Witcher 3 Developer Calls Skyrim "Casual"

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wombat_of_war:
as for the mention that they are using a russel crow movie for inspiration, well thats nothing really to brag about haha

To be fair the Robin Hood movie was very accurate with its environmental and timepiece setting. The armour, weapons, buildings, and behavior of individuals was very accurate of a feudal setting. It honestly should have just been called ANYTHING other than Robin Hood but I guess you have to use a well established IP to get people's bums on seats.

CDPR is accurate with how "casual" the RPG elements of Skyrim were. The setting was great, the graphics were top-notch, the voice acting was solid, the combat was engaging and the open world mechanics were some of the best we've ever seen... but the story and reaction to character decisions was flat, dull and simplistic. Kill the Emperor? A guard occasionally says something along the lines of "Emperor dead! :(" and everything else is the same. The Stormcloaks or Empire wins the civil war? Guard models change. That's it.

In the Witcher 2 when you made a decision you saw the effects of it on the story as a whole. New options became available or not. A decision in Act 1 to toss a guy a sword or not can result in a town breaking out in a non-human hunting riot or a giant celebration with whores on tab and cheers all around... and that's small potatoes to the effects your choices in other acts have.

Skyrim may not be a casual game but it is certainly the most streamlined and accessible of all the Elder Scrolls games. Compare it to Morrowind or even Daggerfall and you can see Skyrim is their least "hardcore" rpg yet.
Its almost become an action game at this point.
Also, Andy, are you kidding me with this, "With its massive open world, competing factions, huge array of NPCs, widely varied environments, hundreds of dungeons and deep, flexible character creation options,"?

1. Wide as the ocean, deep as a puddle
2. Factions that don't progress in any meaningful ways
3. NPC's that for the most part are boring and lack meaningful interactions
4. Wide variety of environments like really snowy mountains, less snowy hills, barely snowy valleys
5. Hundreds of mostly samey, uninteresting dungeons
6. Least flexible character creation options in a modern Elder Scrolls game yet

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the game and I have dumped about 150 hours into it. I still lament how much it has been streamlined and simplified.

AJey:
Sorry, but I would rather take Skyrim's "casual" approach than Second Witcher's supposed complexity. Almost half of the in-game time was spent in dialogues. I want to play the game, not listen to it.

God forbid a damn RPG has a story.

Which the witcher has, and in fact its story blows even Skyrim away due to how branching it truly is. Especially since every single choice has a huge consequence attached to it, even the tiny ones.

Ultratwinkie:

AJey:
Sorry, but I would rather take Skyrim's "casual" approach than Second Witcher's supposed complexity. Almost half of the in-game time was spent in dialogues. I want to play the game, not listen to it.

God forbid a damn RPG has a story.

Which the witcher has, and in fact its story blows even Skyrim away due to how branching it truly is. Especially since every single choice has a huge consequence attached to it, even the tiny ones.

Well, first of all, I am not complaining about it having a great story (and yeah, it is great). How did you draw a correlation between excessive dialogue and story? last time I checked, there are numerous ways to convey a story; relying mostly on dialogue is not efficient.

Secondly, when it comes to games, gameplay is the most important element, not story. You can have a good game without a good story, you cant have a good game without good gameplay. Dont get me wrong, I love a good story, but gameplay is always a priority.

Amir Kondori:
Also, Andy, are you kidding me with this, "With its massive open world, competing factions, huge array of NPCs, widely varied environments, hundreds of dungeons and deep, flexible character creation options,"?

Sure, why not? FWIW, Skyrim is my least-favourite Elder Scrolls game yet, largely for the reasons you mentioned, but there are few better examples of a modern, mainstream "core" RPG. I've got 123 hours on Skyrim myself, obviously I enjoyed it and got a lot of mileage out of it, but I also never finished it because my interest just fizzled out - once exploring dungeons and ruins got dull, there just wasn't enough meat on the bone to hold my interest. My great hope is that the next TES game will offer up an experience more akin to Daggerfall or Morrowind, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Speaking purely as a an ignorant pleb, who's only got Yahtzee's review of the Witcher 2 to go on, I can safely say I'd prefer Skyrim's hodgepodge of underdeveloped mechanics to the Witcher's needless complexity added only to justify it's existence on the PC.

Unless the Witcher is actually really good, and not tedious at all. Somebody give me the lowdown on it?

I've called games things before. Where the hell are the full page articles about me?

If the word "Casual" had any meaning, then Skyrim would be its definition. Skyrim is no commitment, you can just go anywhere, do some stuff, feel rewarded, drop it for a week, and come back. Sure, you may have forgotten stuff, but it doesn't matter. You can enjoy it fine, you missed nothing.

And that's good! That's what a sandbox game like this is for. You can play it hardcore, just like any other game, but looking at what the game purely is, then it's the most casual friendly RPG on the market.

Casual isn't bad, or rather, it shouldn't be bad. Sadly, dudebro gamers, as usual, pretend it's bad, just like they pretend blue sky or colors are bad, but that's dudebros for you.

Honestly, compared to all the other TES games, Skyrim is amazingly dumbed down. There's so much less... everything, really.
Seriously, go play Morrowind and you'll see what I mean.
If you want to see just how dumbed down it is, I suggest playing Fallout 2. You'll never look at Skyrim the same way again.
PS: yellow journalism gets old fast. Please stop.

Misleading article title. As the writer begrudgingly admits halfway through the article, the CD Projekt Red person wasn't calling Skyrim a "casual game" ala Farmville or Angry Birds. He was just saying Skyrim is an easy game to get into for a few minutes or a few hours of aimless wandering and mucking around - i.e. a fairly casual mode of gameplay.

I would agree Skyrim initially is a casual game.

But:
Mods can turn it into less-casual.
The load time between places and loading the game for myself actually stops me playing it casually. By the time I get on, I actually want to spend time in the world.

The world is immersive despite the quests being shallower than Oblivion's. The dungeons are better, so I personally just explore. I only do quests which draw my attention. I'm not going to 100% Skyrim.

You can what the bloke is getting at, Skyrim was great for the first 40 hours or so, then you realised all the weapons are pretty similar, the magic is pretty bland, what you do makes almost zero difference to the world.

I am not knocking it, as I say, loved it, love randomly buggering off for 3 hours to find a willow-the-whisp which then utter destroys me but the Witcher 2 is a whole different ball game in terms of depth and interaction. You can miss out 1/3 of the game, actually you will, unless you play it at least twice.

Good stuff, interesting to see if open world works in Witcher

teh_gunslinger:
While it's a stretch to call Skyrim casual and I like the game quite a bit (140 hours before I got bored) the game is very light on actual systems and reactivity. It's ultimately a hollow game where you may be the guy who is the leased of every guild and saved the world but nobody in said world will note that.

The new skill system is also considerably more pointless than the earlier games and the game can't be lost and it never pushes back towards the player. Nothing has consequences and nothing ultimately matters. You may be able to sneak stab a dragon in the tail and kill it with that one stab but some dude will still call you milk drinker.

Casual game it may not be, but a game that doesn't demand anything or indeed give anything, that it is.

THIS.
Exactly how I feel about all the TES games I know (Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim), and exactly why I never really got engaged in them, I felt this from the start, everything felt like a cardboard scenery (not because of graphics). Games to me are (/should be) mainly about messing around with interconnected systems and experiencing the emergent scenarios it results in, but I never found anything connected to anything in any meaningful way in TES games... And that's why I never understood the people who love those games religiously. I mean, I still like them a lot, they show and realize big parts of the potential of the genre, but they neglect the one part that is most important (to me personally).

I wouldn't call it casual. But it is a streamlined game!

Things have been rounded and put together to work together so smooth that really you get to have a relative good time no matter how you play.

And that is a nice part about Skyrim, as you play the game adjusts to how you play. So in short it isn't as much as about planning your next moves right.. as it is about knowing how to use your best skills.

Is that "casual" nah

The witcher is a whole different game to say the least. And you know if you like to put yourself more to the test the witcher will suit you more that is certain.

Maybe the new Witcher game will actually have an unrivalled story to blow everything else out of the water.

In the mean time the combat will still presumably suck complete ass

Skyrim is as "casual" as an RPG can get whilst still being a full-on RPG rather than whatever half-RPG half-awesome-simulator monstrosity Dragon Age 2 was. Is it casual a-la Bejeweled? Hell no. Is it casual when you put it up next to other modern RPGs like Dragon Age: Origins or, yes, the Witcher? Hell to the yes.

That doesn't make it bad. Bethesda's games have never really been about the mechanics, as much as some Morrowind fans would like you to be believe that. They're about exploring a world. Skyrim let you explore its world without the hassle of dealing with numbers. Even the extremely "dumbed-down" Oblivion had a lot more hassle to it: You did have to optimize if you didn't want the world to out-level you, making sure you leveled the right skills before gaining a level. In Skyrim, I went my entire first run as a mage who refused to wear anything but robes on the second highest difficulty and didn't run into much trouble.

Does that makes Skyrim easier? Yes. Does that make Skyrim less of a "hardcore" title? Yes. Does it make it something at the level of Peggle? No. Skyrim is mechanically casual, but exploration-wise very deep and rewarding.

What annoys me the most is that we're still discussing whether a game is "casual" or "hardcore". Can't we just agree that games in general are awesome and not judge them based on how many spreadsheets one needs to play them?

I think the interpretation of the quote is really misleading.

You can play Skyrim casually by exploring an area without any wider purpose than to see what's there. You can fast travel all over the place whenever you feel like it "just because". That's a significant point of its appeal.

To me the quote suggests that Witcher 3 will be more restrictive, always giving you an in game context to go to a particular area and preventing you from just wandering off wherever you feel like. There are Pros and Cons to this but I definitely trust them to know what they're doing.

This is yet another example of why the whole "Hardcore vs Casual" games thing is just a rather embarrassing snobbery. I'd never call "Battlestar Galactica" casual because it has fewer characters and less complexity than "Game of Thrones".

The fact that you can play a game casually is a good thing. I think when people say "casual" as an insult they mean "superficial" or "shallow" and that only makes sense as a comparison not an absolute. It depends on the player and it depends on what other experiences you're comparing to. I found the Witcher (only played the first one btw) to be far more complicated than deep.

Machine Man 1992:
Speaking purely as a an ignorant pleb, who's only got Yahtzee's review of the Witcher 2 to go on, I can safely say I'd prefer Skyrim's hodgepodge of underdeveloped mechanics to the Witcher's needless complexity added only to justify it's existence on the PC.

Unless the Witcher is actually really good, and not tedious at all. Somebody give me the lowdown on it?

Quite a few will say that both games are great, but Witcher 1 is in fact tedious for many. If they weren't great, the Witcher franchise wouldn't be growing in scale and popularity at such a massive rate as it is.

You should take Yahtzee's videos with a full saltshaker ready, because he's the only one who's called the Witcher games needlessly complicated as far as I know. I don't really understand his alchemy comments, the mechanic is easier to handle than that of the Elder Scrolls series.

K12:
To me the quote suggests that Witcher 3 will be more restrictive, always giving you an in game context to go to a particular area and preventing you from just wandering off wherever you feel like. There are Pros and Cons to this but I definitely trust them to know what they're doing.

If I recall correctly, they've earlier stated that the sandboxes will be separated by 3 chapters, so the amount of land you'll be able to traverse at any moment will be smaller than Skyrim, even if the overall size is bigger

Norrdicus:

Machine Man 1992:
Speaking purely as a an ignorant pleb, who's only got Yahtzee's review of the Witcher 2 to go on, I can safely say I'd prefer Skyrim's hodgepodge of underdeveloped mechanics to the Witcher's needless complexity added only to justify it's existence on the PC.

Unless the Witcher is actually really good, and not tedious at all. Somebody give me the lowdown on it?

Quite a few will say that both games are great, but Witcher 1 is in fact tedious for many. If they weren't great, the Witcher franchise wouldn't be growing in scale and popularity at such a massive rate as it is.

You should take Yahtzee's videos with a full saltshaker ready, because he's the only one who's called the Witcher games needlessly complicated as far as I know. I don't really understand his alchemy comments, the mechanic is easier to handle than that of the Elder Scrolls series.

But then again, on the other hand, Yahtzee has a history of calling out gameplay mechanic issues that other critics over looked, or even praised.

And I prefer elegant simplicity over needless complexity any day. If a game is one of those games that requires you use the entire keyboard, like a flight sim, or space combat game, then fine. If a game arbitrarily adds steps to a process other games have done faster and simpler, then I want nothing to do it.

Again- ignorant pleb. Probably won't play the Whitchers. Only have a half decade old mac and consoles.

Arkaijn:
Casual isn't a curse word, it just means the game has been watered down to appeal to a broader audience, which was what happened to Skyrim.

You don't think calling a game "watered down to appeal to a broader audience" is not a curse word? That said I completely agree

Well, I call your games needlessly obtuse, user unfriendly and incredibly boring so I guess we're on equal footing now, aren't we.

mitchell271:
Well, I call your games needlessly obtuse, user unfriendly and incredibly boring so I guess we're on equal footing now, aren't we.

No, really not, Mattson made a very neutral comment about Skyrim's style of gameplay

You're just being "Well, umm, YOUR FACE!"

So, by casual do they mean less involved? Like fewer stat charts and less of a need for the player to do real paper work during the game? I can understand that. Hell, I had the game guide for morrowind and clearly remember working out numbers on paper for character generation and for some quests.

That being said, I'd say that advancements to the GUI and quest tracking has made games significantly more user friendly. I wouldn't put a game in a casual category just because it's user friendly. I'd call games that aren't user friendly poorly designed and not user friendly. If I want to pull out a stat sheet three pages deep and do that work myself, I'll play table top games, not video games.

The mechanics of the game should be able to get out of the way of the player. The ability to go into ultra depth in game mechanics is now a feature, not mandatory and that's a good thing. Fortunately, I think these developers got that. Unfortunately, they've done it with the difficulty level of the game rather than via some other method. But that's just telling of why they'd consider Skyrim casual when it is a very involved and full-blown AAA title.

Wow, 3 pages into the thread and it seems only like 5 people swallowed the bait and went straight to the comments to rage. More forumites calling Andy out on shoddy journalism than buying it, my fondness of the Escapist forums is growing.

OT: Different game styles. You can't just put any of the Witcher games away for a month and jump right in. TES games? Easily. I prefer the tighter narrative structure, but still had loads of fun with Skyrim. I'd interpret the quote from Jonas as: "Yes, we're going for open world, but no, we're not riding Skyrim's coattails. We'll be doing it our own way."

EDIT: OK, 6 people.

Dude, way to bend a story for a meaty title, eh?

Even you, who created this piece of news, say in it that you dont believe that this is what happened

Andy Chalk:
In all fairness, I don't think Mattson is actually suggesting that Skyrim is a "casual game" in the usual sense (although it's a funny thought), but rather that Bethesda's approach to storytelling is less focused than CDPR's. The Elder Scrolls games are basically settings in which you can do whatever you want, while The Witcher has been a much more directed experience; trying to bring the two together is a risky move, especially for a studio taking its first run at an open-world game, but if it works it could be flat-out amazing.

Then why create this story? I would kind of get it if the source was already put like that but its just an interview about a demo or something, you are the one that saw this and took it out of context for clicks.

Its the second time today that I see this in here, in a year even Kotaku will look better then The Escapist if you guys keep creating these baits

It is casual and simplified and not nearly as deep as the previous elder scrolls games, still a good game, just.....casual........and not as good as it could have been. But it sold millions so none of that actually matters to people who make decisions about games.

I think he has a reasonable point. Now I don't think Skyrim is a full-blown casual game, but true enough, it does feel more "casual" than its predecessors. Does it make it a bad game? No. Does it make it less challenging? Yes. Some people like it and some people don't. But being casual in a positive way, like Skyrim, is a good thing appreciated by many so I respect that. All that I ask from developers is moderation in everything. Especially in "casualization".

AJey:

Well, first of all, I am not complaining about it having a great story (and yeah, it is great). How did you draw a correlation between excessive dialogue and story? last time I checked, there are numerous ways to convey a story; relying mostly on dialogue is not efficient.

Because more recently we've seen that most "modern" game developers have the subtlety of a sledgehammer when it comes to non-verbal storytelling which in turn means that most of their story comes from dialogue or written words. When those dialogue and written words are lacking, then the story is left shit.

AJey:

Secondly, when it comes to games, gameplay is the most important element, not story. You can have a good game without a good story, you cant have a good game without good gameplay. Dont get me wrong, I love a good story, but gameplay is always a priority.

For some people maybe. I don't think anyone will disagree that gameplay takes priority, but a poorly written story can bring a game down. Especially for games that try to bite off more than they can chew.

Skyrim was definitely casual in the sense of being less challenging than Witcher 2. I'll never forget getting trounced by Aryan and his goons during the opening bits of Witcher 2, especially since I approached that fight with all the cock and swagger of a player determined to pill as much blood as the game would let me. That never happened in Skyrim unless I wandered into a dragon's maw a few hours too early.
The difficulty of the Witcher 2's combat created a real incentive for wanting to avoid fights. Players knew the combat was going to be challenging and thus approached it very carefully, likely in the same manner Geralt would in his world. The risk of dying against a deadly foe coloured ones decisions. That did not happen very often in Skyrim, apart from a few very rare occasions- dragons and giants, mostly.

Casual? I dunno. I take casual to generally mean impossible to fail (so reaching max level in WoW for example, or something like that). You can screw yourself pretty easy in Skyrim from what I understand. So I'd agree with simple, but not really casual. I can only really see "casual" in relation to the previous, more hardcore nature of the series.

Anyways, I fail to see how the Witcher is more hardcore than Skyrim.

So Witcher 3 is not casual because they use a different color scheme?

sorry that's all I understood from that message.

Machine Man 1992:
But then again, on the other hand, Yahtzee has a history of calling out gameplay mechanic issues that other critics over looked, or even praised.

And I prefer elegant simplicity over needless complexity any day. If a game is one of those games that requires you use the entire keyboard, like a flight sim, or space combat game, then fine. If a game arbitrarily adds steps to a process other games have done faster and simpler, then I want nothing to do it.

Again- ignorant pleb. Probably won't play the Whitchers. Only have a half decade old mac and consoles.

Let me put it this way: I roll my eyes at people who bitch about Skyrim being "dumbed down" compared to Morrowind because I prefer a good game where you don't have to RTFM to know how to perform simple tasks. I like that Skyrim's perk tree system lets me level up without having to juggle a bunch of stats. And the Witcher series is one of my all-time favorites. The Witcher 2 is available on 360, and I highly recommend at least renting it. Incidentally, after Yahtzee's review came out lambasting the game for not telling you how to do things, CD Projekt added a tutorial mode to the Enhanced Edition (that's their equivalent of a GOTY edition, except it's available at no charge if you bought the original version; even if I didn't like the game I'd have bought it just to encourage that kind of business practice).

MidnightSt:

teh_gunslinger:
While it's a stretch to call Skyrim casual and I like the game quite a bit (140 hours before I got bored) the game is very light on actual systems and reactivity. It's ultimately a hollow game where you may be the guy who is the leased of every guild and saved the world but nobody in said world will note that.

The new skill system is also considerably more pointless than the earlier games and the game can't be lost and it never pushes back towards the player. Nothing has consequences and nothing ultimately matters. You may be able to sneak stab a dragon in the tail and kill it with that one stab but some dude will still call you milk drinker.

Casual game it may not be, but a game that doesn't demand anything or indeed give anything, that it is.

THIS.
Exactly how I feel about all the TES games I know (Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim), and exactly why I never really got engaged in them, I felt this from the start, everything felt like a cardboard scenery (not because of graphics). Games to me are (/should be) mainly about messing around with interconnected systems and experiencing the emergent scenarios it results in, but I never found anything connected to anything in any meaningful way in TES games... And that's why I never understood the people who love those games religiously. I mean, I still like them a lot, they show and realize big parts of the potential of the genre, but they neglect the one part that is most important (to me personally).

Messing about with interconnected systems? Have you played STALKER? If not, I think that might scratch that itch for you.

I couldn't agree more the way Skyrim's gameplay is structured and the the upgrade system works is very casual.

Krantos:

Professor Uzzy:

An RPG that non-reactive to the players actions cannot be considered a 'full-on, heavyweight RPG'.

Sorry, but that depends entirely on how you define RPG, and from what I've seen, no one can come up with a definition that satisfies everyone.

I know what defines an RPG in my eyes: a game where you play a role irrespective to the one you're currently holding.. Sure, that makes virtually every game in existence some sort of RPG if you wanna get into semantics, but there you go, and there's nothing anyone can tell me that'll make me think otherwise.

CardinalPiggles:
Skyrim is like a giant ballpit. The Witcher is more like an adventure playground.

Nice analogy. Really, it is.

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