The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - CDPR on open world gaming, and comparing to Skyrim

EatChildren

Currently polling second in Australia's federal election (first in the Gold Coast), this feral may one day be your Bogan King.
#1
New video up on Game Informer, discussing their open world philosophy. Notes:

- After making RED Engine they knew it was possible to re-write the code for streaming an open world game.
- Were happy with The Witcher 2, but missed the sense of freedom, size of locations, and the fresh breath of being able to run away from the story and take on other tasks.
- During production of The Witcher 2 they tossed around the idea of implementing a horse, as they felt they could do it, but the level sizes would not accommodate the mechanisms of riding a horse very well. Fans had been asking for a horse as Geralt rides a horse in the books, so they wanted to put it in the third game.
- "Everyone in this studio plays Skyrim" - team is a fan of open world games.
- Lessons learned from Skyrim: you need to care about immersion in the game.
- "Skyrim was generic". Disliked the way Skyrim handled quests, where NPCs would never really acknowledge what you accomplished or did. You'd have a generic set of quests and that's it. The team feels that quests should be unique and NPCs should acknowledge the things you've done for them.
- Felt this is where The Witcher 2 succeeded: choice and consequence. You got to see how your quest choices impacted the lives of NPCs, and you can speak to them about it, whether they're angry or happy.
- "(Skyrim) didn't have very good characters". Tried to remember and name five different characters from the game and couldn't.
- Thought exploring in Skyrim was great, but the story and characters were generic. So they want to learn from Skyrim how to best make an "open world". Make sure they have huge vistas, but plenty of adventures and stuff to do.
- Feel if they combine this with their knowledge of RPGs, they can make the "perfect RPG".
- Vistas are important. Notes the sensation of leaving the first dungeon in Skyrim and seeing the mountains and towns in the distance, delivering a feeling of a huge world to explore. Vistas need to deliver the feeling that you can explore things in the distance.
- Acknowledges the challenge of blending a cinematic experience and cutscenes with freedom of adventuring, not making boundaries. Always an issue with story driven games.
- Notes Fallout: New Vegas: thought it had a really good story and open world without too many cutscenes, but felt something was missing. Thought it might be caused by the tools, or something else, but whatever it was it shows that it's a big challenge to blend the two.
- Happy with the pacing of The Witcher 2, and want to combine that with an open world.
- Want to change the way you approach questing in The Witcher 3. In The Witcher 2 you're given a marking on your map, and you go there. In The Witcher 3 they want to lure the player with "interest points", where there's always something interesting.
- Want to reward players for exploring the world.
- Notes Assassin's Creed III: felt there was always something to do in the main quest, but trying to hunt down side quests always lead to generic stuff, and that hurt the immersion of the world.
- Making Cyberpunk as well as this open world game: not a coincidence.
- Hoping this will give them experience with open world games they can build on for future titles.
 
#4
Learning from Skyrim's and Assassin's Creed 3's shortcomings will make this an infinitely better game.

Just give me Dark Souls II, Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk and I can be done with video games.
 

Currygan

at last, for christ's sake
#6
key word is "generic"

I'm having Xenoblade vibes from that article, it's probably the rewarding the player for exploring, interest points part

and I hope CP doesn't start being arrogant, as it looks from the article
 
#9
They know what they are doing, or so it seems.

Thats something ive never liked of Bethesda games. The characters are generic. Not only their writing, their design is atrocious, even for major NPCs.

key word is "generic"

I'm having Xenoblade vibes from that article, it's probably the rewarding the player for exploring, interest points part

and I hope CP doesn't start being arrogant, as it looks from the article
They are not arrogant, they say the problems of skyrim and how its always generic. They are right on that. See how they also praise other things in skyrim and games like new vegas.
They even talk about the problems of their own game.
 
#11
I really liked the Witcher 2, lets see what they can do with the third part now. And if they want a world the size of Skyrims and have consequences for all the side quests, damn, this game will release in what, 2020? Let's see if they can actually do it. Oh, and better swordplay combat please, CD Red, something like Dark Souls! And more Saskia :3
 
#13
- "Skyrim was generic". Disliked the way Skyrim handled quests, where NPCs would never really acknowledge what you accomplished or did. You'd have a generic set of quests and that's it. The team feels that quests should be unique and NPCs should acknowledge the things you've done for them.
:)

If The Witcher 3 is simply a Witcher game with the scale of skyrim, then i'll be very happy. I just hope bullshit like quest markers, fast travel (TES style fast travel at least) and other bullshit isn't in.
 
#14
:)

If The Witcher 3 is simply a Witcher game with the scale of skyrim, then i'll be very happy. I just hope bullshit like quest markers, fast travel (TES style fast travel at least) and other bullshit isn't in.
From article:

- Want to change the way you approach questing in The Witcher 3. In The Witcher 2 you're given a marking on your map, and you go there. In The Witcher 3 they want to lure the player with "interest points", where there's always something interesting.
- Want to reward players for exploring the world.
There won't be probably quest markers just places of interest without floating marker that you need to talk with this dude.
 

BeauRoger

Unconfirmed Member
#15
As someone said they have balls to say that. Question is if they can deliver that.
I think its a breath of fresh air not to be burdened by political correctness. This industry would benefit from a more open debate between devs, and not just worrying about hurting feelings. They dont need to beat skyrim in order to point out that it has flaws, no more than you need to be able to build a better car in order to criticize one.
 
#16
- "Skyrim was generic". Disliked the way Skyrim handled quests, where NPCs would never really acknowledge what you accomplished or did. You'd have a generic set of quests and that's it. The team feels that quests should be unique and NPCs should acknowledge the things you've done for them.
This got really annoying in Skyrim. You could end up the head of every guild or group in the game, and they'd still think the very same of you.
 
#17
They have very grand visions (20% larger world than Skyrim for example). Implementing the mechanic of NPCs responding dynamically to your actions in such a large world with so many factors in play is a huge undertaking. I'm cautious to see if they can deliver on the promises they made in this video.
 
#18
I think its a breath of fresh air not to be burdened by political correctness. This industry would benefit from a more open debate between devs, and not just worrying about hurting feelings. They dont need to beat skyrim in order to point out that it has flaws, no more than you need to be able to build a better car in order to criticize one.
I know but at the same time it can backfire. Over-promising can hurt developer
 

EatChildren

Currently polling second in Australia's federal election (first in the Gold Coast), this feral may one day be your Bogan King.
#19
Thing is though they weren't really speaking negatively of Skyrim in a nasty way, just their opinion on Skyrim's weakest elements. But also it's strengths, such as the vistas and exploration, and what they hope they can learn for developing their first truly open world game.
 
#24
I wish they'd all play New Vegas, the best open world RPG in existence along with Morrowind, instead of Skyrim. Gladly, they seem to have figured out what Skyrim's deficits are.
 
#25
Thing is though they weren't really speaking negatively of Skyrim in a nasty way, just their opinion on Skyrim's weakest elements. But also it's strengths, such as the vistas and exploration, and what they hope they can learn for developing their first truly open world game.
I hope they will go to The Witcher 1 quests structure where you can't say that you made a good choice but you are in limbo for few hours and simply can't go back make different choice (unless you want to play 5h). There were choices like that in TW2 but TW1 did a way better job.
 
#26
This reads fantastic to me.

Skyrim appealed to me because of the size, scope and openness of its world, but almost everything else about actually playing the game stopped me in my tracks. "Generic" is about the word I'd use. I'd also use terms such as "bland" and "dead behind the eyes". Especially now I'm stuck in to a play through of The Witcher 2 for the first time. The narrative, characterisation and focus of the game is in a completley different world to Skyrim, in my opinion.

If they can deliver on that interview, then The Witcher 3 is going to be some achievement.
 
#27
I haven't played much of Skyrim but i agree that one of the things open world games in general need to improve is the quality of the quests and especially the sidequests.I also hope that besides Skyrim they also played some Dragon's Dogma in order to be inspired by the game's excellent combat and animations.DD really destroys Skyrim in this department.

The one thing that Skyrim does far better than any other game out there IMO is its world and environments.The morphology of the ground never feels "gamey", it actually reminds you of real life places and by doing so it makes you want to explore it.But CDPR have also aknowledged this so i'm hopeful they will manage to achive this level of realism in their environments (in W3) as well.
 
#28
I wish they'd all play New Vegas, the best open world RPG in existence along with Morrowind, instead of Skyrim. Gladly, they seem to have figured out what Skyrim's deficits are.
Yeah New Vegas should be mandatory material for every open world game designer. CDPR did play FNV (in interview) and they described accurately that even F NV had problems with character reactions.

For example you can save goodsprings from Powder gangers and after all that fight two or three lines and that is it. No one reconize you or remember there was fight.

If you choose Powder gangers there were NPC that occasionaly said that Doc helped you and you rewarded him with death.
I think that is important even if it is just one line. NPC should say there goes this dude which done that !

But it is not that easy to pull off.
 
#30
Agreed with most of their thoughts. Respect for recognizing strengths/weaknesses in other competing titles and incorporating that into their product, hopefully for the better.
 
#31
The one thing that Skyrim does far better than any other game out there IMO is its world and environments.
Piranha Bytes.

The morphology of the ground never feels "gamey"
That's not a virtue at all. In fact is exactly part of what makes Skyrim so generic to play. All these pretty scenarios work just as background and never become part of the fun.
No vertical building, no climbing, jumping, platforming, etc.
You have just this undulating terrain where you walk through.
 
#36
That's not a virtue at all. In fact is exactly part of what makes Skyrim so generic to play. All these pretty scenarios work just as background and never become part of the fun.
No vertical building, no climbing, jumping, platforming, etc.
You have just this undulating terrain where you walk through.
I was speaking more from an aesthetic point of view.I totally agree that the traversing itself needs a lot of improvement something that Dragon's Dogma IMO got perfect.

And they can retain the realistic morphology of the environments and still make the traversing more gamey.The problem is that Skyrim's animations and controls in general feel very limited and floaty and i hope CDPR really improve that in W3.
 
#39
You should tell me, since it's not really clear what point you are trying to make pointing that.
I thought it was obvious so I wasn't sure what you were asking. I believe they feel that they can do better than Skyrim and hope their game will also sell over 10 million. They stand a better chance of being able to do this by emulating some of the popular features of Skyrim. Like having an open world. I think they can do it too.
 
#42
I think its a breath of fresh air not to be burdened by political correctness. This industry would benefit from a more open debate between devs, and not just worrying about hurting feelings. They dont need to beat skyrim in order to point out that it has flaws, no more than you need to be able to build a better car in order to criticize one.
One of those things where games want to be considered an artistic medium but don't delve into things like how novels, film, etc is constantly being criticized by the audience, by other artists, and how that is an integral part of the artistic process.

Would be refreshing to hear more devs talk publicly about what they liked/disliked in games within their own genre and how they are looking to learn from that.
 
#44
I personally enjoyed Skyrim more than Witcher 2, however if they could manage to match Skyrims quality of exploration, scale, and freedom, while crafting a world fill of unique NPCS who react to your accomplishments...day one.
 
#48
Yea, I'm sure Activision and Bethesda are kicking themselves for doing it.
I'm more interested in the game itself rather than its sales you know. I want TW3 not to be dumbed down for retards and "casual" RPG fans.

In fact I will go as far as to say they can fuck right off, CDProjekt should not try to cater to the lowest common denominator, as long as they keep costs under control they don't need to "sell out".
 
#50
I'm more interested in the game itself rather than its sales you know. I want TW3 not to be dumbed down for retards and "casual" RPG fans.

In fact I will go as far as to say they can fuck right off, CDProjekt should not try to cater to the lowest common denominator, as long as they keep costs under control they don't need to "sell out".

Well you didn't say that, you said it wasn't a smart move. It can be risky if you don't deliver to the casuals and completely alienate your original fanbase but I don't believe they will make the same mistake as Bioware did.