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Charting the game design evolution of The Witcher trilogy

"I'm not talking about simplifying things. I'm talking about smart introductions and flawless immersion. That's what we are very much after in games."

One of the more interesting tidbits from Glixel's recent chat with CD Projekt Red co-founder Marcin Iwiński reveals how the studio looked to purposely change-up each entry in The Witcher trilogy. 

Looking back on the series, which made its debut all the way back in 2007, Iwiński suggested that most players would have a hard time tackling the original title now because it's such a jarringly different experience. 

According to the co-founder, those who came to know the franchise through The Witcher 3 would be lost in the first game's brutal world, noting that "Witcher 1 is very much a hardcore RPG, with a hard interface, and a lot of tough mechanics."

"I think it's a deep game on the story level, but still, if I were to have to play it from the beginning right now, I would probably have a hard time. Because I expect something else," he continues. 

"And so with The Witcher 2, we wanted to make it more cinematic. Having said that, when we shipped it, the PC version was extremely difficult, to put it lightly. I still remember one of the reviews in the U.S. where the journalist died in the prologue 50 times. And I was like, 'Hmmm, I think we should rebalance it.' It was a lesson learned."

As for how that realization shaped The Witcher 3, he says it made the team pay a lot of attention to immersion, partly so they could bridge the gap between Eastern Europe -- where players have "always had a certain tolerance for hardcoreness" -- and the United States. A country less willing to play by the rules of others (when it comes to video games, at least).

"In the U.S., which we had to learn the hard way, it's a case of 'If it's like that, then I'm not playing it; see you, thanks.' It's like the way the country is constructed. It's user friendly. It's easily approachable," notes Iwiński.

"I'm not talking about simplifying things. I'm talking about smart introductions and flawless immersion. That's what we are very much after in games. And I think The Witcher 3 was a very important step in this direction. The commercial success proves it."

Read the full interview over on Glixel to hear more from Iwiński.

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