Witch Harder With The Witcher 2's GamesCom Showing
CDProjekt came strapped to GamesCom in Cologne with a new demo for The Witcher 2, and the project is looking better than ever. This brief glimpse of protagonist Geralt breaking out of prison illustrated what The Witcher is all about: Nonlinear storylines, brutal combat, and the jubblies.
The Polish developers played through the demo twice, resulting in very different scenarios. One time through, Geralt encountered a man he had previously saved who was able to help him escape by setting up an explosive distraction. The other time, that man was dead due to their previous encounter and Geralt was faced with his (topless, and quite lithe for having an adult son) captured noble mother, who rightfully blamed Geralt for his death. This second scenario had Geralt caught up in political intrigue, as an emissary from a distant emperor showed up to free the lady, even though Geralt had already slain her torturer. The baroness and emissary exchanged portentous dialogue that Geralt had little input into, and the emissary agreed to help Geralt escape as a favor for the baroness.
I'm told that there are two other entirely different ways to escape from the jail, and I believe it. The developers brought their quest flowchart up onscreen, and it may as well have been the Mississippi delta -- the breadth of options represented is truly impressive. At one vertical slice of the story, I counted eight different plot tracks that Geralt could be following. CDProjekt promises 16 discrete endings, and they obviously won't only diverge from the One True Story half an hour before the game ends.
The presentation looks great as always, the role-playing aspect is as ambitious as anything that BioWare or Bethesda have ever attempted, and the combat...well, the combat has a ways to go from what CDProjekt showed off today. Still, The Witcher's release (likely next spring) can't come soon enough. Now, if only they would confirm the console version that they've been hinting at ever since the game was announced...