Interview: The Witcher 3’s Game Director Discusses Story, Battle, Next Gen and Lack of Multiplayer

When the first gameplay footage of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was shown at E3 I was definitely enthralled, possibly more than with anything else I saw during the Microsoft press conference. As a fan of the series from the first game (even before the Enhanced Edition finally gave it the popularity it deserved), I couldn’t help but think on just how much progress the series and its developer made in less than six years.

That’s why it was a pleasure for me to get a chance to have a chat with the man at the helm of  The Witcher 3‘s development: Game Director Konrad Tomaszkiewicz. What did he tell me? Read on…

Giuseppe: The Witcher‘s saga now counts two games and a third is coming, and you’re sitting on top of an amazing success story after starting with a small studio and an engine borrowed from BioWare. How do you feel about it? Did you ever imagine, back then, that the project had the potential to gather this much support and fans?

Konrad Tomaszkiewicz: Thank you for the kind words! We had a vision and we always wanted to make the best games out there. I know it may sound a bit cheesy for someone outside of RED but if you ask anyone in the company, we actually believe in the games we make – everyone’s a fan and we’re all supercharged with even the tiniest news mention about our game. Even despite there’s 200+ of us! Did we imagine this would happen? Does dreaming count?

G: Several people at CD Projekt went on record saying that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be completely seamless, with no loading screen at all. Is that limited to exteriors, or we’ll see absolutely no transitions between exteriors and interiors as well, and within interiors?

K: Since streaming such a big and detailed world may prove difficult, please do not treat this as a promise but…yes, at the moment, that’s the plan. We’re working very hard to make exteriors to interiors transitions fluid, without any loading screens. We want to give gamers a truly immersive world.

G: Geralt has grown a beard for The Witcher 3, and he also looks a lot more rugged. Is this just an artistic choice or maybe there’s a deeper meaning behind this change?

K: Actually, there is a deeper meaning behind this. In a nutshell, Nilfgaard is invading the Northern Kingdoms – there’s a lot of chaos. Geralt is free from the political influence he was subject to in The Witcher 2. For the first time, he’s on the road and has his own private, highly emotional agenda. He doesn’t have the time to mind his appearance, he’s way more rugged and, dare I say it, even more masculine. Some heavy stuff is going to happen in The Wild Hunt, we wanted Geralt’s appearance to reflect that as well.


G: Combat and progression have undergone a lot of streamlining in the latest patch of The Witcher 2. Can we expect this trend to continue with the next chapter? Will there be major differences?

K: The Witcher 3 approaches combat in a very evolutionary way, despite the system being totally redesigned, it still retains the spirit of its predecessor – it’s much more fluid and responsive and less chaotic but still incorporates what players loved in TW2. Players will now feel each swing and the camera will complement each move. Each press of a button represents one swing (i.e. one animation) – there’s no button mashing hack and slash here – this system makes the combat in the game super responsive and the skirmishes themselves very intuitive.

We’ve added a ton of new action sequences when compared with TW2, Geralt can adopt various stances in combat (that totally changes the way the skirmish looks like). There’s no Quick Time Events and no scripted combat. Additionally, the Signs system is redesigned as well – every Sign now has an alternative form which allows a multitude of tactical options in combat. What’s more, you can combine different skills from every skill tree to make Geralt truly your own character. There’s a lot of new and awesome stuff coming your way and we’re still working on making it even better.

G: There’s a fantastic Skyrim mod called Frostfall that involves the ability to camp in the wilderness and the possibility of hypotermia. Hardcore RPG fans are going crazy for it, as it adds a lot of immersion to exploring the open world of the game. Is there any chance to see anything like that in The Witcher 3, maybe as an option?

K: We’re constantly thinking about adding features that enhance immersion but our most important feature is still the emotion evoking story. We want gamers to be pulled in because the world has a lot to offer and not necessarily because you can die of, say, thirst by travelling through it. The Witcher was and always will be about the story, the characters and actions and consequences – everything else comes second. This doesn’t mean that hardcore gamers aren’t important for us, we’re hardcore gamers ourselves so we do understand the need for that extra challenge. Having that said, you can be sure we’ll introduce some elements that will cater to those needs.


G:  Will we see a return of stealth gameplay elements in The Witcher 3

K: We don’t plan on introducing any stealth elements in The Witcher 3.

G: For someone like me that likes to dabble with modding, the REDkit is the best thing invented since chocolate, but looking at the number of available mods, adoption seems to be a bit slow, probably due to how late in the game’s life cycle it was made available. Are you going to try and release something like that for The Witcher 3 at launch or close to it? 

K: On the other hand, the story mods like LYKAON feature more hours of extra gameplay than some commercial games out there and Full Combat Rebalance introduces some major stuff into the combat system. As for The Witcher 3 – we’re exploring the possibility but we want to focus on delivering the game first. You know us and our policy of supporting our games – even now, so long after the launch, we’re releasing patches and fixes to The Witcher 2. This may seem insignificant to many but it all takes manpower to prepare and develop these.

To create REDkit and adapt it to the community we had to allocate developers who commit to the project entirely. That meant they are not working on The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 which, in turn, means longer overall development.


G:  The Artificial intelligence of villagers and similar characters was quite advanced in The Witcher 2. They went about their business and found shelter from the rain for instance. Is it this going to be improved further in the new game? If yes, how?

K: We aim to enrich this part of the game with enrooting NPCs in local lore. During E3 we showed you a monster-hunt with Leshen. The villagers had their own backstory – the monster was part of their lore, a tiny bit for the gamer, but the whole world they were brought up in for them. Putting NPCs in context like that makes them more believable. As for other new features we introduce, communities will react to weather changes and will even migrate if the situation demands it (being threatened by The Hunt etc.)

G: Previous The Witcher games were pretty saucy. There has actually been a marked increase in the “erotic” contents from The Witcher to The Witcher 2. Some felt it was a refreshing change from the norm. Can we expect a further increase on the adult-oriented themes with the third chapter?

K: The Witcher was not a game for adults because it portrayed erotic content, it was a game for adults because it painted a picture of a deeply disturbed world full of strife, social inequality and war. At least that’s the way we see it. Putting sexual content in games just for the sake of raising the age category and calling the game “adult” is cheap and we won’t go in that direction. Having that said, Geralt will have the opportunity to engage in more intimate relations as well as the world will continue to be as gritty as before.


G:  You’re at the forefront of the adoption of the next generation consoles. Are you already working on the devkits? What are your impressions of the Xbox One and PS4? Are there any marked differences in horsepower between the two?

K: Yes, we’ve been working on Microsoft and Sony-provided devkits for some time now, well before the consoles were officially presented. As for the differences between the two — both are very potent pieces of hardware and developing games on them is a pleasure.

G: Will the game look any different on different platforms or you’re aiming to make it look the same? Can gamers with high-end PCs expect better visual fidelity at maximum settings like for The Witcher 2?

K: We’re aiming to deliver the same experience on all the platforms – we’re developing The Witcher 3 on next gen platforms so visual cutbacks will not be the case here. Eyecandy for everyone!


G: Draw distance is crucial factor for immersion in open world games, but many developers kind of ruin it by abusing distance fog (that modders promptly find a way to disable or reduce). How far will we be able to see on the maximum graphical settings on PC? Will the draw distance be limited or reduced on consoles?

K: This has to do a lot with optimization and optimization is one of the last processes of development. It’s hard to tell at this point. Get back to us with this one when we’re closer to the premiere!

G: There has been a lot of talk on cloud features for next generation consoles, especially to offload AI calculations and similar elements to the cloud servers. It’s one of the most publicized features of the Xbox One, and the PS4 apparently can use use it as well at the publishers’ discretion. Will you make use of those features, or at least are you considering it?

K: We’re considering every option and there may come a time we’ll utilize the cloud in this fashion but for now we’re not planning to put anything outside the hardware in your home.

G: The Witcher games have always been purely single player experiences, but the upcoming generation seems to be full of talk about persistent worlds and online features. Are you considering any kind of online gameplay for the third chapter or you’re sticking to your guns?

K: The Witcher has always been about experiencing your own, unique adventure. We can assure you that we won’t sacrifice our trademark that is immersive, single player storytelling for the sake of other features, just to have them. Designing the game is a lengthy process, during which many elements are taken into consideration, but ultimately your uninterrupted gaming experience always comes first. No, we won’t have multiplayer in The Witcher 3.


G:  Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer to my questions. To conclude, here’s a bit of a change of pace: there has been a surge in MMORPGs with more dark and adult themes on the Korean market, but basically nothing in the west. Some would consider it an untapped market and The Witcher franchise would be perfect for it. Have you ever considered a MMORPG based on Sapkowski’s IP? Personally, I’d play it in a heartbeat, and pay a monthly fee for it without a single regret… Bet you I’m not the only one…

K: Haha. The answer to the previous question should cover this one as well. Do we ever plan on making a MMORPG? I don’t think so. Now we’re focusing on delivering you the best single player RPGs out there. Having that said, we have some very cool stuff up our sleeves so stay tuned for more information from RED!

There you have it. Looks like I utterly failed at baiting CD Projekt into making me a Witcher MMORPG. Maybe it’s a good thing, because if they did consider the idea I’d probably find a lynch mob at my doorstep. And I tend to be allergic to lynch mobs….

That said, The Witcher 3 looks and sounds like an experience every RPG fan can look forward to. I know I am. 

Join the Discussion

  • Frankiemazz

    Great interview. And yeah, The Witcher is much better single player only, even if a MMORPG wouldn’t have been a bad idea at all.

  • Dakan45

    So cryptic, You know i would like a straight answer either “get a console because this will be unoptimized like witcher 2” or “get pc because the game is so demanding that you will need every ounce of power you got in order to run it at the highest settings”

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      Maybe they simply mean “we’re trying to make them look exactly the same, so that everyone can enjoy it whatever platform they have”.

      • Dakan45

        Which is impossible. Either they were use the console visuals since consoles can do 1080p and put AA or draw distance or tesselation options here and there, or the pc version is gonna run like a turtle on mud once again.

        • Giuseppe Nelva

          We simply don’t really know what the two consoles can do yet, so “impossible” may be a little bit of an exaggeration.

          • Lars Anderson

            Next Gen console hardware is not as good as what current high end PC’s already have. Either you make it for PC and then scale down to console hardware, or you make them all the same and gimp high end PC potential.

          • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

            Even though Sony and Microsoft have based their consoles on yesterday’s hardware, they’ve also added their own modifications as we all know so it’s most likely that with these circumstances in mind, that they will begin bridging the gap more between consoles and PC and actually come close to edging out what PC can do, though there are obviously a few things that only PC will be able to do regardless at this point so possibly the next line of consoles after this will have more prowess that stumps PC as Sony and Microsoft pretty much will stick with PC architecture from this point out. When the consoles launch this year, then we can decide whether they have the potential to truly rival PC; in fact, give them a few years and you may even be shocked yourself and how much they would’ve done up to that point that you underestimated. If Nintendo adopts PC architecture the generation after this, they won’t be too far behind again, as their home console and handheld console divisions have merged so they’ll most likely catch up by cutting their costs and do serious R&D double time on their part so they’re better prepared for what Sony and Microsoft have in mind. Until then, let’s just see how all three consoles and PC compete with each other and fair out.

          • Dakan45

            I think i explained that, since they can do 1080p, the graphics will be more or less the same but pc might get some extra settings for higher draw distance MSAA or SSAA antialising or dx11 tesselation, really heavy stuff that no one will be able to run at a playble framerate.

            So if that happens those wont be on consoles, there is no reason for them to be since they are needless and perfomance bottlenecks. But pc version might have just for the sake of it. Not actually running the game with those options on.

            Still witcher 2 was heavilly unoptimized so if the console version is more optimized, it wouldnt suprise me.

            obviously next gen consoles wont be maxed anytime soon. But the perfomance bottlenecks effects that they gonna shove on the pc version, wont be on consoles.

            Maybe just maybe this time they optimize all 3 versions due to similar architecture but from what i have seen from pc and console version of witcher 2, they seem to be very incosistent when it comes to visuals and perfomance. So i doubt its the same experiance on all 3 systems.

            For reffrence quake 2 looked better on pc. The medal of honor games looked better on pc. Morrowind looked better on pc, oblivion looked better on pc. Now that the gap is bigger than it ever was before i dont expect visuals to be more close to each other. Quite the opposite. One thing i can bet though, the pc version will run like crap.

          • Giuseppe Nelva

            The problem is that you’re assuming that “the gap is bigger than ever”, which at the moment we simply don’t have elements to assume. As a matter of fact everything we saw so far of games on PS4 and Xbox One (that are still in their early pre-alpha phase, and thus not even optimized) indicates that the gap might really not be that big anymore.

          • Dakan45

            Never before the diffirence in specs was so high.

            All i saw was that it has inferior visuals than current pc games. Pc gaing has been stagneted since 2007. So if consoles can do multiplats at the same quality pc could all those years i cant say “hooray”

            I have yet to see a actual “next gen” game.

          • Giuseppe Nelva

            We have seen plenty “next gen” games at E3, if you can’t see that their quality is very near to PC games, then I’m afraid you need some very thick glasses.

          • Dakan45

            “if you can’t see that their quality is very near to PC games,”


            Very near current pc games not “next gen visuals”

            What was “next gen” Infamous 3 that looks like a impressive current gen game that runs on 1080p?

            Killzone shadowfall that looks worse than crysis 3 and metro last light on pc?

            Or bf4 which was demoed on a pc and it was an improved bf3?

            Or maybe destinty that has lower polycount than cod ghosts and just about the same lighting?

            Or maybe titnafall which is visually unimpressive and runs on source engine.

            Only that game from the dead island studio looked close to next gen.

          • John

            Leave him alone…just another stinking fanboy….wouldn’t be shocking if he thinks that minesweeper looks better than Last Of Us.

          • Dakan45

            the last of us has mediocre visuals at best.

        • sidspyker

          Maybe by visual cutbacks they mean things like how PC had bokeh DoF, while on the 360 they used Gaussian ?

          It seems like a typical PR answer made to appeal to everyone, I doubt they’ll drop the TW2-like candy.

          I really don’t know about you but the PC version of TW2 worked brilliantly for me. Ofcourse I didn’t use ubersampling and cut down a bit on DoF cause bokeh all the time is kinda demanding

  • Lars Anderson

    Cryptic indeed.The PC and console version shouldn’t look the same. PC should have higher resolution and more graphical options. It should have customizable elements and more bells and whistles in general. They’ve said nothing to this effect, and quite frankly it’s not a good sign for PC gamers.

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      Considering that we still don’t know for sure what the new consoles can really do, that’s not completely true. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. From what we saw so far, the game looks awesome, a lot better than the Witcher 2. Is it a problem because there is a chance that it won’t look that much awesom-er on PC? 😀

      I don’t think so honestly. I’m a PC gamer at heart and i’ll play this on PC, no doubt about it. But as long as the game looks great, who cares if the other versions look just as great?

    • John

      Cryptic indeed huh!? How dare the honest and down-to-earth CD Projekt provide an equally high quality experience across all platforms? Other versions should look worse!!!!!!!! Because we are the biased selfish PC virgins!! CD Projekt should burn themselves to the ground because they aren’t being selfish right?? Those losers!

      How dare other people be happy right? This is truly a bad sign indeed…FUCK EQUALITY!!!! NO ONE DESERVES TO HAVE A SMILE ON THEIR FACE OTHER THAN US PC ELITISTS!!!! SELIFSHNESS for the motherfucking win!!! >:(((((

      Get a girlfriend 🙂

      • Dakan45

        They cant provide equality on all prlaforms, stop being a moron.

      • Lars Anderson

        Dude, if PC hardware is better, then equality in this case means nerfing the PC version. It’s pretty simple.

    • Jrlm

      The PC got a crappy port.. the game runs better on seven year old hardware called the consoles..

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    Why can’t this game come already? Just a hypothetical question: given that from this point forward consoles will be pretty much unified PCs, and PCs, PS4 and Xbox One are very much extremely close in power, would it be blasphemy to prophesy that the next round of consoles that come in the 2020s will be not only just as powerful and capable as high-end PCs but even more advanced given that each console manufacturer will be modifying their respective hardware to leverage their success for the long-term? I’m in no way saying it’s the absolute future, but it’s a highly likely possibility at this point.

    • Amj161

      Well, the only problem with that is that every time a new console comes out, it may look close to or as good as PC, but then PCs can be upgraded during the period between new consoles, so near the end of the console generation (like now with the PS3 and the Xbox 360) the PCs look so much better in comparison, because they have been upgrading while the consoles have been sitting there for years doing nothing except making optimazation changes, but nothing as big as changing hardware. But, even the new consoles are only as good as mid range PCs, they are no were close to high range. Some graphics cards costs thousands of dollars. So a console that costs half of that is definently not as good as the PC.

  • Umair Khan

    Ya there won’t be cutbacks like xbox 360 version where they had to even remove polygons form characters to make it playable because hardware was extremely outdated and that won’t be the case this time but they will still not look as good as PC version , it’s impossible .

  • Cristiano Ronaldo

    lol… people saying Witcher 3 cant look as good as on PC… The Division has (imo) better graphics than the Witcher and it did run on a PS4, so did Destiny… ( According to DF and Bungie ( Destiny))
    I have no idea why the hell people are still comparing console hardware with PC hardware and think that Console Version will look worse…
    the only thing that obviously will be better is the framerate and resolution as you can go above 1080p and have no FPS limit…

    • Lars Anderson

      Because PC hardware is better, genius. Most of the demos at E3 were running on PC.

    • JustANormalGuy

      Shh…fanboys over-exaggerate *anything* they don’t like…

      ADVICE: Always take the words of a fanboy with a grain of salt…don’t take them seriously 🙂

    • Dakan45

      Division is not a open world game and has no where near as high quality visuals as witcher 3.

      But i am curious wherever division actually DID run on a console. Since there is 1,2,3,4,5 appearing in the screen.

      As for destiny, is visually uimpressive. Even digital foundry said even ghosts has higher poly count.

      “I have no idea why the hell people are still comparing console hardware
      with PC hardware and think that Console Version will look worse…
      the only thing that obviously will be better is the framerate and resolution as you can go above 1080p and have no FPS limit…’

      If you reffer to ps3 and x360, please do know most games on consoles run on low pc settings or medium at best.

      Everytime a game came out, no matter when, it looked better on pc. Even oblivion and morrowind looked better on pc than on consoels. so this “next gen” is rather bullocks.

  • Blobbillbingotn

    How are they going to get physX to run on consoles?

    • usrev

      the same way they did it on consoles this gen.

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  • vojtasass

    The Witcher MMORPG is a terrible idea.

  • Jrlm

    I am a pc gamer , but i have to say the attitude by PC enthusiast on these forums have been disgusting.