CD Projekt RED doesn’t just make games, it plays them too, and it’s not about to pretend that it hasn’t picked up a few ideas.
It’s not Tolkien or Dungeons & Dragons that CD Projekt RED is drawing inspiration from for The Witcher 2; it’s Arkham Asylum, Mass Effect and Heavy Rain. Tomasz Gop, senior producer for The Witcher 2, said that the developer tried to play as many major games as it could, and cited the three as having inspired some element of The Witcher 2.
Gop said that Arkham Asylum was a game that had a very in-depth combat system, but remained accessible at the same time. He said that it was possible to fight “mindlessly” in the game, but it was equally possible to plan for combat encounters, learn moves, and really master the system. He said that was something that CD Project RED was trying to achieve with The Witcher 2, and wasn’t afraid to admit that Arkham Asylum had been an inspiration.
When it came to Mass Effect and Heavy Rain, Gop said they had inspired the way the The Witcher 2 told its story. The sex scenes in Heavy Rain had been part of the reason that CD Projekt RED had changed the way that it handled sex in The Witcher 2, Gop said, from the collectible cards of the first game to something more story-driven and cinematic. Mass Effect had inspired the streamlined conversation system in The Witcher 2, although Gop stressed that CD Projekt RED hadn’t used the rather clear cut morality of BioWare’s sci-fi RPG.
It’s a little unusual for a developer to be so candid about being inspired by competitors’ games, but there are much worse games to be drawing inspiration from. The Witcher 2 is scheduled for release early next year.