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E3 2011 The Witcher 2

Developer: CD Projekt Red | Publisher: Atari
Players: 1 Player Game | Genre: RPG

Release Date: Q4 2011

CD Project Red showed off an early build of The Witcher 2 on the Xbox 360 in the upper Meeting Room halls of the 2011 E3 Expo. 

The first thing we have to say about The Witcher 2 is that it is a beautiful Role Playing Game.  In fact, the PC version is arguably the most gorgeous thing we have seen ever. So how does the Xbox 360 version stack up to it? At this point, not real well. That isn’t to say the game doesn’t look good--it just isn’t anywhere near the detail level of the PC release. That should be expected in early alpha though. I quizzed the Development Team about where they anticipate the final version ending up--in comparison to the PC release. They are hoping to get close to Medium graphical levels of the PC. 

The Witcher 2 is a deep, story driven Role Playing Game that doesn’t hold your hand and is about as deep as any game is on the market today. CD Project Red is a Polish company and their goal is to deliver RPG experiences like we used to find in the “good old days.”

In the demo we were shown, CD Project played through the same scene on two different consoles. The first time we chose the sneaky, stealth route through the dungeon we were escaping. This made the game feel more like Thief or Metal Gear Solid. Though, the player could opt to go action at any moment. To show this side of the gameplay, the other Developer played though the same level using an “in your face, action” tactics. This seemed like the way more console players would try it and could be more difficult when multiple enemies surround you.  

Regardless of your play style, CD Project Red is striving to deliver a great Role Playing Game to console players.  I questioned if they were “dumbing” down the game for a console audience. They responded with not liking that language but just want to “enhance” it for the platform. I also suggested it seemed that the controller seemed to be the ideal way to play through the game regardless of platform. The Developers screamed “NO!!!!” to that and explained that the PC and Mouse are the preferred, and most advanced, way to play but the games has been designed to play with a controller regardless of platform choice.

CD Project Red was quizzed about concern over the Xbox 360 version being censored by Microsoft or the ESRB. Their response was “... do you want it censored?”  The crowd in attendance yelled out no. CD Project Red feels that the ESRB has already rated the PC version Mature and they were never asked to remove any content from the game. To change the rating now, just because it is on a console, would be to contradict their previous rating.  We tend to agree with this. 

Despite if the game ends up with the same Mature rating, one thing is for certain: this title is not for young audiences. This will be perhaps the most intense game in terms of adult content.  In this one demo alone, we had sexual innuendo, frontal nudity while being tortured, and loads of language not suitable for a large majority of ears. I do wish that there was a censored version that could run alongside uncensored version.  

When asked why there wasn’t a PlayStation 3 version of The Witcher 2 in development, we were told, “...who said we weren’t making one? We are just concentrating on this one first.” So fear not PlayStation 3 owners, your wish to play one of the deepest and most beautiful Role Playing Games may come sooner than you think. Look for The Witcher 2 sometime before 2011 ends on the Xbox 360.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 06/09/11
ESRB Details: This is a role-playing game in which players assume the role of Geralt, a monster slayer who must hunt down an assassin to clear his own name. As players complete quests, they use swords and magic spells to kill enemy soldiers and fantastical creatures (e.g., specters, harpies, spider-like monsters) in melee-style combat; attacks are often accompanied by slashing sounds and screams of pain. Blood-splatter effects occur when enemies are hit, and damage sometimes results in dismemberment or decapitation—blood stains and body parts occasionally appear in the environment. Other cutscenes depict gore and more intense acts of violence: a close-up view of a severed head; a restrained woman's eyes getting gouged out (off-screen); a character being castrated (not depicted) before his throat is slit. During the course of the game, some female characters are depicted topless; there is also a fleeting image of pubic hair as a woman dives into the water. Players can initiate brief cutscene sequences that depict varying degrees of sexual activity: a topless woman rocking on top of man; a man caressing a woman's back; a man pushing up against a woman's posterior—sexual moaning sounds can be heard, though the camera cuts away from explicit sexual acts. Some sequences depict a cocaine-like substance being cut into lines; another scene shows a man's back as he snorts the substance. Language such as 'f**k,' 'sh*t,' and 'c*nt' can be heard in the dialogue.
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Screenshots for E3 2011 The Witcher 2

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