To give you an idea of Poland’s rightly placed pride in The Witcher 2, President Barack Obama was given a copy of the PC version of Witcher 2 during a trip to Poland. Having had my hands on the stellar and unforgiving Witcher franchise on PC, I’m pleased to say that the Xbox 360 version of The Witcher 2 looks promising.
Developer CD Projekt Red showed us a pre-alpha (that means ‘early’) build of the game running on Xbox 360. A lot of the graphical post processing technology seen in the full game, such as motion blur, hadn’t made it into the build. However, the lighting and particle effects from the PC version could be seen playing shadows and motes of dust across the scarred and blood-slick back of Geralt, the Witcher, during the prison escape quest we were shown.
Although The Witcher 2 will be the first game in the series to see a release on console, CD Projekt Red said that no recap of the story from the first game will be provided in the final release beyond the flashbacks and references that are already in the PC version.
All of the combat mechanics, plot elements and dialogue from the PC version of the game remain unchanged; combat is still a tactical interplay between the dodge, block, and attack swordplay and the spells (called ‘signs’) and preparatory alchemical potions that the series is known for.
The developers also said that the Xbox 360 version will have all of the free DLC and revisions released for PC up until the release of the console version. When asked if content will be provided free of charge – as per CD Projekt Red’s usual stance – after the release, the developers said that they have a ‘desire’ to continue to make that content free. As of this writing, there are about 10 pieces of content for the PC version of the game
There wasn’t a definite answer on how many discs the Witcher 2 will be released on when it’s released later this year, but the developers said that they hope to put the game on as few discs as possible. Anyone who has installed the game on PC and downloaded all of the updates and, by extension, the content revisions knows that squeezing a 40+ hour RPG onto one dual layer DVD disc with all of those technical revisions is an unlikely possibility.
The developers joked that making the Witcher 2 run on Xbox 360 as well as it does on PC would take three Xbox 360s, which is why they stress that the console version is an adaptation of the game, rather than a straight port with all of the assets from the PC version moved over. Still, there were no loading screens during the presentation and the developer maintains that will be the case throughout the full game.
When asked about why The Witcher 2 is going to be adapted for the Xbox 360 and not the Playstation 3, CD Projekt Red said that, although the game engine can be adapted for either set of hardware, the engine adaptation is a more straightforward process on the Xbox 360. The developer also said that, although they’d love to release The Witcher 2 as a multi-platform game, they are constrained by the size of their development team. I’m just excited that more people will be exposed to a hardcore RPG of such a high pedigree.
Developer CD Projekt Red said that gamers can expect the Xbox 360 version of The Witcher 2 “before the end of 2011.”