The last few years in the fantasy RPG genre have seen some interesting trends developing. Initially the territory of the PC, the recent console success enjoyed by Dragon Age, The Elder Scrolls, and several other high-profile franchises have caused a few major developers to shift their focus away from a PC-only mindset. So when The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings was announced to be coming exclusively to the PC, some may have thought that it would be in the developer’s best interest to consider launching the game on home consoles as well.
Now that the game has officially gone gold with both the Premium and Collector’s Editions currently being produced, CD Projekt Red has spoken out on the subject. The developer has explained that while a home console version of The Witcher 2 may be developed at some point, they aren’t letting the idea distract them from delivering a spectacular PC experience.
The explanation should come as a relief to PC gamers who are sick and tired of seeing their platform receive what they believe is a less-than-desired amount of attention during development, and following release. One need look no further than the controversy over Portal 2, or the turf war sparked by Call of Duty: Black Ops to see just how strongly each audience feels about developers who divide their attention between platforms.
The assumption is that splitting resources results in an inferior product, and whether or not that is true, it’s a risk that CD Projekt Red has no interest in taking. In an interview with Eurogamer, Projekt Red’s senior producer Thomasz Gop explained that while the team looks forward to eventually bringing a console version of The Witcher 2 to their fans, the PC release has their full attention for the time being.
When the game is finally released and running smoothly, then the team can move onto bringing the game to the console market. PC fans need not worry about that version of the game receiving more fixes or improved mechanics due to the extra development time, as Gop is adamant that the game would still be essentially identical:
“Production wise – coordination and scheduling and budgeting – this is a new project for us. But it’s not going to be a completely different game: it’s going to be the same storyline and everything…We crave for potentially adding something new like some brand new content into the game. But still, we are talking about The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings.”
One of the major hurdles for such an endeavor may prove to be the amazing visuals of The Witcher 2. The technical limitations of any current console would seriously hamper the developers’ ability to successfully produce the same graphics, not to mention run the game’s unique engine. While that would be a challenge, Gop was quick to promise that if a console version is made, it’s “not going to look like crap.”
Even if an Xbox 360 or PS3 version of The Witcher 2 is being seen as a real possibility for the team, Gop reiterated that the last thing the developers want to do is get in over their heads before their initial project is finished:
“We’re definitely not a team that can do multiple projects at the same time…We’re warily not doing it this way because it might compromise the quality of the first PC release.”
“So no, no no no, we are not in full-scale development on the console version of the Witcher 2 right now. There were tests like a proof of concept, so we at least know that it’s doable, possible. But we are not fully producing the game right now. Nuh-uh.”
Console owners apparently won’t have to worry about the sales numbers of the PC version of The Witcher 2 hurting the chances for a console port either. The only thing keeping the project from moving forward seems to be a healthy dose of common sense:
“We won’t wait to see how well The Witcher 2 does on PC first…After we release The Witcher 2 on PC we just sit down with Excel or Project and make schedules, make plans. Then we will be totally glad to announce what is coming out; we know what team we have, what capacity we have, but we still have to plan out the amount of work. Then we will tell the world what we plan to do and ‘it will be that day of release’, potentially.”
So after months of seemingly being left out of the fun, console owners can start to get excited about a chance to play through The Witcher 2 as well. It may be just what’s needed to inject some seriously high-calibre content into the current RPG mix. While Dragon Age and Mass Effect claim to offer some of the industry’s best mechanics for player choice, hearing the developers talk about The Witcher 2‘s non-linear story may raise the concept to new heights.
So PC fans, is it a relief to hear a developer sticking to their original platform instead of making moves to increase their profits? And will you console owners be willing to wait a bit longer if some extra content is added into the game? Let us know in the comments.
The Witcher 2 will be released for the PC on May 17, with a possible console release somewhere far beyond.