The Witcher: Monster Slayer Interview – Pokémon Go Comparisons, New Monsters and Plans to Keep Players Wanting More
The world of the Witcher has just gotten that little bit bigger all thanks to the new mobile AR title, The Witcher: Monster Slayer. We talk to the creators to find out what makes this game tick.
The Witcher franchise has captured many hearts over the years and as we see six years since its last instalment, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, fans have been crying out for a morsel from the fantasy RPG again.
Even though we are unlikely to see anything new from Geralt and Co. anytime soon, Polish studio Spokko, who are part of the CD PROJEKT family, offer up a taste of what it’s like to become a Witcher in their brand new AR mobile game.
We sat down with The Witcher: Monster Slayer‘s Game Designer and Design Lead, Maciej Rosiński, to ask some important questions surrounding the AR title and also to find out a little bit about how the studio plan on keeping wannabe Witcher’s coming back for more.
Will The Witcher: Monster Slayer closely follow the books or the games more in terms of lore?
Maciej Rosiński: “With Monster Slayer being set in The Witcher universe, both CD PROJEKT RED’s video game series and the original Witcher books were greatly influential for our creative process. The lore surrounding witchers and the monsters roaming the Continent is so vast, and there are so many stories to tell within. With that in mind, we decided to turn back the clock in terms of the setting of The Witcher: Monster Slayer.”
“The story for our game takes place many, many years before the White Wolf Geralt of Rivia was born. We decided to do this as a way of allowing us to focus on the fantasy we really wanted players to engage with: becoming a witcher yourself. In Monster Slayer, you are a newly trained adept during a time period where the role of a witcher is pretty new to the Continent.”
“We had a lot of room for creativity bringing Monster Slayer to life, alongside some of the best parts of The Witcher games and books. In quests, for example, we have adapted classic stories Witcher fans will be able to identify — such as being tasked with lifting the curse from a striga. But you’ll also find a lot of new stories which all carry the essence of what you’d expect from a Witcher narrative. And of course, we can’t forget about the monsters themselves! As you head out to track down and hunt different beasts, you’ll find creatures from across all The Witcher series of games — but you’ll also be facing monsters known from the books and entirely new
“We always wanted to make a location-based game, and when Ingress and Pokémon Go were released we followed them closely to see how much they resonated with players. We paid particular attention to how the AR features were implemented and how AR as a whole has become more popular over the years.”
Pokémon Go is obviously one of the biggest mobile augmented reality games there is. Did you take much influence from it in crafting The Witcher: Monster Slayer, and in what way, if so?
MR: “We always wanted to make a location-based game, and when Ingress and Pokémon Go were released we followed them closely to see how much they resonated with players. We paid particular attention to how the AR features were implemented and how AR as a whole has become more popular over the years.”
“We definitely believed we had a cool idea for a location-based AR game, and one of the main catalysts for creating The Witcher: Monster Slayer was seeing how we could build upon that fundamental genre idea by crafting a narrative and an immersive, exciting world.”
“I totally understand where the comparisons between Pokémon Go and Monster Slayer are coming from, but besides both of them being in the location-based AR genre, they are two completely different games. We’ve put a strong focus on having a story that engages with the RPG gameplay mechanics, as well as the tentpole features that come with location-based AR design. Combat, character development — the parts of the game that immerse you into the role and world of a witcher: we wanted to make sure that Monster Slayer is a Witcher game through and through. It’s not only about slaying monsters but also about making decisions.”
At the moment, we are preparing to add the second season of adventures to the game, which will be full of new quests
for players to experience and accomplish on their witcher path — alongside monster-focused updates, too.
What are your long-term goals in keeping The Witcher: Monster Slayer player base thriving?
MR: “There are definitely a lot of cool ideas that we have in mind for Monster Slayer, and we want our players to have the best possible experience for years to come. At the moment, we are preparing to add the second season of adventures to the game, which will be full of new quests
for players to experience and accomplish on their witcher path — alongside monster-focused updates, too. We want to bring these to the game this autumn, but no more details right now from us to share.”
“Of course, we would like to add this kind of content on a regular basis. Regarding any other features, we are patiently waiting for the feedback from our players — we would love to hear them out and see what their expectations and experiences are.”
We know so far there are 78 monsters in the game that include a Fiend, Rock Troll, Griffin, and Striga but will any other fan favourites also be included or even brand-new monsters?
MR: “Actually, on release day, you will be able to encounter 128 monsters straight from the Continent, roaming the real world around you. Many of these are based around reworked models from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — think improved textures and geared for AR itself — while others have been created from scratch, bringing monsters from the first two Witcher games, and the books, into Monster Slayer. But our team didn’t stop there; they created brand new Witcher-world monsters that players will meet for the very first time while playing Monster Slayer!”
“It was, I believe, an ultimate task for us to recreate the dark fantasy feeling from The Witcher universe while players forge their own path as a monster slayer. You will definitely jump on some Devourer known from The Witcher 1 or Vodniks — but also you will be able to encounter Liho, Leshen Hound, and many others, too. As you walk through your neighborhood — taking familiar paths to the grocery store or park; your work, school, or wherever else — you’ll come across a Bies or Archespores, and many other monsters that you know from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.”
“Monsters you know from the games or books, ones you have seen before or have only heard about, could be lurking in the bushes or trees near your bus stop, even. And that’s part of the core of our game; when you play The Witcher: Monster Slayer, your common daily routines can become much more interesting, and you can really activate your imagination.”
“You’re a fully trained witcher, after all!”
The Witcher: Monster Slayer launches globally for free via Android and iOS on July 21, 2021.