The Witcher Dev Wants Cyberpunk Story Streamlined

The Witcher Dev Wants Cyberpunk Story Streamlined

Smoother story progression in Cyberpunk may appeal to a wider audience.

image

Cyberpunk developer CD Projekt RED knows its new game will be a challenge to develop but has said, in a Gamasutra interview, that lessons learned from its work on The Witcher will be applied to its latest project. The biggest problem is story; how much is too much, and what assumptions can CD Projeckt RED make about the player base? The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings had been targeted at players who already understood the game world, perhaps even having read some of the novels on which the game was based. Players who didn't understand the game world ended up hopelessly lost. Studio head Adam Badowski now admits that this was a mistake, and wants to make sure that Cyberpunk doesn't overwhelm the players right from the start.

"What we learned from The Witcher series," Badowski told Gamasutra, "is that we need to attract people with a smoother learning curve when it comes to the storyline." That doesn't mean dumbing down the Cyberpunk concept, but it does mean that the player won't be slapped in the face with story detail as soon as they set foot in the game world. This will make the story more accessable to a wider variety of players, and hopefully bring in a larger audience than The Witcher generated.

The old pencil-and-paper Cyberpunk on which the game is based embraced that concept wholeheartedly. It might have been based on sci-fi novels, but you didn't have to have read every single one to understand the game. It was less about deep philosophy and mythmaking than it was about the look of the thing, how it felt and how you felt being in that world; style over substance. If CD Projeckt RED can manage even half of that, this should be an interesting game.

Source & Image: Gamasutra, Cyberpunk 2020

Permalink

There's a really easy method regarding backstory that Bioware uses: The codex. A very handy tool to give reference to those who want it, with entries being unlocked as the relevant topics are mentioned. Yet the information isn't necessary to play the game, so anyone who doesn't care doesn't have to. It's brilliant.

Makes sense. They kind of did it with The Witcher 2, after all. I thought they did alright, then again I played the first so that probably helped me.

Will be interesting to see what they do.

I just hope smoothing out the story is the ONLY thing to do to broaden it's appeal.

templar1138a:
There's a really easy method regarding backstory that Bioware uses: The codex. A very handy tool to give reference to those who want it, with entries being unlocked as the relevant topics are mentioned. Yet the information isn't necessary to play the game, so anyone who doesn't care doesn't have to. It's brilliant.

Absolutely. I mean, how much do you actually know about Thedas when you first start "Dragon Age: Origins"? You only discover the full scope of the world as you progress through the story.

Whelp, CD Projekt is done for. They had a good run though.

Pretty much the reason I don't get into JRPGs is they don't satisfy "Why should I care about this place?" Often something tragic happens in the opening cinematic, and/or followed by some expository dialog that refers to things I don't give a flying crap about. And all I can say is "So?"

Half Life, Portal, StarCraft, Mass Effect, Fallout 3... All these games do it right. Tutorials happen before everything goes to hell, so I have reasons to care what's going on.

Great. So instead of [hilarious spelling] making one of the few sci-fi games in recent years with an interesting story and some RPG pedigree, we're getting the same streamlined glowy mess of big burly dudes everybody else makes?

Enthusiasm status: curbed.

I hope they do it because 'The Witcher 2' was thick even for ME...and I've read 'The Night's Dawn Trilogy'.

Oh no, the word "streamlined" was used! Sound the klaxons!
Wurrrrrrrrr!
image

PercyBoleyn:
Whelp, CD Projekt is done for. They had a good run though.

Aureliano:
Great. So instead of [hilarious spelling] making one of the few sci-fi games in recent years with an interesting story and some RPG pedigree, we're getting the same streamlined glowy mess of big burly dudes everybody else makes?

Enthusiasm status: curbed.

I think this guy summarized your posts pretty well.

James Joseph Emerald:
Oh no, the word "streamlined" was used! Sound the klaxons!
Wurrrrrrrrr!

I haven't played the Witcher 2 (a problem I will fix by the end of the year), but I like that CD Projekt is considering how to make the story more digestible. So long as they keep the hefty volume of details that the Witcher is known for and just alter the presentation, then I won't have any problems.

ultrachicken:

PercyBoleyn:
Whelp, CD Projekt is done for. They had a good run though.

Aureliano:
Great. So instead of [hilarious spelling] making one of the few sci-fi games in recent years with an interesting story and some RPG pedigree, we're getting the same streamlined glowy mess of big burly dudes everybody else makes?

Enthusiasm status: curbed.

I think this guy summarized your posts pretty well.

James Joseph Emerald:
Oh no, the word "streamlined" was used! Sound the klaxons!
Wurrrrrrrrr!

I haven't played the Witcher 2 (a problem I will fix by the end of the year), but I like that CD Projekt is considering how to make the story more digestible. So long as they keep the hefty volume of details that the Witcher is known for and just alter the presentation, then I won't have any problems.

It has even less credit when the last thing they actually streamlined was "The Witcher" to "The Witcher 2" which was kind of an improvement in every single way.

ultrachicken:

PercyBoleyn:
Whelp, CD Projekt is done for. They had a good run though.

Aureliano:
Great. So instead of [hilarious spelling] making one of the few sci-fi games in recent years with an interesting story and some RPG pedigree, we're getting the same streamlined glowy mess of big burly dudes everybody else makes?

Enthusiasm status: curbed.

I think this guy summarized your posts pretty well.

James Joseph Emerald:
Oh no, the word "streamlined" was used! Sound the klaxons!
Wurrrrrrrrr!

I haven't played the Witcher 2 (a problem I will fix by the end of the year), but I like that CD Projekt is considering how to make the story more digestible. So long as they keep the hefty volume of details that the Witcher is known for and just alter the presentation, then I won't have any problems.

Personally it's really hard to get me to care about a "fantasy" story these days in video games. One way or another it's always just Tolkien with a "but my elves are different!" twist starring a gruff-to-prissy swordsman trying to unite the people against/get an artifact to stop an army of monsters or douchebags of some kind, spending most of his time trying to solve the everyday problems of Medieval villagers that inexplicably involve monsters instead of other Medieval villagers just being jerks. I'm happy to have them streamline that stuff because it's all nearly identical and I can't be bothered to care exactly why the humans, elves and dwarves are racist against each other in this particular version of not-Europe.

Sci-fi stories on the other hand sometimes involve some actual creativity on the part of the author. Are humans important or inconsequential in the future? Are there space aliens of some kind? Has a new technology drastically changed the face of human interaction and commerce? Can I go into freaking space? If there are aliens, are they all just unrelatable monsters or are they more like humans than they appear? Have computers become even more central to our lives in such a way that they become actual characters in the story? There's no set bible in sci-fi, so even if they steal from a famous source (Star Wars being the favorite example) it's unlikely to have been ripped off enough to be completely stale yet.

As a result I always want to hear more about the universe and story in a sci-fi game whereas I expect to generally find the story in a "fantasy" game mind-numbing until such time as fantasy games are not legally required to be the Lord of the Rings.

Anyone else think that Deus Ex:Human Revolutions handled setting and story really well? I think taking a note of Square's style there would be a wise move, using dialog and -as someone mentioned earlier- a codex style mechanic to really add some flesh to the narrative bones that are established during main gameplay.
Well, regardless I'll be keeping a very close eye on this as news slowly trickles out of the rumor mill.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here