After an absurd number of free patches and updates, you would think you'd finally be able to play The Witcher 2 (Enhanced Edition (Director's Cut)) safe in the certainty that there couldn't possibly be any more changes made to the game. But while the official support may have slowed, one mod project is set to significantly overhaul the game - and it does come with a connection to CD Projekt RED. The mod, Full Combat Rebalance 2, is being developed by Andrzej Kwiatkowski, a Gameplay Designer on The Witcher 3.
The Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition
Yesterday morning, the site for the Witcher 2's official modding tools, REDKit, accidentally went live for a brief period of time. The domain was quickly put under password protection, but direct links to the files themselves were still available for some time afterward, and are currently circulating in peer-to-peer channels. CD Projekt RED has clarified that the files were not meant to be available until Monday, but those who have already downloaded them are free to start going to town.
It's been a year since The Witcher 2 was first released on PC. Since then a series of big patches have added new quests, characters, combat tweaks and game modes. Earlier today, the Enhanced Edition made even more additions. Like every update for The Witcher 2, it was released as a free download. I met up with level designer Ziemak Marek last week to find out why CD Projekt have decided not to charge for additions that other companies would sell as DLC packs.
"It's a part of our philosophy," Marek said. "Our concept is to create a really great RPG game, and if it's not great for everyone and it's not as great as we'd like it to be, if it has some glitches or there are some elements that could be better, then we feel responsible for remaking them."
The Enhanced Edition of the Witcher 2 is out today. The patch adds 10GB of new cinematics, quests, tweaks and balance fixes to add another layer of polish, and to address players' biggest criticisms of the game. I sat down with level designer Ziemak Marek to ask him about the Enhanced Edition updates, but first I had to know, is this the last update for The Witcher 2? Is it finally finished?
"It's finally finished!" he laughed. "We're really happy with it."
So, no more updates at all? "Nothing I can really comment about," he said. "right now we feel that this is the most polished and refined version of The Witcher 2. I don't think there's going to be a need to change something. I think this time we improved everything we wanted to."
"I don’t want Witcher to be sold by crappy stores which don’t care about the consumers." That's what the impressively titled Marcin Iwinski - co-founder, Member of the Board and Business Development at CD Projekt Group - had to say at GDC last week.
The diversity of video game retailers is a contentious issue at the moment. UK retail chain GAME's share prices are at an all-time low. If the cover of industry magazine, MCV is anything to go by, they're already dead. Marcin has been predicting the decline for years: "It’s funny because I’m speaking at the conferences, lectures and whatnot for the last six years of saying 'digital, digital, digital' and nothing happened. Then... kaboom! We're at the tipping point and off we go."
"DRM does not protect your game. If there are examples that it does, then people maybe should consider it, but then there are complications with legit users." That's what Marcin Iwinski, CEO at CD Projekt, had to say to Joystiq last night.
The value of digital rights management protection seems to be a contentious issue at the Polish developer. Back in December, CD Projekt's VP of Business Development talked up breakthroughs in DRM technology, saying they had achieved 100% accuracy in detecting pirates. They even sent letters out to thousands, demanding cash.
On Friday CD Projekt announced that everyone's copy of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings will be upgraded to the Enhanced Edition on April 17. This will add extra areas, like "an underground system of chambers beneath Loc Muine" and "a temperate coniferous forest in the Loc Muine mountains." There will be new characters to meet, quests to complete and foes to freeze-bomb, and CD Projekt will release a bonus digital map, soundtrack, game guide and manual for good measure.
The trailer above is the new cinematic created for the Enhanced Edition. You only see King Demavend's severed head in The Witcher 2, but you don't know that he lost it during an awesome slow-mo action sequence on board a shattering, ice-bombed boat. Good stuff. The Witcher 2 is on sale on GOG for the next week or so.