The Witcher 10th Anniversary Panel – PAX West 2017

(dramatic guitar music) (cheers and applause) – Oh my God. Hello PAX. Incredible, thank you all so much for taking the time to be here. Have you all been enjoying PAX so far? (cheers and applause) Awesome, this is incredible. Apparently this is the biggest audience that’s been at PAX West so far this year, so give yourself a
massive round of applause. Amazing, thank you so much. (applause) There’s a lot of people watching on Twitch right now apparently and I want them to know just how
many people are here, so let’s do a role call. How many Witcher 3 fans are in the house? (cheers and applause) Nice. Okay now you’re gonna
show your age probably a little bit, so apologies in advance. Witcher 2 fans in the house? (cheers and applause) That was louder, I think you’re not doing this right but I appreciate it. And then for the golden oldies out there, those who suffered through the bugs to enjoy that rich Slavic
lore, Witcher 1 fans. (cheers and applause) Awesome. Any Gwent fans in the house? (cheers and applause) How about Cyberpunk? That will probably be the last time that word is said on this panel. Let me just get out of the way already. For those of you who don’t
know, my name is Danny O’Dwyer. I run a crowdfunded video game documentary channel called Noclip. Thank you so much, thank you very much. We go around the world telling
stories about video games. We recently came back
from a week and a half in Warsaw with the folks
at CD Projekt talking about The Witcher 1, 2
and 3 because of course, in just a few weeks time, the first game will be 10 years old and that’s why you’re
all here today because that game lit the fire
under a bunch of people, then they were able to make a second. Then they were able to make Witcher 3, which we as all know swept a lot of Game of the Year awards
and is one of the best fantasy role playing
games of recent memory. We’re here to talk about
all three of those games. We have a bunch of people who have come all the way over from Warsaw. They’re hard at work
actually working on their next game but they’ve taken
the time off to be here. They appreciate you being here and I’m gonna get them
out in just a hot second, so the Irish guy will stop rambling. I do want to let you know
how the panel’s gonna work. we’re gonna talk about The Witcher 1, 2, 3 in 20 minute chunks. We’ve also got video packages of a bunch of ridiculous behind-the-scenes stuff which apparently they’re not really sure if they should show but
they’re gonna show anyway. (cheering) And then we’re gonna
open it up to a Q and A. We have microphones but stay
seated, enjoy the panel. Gwent and Yen are gonna be out picking people for the last 30 minutes. So we’ll do a put your hand up thing. So don’t worry about lining
up, just enjoy the show and we’ll get right into
Q and A’s at the end. Let’s get this thing started. Before we do though
I’ve got a very special person to introduce before I get around to the rest of our Murderer’s Row here. You may recognize him from I don’t know, a decade of
Witcher videos at this stage. He flew in yesterday to be here today and he’s flying out
directly after the panel. He’s very emotional and
happy to be here right now. He is the joint, he’s the founder I should say
and joint CEO of CD Projekt. I’d like to introduce
please Mr. Marcin Iwinski. (cheers and applause) – Thank you very much, Yen. Wow, guys, thank you so much. But I’m just the co-founder and joint CEO. I’m not making these
great games, you know. Take it easy, take it easy. Thank you very, very much for coming here. You really do not imagine
what it means for us. We were discussing in
the backstage, is there going to be half of the
room, maybe 60%, maybe less? And then, here we go, it’s full. So really appreciate for you
taking the time to come here. We’ve prepared and actually Dan already talked about it a little bit, we’ve prepared a lot of special stuff, behind the scenes stuff. Stuff which we really should have not been showing but we’ll show it to you because we go Full Monty tonight, really. It’s a very important moment for us, 10th anniversary, time flies. So we might be a little bit emotional. There’ll be Q and A at the end, so you might prepare some questions. I’m sure you have a lot of them. But without further ado, there wouldn’t be an anniversary without the gift. So especially for this very moment, we’ve prepared a video for you. Enjoy. (applause) (birds chirping) (horse neighing) – Hey, I was just reminiscing and realized damn, been ages since
we last saw each other. You know me, got a hard time staying put. Though, Regis says I’m getting old. Drops in with herbs for Triss sometimes. Strange species I’ve never seen. They grab Yennefer, lock
themselves in her lab, spend all day brewing,
wouldn’t dare interrupt ’em. Not that I’m complaining. It gives me time to help the
guys with their contracts. Although I can’t shake the feeling they mainly take jobs nearby. Lambert practically lives here. As I said, I find it hard to sit still except things are good here, you know? I’m good. We play Gwent, drink wine, swipe grapes from Henrietta’s vineyards
the odd moonlit night. Vesemir enjoyed that especially. Been through hell and
high water, you and me. The fact is you know me
better than anyone else does. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. Thanks for everything and know
we all miss you, old friend. So it might be my birthday but I say here’s to you. Now tell us how you’re doing. (cheers and applause) (soft chanting) – All right, let’s get
these folks out here. This is my favorite
part about interviewing Polish people is having
to pronounce their names. I swear to God I probably
spent more times practicing the next 30 seconds than
the whole rest of the panel. (squelching)
(audience laughs) Did Jesse Cox put like
a fart thing on my seat, is that what happened there? I know he’s here somewhere. All right first of all,
he was just out here. Let’s get another warm round of applause for Mr. Marcin Iwinski. (applause) Thanks Geralt. Next up from the Living World
Team, Mr. Bartosz Ochman. (applause) – That was another easy one, let’s go through the tough ones. – Nice to see you. – Hey everyone. – From the Adaptation Team,
this is the team responsible for taking Sapkowski’s
book and turning it into the video game lore, Mr.
Borys Pugacz-Muraszkiewicz. – Eight out of 10.
– Okay. Next up, the gentleman
responsible for basically most of the music in
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and also a lot of the sound
design in The Witcher 2, Mr. Marcin Przybylowicz. (applause) Okay, no? I don’t even need the book for this one. Next up from the Quest Team, Pawel Sasko. (applause) (chuckling) Geralt’s not happy about (applause) that quest you put him on. All right, thank you all so
much for being here today. Before we get into the weeds
on game design and business and all that good stuff,
what does it mean to be here? – I’m happy to take that up actually. 10 years for the franchise,
11 years for me personally and for me it’s really a blend of pride, indubitably, tempered I think by gratitude. Anyway pride, we started
out in some respects just barely getting that first title out, improving on it a year later. Taking a different tack
with the second title, moving onto a new platform. Arguably with the third title, ascending to the top of RPG gaming, staying there for awhile
with the expansions as well. We’re still in the
franchise with Gwent and to compare us now versus 11 years ago just in organizational terms, in terms of personal skills, it’s just a huge, huge, huge, huge improvement by leaps and bounds. – [Marcin] Borys is
saying he learned a lot. – And gratitude because well, gratitude towards the fans for sticking with us through thick and thin, weathering all the storms, being supportive, providing feedback. Gratitude to all the business partners, all the wonderful
performers, the VO Directors, the actors in all the languages. Gratitude to all the other
business partners and gratitude I think last but not least to our families, our loved
ones who endured a lot, who were supportive throughout. – For me gratitude is
also I think the strongest thing I feel actually because
it’s four years as a fan and six years as a developer and when Witcher 1 was being made, I knew about this weird and
amazing company actually being based somewhere in
Warsaw and I really wanted to be part of it and I was rejected
actually multiple times. But that didn’t stop me
and I joined six years ago during Witcher 2 and that
was an amazing ride to build this thing, to be a part
of Witcher 2, Witcher 3, expansions, it’s just a great feeling, guys. – It’s a unique thing
I think to your sort of company’s story in that like The Witcher, the book series was already
incredibly, had like a loyal and dedicated fanbase
before the games came out. So in a way the journey has actually sort of been longer than a decade. It’s been part of like
much of your lives, right? – Some of us are, first
we were fans of the books, then we joined the company. I have my motivation letter that I
sent to company, can I? – [Danny] This is the letter
you sent to the company? – Yes, exactly.
– On a tiny piece of paper? You guys must have been struggling. – Not accepted the first time.
– I kept it. It’s hard to describe my admiration for Witcher world created by Mr. Sapkowski. I read all his Witcher
books thousand of times, I know many fragments by heart. Half of my friends I
have linked in my mind to characters created by Mr. Sapkowski. Basically I’ve got The Witcher disease. – Awesome. We’re all infected here.
(applause) Shall we crack on? – Maybe just a word from
me, the veteran because the company’s my first kid and then I had three more. Hello honey and kids watching me. Sorry that was the first story. – [Danny] Do you see how your dad celebrates the first kid’s birthday? (laughs) – Thank you Danny, that was great. You know what, I’ll head back home. But seriously, so it
all started with a dream because we started as
a distribution company. So we were going to all
these trade shows and looking at games and we always
wanted to have our own baby and we were especially
fascinated with RPGs. So seeing this today,
it’s for me unbelievable. Making the first game
has taken us five years of blood, sweat and tears
and we actually started very differently to most
of game developers because we were actually gamers running
a distribution business. So passion in gaming but
we had no clue whatsoever how to write games and
how to develop games. So five years of blood, sweat and tears and that was Witcher 1
and it was incredible because already we saw that
there is a huge following, huge fanbase and actually
the most important part I wanted to say because Borys
went a little bit deeper into the gratitude thing
and this really means a lot to us and it’s not just
us talking because with Witcher 1, especially when we were looking for a partner to help us
get the game to stores and back then there was
no digital distribution. So publishers were the gods, they were the ultimate gatekeepers and so we were rejected so many
times, it was extremely stressful time for me
because we were showing, people were coming to our
offices, we were presenting. It was due diligence, we
were talking about the lore, passionate about books and then you know, a month down the line or
two months down the line, I was getting a call, “Yeah, great, “blah, blah, blah, sorry no.”
– Right. – And that was it and then
you guys were showing us that we are walking the
right back and you are always there to support us,
so thank you for coming. Thank you very, very much for it. – Awesome. It’s for you.
(applause) Okay, we’ve got a lot of
video games to discuss the design of, so let’s
get the ball rolling. First of all we’ve got a nice little video package for The Witcher 1. (dramatic ensemble music) – The story begins with The Witcher 1. So I was reading the books and I’m a huge Sapkowski fan but then the game appeared on the market and I was
really waiting for it and I start playing with hope that finally it will be like a really good Polish game and that I will feel the same atmosphere like I had in the books
and it was like that. (speaking Polish) – [Narrator] Our hero Geralt of Rivia, known in some parts
simply as the White Wolf or even simpler, the
Witcher is a mercenary monster slayer whose heightened senses, lightning-quick reflexes
and superhuman strength are the result of the
torturous magical experiments he was subjected to in his
youth and have made him an outcast to some, a
necessary tool to others. – Generally the vibe of the place, so dreary in some parts
but like the nice kind. It felt very, very authentic and for whatever weird reason
one of the bigger moments that stuck with me other
than of course the story is that one quest where the woman had the monster in her basement,
the old lady, I don’t know, and the drunken section
where he’s trying to steal the pickles and the lard,
that was really cool. – [Danny] What was it you liked? Was it sort of the same rich Slavic lore that was in the books
or was it the questing? Everyone says atmosphere.
– Atmosphere, exactly. I don’t know how to explain that because what is atmosphere? The music, colors of the game. Maybe some plot but to
be honest if you want to find it out, you’ll
know exactly what it is. What it is, like the Witcher 1 was in my opinion the most Sapkowski game we did in STP. – [Narrator] The game’s
based on a series of bestselling novels by
Polish fantasy writer Andrzej Sapkowski and unlike any other fantasy setting that
you’ve witnessed so far, there’s no good and evil,
no fine line you know? Especially for our main hero, Geralt who was brought up and
trained to be a Witcher, a professional monster slayer
without any human emotions. (beeping) – Ready?
– Come on. Hit me.
– With pleasure. – I’ll show you a real man’s balls. – You talk too much, scared? – [Mercenary] That’s
more like it, come on. – Three, none. (laughs) (applause) – So I mean it took five
years to make the game. Maybe if the 3D artists
weren’t doing Foosball animations it would have
taken a bit less perhaps. I want to talk about what you sort of referenced there Bartosz about atmosphere. When you go back and people
talk about the Witcher, the first Witcher game,
there was something about it. People refer to technically
it’s quite a world away from what happened
with 2 and 3, right? But there was something there, right? It was an incredibly unique game even in the RPG space which you
know can be quite trite. – I don’t know how to point it out. It was something, like I remember a whole chapter of Vizima Outskirts
and Temple Quarter and I was playing it and
I feeling that this is it. Like, colors, I don’t know, guys,
maybe you will help me. – There was this basically
amazing story arc that is built in The Witcher
1 and I remember when I was playing this bit
when a Shani is checking the guy’s head and they find
like eggs in his brain or something and literally I like
peed myself, you know guys? This dialogue were so incredibly long. I think like Borys is actually
the part to blame here but the dialogue was
incredibly long but god dammit, I clicked every single
option and I was like wow, that’s an amazing 30 minutes of dialogue. (laughs) But the story, I mean
it all made sense right? It was all put together
with such care and such love that I just understood like
there is something there and we can actually make it like this. – But you told about
the quest, okay it was a really sophisticated quest but also we had quests like find the cute old dogs in the Vizima Outskirts
or something like that. – Yeah the–
– Different level. But it fits to the story. – Yeah the dog catcher
of Vizima, I don’t know if you guys remember
it but Gravedigger was paying you to bring six
pots of that dog tallow actually and I remember
that the thread on like Steam Forums when people were writing that they drank all their dog
tallow, I was like… (laughs) Okay and then I was checking oh of course, because it was a good base for
elixirs and for the swords. So of course they drank
all the dog tallow. – That’s disgusting. What was that like, I mean
the whole process of adapting a universe that exists over
six books must be very complex. – I was actually gonna interject there. These guys are starting
to talk about details but honestly we’ve gotta
go back to the fact that we had a body of work to draw on and that body of work
was a five novel saga, two collections of short stories and it’s there that I think you first encountered the atmosphere that you then
refound in The Witcher 1 and that’s sort of the
challenge about adaptation. You’ve got a book that has a fanbase and The Witcher online
community in general I think is a lot older than 10 years. It probably started
somewhere in the mid-1990s with the publication of the books and so the novels had
developed and the world had developed a fanbase and that’s a challenge actually when you’re going to take a book or a series of books
and turn it into a game. You have a fanbase that on the one hand is really excited to see a product or an IP that it loves in one form arrive in another format,
in another medium. On the other hand, they’re
attached to the lore, they’re attached to the characters. They’re going to hang you by the balls if you get the lore wrong. – If you don’t have your favorite character in it, for instance. But okay, there were
early attempts at creating a Witcher game where you
could create your own Witcher. You could name him, he could
have whatever characteristics. – That was the first version.
– Exactly. But it didn’t take, it didn’t plant roots for the simple reason that
that fanbase out there wanted to play not as a
Witcher but as the Witcher, as Geralt of Rivia. And yeah, so on the one hand
you’ve gotta serve the fans. On the other hand, you have to make the IP, the game IP your own. With The Witcher 1, I
think we were serving fans. I think we were trying to
remain as faithful as we possibly could, taking small
liberties here and there. These guys mentioned specific quests. I’ll cite characters like Captain Vincent, the Captain of the Town Watch in Vizima, a combination of Andy
Sipowicz from NYPD Blue and Bigby Wolf from
The Fables comic books. I’ll cite who were the other big ones? And you know, he was a cop with a Brooklyn accent in the middle of
medieval-esque Vizima and Sapkowski’s novels were
full of references like that. Not nearly as contemporary but nevertheless, and I think that’s what you’re talking about when you say that what you saw in The Witcher
1 was a similar atmosphere. – When I go back and look at it, there’s just such a depth
to it where there’s things happening and interesting
characters that you almost don’t have time to sort of
even spend too much time enjoying because you’re
getting on to the next thing. What I’m also a little bit interested in is that earlier version of The Witcher. What was that, how did it differentiate? Was it just character
stuff, was it gameplay? – The first one was more of a tech demo. So, there were four people in Lodz working on the local tech and yeah, we had a tech demo
for like a few locations. I still remember one when it was a tree and there were crowds
all around it and all that we had, the most
powerful PC back then. Whenever there was a
move, the birds started flying around and then it
was slowing down sort of. Anyway we went on a tour to meet our hopefully soon-to-be
publishing partner in Europe, two weeks and we had the
contacts from the distribution so we were meeting
actually the right people. It wasn’t like random meetings, all the key publishers back
then and after these two weeks, we were super proud, we had
a huge, beautiful design doc. We still have one copy and we got two emails back. Two, yeah. Like 10 or 12 meetings, two
emails from the best friends. They were kind enough to respond in a very polite, business way that we should still work a
little bit more on it. Pretty much it sucked.
(laughs) So after that we relocated
three out of four people. Actually we couldn’t
find an agreement with the gentleman owning the tehcnology and so relocated them from the
city of Lodz to Warsaw. We put more people on it. There was only one problem,
we didn’t have the tech. So as we were distributing Interplay and one of the biggest games for
us back then was Baldur’s Gate, which we fully localized
to Polish and also like in all honestly when we were
going to all these trade shows, we were envious, like we really
wanted to have our own game. We were dealing with other people’s games. We were working on Baldur’s Gate. It was like yeah, it would be great– – You’d been distributing games for like a decade at this stage, right? – Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And being at E3, we checked
all the engines around. There was nothing for RPG. There was Unreal, there
was something else. We looked at a couple and– – The Witcher would’ve been
very different in Unreal Engine. – I think first of all it would look very different but we really
wanted to remove as many obstacles to making
the game as possible. So the first one, we had
the books, we had the lore. We didn’t want to build
the lore because it’s really hard and it adds
a lot of risk and anyway, for us it was like working
on Tolkien’s works, yes? We’re Polish people so that’s why we are all so passionate about The Witcher. So we were super lucky and then we wanted really to use an external
tech to limit the risk and we knew Bioware so we really honestly, like we were at E3, went to the West Hall, went to their booth and said “Hey guys, “what do you think about
licensing your tech?” And Ray and Greg like scratch their heads, “Yeah we were thinking
about that, let’s do this.” And after probably two or three months, we were already working on Aurora. – You walked up to the doctors
and basically just asked. – Yeah the doctors, the doctors. The doctors helped us a
lot and then so within nine months from then, we had a prototype and that was super, super fast. That was still this more
generic which wasn’t Geralt and the doctors again helped
us out a lot and I’m really grateful to Ray and
Greg until this very day. – [Danny] They gave out
your first E3 space, right? – Actually yeah, they gave us a call, we were totally shocked.
(laughs) – [Danny] Come on, come on, no no no no. – [Marcin] You’re
laughing, that’s not fair. That’s a very prominent space. – It’s a very nice chair.
(laughs) – No, what is important
about this one here is that we were a distributor
of games in Poland. So like pedigree in the
games development world, minus 25 or minus 100, like zero, nonexistent, who are these guys? And suddenly Bioware, the gods of RPGs showcased us at their
booth, okay in a corner but they had all the
big press, all the IGNs, all the Gamespots of this world coming to their booth to see Jade
Empire at that time on Xbox and it was like
hey, by the way here in the corner we have
a really cool game from Poland called The Witcher and
we were covered everywhere. So it was an amazing thing for us. – So at that stage like for
you guys being in Poland, did you know about this game beforehand or was it when it started getting pulled into like bigger games media
that then you started to really like see it for the first time? – That was one of the things that really inspired me to actually join CD Projekt and really like start
in the gaming industry because I heard about that and you know, as Bartosz, I actually
loved the books before. So for me as a Polish
person, I was like wow. I just really want to make this thing, I want to see it done well, you know? And if I can, maybe I can be a part of it. Like be a cleaning person or
deliver coffee in the office. – Just keep on applying, keep
on applying and, you know. – Exactly, you know I was at the time, like that was a long
time ago but I was born in like Polish village
in like the south of Poland like close to
Ukraine and I was taking cows to the fields for
pasturing and I had in book, I had in my bag actually
books from Sapkowski that I was reading, actually
I knew them very well and you know, that was the thing. When I saw this thing being made, I felt wow, I really
want to be part of it. I knew I have zero chance, you know? But you know, I mean– – Did you put this particular
experience in your CD? – I omitted that part but maybe that would help me to get in. – That’s important, it’s
an importance reference. – [Pawel] I didn’t think about it, yeah. – I actually had a very
similar experience. I still remember like
it was yesterday seeing the Polish national news,
evening news, right? And there was like the second report on the blog, so it was important that basically Polish market emerges and we’re gonna have our first
own full blown video game and it’s called The Witcher
and it already rang a bell because I’ve read Witcher books
from like elementary school and I still remember seeing
snippets of the cinematic and my jaw just like
dropped a few stories below. I was 20 or something at that point. I was studying at musical academy. So I was technical with
music anyways but I still didn’t have any idea what
I should do when I grew up, graduated and how the
hell I’m gonna earn money and build my career and
after seeing that podcast, I knew okay, this is the place I wanna be. This is the shit I wanna
do and from that time, it took me like four or five years to actually break into CD Projekt. So I was sending you my CDs
for like four years straight. (laughs) – My goodness.
– Thank you. Thank you for being persistent. – I think it wasn’t
until, I don’t think that the West or people outside
Poland realized how much it meant to Poland until
like I remember reading news articles about the
fact that like Barack Obama was getting a copy of, it
was the second game I think. – Yeah, that was the second game. – It’s amazing how much
like, and we go to Warsaw now and there’s like so
many games development studios and there’s also
like a lot of crossover. I know people who’ve worked at Techland who work at CD Projekt
and vice versa as well. There’s actually a pretty good
video game infrastructure. – The environment is very
strong but back in the day, like Witcher 1 and the early
beginnings of Witcher 2, the gaming industry in
Poland was a funny thing, like a nerdy, funny thing. I still remember when
Michal, the co-founder, it was before Witcher 1 we actually, we had a very healthy
distribution business, formidable mass revenues
and we went to a bank and we filed the application
for our first credit. So we prepared all the papers. We are not very good
with finances so as I was preparing them, it’s
taking me a lot of time and energy and I was super
stressed and then at the end, the lady asked like “Computer games?” “Yeah.” “Oh okay, “so what your parent’s
own, like flats, cars? “We really need some serious collateral.” We’re like “Uh, okay thank you.” That was the concept about computer games, like a funny, funny
strange business for nerds and then I should, the Barack Obama thing which really sort of happened. We were asked many times how it happened and how we arranged it, we did not. So actually before Barack Obama’s visit, the Minister of Foreign
Affairs was calling us but nobody was really
picking up at our reception. (laughs) So this story could have
just ended right there. But they called another company in Poland and they reached out to us,
said “Hey, like Minister “of Foreign Affairs wants
to get in touch with you.” They reached out and said
like “Hey, we want to “give a gift and so I would
like the Collector’s Edition.” And we’re like yeah, blah blah blah. So we’re signing it at the
studio and coming around, it was like “Hey, it will
be gift for Barack Obama.” Yeah blah blah blah, joking
as usual, fun you know? Like “Guys, watch the news.” And in the evening the news and you know, Prime Minister handing it
over and it was a huge thing. It was sort of a signal
that this is serious stuff because I always remember
when I was traveling around and people were asking me “So
what is Polish economy like? “What is it based on?” And honesty there were two things coming to my mind immediately, sausage and vodka. (laughs) – That’s pretty good, shout
out for sausage and vodka. – Yeah but like, you know.
(applause) – [Danny] Sausage, vodka and The Witcher is like a pretty solid Saturday night. – Yeah and right now it’s The
Witcher, sausage and vodka. (laughs) So yeah. But that’s a big change, it’s good. – Yeah, a lot can happen in 10 years. – From sausage to Witcher. – [Danny] Sausage is always gonna be up– – 10th year anniversary. – That was the original title for this but (laughs) he made us change it. Before we move on to the second game, we talked a little bit about
specifics at the start. I want to throw it out there again. Favorite quests, what are
some of your favorite quests that pop into your mind when
you think about the first game? – I don’t have one, I
could say whole chapter in Temple Quarter was
the best from the game. Like one quest by another, it was perfect. So I just cannot pick one. Borys? – It’s very difficult to
decide a specific quest. I’m really attached to
characters and characterizations. I cited Captain Vincent
of the Vizima Town Watch. Raymond Maarloeve, the Detective, a pretty good impression
of Humphrey Bogart in the world of The Witcher. That’s where my affinities lie. – Awesome, Marcin, yourself? – I don’t think that’s the best moment to come out of the closet but well here I am. Actually I haven’t
played Witcher 1 at all. – Oh my God.
– Oh my God. – We’re leaving, sorry.
– We’re fucking leaving. (laughs) – Shame on you, shame.
(laughs) – [Danny] All right, moving along. – I was going to. – [Marcin] You should’ve told me before. – I was going to, I was
going to but at that time, my machine wasn’t that
strong enough and then it’s kind of, I don’t
know, and then Witcher 2 happened, so I got an excuse right? But I watched part of it
on YouTube at least, so. (laughs) – That’ll do you, Pawel? – I personally love all
those ridiculous ideas in the quest design and
we did lots of this in Witcher 3 but we’ll
maybe get to this later. But you know, the quests
about the gathering the dog tallow or like the one when you’re supposed to get the leash
for the cat or rather the bells for the cat so that
the Griggs could ride on it. I think that shows actually like the level at that point of like understanding the lore and maybe
building it all together, where we were actually
at that point, you know? – Awesome, we got a bunch
more games to talk about. So let’s keep on moving. Let’s check out a video for The Witcher 2. (relaxed ensemble music) – The first Witcher was
powered by Aurora Engine and it was really cool that
Bioware helped us with the first game but we modified the
Aurora Engine significantly. Sometimes we say that 80% of the code was completely rewritten. Eventually we decided to
develop our own engine with a clear goal that after
the release of the PC version, we’re going to have a console game and it was because of the
Rise of the White Wolf. We failed with the Rise
of the White Wolf but we won with The Witcher 2. (speaking Polish) – [Actor] You’ve broken my arm. (screaming) (soft piano music) (relaxed violin, piano music) (applause) – A lot of memories there. Hits you right in the feels. We’ve a lot to talk about in
terms of this but first of all, I feel as gamers when we
think about these games, we think about the end experience. We think about how different it compares to our expectations with games previously and it’s a lot to unpack
with The Witcher 2. But with this one, there’s
a lot of stuff that went on behind the scenes I feel like
that got you to The Witcher 2. Business stuff that
sort of set you up to be able to make the games
that you wanted to make and ultimately make The
Witcher 3: Wild Hunt as well. Marcin, could you tell
us a little bit about sort of what it was like
doing your own engine, having your own control
over your IP and how much that factored into
making the second game? – I think that was super
important for us from the very beginning and
we were lucky enough that we were self-funded
so all the proceeds from our distribution business were invested directly into Witcher 1. However around like after
three years of development, we had already 50 or 60 people onboard and it was really too heavy to carry. So we needed to find someone
who would help us financially, like at least co-fund the
last year plus what was even more important, we probably
could arrange the funds but getting the game to the
market, so going through a gatekeeper as I mentioned
at the very beginning, it was really tough because
we were being rejected and I still remember those publishers. Quite a lot of them are still out there, so we were talking to all the big guys and they were coming to our studios and even without any
contractual discussions, we were pitching them,
telling them about lore and saying, describing
why this is a pretty fine, you know, why it’s driving the story. We had some of the stories
translated for them to read. We were sending them presentations. I know we had a question like “So why there is no multiplayer?” Like what? “Our focus tests are showing that “there should be a multi-class. “Can the main hero be an Elven female?” I said “Yeah of course guys, “we would love to do it but sorry, no.” So we were rejected on these grounds. Finally we found a partner willing to
go ahead with the project. So really nobody, honestly
speaking nobody believed we’ll deliver the game,
that we’ll make it happen. You know, no experience,
unknown guys from Poland and they’re telling that
they’ll make, I don’t know, 100 hours RPG and that’s a
no-go, that’s impossible. – Were you pitching this
also as a console game? – No, we were pitching it solely as a PC game. We knew like we cannot
do any other platforms and then you know Aurora
was not suitable for it, hence the change to the next engine. But what is important was we already were quite experienced in business and we had very key assumptions. We wanted to remain under full control of the intellectual property, so own everything related to The Witcher and we wanted to have creative control. We knew we’ll have to give away big parts of the proceeds to the publishers, so the usual I don’t know,
70%, 30% royalty for us but we didn’t want to
get rid of the control. We agreed this with Atari,
we signed after probably a month of discussion a
heads up agreement, so like a four pager took us a
month and then we said okay, right now we’ll get the agreement, it will be peachy, rosy and you know, we’ll live happily ever
after and then we get an agreement and the
agreement pretty much says that we don’t own anything,
they own everything. – [Danny] Wow. – And we were really tight on cash. It took me six months, like
two, three calls a week with our lawyers to make
this agreement happen. But that was the foundation which then allowed us to do
co-publishing on Witcher 2 and pretty much
self-publishing on Witcher 3. What it means for you guys, it means that we can deliver exactly
what we want to deliver and nobody’s telling us
what should we do and what shouldn’t we do, what
should be in the packaging or why they don’t like
what we are proposing. If want to do free DLC,
we do the free DLC. If we want to do huge expansions,
we do huge expansions. So that’s pretty much the foundation to our freedom and to our values
and that’s super important. – Right. (applause) So you went through all
that work to give yourself that breathing space to
be able to create the game you wanted to make and
then you made a game that is quite different to the
first game in terms of, it’s almost like the first
game is sort of based more on the short stories
and then The Witcher 2 is sort of on the saga aspect,
is that fair to say Bartosz? – Yes, that second
installment was slightly different because it touched
different main topics. So Geralt is, gets stuck in some political intrigues or something like that. So it’s much more about huge subjects than more intimate and small pieces about Gerald, the Witcher but what can you say more about it, guys? – I mean Witcher 2 had an
amazing focus on cinematics and we wanted to tell the story and more show the characters. Like a lot of screenwriters
will tell you that the good stories are told through the good characters and you can
even have a shit story. If you have good characters
and you show them well and you give them space,
they will actually carry your story and you can see it
right now in a lot of series, in the Netflix series that
it’s actually happening. So what happened in The Witcher 2 was that a lot of dialogues were just pulled off in a way more cinematic way
than in The Witcher 1. You could see the full characters, they had pretty decent facial experience. The voiceover was better. Actually Borys put way
more work into the accents, which maybe he will like to
share some information about. – Okay, for me The Witcher 1, we started in Kaer Morhen,
we wound up in Vizima. At first it’s Outskirts, then in the various
Quarters across the lake. We were you know, going around in circles. With The Witcher 2, new tech, new focus on cinematics, we went on an adventure I think. We got Geralt embroiled as Pawel said in a serious sort of political plot and we set out into the world and in terms of what that entailed for me was actually designing a world where you do have
different dialects and you do have different nations and you do have different small pockets. So the Edernians, we
inherited sort of the haughty RP Elves, the Queen’s English Elves and the Scottish Dwarves. Just standard I think fantasy
tropes from The Witcher 1 but to that we added
Edernians who were Welsh, Temerians who we defined
as roughly the Midlands, Kaedwenis who were Irishmen and I mean we had our concerns because the only thing that I sort of associated with an Irish accent was Leprechauns and very sort of cheery people. – Geralt hunts for Lucky Charms. – The mascot, yes exactly. The mascot for breakfast cereal. But I think we succeeded in making Henselt just a ruddy, brash full-blooded Irishman so to speak and all his army similarly and that’s something that
we, that sort of design is something we carried
over into The Witcher 3. – Witcher 2 is sort of building on our experience and our strengths
from The Witcher 1. So Witcher 1, if you
put it into perspective, we spent a lot of time just
fighting with the reality, making it work, getting a build done, cooking a build that
was crashing, you know? We wrote, pretty much
rewritten 80% of the code. So the environment
which we were working in wasn’t very stable and we learned on that and with The Witcher 2,
it was our own technology so we are way more in
control and then of course with the development of the hardware, we were able to get the bar up and use more, better means, more cinematic means to tell the stories. It wouldn’t be possible
without The Witcher 1. It’s looking beautiful, that’s why you had to go and buy a new PC
but that’s, you know, that’s a guarantee when
there is a new game from us. – Also because of the
new tech we were able to introduce some open
world elements because the first installment,
Witcher 1 was quite simple. Like the space was limited
and in The Witcher 2, we had the bigger
locations and it allows us to have some experiments
before The Witcher 3. – I mean I wanted to mention
one thing regarding Witcher 2. So the one thing we did
which was amazing was building our own technology
and there was a lot of new things like our
quest editor and our scene editor that were like
something remarkable really. But then we really didn’t know where we are going when it was being built. So then when The Witcher
2 Enhanced Edition was on the horizon, we wanted
to release the REDkit along with it and so on
and it turned out that actually there’s just a
shit ton of stuff that we need to rewrite to just
make sure that a mortal person is able to operate
it because it was just so complex and just
illogical basically the way it was built in that
it just took us a year to just make it nicer and better. But then we carried over
this whole experience to Witcher 3 because
we basically knew okay, what we can’t really do, right? – I’ve heard as well, we
talked previously about how you put that out obviously
for the modding community, for people to play with the game and make their own mods but it’s bizarrely become this sort of de facto recruitment tool. – Yeah, so that’s an interesting
story because for the Quest Team, basically when we
recruit people to the team, we just ask them to prepare
a quest basically and well, we ask them to prepare
the quest in the REDkit. So we basically can see
their skills like right away. So they use this REDkit that we released to show what they can do. So that became a recruitment tool for us. – There was one person
who I met when I was over in Warsaw who made
like an entire quest. You asked him to make a
quest and he ended up doing like everything but the
voiceover essentially in REDkit. – Yeah, that one is Philipp. I mean he’s still part
of our team and actually we have a few quest
designers who were modders before and they are doing amazing, so. They had good school. – If you want to work in Poland, start modding The Witcher 3 right now. – What he didn’t say is that the quest was six hours long.
– Oh my God. – Anything under six, just don’t send it. (laughs) Six plus. – Was Blood and Wine just somebody’s CV they put in, a resume? Actually let’s talk about scale because that’s where the scale issue
seems to come in, right? And we’ll get into the
weeds of it in The Witcher 3 I’m sure but The Witcher 1
was a game that you tried to make this game, pair it
down a little bit maybe. The Witcher 2– – Well the other thing with
The Witcher 1 is actually we had externally imposed word
count limits from the publisher. – Oh really?
– That we could not exceed. – Like global word counts? – Global word count could
not exceed X, Y, Z because the localization and VO
recording costs would be through the roof, it
wasn’t in the budget. With The Witcher 2, we
no longer had those. (laughs) But we had self-imposed limits. How those worked out, well… – Very well.
(laughs) – It’s essentially a
game that sort of like splits into two different
games at a certain point. – Yeah but even if you look at Witcher 1, because what Borys didn’t mention, we got the publishing partner fairly late. So already by that time, we’ve
cut the game two or three times and every single time
I still remember because the development team was
sitting in our warehouse and then like next to the window
was folders with locations. Like a whole line of folders and then cutting the scope was like
removing part of those folders and putting them away
and like less and less folders and people started
getting very nervous. Like this game will be
so small, oh my God. You know, like wow, why? So we probably removed 50% of the content like scale-wise. – For 1 or 2?
– For 1, for the first one. But the thing is that when we started, we had no clue whatsoever
what it will mean, how it will translate
to the actual gameplay and when we put the
locations, we populated it and we said like wow, it’s huge. It’s a gigantic thing and
making the first game, I think if we wouldn’t
have cut it, we wouldn’t be able to ship it because we
wouldn’t be able to test it. We wouldn’t be able to afford all that. So yeah, I think it’s good but we are never really good in managing scope. What I think you guys are
quite happy with I hope. And then on Witcher 2, we
did those two chapters. – Yeah but completely justified I think because Vernon Roche and Iorveth are NPCs that deserve separate and distinct paths
like no other NPCs I know of. – [Marcin] Yeah. – Let’s talk about some
of the specifics then. I mean I asked for favorite quests because some of you weren’t
working on the team yet. Basically everyone sitting down here worked on some aspect
of The Witcher 2, right? So can you give us a little bit of insight into how quests are made? Like how ideas came
about, stuff that was cut, stuff that made it in
that you didn’t think was gonna make it in, that type of thing. What are your favorite ones? – I mean there’s lots of
stuff that I really liked in Witcher 2 but there’s one story
I wanted to tell you guys. So for a good six weeks, we
had a 100% crash in the game happening if you decided to
pick an option with Triss in the dialogue not to have sex with her. (laughs) – [Danny] Wait, six weeks? – Yeah, so basically we
started doing regression tests and we figured out that
the bug was introduced like six weeks back and pretty
much nobody really caught it. (laughs) (applause) – Aren’t there people on
the team whose specific job it is to choose every possible option? – There is.
– There are. – Our QA is extremely dedicated. – Now we have, right, now we have. – I mean currently it works like that, that we have this roadmap
that shows you all the possible choices and
basically person is playing, picking the exact things, you know? And of course there are
other testers who just play. They do whatever they want because they also uncover issues
playing like this. So yeah, that discovered
but during that time, that was a lot of work and it just somehow everybody was just, you know.
(laughs) – It was really well animated, I’m sure. Okay yeah. – I mean this cutscene was a lot of work. Like a lot of effects and so on, so I’m pretty sure they wanted
to test out the shaders– – [Marcin] If it plays out well, yeah. – Jesus, any other stuff
that comes into mind? Interesting quests, because
you were on that team. – So there’s this moment when Geralt takes the illusionary potion
and he starts seeing things during Witcher
2 and I remember there was like this moment when
it was late at night, we were sitting in the
office finishing stuff and one of the designers was like, he was a bit tired and he thought, okay he picked like a really big chicken and put it into the forest
and like scaled it up and then there were
these like wooden dildos. The wooden dildos, they
were like lying around the brothel in the tent
and he just picked them up and he was like hmm, I’ll
just scale them around, right? So he scaled those
dildos around the chicken and he started the game and he approached, with Geralt he approached this chicken, looked up and in the shot
he had this chicken with the dildos around and then
our Director walked in and he looked at it and said
“That’s fucking amazing.” (laughs) – Yes. (applause) So I’m guessing if Atari
was publishing the game, this probably wouldn’t have been cool. – We’ll never know.
– Maybe more. Maybe they had metrics saying that dildos in games were actually
really hot right now. Scale that up. For the rest of you
folks, playing the game, working on the game,
any other quests sort of come at you, Bartosz, what about you? – I remember one, it was
named In the Claws of Madness. It was about some burned hospital in the
middle of the forest and it was really nice, really spooky and the whole Witcher 2 touches different mood or different atmosphere and that one was straight from The Witcher 1. Like copy and paste from
the first town and it was really great because
it was a different mood. You had some clawed about trees on there and then about ghosts and it was really nice. – You have an affinity it seems for that style of Sapkowski, right? The Witcher 1 sort of stuff.
– Exactly. – I think we all do but I totally bought into the political
intrigue of The Witcher 2. I was with it and to me, the prologue quest where
you’re interrogated by Vernon Roche and you look back at what you did in a series of
nonlinear flashbacks where you make nonlinear choices that play out later in the game, yeah that was something new and something really meaty. – I guess you kind of had your cake and ate it then with The Witcher 3. You basically had a game
that had both of them in it. We’ve a lot of stuff to talk about in relation to The Witcher 3. So we’re gonna show a
video just in a second but before we do, this is a
pretty good video Marcin. – Yeah, it’s a pretty
good video and actually we had some resistance
internally to show it. So it’s a message for the head
of the studio Adam Badowski. We have so many fans
here, we just couldn’t not have shown it, so I’m
really sorry for that. (laughs) It’s a real behind the scenes exclusive, there’s a lot of reveals out there of how things happen before they’re ready. So be ready for something very special. – All right everyone, enjoy. (dramatic chanting) (horse neighing) – [Witcher] Once we were
many, now we are few. Hunters, killers of the world’s filth. Witchers, the ultimate killing machines. Among us a legend, the one they call Geralt of Rivia. The White Wolf.
(beeping) – Will you help me if
I bring the goat back? Come on, take you back to the Pellar. He misses you something awful. Where the hell did you go? Bam, there, run you stupid piece of shit. (groaning) – [Marcin] Okay, do a couple
more and we’ll be good. (groaning) (laughs) (moaning) (dramatic ensemble music) (dramatic up tempo drumbeat) (laughs) (dramatic up tempo ensemble music) (dramatic chanting) – [Witcher] Rated M for Mature. (dramatic ensemble music) – [Narrator] At CD Projekt Red, it has always been our goal to take you on adventures both legendary
and grounded in reality. – [Geralt] You all right? – I’m never going in a sauna
again as long as I live. Other than that, I think I’m fine. You saved me life, how can I thank you? (laughs) (upbeat guitar music) (bear growls) (groaning) – One more and we’re good. (applause) – Round of applause for Pawel
for his amazing voice work. My God, we’re editing this like seven part documentary
series for next month. I have so much B-roll of people pretending to have sex on my hard drive right now. My wife is gonna open
up a folder and there’s gonna be an awkward conversation about it. Okay, I mean there’s so much to talk about with Wild Hunt and the expansions. First of all though I want to talk about, I mean it’s an open world game. You never made an open world game before. You’ve made really big games but making an open world is a whole
different kettle of ballparks. Bartosz, what was that like? What was the process of like
just straight from the start, open world, how do we do this? – I remember my first impression. It was something like
the world is so huge, we won’t leave company for next five years to fill it up with stuff. – The world map had like
been made and then you were responsible for all right,
how do we put stuff in right? – Exactly, so first of all we decided to prepare some, like a
major test so we took one of the Skellige Islands,
Ard Skellig, create a map and put horizontal and
vertical lines on it and then we create a
special QA unit to test the game and they will keep
playing and checking for which period of time
we can catch focus for the player who is riding
from point A to point B and it appeared that it’s 27 seconds. So we have our internal 27 seconds rule and we decided to every 27 seconds, put something like a wandering merchant or some kind of question mark to lure the player to
do different stuff than amazing quests because
this is an open world game, so we have different activities and yes, it was pretty intense
and we had some problems because creating such a
huge open world requires a lot of work between
different departments. Like Open World Team, Quest
Team and Environmental Team. Do you remember Pawel the situation with starvation in Velen and? – Yeah of course because normally it works like that that there’s like
lots of people involved. Like some people build art,
some people do the concept art, some people do the quests and
others populate the world. – The whole concept of
Velen was that people are, there is starvation, hunger in whole area. So the quests support the story and our chats in the committee
support the story but Environmental guys created
wonderful villages with wonderful houses full of
sausages hanging around. So you had chats that looks
like “I am so fucking hungry” and then in the back you see
the sausages hanging around and black pudding also.
– And as he is taking it. – Yeah. The other thing, you had
the dialogue in the village and then somebody’s whining
about hunger and then in the background you see the
pack of deers running around. – I also read and Jason
Schreier has a book coming out where there’s a chapter on
The Witcher and he said that even in the closets, like
infantry, there was just like cheese wheels and
like all these delicious and beautiful apples and
all that sort of stuff. – It was the fault of
our loot system that was sometimes doing this, so we
had to cover that because basically you were entering
the village outside of these sausages and physics because
we wanted to showcase that. Outside of that there were
also like ham sandwiches. Like all the villages, they
always had it you know? – Ham sandwiches?
– Sandwiches with the ham. – Or chicken sandwiches.
– Exactly. Another thing is that
usually like our villages, when I was running around
and playtesting stuff and we were reporting
it to the gameplay guys so at the end it didn’t stay like that but throughout the production of Witcher 3, like every villager in
their sack in their house, they had an onion and a piece of wire. – [Danny] What? – Yeah, I mean–
– Big wiry thing. – Somehow our loot system
thought that it’s proper. – An onion and a piece of wire? Were they like playing
kickball or something. – To cut the onion, you know?
– Oh to cut the onion, genius. – Adventure games.
(laughs) – You can see the experience, yeah. – So this 27 second rule, right? What needed to be there every 27 seconds? Not just like a full quest–
– No, no, no, you see, it should be something connected
to the open world content. So we have–
– It could be a bunny rabbit. – No, no, no, like that monster yes. – A monster.
– A monster. A monster or a traveling merchant or some question mark on the
map or stuff like that. – So let’s talk about populating
that world then, right? So you have your Quest Team, they’re gonna be making quests and
whatnot but talk a little bit about the stuff that’s
not like a core quest. You mentioned the word communities. Communities is basically the people– – Crowds, crowds and settlements. Yeah so we’re trying to achieve different atmosphere in different regions so we have different type of
dialogues and different type of characters in Velen which is quite a rustical part of the world and different types of NPCs and different
types of dialogues in Novigrad and the same
with Skellige and we’re trying to achieve different
atmosphere in all these regions with dialogues,
with those small content. So, a treasure hunt touches
different subjects in Velen, then in Novigrad and likely in Skellige. – Right, presumably that’s a lot of dialogue to write then, Borys. – [Borys] Loads, loads, loads, loads. – New accents as well.
– Also, also. I mean honestly if I could’ve had my way, everybody in Skellige
would’ve spoken Norwegian and we would’ve had English subtitles. No but we opted for Northern
Irish for the Skelligers. The Velenese were primarily West Country. Vizima was theoretically the north’s
largest metropolis. We went for a mix of London accents. Yeah. – We’ll get into Blood
and Wine in a little bit but touch on that in terms
of the accents because that was a very interesting
decision that you guys made because it’s the Mediterranean but it’s not really a
Mediterranean accent. – Yeah, Toussaint in general is sort of painted in the novels as a place where romance language names reign. But we were very sort of reticent about using German accents or French accents because they’ve been done in parody to a ridiculous degree. So we had to come up with
an accent of our own, which was a light Danish actually because it was just about unvoicing terminal consonants and changing a few vowels. The reviewers thought they were wonky French accents but they weren’t, yeah. – Let’s talk about the business
side a little bit as well. Scaling up the business
because obviously you started The Witcher 1 with
a very, very small, I mean you started the original
version with only four people. Then it expanded and
obviously 2 expanded as well. Talk about The Witcher
3 in terms of getting that big because the
cautionary tale is always the minute a studio
gets big, it becomes too top heavy and then things start to go bad. Obviously that didn’t
happen with The Wild Hunt. So what was that process like, Marcin? – So it was, the biggest
change was obviously from Witcher 2 to Witcher
3 but what was important, we were doing one thing at a time. So with Witcher 1, Atari was publishing. We are self-publishing in Eastern Europe, so Poland, Russia and the
smaller countries around and actually funnily enough, we were not able, as they were controlling
the West so they were deciding on the box, what comes
in the box and everything, we were not able to convince
them to add more stuff. So, the Polish edition of the first Witcher was like a huge like three or four DVD boxes. There was a Making Of video, there was a game guide,
there was a soundtrack. There was lots of stuff,
exactly as we wanted to make it but Atari said like no, sorry. The costs of goods are too high. So it was just one DVD
box and only after with the Enhanced Edition we
were able to convince them. So we learned it, I mean
it was a lot of frustration because we were doing
the sort of distribution, publishing business
ourselves in our country and the neighboring
countries for many years. So we knew what gamers like. We wanted to deliver
something from our hearts and then we had a partner over there that said like no, no, no, it’s too expensive. So already for Witcher 2,
we were deciding on that and then we didn’t have
a problem to put out Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition
and then on Witcher 3, we decided to just run
totally wild with it. Of course it was never like we just planned it from the very beginning that it will be so huge and so it never happens like this, at least in our case. It was step by step. So at the first E3 we showed it, the response was just phenomenal and then it sort of was making us
more and more courageous and we were adding more
resources, we were investing more. But we were scaling the
team and step by step elevated it and then when
we went to the market, we already knew that the
game will be big but again, all the sales and all the
fans’ response and thanks to you guys, it has
exceeded our wildest dreams. – Right and presumably then, is that team then working on
the next project, on Cyberpunk? – Which project? – The Cyber, I think– – We are not supposed to discuss that. – I tried. (applause) We’ll catch you in a few
years maybe to talk about it. – But yes, yes, yes. So it’s way more an
evolution than a revolution. As you see, like we all gain
more and more experience. On my side, more business publishing. Guys on the development
side, each of their professional categories
but it’s all built using the experience and the
knowledge we gained on what we have delivered so far and
the response from you guys. – It’s one of the incredible things about going out at the end of
last month was talking to so many people who had
been there for so long because it’s quite unique
within video games. Especially the scale of game
that you’re sort of creating. For the third game–
– There’s one more thing. Let me rub it up, I think that’s why we value our independence so much because we are the masters of our destinies. So the moment we’ll release a bad game, this will probably start falling apart but we’ll of course do everything
for it not to happen. But there is nobody telling us “Hey guys, “I think right now you
have to do this game “or that game or scale
it up or scale it down.” These are our choices, so
in our internal meetings, we talk about what we
want to deliver to gamers and what we want to
deliver as a game and not the business aspects of things and I think that’s the core strength of our company and we’ve been fighting for
that since The Witcher 1. (applause) – Pawel, big fan of the
first game, got to work on the second game after applying
to CD Projekt like 25 times. Third game, you’ve got a pretty important role on the team, right? – Yeah I mean in the third
game I was one of the Seniors. I was taking care of a lot
of main quests in the game and then I became a Lead
on both expansions, yeah. – So what was that experience like? What was it like getting like okay, you know the second game’s pretty big. It basically had like kind of
two stories happening in it. But now we’re going to
create this massive world, go fill it with stories and quests. – The first thing that
we always came up with is we work with our Story
Team when they provide like an outline of a
story and this outline basically shows you what the game’s gonna be about in like grand scheme of things. Like what are the biggest
story arcs, you know? What are the biggest decisions and the most important
things we want to talk about? And then the Quest Team gets the story and then we separate it,
we cut it into quests. We give it a technical number, basically a number that will be referring to this quest throughout
the next few years and a lot of people like knows the numbers in the company, it’s
pretty funny sometimes and then we develop full,
long, really long scenarios for those games and like let’s
say the Baron story, right? The scenario that they wrote
for it was like 60 pages long. – Wow. – Of the document just
describing basically what happens in what
order and why and it’s of course like you know,
the Quest Team works on it, then he sends it out to
the Story Team and they put their own input and then
there’s also Cinematics Team that they basically have their part. So just we make sure that
everything looks good on the screen as well
and then on top of that we have Open World Team
so that we make sure that everything is connected
with the world actually. So all the characters, they have lives. If you leave the character and
you come back to him or her, they are actually doing
something meaningful or something that is actually connected
in some way to their being, to their personality and
their role in the story. – So how do you go about like the process of actually, I don’t
know, scheduling all that? Is it the type of thing
where you’re like okay, we’re gonna work on
Skellige now, we’re gonna work on Velen now or
is it just this process of everyone fixing parts and collaborating and filling in the gaps kind
of like a coloring book? – That’s the part where we
always ship games on time, yes? – Right.
– Thank you, Dan. – Exactly, I mean honestly we operate in incredible chaos all the time. – I wasn’t aware of that.
(laughs) – Well, the thing is that
you have a lot of creative people on the tasks all
the time and they develop parts of the story in the same time. So basically the character
has some traits that he doesn’t have at the end and
it cannot be like this, right? It has to be cohesive. So then you know you
develop something and you have an amazing idea for
like a character, right? Bartosz was giving once
this example of like Baron’s story because we
started from something slightly different but
then we transformed it and made it mostly about him actually because it was something
that stands out, you know? The idea for the character and the way how he was connected to Ciri. So basically we work on those parts and we just make sure we
make our best it fits. But you know, it pretty much never fits. – And my team is going after Quest Team. We are trying to fit our part of the game to emphasize the story from the quests. So it’s like cooperation all the time. – So that’s where you
get those inconsistencies like the food is that
everything’s not like planned. It’s just things that are wrong
sort of end up standing out. – Sometimes communication
is broken, sometimes. – Yeah and I also wanted
to highlight the impact that our testers and our
QA have on that, right? Because they play the stuff,
they basically suggest a lot of things and we always
take it into consideration and I remember one story
that I like a lot actually. So at the very beginning of The Witcher 3, the land that we started
with was Skellige, right? So we basically prepare a male models, well guys on Skellige or
bearded dudes with helmets and so on and then when I
was implementing a part of the story in Novigrad when
Geralt meets Rosa var Attre, she was this bearded dude
in a helmet, you know? And Geralt was talking to her
for most of the production and I get a bug from a QA,
it was a P-five priority. So like very, very low, like
very unimportant priority and the bug said “Rosa var Attre
could be a bit more girlish.” (laughs) – How deep in development
was that one found? – I mean our QA is pretty
good in this thing, so they spotted it right away but they don’t want to suggest things like that. – I’ve heard that that
model is still being used as a template in other
games as well actually. – [Pawel] Yeah. – So I mean there’s a lot, there’s so much happening in this game. There’s so many things
that stand out about it but one of it is the soundtrack
is absolutely incredible. You, yeah a round of applause. (applause) So on The Witcher 2, you worked on the Sound Team but in more of a technical sort of role it seems. On The Witcher 3, you were given the responsibility of
working on the soundtrack. Tell us a little bit about
the type of sound you went for because it’s
incredibly unique I think. Perhaps maybe more unique
to people outside of Poland. It’s like there’s no
game that sounds like it, there’s nothing that sounds like it. – I think that you guys might consider
Witcher 3’s soundtrack sort of, I don’t know, how do you say that? Oriental perhaps, exotic. Because we indeed are so grounded in our Slavic mythology regarding music as well. So what kinds of scales would we use, what kind of instruments would we pick to actually try to recreate
that impression of the sound. Because the bottom line
which I found actually the most amusing for
me is that no one knows how medieval Slavic music
sounded like because if you think about it,
the Gutenberg machine, so the first printing presses were in 14th century perhaps and immediately the church put their hands on it. So it was restricted for
just mortal people, right? Because you had to print
all those church stuff and all the old tradition of playing music, playing music just for
fun, for amusement was passed from generation to generation orally. So what we did was actually to try to create an impression of doing music in a way that probably our forefathers would play it, in a way that our audience, you guys would actually think this is believable enough, this is real enough for you guys, for the players to
actually buy this stuff. Buy this conception, right? But it doesn’t adhere because
picking the instruments kind of sounds easy because
okay, you’re just swiping on Wikipedia or whatever source
you might have and see okay, what did I have in 14th century? Hurdy-gurdy, okay yeah let’s take it. – The hurdy-gurdy. I think we have a picture
of the hurdy-gurdy actually. – Yeah, that one. Actually that is a custom one, so you won’t find any other piece of that tool in any
part of the world because normally hurdy-gurdy is
like a half size of it. But this one has been built
on a cello resonance box, so it’s much bigger, it has more strings and it sounds like a
fucking devil screaming. (laughs) So I’m very proud of
having that particular instrument in our
soundtrack because that is actually what makes our
music sound different because you have tons of games that use hurdy-gurdy but none of
the game uses that one. But still, you just pick the
instruments and that’s it. Everyone can do it, right? What was important for me as well was to work closely with those
guys as well and try to implement music in
a way that it becomes a natural part, natural
ingredient of the world. We had some ups and downs. So I still remember, you mentioned that sausage problem, right? So I had a similar problem
with Velen actually because it was like the early alpha build and we were doing first attempts of implementing exploration music for free
roaming and we had some doubts, we didn’t know what to do
with them so we figure out that we already placed
this bard group in Novigrad that are playing upbeat wind music. So we’re just gonna do the
same thing in Velen, right? So at the moment you have no idea how to deal with any location, we just took those musicians, put them, drew a figure around them, place sound emitters so they
can play music and that kind of didn’t fit actually because the whole Velen thing was about you
know, the horrors of war. So your family members
slaughtered, raped, taken away for army and every hundred
meters here you have a bunch of people playing
(imitates upbeat string music). So luckily we spotted that it doesn’t
make sense basically. So we got rid of the musicians from all of Velen, so Velen remains pure with that. But the other thing which
was very important for me was working with the quest
guys and create some sort of line of connection that our
work interacts with each other. I think our crowning achievement
would be Blood and Wine I think but we did the same
thing with the Bloody Baron story arc, with Ladies of the
Wood but with Blood and Wine, we had this meeting
with Orianna, Dettlaff, Regis and Geralt, right,
at her place and for me it always felt like a Mexican
standoff kind of thing. So, you are at the table
talking with your vampire friends and now that dude
is approaching the table, that dude, he just tried to
kill you two quests earlier and that sequence lasts
for like 15 minutes. It’s 100% dialogue, so nothing happens but it gave me this feeling of tense, like I would watch a
Quentin Tarantino movie. So the moment I saw and I actually spotted with Pawel that scene, I told him okay, I’m gonna try to prepare
something to fit this scene. It took me a couple of
weeks and I got back with that music and I remember one of the guys actually implementing that quest from your team telling
me “Okay, you know what? “I’ve listened to that. “I need another few weeks
so I can make some changes.” And my first reaction would be
okay, what I did wrong right? So what’s not working, so how can I integrate my
stuff so it fits better? And he told me “No, no, no. “Your stuff is fine,
just give me some time.” So what had happened,
he listened to the music and he did feel the same thing I felt, so he rebuilt the whole
dialogue to make it longer, to make it more tense so
the music can breath into the scene and actually take
over the whole atmosphere. – It’s an incredible
anecdote that sort of like from the week and a half
I spent out in Warsaw talking to a lot of the folks on the team, a lot of folks around here as well, the sort of creative
freedom and collaboration that you’ve fostered on that team. We’ve loads more we could talk about. We’re gonna open up to QAs
in just a couple of minutes. I’ve got a couple from
the forums first of all. So just get your minds thinking about what you’d like to ask and we’ll have Geralt and Yen I believe walking
around picking you guys out. But before we do that, we
talked a bit about the DLC. I also want to talk a
little bit about Gwent. Obviously a standalone game, a lot of people are
playing it at the moment. It’s sort of official
release coming up as well. But the Gwent quest in The Witcher 3, was that always meant to be that long? That’s like, how did that happen? – With the Gwent questline, we tried to find something that would fit in the scale of the budget let’s say, like work hours we had
basically to pull it off. So we tried to propose
something that would be the best to make the
game feel nice and so on and there were people who
really found the Gwent minigame itself amazing and they bought into this and I know that there are
people who didn’t really. It was not something for them. So we tried to make it in a way that you can but you don’t have to, right? So that was really our line
of thought and as always, we tried to add a story to the whole thing just to make it more
interesting and I think that actually ties up nicely with
our Thronebreaker, right? With the Gwent: Thronebreaker because this is our 15 hour campaign for the single player in our Gwent game. – Right, you put a card game in your RPG and now you’re putting
an RPG in your card game. – Exactly. That felt logical when we did it. (laughs) But there’s one neat detail about it. So actually currently amount of dialogue that we have in the Thronebreaker is the same as we had in the Hearts of Stone. So it’s actually a lot of story there. – There’s as much story
in the Gwent single player campaign as there was
in the expansion pack. – Exactly.
– It’s ridiculous. And I mean Blood and Wine as well. Like I know I keep
bringing it up, the C-word. I’ll try not to but
every game you’ve made, it’s been like bigger and bigger and the scale in the Witcher 3–
– Stop it, stop it Danny. – Blood and Wine then, that’s
like how long, 25 hours? – It’s more, it’s taken me 40
but I was going really deep. But I mean it’s funny
because that’s the first time we really planned and
delivered real expansions and really were adamant about
calling them expansions. Like in the good old days when we were playing the Baldur’s Gate, the
Tales of the Sword Coasts and like the Diablo expansions and whatnot and wanted to see that
this is not some small DLC. DLC wasn’t free and we’re
talking about a lot. I think we got a lot of great feedback on that and the way we planned the expansions out, okay so the first one, Hearts of Stone, it’s pretty much 10 hours. We had already a solid concept
that the story guys had so it was like and pretty
much that’s what we delivered. I think the story was great,
it was new, it was fresh. Again very Polish in a way. Very appealing to us as
well but then the Blood and Wine was the second
expansion that will happen after we deliver the first
one and the way we planned it is was the first one was
supposed to be 10 hours and Blood and Wine, so
the second one maybe 15. The price of the expansion pass was $25. So roughly how we were counting it, we thought it would be fair to charge more or less $1 per
hour, like give or take and then sort of Blood and Wine happened which was almost like a standalone game. – Right. – We’re not very good with planning. – Yeah.
– It’s cool. – I keep talking to Witcher
fans who are saying like “Oh, I’ll eventually
complete Blood and Wine.” People who’ve put 200 hours in. Are there people here who are still trying to complete Blood and Wine? Yeah, are people here still trying to complete The Witcher 3? Oh yeah, all right. – Marcin also raised his hand.
(laughs) – All right, I want to get
to some questions before. There’s two I’m gonna pick here from the forums that came through. ReptilePZ asking “Over these 10 years, “what are your fondest memories “related to working on the franchise? “Do you have any big regrets or “things you’re especially proud of?” Is there anything that
stands out for each of you individually,
something you’ve worked on, an aspect of the game that
you’re particularly proud of? – I mean for me honestly
I’m the most proud of the main storyline
of the whole Witcher 3. Some quests that I worked on but some that my colleagues worked on. It was something that we put
incredible amount of time on into it just to make it right,
just to make it feel good, have a good story and
basically mean something because that was important
for us that this game is about something and
you can see actually there are thoughts of people behind it and there’s care and love behind this. So that’s something that
I really always try to put in there and that was
something that we tried to do also in Hearts of Stone
and Blood and Wine a lot. – [Danny] Anything else stand
out for the rest of you? – Regret, Geralt should’ve been able to romance whoever he wanted to.
– Oh, Borys. – Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. – I mean Priscilla and
Anna Henrietta included. – Anna Henrietta is your
best pal’s girlfriend. You can’t do those things to your friend. – You can’t but–
– Geralt can’t. He has some– – Dude, bros before hos, remember? – So this is the place where we don’t agree with Borys really. He is up to romancing everything. – He’d just like reading or writing that dialogue presumably. All right, I bet your private
fanfic blog is real good. (laughs) Another question here from Kany. “Were there any last
minute changes prior to “release that changed aspects
of the plot in the series?” Any stuff that got changed, I
know like quests did change. Characters got cut as
well, right in each game? Anything stand out? You managed to get a favorite
in Hearts of Stone actually. – The entire prologue to The Witcher 2, the fact that it was changed to a series of flashbacks intercut with the interrogation of
Geralt by Vernon Roche, that was a very, very,
very late date change. – Why did it come about? – I don’t know, honestly I think it was just about
heightening interest. – It was adding a lot of dynamics. I remember the discussing
with Adam Badowski who came and said like “Yeah
no, I had this crazy idea. “We’ll just cut it in
pieces and we’ll mix it up.” And it really made perfect
sense, I mean it was way more dynamic and more
intriguing and engaging. – One other short story
that came to my mind is that during Witcher 3 production,
I was always in team Shani actually from Witcher 1 and
I felt that she is missing in the game and we tried
to find a place for her but you know, some characters
are so important and they’re so big and their role is like
so tremendous in the story that you can’t just shove
them in in some way. So you have to find a
proper space for them and Shani didn’t fit in
The Witcher 3 actually. So then when we start
designing Hearts of Stone, one of my things that
I really wanted to do, get the Shani in, right? And I made her one of
the important characters in the wedding quest when
Vito is taking control. – It’s a very personal story.
(laughs) – Yeah but that’s one
of the reasons why Shani is in Hearts of Stone so
much because we wanted to bring the character
that was there and she was important for some of the players from Witcher 1 and she was not in Witcher 2. So we wanted to pick up on that. – Awesome, all right, sorry go ahead. – The scene on the lake. – I remember our writers asking me, “So Pawel, how do you imagine this “sex on the boat actually to happen?” Because I was trying to sell them some ideas but they were not buying it. – And Pawel was like
“I have some sketches.” (laughs) – Awesome, all right,
we’ve talked long enough. I want to open up some questions to everyone else who’s out here. Geralt I believe is in the wings. Okay Yennefer’s there as well, perfect. Put your hands up, we’re
not gonna queue people up. Put your hands up, Geralt, first of all, who would you like to pick? Okay, we got some people, this is good. Put your hands up if you want. He’s not gonna chip
your head off, I swear. – Not before the question, for sure. – He’s intimidating a lot of
people, he’s very intimidating. I saw a video of Geralt
in China when it was like 120 degrees or something and
you were wearing all that. – And he’s fluent in Chinese.
– Right, it’s amazing. I know, he’s been translated
into 15 languages or something. All right, first question. What’s your name sir and
what is your question? – My name is Brandon. So we talked a little bit
about Shani being omitted from the first game and then
bringing her in the third game and I was wondering
if you could elaborate a little bit on the
creative decision to not bring your Iorveth back in the third game. – That’s an excellent question
actually, thank you sir. So starting off with
Iorveth, actually from the middle of the production of Witcher 3, we planned to have Iorveth
really there, right? And we found a spot for him. He was supposed to be a
bit a different character, transformed man but then he didn’t fit. He didn’t fit in any fuckin’ way and believe me, I’m one of the guys who actually loves Iorveth, right? (applause) So we really tried to
actually put him into the game and we actually
had a storyline for him. The thing is that when it doesn’t fit, you can really feel it
and we were like okay, so either we deliver a lower quality game with a worse character
than we want or we just cut him from the game
and just do the best with other characters that we
can do and that was really the creative decision we
took, that was really it. – [Brandon] Can you elaborate a little bit on what he would’ve
done had he made it in? – No.
(laughs) You’re good, he’s good. – Thank you very much. Geralt, look after him. – All right, Yennefer’s
picked somebody out over here. Can you tell us your name
first of all and your question? – Hi, I’m Stephanie.
– Hey Stephanie. – So my question is in Witcher 3, we through a
dialogue choice you find out the nature of Ciri’s
previous relationships. Will there be more representation of LGBTQ in future games? (applause) – Yeah.
(laughs) Of course, naturally. No question about it.
– Awesome. Are we getting into Cyberpunk territory if we start asking more
about that, I feel? – Hold your horses.
– Come on man. All right, thank you so much
for your question, wonderful. The gentleman over here. – My name’s Phillipe,
two questions if I may. First was for the soundtrack. It was fantastic, thank you for that. I was wondering if there
was gonna be another chance to possibly get it on vinyl since I slept on that and wasn’t actually able to get on the first batch
when it was released. – [Danny] Who did your
fulfillment for vinyl? – [Marcin] If there will
be one more batch of vinyl. – Will there, do you know?
– We don’t. – I know but I don’t know if
I can say it, can I say it? – Yes, I think so.
(laughs) I think that was someone
on the Piore team, yes. – I didn’t say but you guys
you know, get the drift right? – Keep your eyes peeled maybe, yeah. – And as well since we
were talking about Geralt being able to romance
everyone as well inclusion… (laughs)
(cheers and applause) Any possibly we might be able to get like a Geralt dating sim or something? – A Geralt dating sim. – You know, just a fun idea. – Wonderful question sir, let’s move on. (laughs) – That’s why you need to
get the mod tools out again, let the community make what they want. Lovely, question over here. Please tell us your
name and your question. – My name is Abby, I wrote my question down so I wouldn’t screw it up. How do you approach adventure game tropes and stereotypes like the Scottish Dwarves and item fetch quests and adapt or embrace those from a writing perspective in order to keep the games from
feeling like any other RPG? – Wonderful question, who
wants to take that one? – I guess Borys should start– – No I don’t want to, somebody else start. (laughs) – Okay so first of all, it’s a really good question but the answer
for it is like 100 hours. So I try to put it short. So first and foremost,
we try to put a meaning into the game and like whatever we design, we just think okay, what
this thing is supposed to tell us and what’s the purpose of it and how it serves the
characters and why it’s there for really, like
what do we want to do? And for us the important thing is the emotions and the
feelings of our players. What they feel and what they think when those things happen on the screen. So this is like first, foremost thing that we consider when we think about the story and then when you have a fetch quest, let’s say a Witcher 2 example right? You had to undue the curse that was there on the battlefield. Only when you look
structurally on those things, it is actually a fetch
quest that you go for different things, you
just bring it to one place and then you remove the
curse, that’s pretty much it. This is what happens from
the structural level. However when it comes to the story, all those things are actually really well- grounded in all the lore,
in all the dialogues, in all the characters and they
matter something, you know? And this is one of the reasons why it actually doesn’t feel shallow. So that’s some answer for your question. – The only thing that
I would add is tropes, existing tropes aren’t bad by definition, it’s what you do with them. It’s I think the emotional
content that you put into it, the richness of the language that absolves them of familiarity I think. – One of the things I
came across a lot when I was talking to a bunch of the Quest Team actually probably specifically and also the Environment Artists was that there was this sort of internal
feeling not of competition necessarily but everyone
was sort of like trying to make sure that if they
were working on an area or a quest, that there was
something unique happening in it that justified it
being even in the game. Is that just part of the
culture of CD Projekt, or? – I mean it is, it is. I often get asked the question if we feel the pressure of working on
our next game and like we do not really because the
thing is if you come to work and you every day do 120%,
you can’t do anything more. If nobody would wait for this game, I would still go and
do 120 no matter what. So like there’s nothing that changes and then when you put
your stuff into the game, you want this thing to be
good because that’s part of you and this is the
moment when it just starts to have meaning and you
start feeling something and then the player feels it.
– Awesome, great question. Thank you so much.
(applause) Pleas tell us your name
and your question as well. – Hi, I’m Linea and I just wanted to ask, I’m a huge mythology geek and I wanted to know what is your
favorite piece of lore, whether it be something like a plotline that you’ve incorporated from the books or some kind of creature, mythology, monster thing you’ve
incorporated into the game? – Wow, I mean–
– Let’s go around on that one. – I can start for myself. So the one that I really
loved is the Berflink. It shows up in the Baron’s storyline. There’s the Bochlink and the Berflink. Those are both like really well grounded in the Polish-Slavic mythology. I just gave it way more context with the rite and with Karolina Stachyra, the one that was writing
the quest with me. But that was the one that I really felt like it was this atrocious,
really weird, strange creature. It was partially like coming from horror and then partially it was a bit funny and then I felt, that made me really feel an amazing way actually
to the Baron’s storyline. So that’s the answer for me. – Gaunter O’Dimm for me. I think this is the ultimate villain for video games in general and the whole execution of the character development, those guys did my tiny addition of the song
of the Master of Mirrors and this whole feeling of his presence and knowing that he is the ultimate
force in this universe and basically there’s nothing that can stop him yet Geralt still manages to find a way to destroy him. It makes the perfect combination for me and with Ladies of the
Wood being number two. – Right, yeah, Borys? (laughs) – I guess it’s something
that you can romance. Borys I can help you, it’s the Succubus. – Yeah, I’ll go with the Succubus. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. – [Danny] We can come
back to you if you want. – Yeah, please do.
– No, no, no, no. I need to think about it, so you first. – All right, you don’t have to choose which of your child is
going to live, tell us one. – But it’s a difficult
one because for example, when I’m playing our
games, I’m always there for the sheer scale and
the number of characters. So it’s very hard for me to pick just one. I’m there for the story,
I want to be immersed, I want to be surprised
so at a certain point, sometimes it’s Ciri, sometimes it’s Triss and sometimes it’s a certain
monster, so it really depends. The character which I really like, I mean I really like
Tenderlion in the third and I really like Priscilla
and her song I like. But this works for me at this given moment and then I move on and I’m somewhere else and I don’t know, I’m in Skellige and I’m fascinating with another character. – All right, good stuff. – It’s too big of a game just to pick one. – Right, and there’s so
many different notes. Like we talked when I was in Warsaw about the elements of the Irish language, Gaelic which is not very
prominent at all that side of Ireland but there’s
loads of that in Skellige, like even the way people
say Cadmel and things reminds me of like (speaking Irish) which is hello basically in Irish. So there’s so many like
little notes in the game, there’s such depth. – That’s a cue that I think
we took from Sapkowski. Sapkowski in his books,
we love him because he peppered them with proto-Slavic or general Slavic lore but he draws really broadly. He draws from Norse mythology, he draws from Germanic mythology. He draws heavily form Arthurian legend and yeah, we follow his example. – Wonderful question, thank you so much. – Thank you.
(applause) – We’ve got time for one or two more, maybe three depending on how these go. Sir please, your name and your question. – I’m Chris, one thing that impressed me about the series is that it gets localized into a lot
of different languages, Russian and English and of
course Polish which means– – And Arabic and Chinese.
– Japanese, Brazilian, Portuguese. – Turkish in the expansion pack as well. – Korean.
– Turkish? – Yes. – Anyway so I’m wondering
was that a business risk on your part and how did you
make it happen, was that hard? – I’ll maybe tell you first
of all why we are doing that because we come from Poland and it took me personally many years to convince foreign publishers when we are distributing games to localize
games into Polish and I was telling them “Hey, there
is 38 million Polish people.” And at that time, not that many of them speak good English so
we need to localize it. “Ah the market is too small,
it doesn’t make sense.” So yes, I think we are quite adamant we take business risk
because I believe that we should deliver the
game in as many languages as possible because our fans–
(applause) Need to get fully immersed into the story and as you see like with the discussion we were having about the
detail, about the feeling of little tiny elements,
sometimes one adjective. Like I prefer to play Witcher in Polish because that’s my mother tone and you know in English, I have no problem but sometimes I don’t get the exact sense of this given word and then I see that I’m missing something. So imagine I don’t know, a Japanese gamer or a Chinese gamer playing the game in English and they’re
missing a huge part of it. So why wouldn’t we deliver it
to them in their mother tone and this actually surprised
us a great deal because we saw that the game is
very universal and like we can talk about Europe or North
America or South America, yeah you know, a similar
culture, similar roots but then we go to China
and I talk to Chinese gamers or in Japan, Japanese
gamers and it’s like “Wow, we love this element,
we love that element.” I think the language of
games, it’s universal as long as you take the
time and effort to deliver a perfect game in the local language. Then only you give your
game a real chance. – It’s a whole fascinating
aspect of game design that I don’t think I
really appreciated until I went out and talked to
a bunch of, I interviewed a bunch of your folks for
your localization team. In the seven part series
we’re putting out, one of them is literally
only about localization and adaptation and I
was talking to you Borys about it and one of the
things that I didn’t realize was that when you
talk about localization, you think about like
translating words, right? But your job as an adapter is literally not just to do that but to take things and apply it so that the
culture understands it. – Absolutely.
– Not just changing the words. – You know it’s never
strictly translation. It’s never strictly just I don’t know, an idiomatic rendering of
what was there in the source. It’s about enrichment, it’s
about taking a core meaning and rendering it, rewriting
it in the target language and we do this for all
the languages so that it makes sense and is
rich and has the best possible entertainment value
in that target language. – It’s incredible. Thank you so much for your question. – [Chris] And thank you
for the blooper reel. – Yes sir, lovely shirt by the way. – Thank you, my name’s
Bryce and I’m one of the older gamers here and I’ve seen a lot of changes in the industry in the last 20 years and not all of it good in regards to the microtransactions, the DLC costs, the parting out of all
our content and you say you’re here for us but we’re
here for you because you came up from very humble
beginning a long time ago and you know, you thought how can we
deliver value to the gamers? How can we make this
worth paying for versus like during an interview you said during the fall of the Communist Union you would distribute them but then it was like how do we make people pay for this? So you haven’t forgotten about what it is to give us a game that
we want to spend our hard-earned money for
and then also at the time giving us an experience
that is very memorable to us and for you not to forget that means a great deal to a lot of us gamers where a lot of developers are
just forgetting that. It’s just a cashflow to
them and you remember that you’re doing it
for us because you love doing it and you love
us to support you but you support us and I
speak for me and I think a lot of us here, a lot of us watching, thank you for not forgetting about us. (cheers and applause) – We really appreciate
that you guys notice that and actually you vote with
your wallets and so, yeah. Thank you for that,
that’s really important. But I just want to say, we have one very simple rule at the company
and as long as I’m there, I’ll make sure that we check all the key decisions by this rule. So whenever we discuss
something and it can be like the price of
expansion or the release date or how we want to market something, like you know, the
business aspect of things, there is one simple rule. Can we explain why we have taken such decision in front of a room full of gamers? And it’s very simple and then we sort of
question ourselves that and if the answer is no, then we just don’t do it and that’s as simple as that. Because if we can be
straightforward and say to you “Hey guys, the price is this
and that because that’s that “many hours we think that it’s
worth and we stand by it.” That’s very simple and
instead of like hey, somebody paid us some
money so we have to make it an exclusive on this or
that platform and then it gets all muddy and shady and so, yeah. We like think simple
and that’s who we are. – Awesome, fair play,
thank you, great question. Last question for today.
(applause) Thank you so much to Geralt and Yennefer for getting our questions today. Sir please, your name and your question. – Hi, my name’s Gary. My question’s actually for all of you. You guys make some of the best characters out there
in video game history. I was wondering how you
guys created Gaunter O’Dimm and his influence and
where he just came from? – Wow, I’m not sure if I know the
answer honestly to this question. I mean it came out from our
Story Team and the whole Hearts of Stone expansion is really like grounded up in the Polish literature a lot and that’s a funny thing but just after Hearts of Stone came out, I saw like Polish people
writing a whole like teases on Reddit and so
on explaining foreigners you know, what it’s based
on and so and I thought like wow guys, why you didn’t
do it in school you know? Because it felt like
they were really trying to explain everybody
like how this came from, where it’s built from
and I think it’s just, the reason it’s just really
well-built into our culture. Like we looked into our
roots and just came up with this and then it’s
always like it’s never a decision of one person in
the team to do something. So when the Writer decides okay, we want to lead the dialogue in that way, then there is a Quest
Designer to question that. There is a Cinematic
Artist to question that and there is also people
from QA to question that and the thing is it’s very, very difficult to push something through
that is stupid basically, that won’t fit, that
won’t fit and basically we constantly check each other, right? – Sorry, sorry we just, just chatting sorry, go on. – I see that. We just constantly
basically check each other if it’s good and I guess
the rest just comes down to the talent of the team honestly. Like I can’t give you a better answer. – It’s actually much
more than that because it’s not only about taking the legend of Mr. Twardowski that Adam Mickiewicz brought work around with
in Pan Twardowski poem. So basically the original story was about the guy trying to
fool out the devil, right? And the whole punchline
was that we’re gonna meet in Rome and once we meet in
Rome, I’m gonna take your soul. So Mr. Twardowski was never
gonna actually go in Rome but by accident he met with the
devil in a tavern called Rome. So the contract was fulfilled anyway just like in the Witcher, right? We stand together on the Moon. But apart from that, there’s also so much work put in the subcontext level. So I remember it was
quite huge in social media back in the day once we
showed that Gaunter O’Dimm is present as a second
row, third row character in every single dialogue scene, right? – [Danny] That’s true. – So he may be a wedding guest, he may be a beggar on the street. He may be just some lonesome traveler but he’s still there somewhere everywhere and we did work around it
with the music as well. So we tried to incorporate
Gaunter O’Dimm’s theme in every single tune
you can listen in Hearts of Stone and therefore create this dense, devilish atmosphere
that basically that guy knows and sees everything and you’re not gonna walk away from him
or run away from him. – I remember that you gave
me a song sung by children. – Yeah, the song sung
by children for example. – In the middle of the fields, you have a pack of
children singing the song and you’re just riding
on the horse and you hear that and you’re just
like whoa, it’s creepy. – Yeah, there’s one singing right there actually in the background. Okay, we’re basically done. Just a couple of pieces of housekeeping though you’re not gonna
want to miss out on. First of all actually, round of applause for our panelists here. (cheers and applause) If you want to learn more
about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, 2 and 1, if you’ll allow
me to do a quick plug, we flew out to Warsaw with our crowdfunded video game documentary company, myself and Jeremy who was there with the camera. We shot a bunch of stuff, we did over 20 interviews with them and
the folks at GOG as well. We’re putting it all out, it’s all free. If you want to go to in a couple of weeks, you’ll
be able to watch all of those. We’re doing a seven part series, basically a lot of what you’ve heard today and way, way more. There’s a prize for you guys outside, some treats but there’s
a quid pro quo involved. So first of all, what’s outside waiting for people when they go outside the doors? – So again, an anniversary without gifts wouldn’t be an anniversary. We have these lovely t-shirts
for each and every one of you. (cheers and applause) At a one-time only
promotional price of $10. Joking, joking. Ah, got ya there.
(laughs) And lovely pins as well as posters. So make sure to grab one on the way back and once again, thank
you very much for coming. If that’s okay, we
still would like to grab a photo with all of you
just to show it back home. – Don’t run out just
yet because we’re gonna do the world’s biggest
Witcher selfie apparently. So we’re all gonna turn
around or you’re all going to turn around and
we have a photographer here and also you’ve got
your own phone because it’s 2017 and everybody has
a camera on their phone. – Yeah.
(laughs) – All right. – [Marcin] So maybe first
the professional ones. – [Danny] Everyone stand
up in the back, come on up. (cheering)

About the author


  1. Thank you so much to the over two thousand of you who came to our panel. It was an incredible way to top off the first year of Noclip. We're hard at work on some exciting stuff coming later this month, including our SEVEN PART series on The Witcher.

  2. "Stand in a room full of gamers and explain why are you doing the things you are doing (with marketing)."

    Yeah I can only imagine some companies attempting that and leaving unscathed 😀

  3. I've said it once i'll say it a million times. The people at CDPR deserve all the love and respect and money and hype they can get. I truly believe they are the only game company that truly respects and understands what gamers want. From the details of the retail box(there are even printed details inside the outer box) to the "27'' rule" of having something interesting to see in game, the very small details in the creation of the soundtrack, the free DLC, the enormous expansions, the translations and localization of the game, the map and lore book inside the box, the ZERO amount of stupid DRM etc etc etc… I could go on and on. MASSIVE respect and love for CDPR. Cyberpunk will be the first game i ever buy a Collector's Edition, and i know almost no thing about it. It's the love for the people that need to be supported in every way possible and hope everyone sees that.
    I can't wait to see the Documentary series and learn even more. Amazing job from Danny(as Always) for giving us a perspective and point of view we could not have otherwise. Thank you!

  4. I really love The Witcher games. That little cinematic toward the beginning elicited more feelings from me than most video games I've played in some time.

  5. Watching this video really makes me wish i tried to get into game design, I have no idea if I would be able to do it but, I can only imagine what it must be like to work for a company like cd projekt red.

  6. 16:50 The Witcher 1 section
    40:05 The Witcher 2 section
    1:02:24 The Witcher 3 section
    1:32:30 Gwent/expansions section
    1:36:40 Q&A

  7. Good video, such a shame tho that the farewell party was not an actual ingame thing, thats how many of us had hoped Blood and Wine would have ended, the current ending is quite the dissapointing one.

  8. I'm a big fan of 2 & 3+DLC, and never played the first one because I didn't have a PC capable of running games at the time. Played it for the first time this year. What an absolute gem. They really swung for the fences their first time out.

  9. this was awesome. thanks a lot for posting this. amazing work. really interesting how the music fit so well with the quests. The Finding Ciri scene when The Wolf and the Swallow plays was incredible. it'd be interesting to know how they matched that. i'm assuming the animation was matched with the song and not the other way around.

  10. That guy asking about Iorveth should read this. At least it gives some info about what would have happened.

  11. Hey, I need some help, can annyone tell me what is Danny saying at 1:28:36? "You managed to get […]
    into Hearts of Stone." Get what? 😛

  12. The first guy to answer questions is one of the most charmingly eccentric men I've ever seen. I want him to write my Wikipedia page.

  13. My God. The humility that Marcin Iwinski literally shows when he talks about that E3 2004 space showing off The early Witcher….

    That respect shown towards BioWare during that segment. Wonderful stuff.

  14. Amazing work Danny, great insight. Loved the video they wasn't going to show 🙂

    Something I don't understand is, we get questions from the audience and the first couple are straight up about including LBGTQ and then about allowing Geralt to date/romance males. Why are people so obsessed with this? Can't the creators of a game just make there own vision without this bullshit pressure to make a character have options that fit all sexuality's in fear that if they don't then certain people will take offence?

    Game developers and writers should be able to make games, create characters that fit their own vision. If that means that the protagonist is a gay man, or a straight man etc then that's how it is… and quite frankly why do people care so much about it? Can't we take the game that the artists make, play and enjoy it for what it is. I agree that some games may fit allowing the player to choose the sexuality of the character you control but in other games this would not work. Just stop making a big deal about this whole thing… so Geralt likes the lady's… Ellie (the last of us) is a lesbian… who cares? All that matters is that these games are great!

  15. After years of being on the fence about this game, after this video I decided to finally buy The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition to support such an amazing studio with amazing people running it. Thank you CD PROJEKT RED for all you do.

  16. Awesome material, awesome team. Really good q&a section, seems Witcher fans are the best.
    But that lady with lgbt crap broke it :c

  17. 1:14:10 I knew it! Lofoten and Larvik in Skellige is two places here in Norway. I would have gladly done the VO for Skellige CDPR! Gimme a call next time 😀

  18. I have to add that, as excellent all of the quests are (Witcher I) – making it tough/impossible to pick an absolute favorite – it must be said that the intro quest, and how it dynamically teached us how to play Geralt of Rivia, was brilliantly (Brilliantly) executed. Not the normal tutorial at the beginning of a game, this intro helped to define Geralt, teach us the controls, lay down the storyline for the initial conundrum, and whom we're up against… perfectly done, in my opinion.
    I'm not much of a gamer at all, preferring to animate CG sequences instead. But this game drew me in. I love it!

    Hey, thanks again to Noclip for doing this! Truly wonderful!

  19. Wow. I am with Bryce, from the audience, 100%!!!
    I am such a fan of CD Projekt RED!
    Like I said earlier, I'm not much of a gamer. came out and offered games (some of the very few that I did play) that I already owned on disc – discs that are now protected in their original boxes on a nice shelf in my office, so I started buying them and playing them again. One such game was the original Neverwinter Nights, which I have made award-winning mods for, but I also remembered that CD Projekt RED was making a new game using Aurora (back then), but I never bought the game. Being a GOG member, I bought it. It came with such an immersive package of stuff I love, art (incredibly presented pdf book!), soundtrack (again, Amazing!), interviews, behind-the-scenes… all manner of good (Great) extras, that I immediately bought Witcher 2. Now I also have the Witcher 3 GOTY collection – truly amazing!
    The story behind CD Projekt RED is heartwarming and truly wonderful… inspiring. Humans treating humans with real humanity. Precious! I always try to treat my fellow humans with the utmost in real humanity in the hopes that it might spread – and it does work to at least some, positive degree. Seeing a (new) major gaming company doing it is beyond refreshing and commendable.

    Forever a fan = me!

  20. The panel was awesome!
    Aside from shilling for Jason-"Objectivity-is-a-silly-thing-to-strive-for"-Schreier, this was a great interview.

    However the questions from the crowd were so vapid…
    LGBT representation, really? Did you forget about Philippa Eilhart? How about the hunter in White Orchard? How about the cross-dressing elven tailor outside of Novigrad? Did you even play the games?
    Stereotypes of Scottish dwarfs… Did you really need to be told that stereotypes aren't inherently bad and it's all about how they are used?
    The somewhat meaningful questions come from the older gamers.

    This is why I never go to these events. They are filled with gender and political ideologues.

  21. 1:56:27 True words have been spoken. I'm glad someone pointed this out, as there are only a handful of companies left that truly care for the gamers and are not just blinded by money.

  22. This was such an insightful video on how CDPR created The Witcher series, thank you Noclip for this! And man after seeing that video with Geralt and his friends and the Corvo Bianco estate, it just makes me appreciate even more how CDPR really cares about their fanbase and they always put all their effort into making their games as great as possible. The Witcher 3 is definitely the best game I've ever played and it has made me a huge fan of CDPR since then, and I'll willing to pay every dollar for their future games since they are of such high quality 🙂

  23. I think Marcin really does deserve all that aplouse, even though he said he he doesn't make all those great games, but to me he is one of the most important people from this company. All the other guys are great of course, they are very good and very passionate and they actually do the great games, along with the team, but so does Bioware right? They were the RPG gods… and now look at Mass Effect 3 bullshit… and Andromeda… what good is a great develop team if it gets killed by the publisher? How can they pass the passin and love through the manipulation and greed of corporate leaders? Marcin is the heart and soul of CDPR, and not only gamers but the developers as well can get and do those amazing things because of people like him, so yeah, just wanted to say that, you deserve all the aplouse you can get man! =)

  24. I think it's unanimous , CDPR will have to print twice as many copies of Cyber Punk than originally planned.

  25. I think the best parte was at 34:10 :
    "Thank you for being persistent". That's enough to show how much determination it took to arrive where they are now. I'm around the same age he had at that time, and I can't imagine myself sending my CV to the same company for 4 years, trying to be accepted.
    Huge respect for him.

  26. Shame on me. As a huuuuge Witcher and CDPR fan I saw this for the first time a year after PAX 2017. Ashes on my head. "Sausage and Vodka". LOL I love you Poland.

  27. The way these guys handle the (excellent) host's questions shows that they actually work as a unit despite having varying talents and technical expertise. And it jumps out in their games. Great video.

  28. They skipped the Italian language… I really hate 'em for that. A snub that will never forgive. Someone should tell 'em that "Corvo Bianco" is Italian, and Italian still the 4th language studied all around the world.

  29. What's the name of the piano track starting at roughly 4:20? I'm assuming it's something like Chopin but I cannot place it.

  30. 2:37 Is that Pondsmith and his cyberpunks sitting on fifth row, to the right? Some appropriate gangsigns in the house.

  31. 11:25 "Ascending to the top and staying there for awhile" Uh, they are still at the top in my opinion. What RPG is currently better than Witcher 3? I guess he means in terms of sales numbers.

  32. Really sad to watch this and then know that two years later in 2019 CDProjektRed would bend the knee to subcultures and alienate its core base of gamers. The king is dead……just dead. Witchers are no longer welcome in this world.

  33. Good lord, why do these fans ask about diversity and LGBTQ bullshit? You could tell how uncomfortable the devs were by those questions. Geralt is heterosexual. Stop trying to force characters to be changed. The Polish are pretty Catholic people so they arent interested in the whole LGBTQ thing, and they're trying to keep their game as close as possible to the Polish lore and culture. I cant stand these SJW's constantly trying to force change onto people and cultures meanwhile calling people racist for wanting to know more about and take part about other cultures.

  34. 30:33 bioware gave cdpr a small booth in e3-2014

    45:30 search for publishers 45:50 70% the publisher gets 30% cdpr got 46:19 agreement said konami owns everything 46:36 this experience prompted them to do self-publishing for w2/w3

    1:04:06 sex scene shooting

    1:18:14 more evolution than revolution

  35. Wonder how long it will takes for these games to get drawn into the debate about Polish attitude to Jewish and "anti-semitism". Believe me, this is currently a major issue that hits very deeply into the heart of the people in Poland. One which is still somehow unresolved, and very visible even 60 years later. With strange hypocrisies happening that fly in the face of the haunted history of that country. These issues – unless you have actually been there, and seen and felt it for yourself – they can undoubtedly provide fuel for mischief and misinterpretations. Issues that members of the amoral press, needing to create 'copy' out of nothing could easily latch onto. These guys seem very forward-looking, wise, and modern, and that provides some defence. But they probably need to sort out their defensive positions in advance.
    Just been to Poland, and God, this isn't simple!

  36. That comment how Netflix has good characters but everything else is complete shit makes much more sense when they released witcher

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