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Witcher impressions at GameSpot
Preview - posted by Vault Dweller on Tue 3 July 2007, 21:13:40Tags: CD Projekt; Witcher, The
GameSpot posted some impressions of The Witcher:
Stories in fantasy role-playing games are often an exercise in black and white. There's often a noble protagonist (your character) who usually starts out as an orphan or peasant unaware of his or her destiny, and then there's some unspeakable, monstrous evil that wants to take over the world for no reason apart from that it's there. But what happens when you play a fantasy RPG where you have to continually choose what you think is the lesser of two evils? That's what Atari and Polish developer CD Projekt are aiming for with The Witcher, an ambitious RPG based on the works of Polish fantasy writer Andrzej Sapkowski.A promising start.
Like the novels, the game will deal with many contemporary themes--an impressive feat considering that this is a medieval fantasy world populated by elves, dwarves, and other magical creatures. The game will touch upon ideas like terrorism, genetic manipulation, and racism. And one of the core principles of the game is that you inhabit a world where your actions will have plenty of unintended and unforeseen consequences. A lot of RPGs offer the illusion of choice, but many times the choices are fairly simple.Definitely. It's one of the very few RPGs I'm looking forward to.
For example, one of the big choices in the game occurs if Geralt manages to get a simple job guarding a cache of weapons along a riverside. In the middle of Geralt's watch, a group of elves and dwarves appear for the weapons. You can either let them pay you off so they can take the weapons, or you can kill them. Either choice will net you the same reward, so there's no fiscal advantage for making one choice over another. It all comes down to your moral decision.
The consequences of your choice won't become clear until much later, as much as 10 or 12 hours in gameplay time. If you decide to let the elves and dwarves have the weapons, you'll eventually discover that they are using them against innocent civilians in their insurgency. Even worse, they kill an important non-player character, and his death removes a plotline and quests from the game. However, if you decide to kill the elves and dwarves, you'll eventually discover that their deaths sparked an investigation by the authorities. It turns out that you inadvertently are the cause of the insurgency's downfall, as the authorities identify the remaining rebel members and ringleaders, including another important NPC. His removal from the game denies you his plotline and quests. Note that there's no "good" option here; in either case, someone important to you is going to die. And the outcomes aren't something that you could have predicted, either. Over the course of the game, the consequences of your choices begin to cascade, and the state of the world can change wildly depending on your decisions.
The depth of storytelling in The Witcher makes it one of the more interesting RPGs in recent years...