Maciej Szcześnik of CDProjektRED, the company behind The Witcher and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, took the stage today at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to discuss the creative process and problems he encounters when designing games. The talk was insightful for developers working under constant deadlines and handling the creative pressure, but he also offered some insight into the company's successes and failures.

File those "sex cards" from the first game under failure. He discussed how the idea came from wanting to illustrate The Witcher's romances, hoping the cards would cement a deeper connection. The team wanted the cards to look like hand-drawn paintings, something more classical. The problem? When players got their hands on the game, it turned into a "collect them all minigame" more than the deep romantic connection. "That was quite embarrassing," Szcześnik said, "Not what we had planned." He noted if the team had thought through the consequences, maybe this reaction could have been avoided. It was a great lesson. 

He also discussed how the team read books on medieval swordfighting and actually looked at battle re-enactments, like The Battle of Grundwald, to make sure things were believable. He made note of how CDProjektRED took it even one step further when it sought out a martial arts and medieval swordfighting master to help design Geralt's unique fighting style. The team got lucky with the man selected, since he was also a professional stuntman. This lead to them motion capturing his movements for realism. According to Szcześnik, CDProjektRED was one of the first studios to use a professional stuntman to motion capture.

All interesting tidbits aside, it was amazing to see just how much goes into making some of The Witcher games.