The Witcher as originally envisioned in 2002 would have been a completely different beast from the game that eventually launched the series.
The Witcher games have come a long way since the original title first introduced audiences everywhere to the grim adventures of Geralt the monster hunter. In fact, the series actually has actually come even further than many people might realize. Well before the game that would become The Witcher was even in development, the team behind it produced another demo version of a proposed Witcher game that would have taken the series in a hugely different direction.
The demo in question was showcased on YouTube by Ryszard Chojnowski, the project lead for The Witcher as it existed between 2003 and 2004. The demo, of which Chojnwoski believes there only about 20 copies in the entire world, featured top-down gameplay that he claims was most directly inspired by Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance. Unlike the series that eventually emerged, it would also have had players creating their own characters rather than playing as the White Wolf himself, Geralt. The demo showed off the early, limited version of combat as well as four environments including a battlefield, a castle, a dungeon and a mountain pathway.
According to Chojnowski, this early version was stunted, in part, by a lack of communication between the studio’s different departments. “Everybody had their own vision of the game,” he said. These issues, coupled with the visual limitations of the engine being used at the time, eventually led the company to scrap the whole thing and “start from scratch.” The fruit of that decision, of course, is the now renowned series that RPG fans the world over have been enjoying for close to a decade.