Senior art producer Michal Krzemiński talks polish and a game rich in choices.
Tt doesn’t feel like all that long ago that the CD Projekt RED’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was announced. It didn’t seem all that long ago that the Xbox One and PS4 were still just names of consoles yet to be released. It also doesn’t feel that long ago that The Witcher 3 was delayed not once but twice in order to ensure the maximum level of polish.
However, it’s been a really long time since we’ve immersed ourselves in the world of The Witcher and the story of Geralt as he struggles against various evils, this time The Wild Hunt acting as the main antagonists. The Witcher 3 has a lot to live up to but CD Projekt RED has spending months in preparation for its release.
GamingBolt spoke to senior art producer Michal Krzemiński about the level of polish being applied, the final display resolution and frame rate for both consoles versions and much more.
"We’re very confident of what we’ve managed to achieve. The Witcher is simply a good game, regardless of the platform you choose to play it on."
Rashid K. Sayed: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is only a few months away from the launch. Are you changing any core gameplay mechanics at this moment or is it simply polishing a few loose ends?
Michał Krzemiński: It’s the latter – we’re polishing the game so it shines in May, when we launch.
Rashid K. Sayed: In the recent preview event, you confidently showed off the PS4, PC and Xbox One versions. I think this was a great move by CD Projekt. It instills confidence in consumers that whatever platform they are going to buy the game on it’s going to deliver the same core experience. What prompted you to do this; given the fact many developers/publishers are not too keen talking about or showing off the Xbox One version?
Michał Krzemiński: The answer is simple, we’re very confident of what we’ve managed to achieve. The Witcher is simply a good game, regardless of the platform you choose to play it on.
Rashid K. Sayed: Recently there was a lot of controversy regarding Witcher 3’s requirements for PC. The recommended settings would the run the game at 30 frames per second. Having said that what kind of a build do PC gamers need to have to have a full 60 fps experience?
Michał Krzemiński: They need to have a pretty high-end PC, but I won’t give you the details now, as we’re still optimizing the game and anything can change. Having said that, the game won’t kill your PC if you have a lower end machine — we want all gamers to have fun, not only the ones with the most beefy specs.
Rashid K. Sayed: Was there a time where you were targeting 60 fps on consoles but then had to revise your targets due to hardware limitations?
Michał Krzemiński: We don’t think like that. When you have a vision to create an RPG that will leave a long lasting impression, you don’t think in terms of resolution or frame rate — you think of adventure, you think of living worlds, and the stuff you’ll be able to do in that world. Technical aspects are kind of secondary, which of course doesn’t mean that we don’t want the graphics to be awesome.
"As for DLC, simply put, if we ever decide to release paid content, we’ll do above and beyond to make it so awesome that gamers will deem it worthy of purchase."
Rashid K. Sayed: We recently came to know that PS4 version of the Witcher 3 has a few frame rate issues here and there, along with pop in issues. Will all those issues be ironed out by launch? Furthermore, how is the frame rate on Xbox One looking like?
Michał Krzemiński: Like I said in the previously, we’re still in the optimization phase, so we’ll definitely iron these small things out. In terms of frame rate, both consoles look solid.
Rashid K. Sayed: It was recently announced that the PS4 version will be running at 1080p compared to 900p on Xbox One. How likely is it that you will be able to bump the Xbox One version to 1080p at launch? If not at launch, are you going to try post launch?
Michał Krzemiński: In your second question you noted that we’ve shown the game on all platforms. We did this also to show that there’s little difference between 1080p and 900p in terms of the actual experience you get. These numbers are just numbers; it’s the adventure and thrill you get from playing the game that counts.
Rashid K. Sayed: You guys have taken a stand against DLC which is unheard in today’s age. In my opinion, even if you made paid DLC, people are going to buy it without asking questions. I am sure you are the not the ones to milk content and your DLC will be amazing regardless of whether they are free or no. So don’t you think that paid DLC will eventually let you make better games? You know you can make use of that money and drive it to make more awesome games.
Michał Krzemiński: First of all, thanks for your kind words! As for DLC, simply put, if we ever decide to release paid content, we’ll do above and beyond to make it so awesome that gamers will deem it worthy of purchase. Several hours of gameplay, a lot of new stuff to play with and so on. But, in all honesty, I don’t want to talk about that – it’s Wild Hunt that we should be excited about.
Rashid K. Sayed: The Witcher 3 comes with a compendium. Could you explain what is it about?
Michał Krzemiński: It’s one of the cool items players get when they buy the game. It contains information that will get you up to speed on who’s who and what’s what.
"You will definitely influence people around you by your actions or inactions; it’s a game rich in choices and consequences after all. People will love you or hate you for what you do or don’t do."
Rashid K. Sayed: One thing that has not been touched upon is the weather. How dynamic is it? Will different regions have different climates?
Michał Krzemiński: Yeah, Skellige for example is pretty forlorn, while No Man’s Land will remind you of autumn, with its golden-brown color palette. It’s pretty hard to describe, you’ll just have to see it for yourself.
Rashid K. Sayed: Will regions change when you come back later in the game and furthermore will people’s attitudes be different? How is the dynamism going to tie up with Geralt’s choices and behaviours?
Michał Krzemiński: You will definitely influence people around you by your actions or inactions; it’s a game rich in choices and consequences after all. People will love you or hate you for what you do or don’t do. This ranges from particular townsfolk who you helped or crossed to whole villages which you saved (or not) by slaying some beast that caused trouble.
Rashid K. Sayed: I have always wondered whether the monsters in the game will actually have a back story. Now that we have seen them in action, are they going to have strong character development and not something on the lines of ‘this monster is dangerous for my farm, so you have to kill it!’?
Michał Krzemiński: Each of the monsters in the game, and I mean the bigger beasts, is somehow grounded in the local landscape. For example, the griffin we’ve shown during the hands-on session, it’s a beast that lost its mate, which made it a lot more aggressive. As Geralt tracks it down and gets to know it more, additional details about the creature emerge. Sometimes it totally flips your perceptions of what’s going on and why. Sometimes the monsters aren’t who you think they are.
Rashid K. Sayed: For a hardcore Witcher 3 player who plans to complete every damn thing that the game has to offer, how many hours of gameplay are we looking at? Do you think the game will offer replayability even after the player has done everything in the game?
Michał Krzemiński: I don’t want to give any concrete number of hours because players have a tendency to do really unbelievable things with games they love. I’d say A LOT more than 100 hours, but I’m sure somewhere there’s a person who might add thrice as more to that.
"It’s the last part of Geralt’s story and of The Witcher series. However, there are many ways in which you can get back to the universe..."
Rashid K. Sayed: Although not related to this interview, I wanted to quickly ask you about Cyberpunk 2077. Will we hear more about it this year?
Michał Krzemiński: My lips are sealed, sorry.
Rashid K. Sayed: With a few video games publications dropping review scores, how does this impact Witcher 3’s post launch marketing campaign? Do you think scores are essential for major AAA releases such as yours?
Michał Krzemiński: I think that if a game is good, players will know that regardless of anything. If you play The Witcher and you think it’s good, just tweet or Facebook or whatever about it to your friends. If you think we deserve it after you’ve played the game, we’d be honored. Scores are important, that’s true, but at the end of the day, we’re doing it for gamers.
Rashid K. Sayed: This will most likely be our last Witcher 3 interview before the game launches. We have interviewed you guys six times now and every time we were able to discuss something unique. This is perhaps a testament that you guys are making an absolutely unique game. Before I let you go, I wanted to ask whether this is the end of the Witcher series or just an end to the story arc of Geralt.
Michał Krzemiński: Thanks for giving us the possibility to talk with you guys and with the awesome people that frequent your site! As for your question, it’s the last part of Geralt’s story and of The Witcher series. However, there are many ways in which you can get back to the universe, we’ve got the amazing comic books by Dark Horse (The Witcher House of Glass), we’ve got The Witcher Adventure Game we’ve done along with Fantasy Flight Games, and last, but not least, Witcher fans can grab the free Witcher Battle Arena MOBA game on iOS and Android.