In a lengthy and impressively detailed interview over on Eurogamer, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt lead writer Jakub Szamalek has opened up on the development of CD Projekt Red's masterful role-playing game. Szamalek tells some great stories, revealing that no one on the writing team wanted to pen the title's sex scenes, and that Geralt and Yennefer's emotionally-charged dialogue on Skellige was initially acted out using default fisherman character models. In short, it sounds like writing such an outstanding script took a lot of time and effort.
The Witcher series has always placed a heavy emphasis on characters and dialogue, but writing for a linear game is a lot different to writing for an open world game. Szamalek says that the writing team had little choice but to plan out the entire experience, going as far as to document all of the branching narrative paths on paper. "We had a lot of tables and trees and diagrams and post-it notes to try and build the whole picture but it was extremely difficult," he says.
But there's one quote in particular that caught our eye. Continuing on the topic of The Witcher 3 being open world, Szamalek says "We were actually very worried that we didn't have enough content. We were seriously concerned there weren't enough quests, enough dialogue sequences, there wasn't enough to keep the player busy." It's crazy to think that was the case now that we know how gigantic the game actually is, but it just goes to show how drastically perceptions can change when you're working on something.
"Obviously we were hugely mistaken because the density of the experience is definitely not lacking - but it was so hard to assess it when the game was still being made," Szamalek adds. "What people outside of the industry don't always appreciate is a game is constructed from so many pieces and you don't see the final product until the very end so it's hard to plan for unforeseen problems." Just reading that sentence is stressing us out.
Can you believe that there was a time when the people behind The Witcher 3 thought it wasn't big enough? Continue on The Path in the comments section below.