The Witcher (video game)


The Witcher (video game)

Infobox VG
title = The Witcher


developer = CD Projekt RED STUDIO
publisher = Atari, Inc (World), CD Projekt (Poland)
designer =
engine = Aurora Engine
released = Original
vgrelease|EU=October 26, 2007|NA=October 30, 2007

Enhanced Edition vgrelease|NA=September 16, 2008|EU=September 19, 2008
genre = RPG
modes = Single-player
ratings = ESRB: Mature (cut)
PEGI: 18+
BBFC: 18
OFLC (Australia): MA 15+
USK: 18
platforms = Windows
requirements = Minimum requirements
* WinXP SP2 / Vista
* Intel Pentium 4 2.4 GHz or AMD Athlon 64 +2800
* 1 GB RAM (WinXP) / 1536 MB (Vista)
* 128 MB Video RAM with DX9 Vertex Shader / Pixel Shader 2.0 support (NVIDIA GeForce 6600 or ATI Radeon 9800 or better)
* 8.5 GB hard drive space

Recommended requirements
* WinXP SP2 / Vista
* Intel Core 2 Duo 2.13 GHz or AMD X2 5600+
* 2 GB RAM
* NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX or ATI Radeon X1950 PRO
* 8.5 GB hard drive space [cite web|title=The Witcher Official Website|url=http://www.thewitcher.com/community/en/game/system_requirements.html|accessdate=2007-10-13]
media = DVD DL
input =Keyboard & Mouse
version = 1.4

"The Witcher" (from Polish: "Wiedźmin") is a computer role-playing game for the PC developed by CD Projekt RED STUDIO and published by CD Projekt in Poland and Atari for the rest of the world. The game is based on the book series of the same name by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski.cite web | last=Aihoshi | first=Richard | date=2006-05-24 | url=http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/709/709874p1.html | title="The Witcher" E3 View | work=IGN | accessdate=2006-09-09 ] The game utilizes BioWare's proprietary Aurora Engine.cite web | last=Park |first=Andrew| date=2006-05-16 | url=http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/thewitcher/news.html?sid=6098638&mode=previews | title="The Witcher" Impressions - E3 2004 | work=GameSpot | accessdate=2006-09-09 ] It was released in Europe on October 26, 2007 and in the US on October 30, 2007.cite web | url=http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/thewitcher/tech_info.html |title= "The Witcher" technical information | work=GameSpot | accessdate=2006-09-09 ] In the first 10 months since release, the game has sold 800,000 copies worldwide.

"The Witcher" takes place in a medieval fantasy world and follows the story of Geralt, one of a few remaining "witchers"—traveling monster hunters for hire, gifted with unnatural powers. The game's system of "moral choices" as part of the storyline was noted for its time-delayed consequences and lack of black-and-white morality.

Plot

The game tells the story of Geralt of Rivia, who at the opening of the game is tasked to cure the daughter of King Foltest of a curse which causes her to transform into a feral monster. Geralt successfully cures her, introducing the player to the nature of witcher-work. A period of years mysteriously pass ending with Geralt being transported to the witcher stronghold of Kaer Morhen by fellow witchers who had discovered him unconscious in a field. Geralt remembers almost nothing of his life before returning to Kaer Morhen.

The game's story is separated into five acts, each representing a different area and distinct set of quests. Geralt meets many former friends and foes throughout the plot who help him to recover information about his mysterious past. Through the storyline, Geralt discovers that he had died five years earlier while attempting to defend an oppressed group of non-humans from a racist mob. He also learns that he is actually a renowned witcher referred to in prose as "The White Wolf."

Through the player's choices and actions, Geralt redefines character relationships and navigates political intrigue in the changing landscape of Temeria. This allows the player to make decisions that affect the plot progression, and ultimately the game's ending. The concept of the freedom of player choice was intended to be showcased by the developers.

Gameplay

There are three camera styles available when playing "The Witcher". The game can be played from one of two top-down perspectives, in which case the mouse is used to control everything, or it can be played from an over-the-shoulder view, which brings the player closer to the ingame combat, but limits visibility. In all the views the controls can be changed to be primarily mouse focused or a combined keyboard and mouse approach.

The combat system in "The Witcher" represents a departure from most RPGs. Players choose one of three fighting styles. The quick style allows for faster, less-damaging attacks with a greater chance of hitting faster enemies; the heavy style deals more damage in exchange for a slow attack speed, and a lower chance to hit faster enemies; and the group style features sweeping attacks best used if Geralt is surrounded.cite web
last = Ocampo
first = Jason
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Witcher Exclusive Impressions - Combat and Story
work =
publisher = GameSpot
date = 2007-07-02
url = http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/thewitcher/news.html?sid=6173457&mode=previews
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-11-02
] The player can switch between the styles at any point. Both of Geralt's main swords also have distinctively different combat styles from other weaponry, and serve very distinct purposes. The steel blade is used to fight humans and other flesh-and-blood beings, while the silver sword is more effective against supernatural monsters and beasts (against some of which steel may have no effect whatsoever). The player can, with precise timing, link Geralt's attacks into combos to more effectively damage enemies.

Alchemy is a major part of gameplay. The player can create potions that increase health or endurance regeneration, allow Geralt to see in the dark, or provide other beneficial effects. The recipes for these potions can be learned through scrolls, or by experimentation. Once the player creates an unknown potion he can choose to drink it, but if the potion is a failure it will poison Geralt. Each time Geralt drinks potions they increase the toxicity level of his body. This can be reduced by drinking a special potion or by meditating at an inn or fireplace. In addition to potions, the player can also create oils used to augment the damage done by weapons, or bombs as weapons in combat. Neither can be created until talent points have been allocated into the corresponding skills.

A time delayed decision-consequence system means that the repercussions of players' decisions will make themselves apparent in plot devices in later acts of the game. This prompts the players to put more critical thinking into making each decision, and circumvents a save-reload approach to decision making. It also allows the game to have a unique approach to replay value, as the consequences resulting from the player's decisions can lead to great difference in the events that take place later, and ultimately a very different gameplay experience than in prior play-throughs.

The nature of the options faced when playing the game rarely falls into the typical black-and-white morality present in most computer RPGs, and the players often find themselves choosing from the lesser of two evils rather than making a clear choice between good and evil, a situation more reflective of real life morality.cite web | last=Arulnathan | first=Justin | date=2007-08-24 | url=http://www.thegamergene.com/pc/gc-07-the-witcher-preview/ | title="The Witcher" TheGamerGene Preview | work=TheGamerGene | accessdate=2007-08-24 ]

Game engine

"The Witcher" is powered by a heavily modified version of the Aurora Engine by BioWare, enhanced for a single-player experience. A number of changes have been introduced to the original engine; some of them are described below.

One of the most important features of the Aurora Engine is that the world is designed exactly as the developers envisioned, rather than using a tile-based system. All the environments are developed in 3ds Max and then exported into the game engine. As a result, developers can create unique game worlds, rather than recycling the same tiled objects over and over again. CD Projekt's version of the engine supports lightmaps generated in 3ds Max. Shadows generated this way are reported to look more realistic, and provide better game performance.

The modified engine also includes texture paint, a special tool that allows the developer to paint the environment using custom textures. This enables the developer to make the game world truly unique. New realistic skyboxes and water effects designed specifically for "The Witcher" were added to the engine. The natural light during various phases of the day is realistically altered, and the day and night transitions serve to enrich the game's ambience. The weather can dynamically change from a light drizzle to a dark, stormy downpour accompanied by thunder and lightning.

All the in-game and tool set rendering is done using DirectX 9, and the engine now supports many different shaders (water effect, bump mapping, environment mapping, etc). Additionally, the whole rendering system has been unified and a new light manager was added.

Other important changes include motion-captured animation, improved physics modelling, new mechanics and combat system. Additional modifications include the introduction of portals and the inclusion of additional graphical effects (glows, advanced dynamic shadows, blurs, etc.)

TAGES issues

The game uses the controversial TAGES copy protection system, which, when triggered, quietly and undetectably sabotages the content of the game to make it unwinnable by making certain key non-player characters disappear permanently.Fact|date=September 2008 TAGES has been found to conflict with disc image drive emulators and react similarly to the presence of SCSI and SATA drivers in the system, resulting in the copy protection system preventing users from running legitimately purchased copies of the game. These problems can sometimes be avoided by uninstalling the TAGES driver with the official installation program and then starting the game (which will automatically install the appropriate driver version),cite web|url=http://www.thewitcher.com/forum/index.php?topic=2775.0|title="Missing NPC's Or am i missing something"] but saved games already in progress must be abandoned and the game started over from the beginning. The Downloadable version of the 1.4 Patch for The Witcher removes the DVD-check.

Requirements check

Upon launching the game it runs a check of the computers specifications (such as virtual memory, graphics memory and processor capabilities).cite web | date=2007-12-19 | url=http://www.thewitcher.com/forum/index.php?topic=4175.msg163556#msg163556 | title=Petition to CDProject concerning game's system requirements check at start up] If the requirements are not met, the game will not load. This practice contrasts with other games which scan the specifications at the time of install and warn the user if the recommended quantities are not met. Due to this check, a number of people have been left unable to play the game without investing in hardware upgrades.cite web | date=2007-12-19 | url=http://www.thewitcher.com/forum/index.php?topic=4175.msg161456#msg161456 | title=Petition to CDProject concerning game's system requirements check at start up] On December 20, 2007, patch 1.2 was released, making it possible to bypass the system requirement check.cite web | date=2007-12-20 | url=http://www.thewitcher.com/forum/index.php?topic=7484.0 | title=Fix to bypass Minimum system requirement.]

Reception

As of December 5, 2007, the game's cumulative score on Game Rankings is 81% and on Metacritic, 81 out of 100 ("Generally favorable reviews"), though user reviews score it much higher (9.1 and 9.4 respectively). PC Gamer UK gave "The Witcher" a lukewarm 67% on the grounds that the plot was generic, the combat engine was poor, and the main character was lifeless. [PC Gamer 182, December 2007, page 90] However, Kane Ikin from Alchemy "SBS Radio" said "...Despite all its problems... ...The Witcher is one of the best role playing games to come out in a long time." [ [http://www21.sbs.com.au/alchemy/index.php?pg=ct&ct=3&sc=7&id=563 Alchemy Game Review : The Witcher] ]

"PC Gamer US" awarded "The Witcher" with "RPG Game of the Year." In addition, The Witcher has received numerous Editor's Choice and RPG of the Year Awards, many from publications or websites that scored the game in the mid 80s."The Witcher"'s cinematic intro was nominated for the 2007 VES Awards in the category of Outstanding Pre-Rendered Visuals in a Video Game. The nomination was given to Polish artists Tomasz Bagiński (Academy Nominee, director), Marcin Kobylecki, Grzegorz Kukus and Maciek Jackiewicz from Platige Image, who worked together with a team of about 20 people for a year on the game cinematic intro.cite web|url=http://www.gamelegend.biz/glgs/?content=lgst19|title=The Witcher nominated for VES Award|publisher=GameLegend|last=Müller|first=Martijn|date=2008-01-09|accessdate=2008-01-09] The game's soundtrack by composers Pawel Blaszczak & Adam Skorupa was voted "Best Fantasy Game Soundtrack" in the 2007 Radio Rivendell Fantasy Awards.

Enhanced Edition

At GDC 2008, CDProjekt announced an enhanced version of the game which was released on September 16, 2008. The significant changes featured in the enhanced version are over 200 new animations, additional NPC models and recoloring of generic NPC models as well as monsters, vastly expanded and corrected dialogues in translated versions, improved stability, and load times reduced by roughly 80%. [IGNPC cite web|url=http://uk.pc.ign.com/articles/854/854416p1.html|title=The Witcher Enhanced Edition|] [The Witcher Official Site (PDF)cite web|url=http://www.thewitcher.com/resources/upload/img/news/2008/02/Enhanced%20Edition%20fact%20sheet.pdf|title=The Witcher Enhanced Edition Fact Sheet (PDF)|accessdate=2008-07-18|format=PDF] [The Witcher Official Enhanced Edition Information Page cite web|url=http://www.thewitcher.com/community/en/www/ee_description.html|title=The Witcher Official Site|] In addition all bugs are said to be fixed and the game manual completely overhauled. There are also two new adventures available to play through: "Side Effects" and "The Price of Neutrality". A new option is to mix and match eight different languages of voice and subtitles. For instance, players can now choose to play the game with Polish voices and English subtitles.

Aside from the game enhancements, "The Witcher Enhanced Edition" includes a "making of" DVD, a CD with 29 in-game soundtracks, another CD with "Inspired by" music, the short story "The Witcher" from the book "The Last Wish", a map of Temeria printed on high quality paper, and the official strategy guide. In addition, a new and enhanced version of the D'jinni Adventure Editor is on the DVD with the two new Adventures. The game updates, as well as the box's extras, are available as a free download for owners of the original version who registered their game on the official forum. Furthermore, old savegames are compatible with the Enhanced Edition. [German The Witcher Site cite web|url=http://www.the-witcher.de/?go=comments&id=528|title=The Witcher|]

Localization variations

All the female portrait cards shown after Geralt's "sexual conquests" were censored ("retouched to a more modest standard") for the US release version. [cite web
last = Burnes
first = Andrew
title = The Witcher Preview
date = 2007-10-24
url = http://ve3d.ign.com/articles/previews/35022/The-Witcher-Preview/p2/c1
publisher = IGN
accessdate = 2007-11-17
] The in-game Dryad was also reskinned so her hair covered more of her body in this release.Fact|date=November 2007

Some dialogue between characters is shortened in the non-Polish language versions. Lead Designer Michal Madej has disputed claims by fans that this was due to the sometimes crude language, but that the decision to edit down dialogue occurred because of production-related concerns in game development. Proofreader Martin Pagan noticed this shortened version during his work and writer Sande Chen confirmed that it was not due to censorship. Fans have theorized that it may have been done for voice acting cost savings, especially since much of the vulgar language has been retained. Such cost savings would normally occur during any shortening of dialogue, even in cases where no major crudity was involved. [cite web
last = Breckon
first = Nick
title = The Witcher Script Heavily Edited for English Audiences, Says The Writer
publisher = Shacknews
date = 2007-11-07
url = http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/49819
accessdate = 2007-11-17
]

Contents of each edition

The following table lists the contents of each edition in addition to the game DVD itself. "CE" means "collector's edition" and "LE" means "limited edition."

References

External links

* [http://www.thewitcher.com/ Official Site]
* [http://witcher.wikia.com/ The Witcher Wiki at Wikia]


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