There were many quality titles on show at this years Eurogamer Expo, but The Witcher 2 was one game that stood out in particular. CD Projekt’s action RPG was not playable at the expo, but we managed to get a very special demonstration from lead producer Tomasz Gop.
After just playing Dragon Age II it was really interesting to see what The Witcher 2 had to offer and we were certainly not disappointed by what we had to see.
“Prison Break” was the first of two areas we were shown with the games protagonist, “Geralt of Rivia”, chained up in a dark dungeon. The first thing we noticed were the great visuals. Geralt’s character model was highly detailed with some really cool scars featuring on his back. Anyway, in true gaming fashion, Geralt soon gets himself free and makes his way through the dungeon. Lighting appears to be a very realistic and important feature in The Witcher 2. The way in which the lights flicker and cast shadows is highly impressive. Blowing the lights out creates darkness giving Geralt the opportunity to pass by guards unnoticed, adding a nice stealth element to the game.
As Geralt makes his way through the dungeon he encounters an armed opponent and a fight ensues, it is at this point that we notice the minimalistic user interface. The UI is pretty much non-existent throughout the demonstration and makes for a cinematic experience. The UI can of course be turned on, but even then there is just enough on screen to let players know battle stance, health and so on.
As the trailer below reveals The Witcher 2 is all about non-linear story telling, Gop explains that there are a total of 4 different ways to successfully escape the prison area with each route having its own repercussion on the overall story.
The second part of the demonstration featured a cursed battlefield with hundreds of ghostly soldiers taking part in a battle. Gop points out that hundreds of character models on-screen at one time is only possible with The Witcher 2′s all new tailor made engine. The soldiers were merely images from the past and did not attack Geralt, but a demonic presence in the form of an impressive looking boss soon made his presence aware. The boss could be defeated in this early build, but we can honestly say we saw enough to know that The Witcher 2 is sure to excite fans of the original as well as gaining new ones in the process.
The Witcher 2 certainly looks like an intriguing prospect with some great visuals, potential for great story telling and an engaging combat system. However, what does the lead producer think about the competition? We spoke to Tomasz Gop about other RPGs such as Dragon Age II and asked him if he was worried by the competition. Gop’s response was to explain that the RPG genre is never bogged down by too many games and that fans of the genre would most likely purchase all of the good RPGs in a calendar year.
We have to agree with Gop, we were impressed by The Witcher 2 and have already penned CD Projekt’s RPG onto our 2011 wish list alongside many top games at the 2010 Eurogamer Expo.