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CD Projekt: How We Combined Story And Freedom In The Witcher 2

In Gamasutra's latest feature interview, CD Projekt Red senior producer Tomasz Gop tells Gamasutra how The Witcher 2 incorporates player freedom despite hav
Amidst a discussion about creative direction in RPGs -- whether having a defined lead character creates tension with the freedom the developers want to offer -- CD Projekt Red's Tomasz Gop tells Gamasutra that the important thing is delivering a quality experience. Some RPG players are in it for the story; some are in it for the characters; and some are in it for the gameplay. The Witcher and The Witcher 2 -- the latter of which which releases today -- have a big emphasis on player freedom, but they also have a clearly defined title character -- the Witcher, Geralt. Asked if having a clearly-defined character (one derived from a series of Polish fantasy novels) causes a "creative tension" with wanting to give players a lot of freedom in story, character and gameplay, Gop replied, "The game that we always wanted to do was about stories." He continued, "I don't know if you know this, but we spent a lot of time, way before we did The Witcher 1, choosing the main hero." "After being really inspired about doing the books, we were thinking about doing the game about some other Witcher, not exactly the same guy, so we took like a year and a half designing his look, designing his gameplay features, and so on and so on and so on," Gop tells Gamasutra. "And after that, it was like a week when we tried to prototype things, we had seen it, we had thought about it. 'No, it has to be Geralt. Sorry.' If you want to have a character that's cool to play, it has to be this guy. It all changed within days." "I don't think it's a problem [combining a defined story with player freedom], because if you think about it and if you weigh everything, you have a really solid hero where you can create personality, and still be able to give a lot of freedom to players." The answer, then, lies not in hitting a specific, mandated target, but instead doing what feels right creatively -- to the fullest extent possible. "It's just a matter of, where do you invest your work? We invest lots of it in the story. Other people have to share, split it between character and story, and that's okay as well. It's just, you know, we have to make sure the story is good enough to draw everybody," says Gop. The full interview, which delves into the creative process behind The Witcher 2, is live now on Gamasutra.

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