from making a choice and immediately going back if the outcome is not as desirable as they had hoped. We were told that the elapsed time for development of story line based on the choices you make is anywhere from 10 minutes to 10 hours of game play. The two main plots for the game will run parallel with global and personal gains alike. The storyline, however, is not linear, and there are many different ways to complete the same quest. We were also told there will be three different endings to the game, all based on the outcome of your choices.

On its own, The Witcher seems simple enough to operate, relying on an intuitive GUI interface. The game design allows complete control of the main character by fully utilizing the left and right mouse buttons as well as the scroll wheel. Also, the GUI will allow for fully customizing keyboard usage and abilities, if playing with only the mouse leaves you with the feeling of idle hands. This will allow experienced and beginner players alike to fully appreciate the depth of game play. With six distinct combat modes, three fighting styles, and over 250 combat animations, this editor will definitely be using her keyboard for the most serious case of whoop ass she will be capable of delivering

The game itself is one of the most beautiful I have personally seen so far here at E3. Visually, The Witcher boasts beautiful scenery with a realistic design and texture. Impressive lighting and shading on character models, landscape, and background are thanks, in part, to the games graphics engine. The Witcher will be powered by a heavily modified version of the BioWare Aurora engine that has been adapted to a primarily single-character experience. The game also includes a new rendering system and the addition of light-mapping and other DirectX9 effects, as well as the introduction of motion-captured animations and realistic physics.

Currently, The Witcher does not have a set release date. We were told, however, that the trailer should be out by the end of the year. That said, Iím sure its obvious at this point that I have personally fallen in love with this game and can guarantee I will be first in line to pick up my very own copy.


Emily Thomas