The Witcher 3 Monster Diary
CD Projekt Red recently released a new developmental diary detailing the various manners in which you will be combating the monsters and the fashion in which these monsters live within this world, in a sort of organic system inhabiting you, the other NPC’s and the wildlife, each with their own actions and consequences that will affect the direction of your game, though I’ll let the developers themselves further elaborate on that subject.
Bill Daly, the secondary lead character designer, introduces it all by telling us that “designing these creatures is a collaborative effort between character concept and animation departments.” As we all know, the Witcher 3 tends to take a grounded medieval fantasy approach, it also extends to the way monsters are designed as well, they “try to visualize the anatomy of the creature and ask [themselves] if this is something that could actually exist”, in the sense that “they are fantastical creatures but [they] don’t want them to defy the laws of physics”.
Damien Monier, senior gameplay designer for CD Projekt Red, goes on to elaborate more on the actual interactions with the monsters you’ll be facing. “In order to become the best monster hunter, you must first learn how to understand your foes,” he starts, elaborating that “it’s your job to figure out the best way to kill them.”
Refreshing us with the standard tools we’ll be using throughout Witcher 3 is their lead animator, Jamie Bury, “his steel sword […] is used primarily for fighting the human opponents, and his silver sword which he uses for fighting monsters,” he also expands on the introduction of the crossbow which is used “for fighting ranged or flying foes that are trying to keep their distance from him. Crossbows are also very useful for fighting underwater against swimming monsters.”
This is where the CD Projekt Red crew starts detailing more concrete examples, like the Harpies who “fly around you and circle you, […] the only way to deal with that is first to bring them down and that’s where your Ards spell comes in handy, a sort of compressed air that will bring them down to the ground where you can finish them with your sword.” They address another case, such as the earlier underwater situations, “some monsters in the Witcher 3 can actually swim, [they] can attack the player when he’s underwater and even go as far as attacking his boat. This can be really dangerous for the player if the monster has a natural affinity for the water such as the Drowner.” Drowners are a familiar breed of creatures for Witcher veterans, “Drowners are creatures that live in swamps and will snatch at anything that comes near their ponds, and these particular creatures absolutely hate fire, and they fear it and that’s where your Ignite spell, a flame that bursts out of your hand, comes in handy. That is the best way to kill them.”
They present a final example, “with the werewolf, a bomb filled with silver powder will take away his regenerative abilities, this will make it much easier for the player to defeat him after. The player can use weapon oils to coat his weapons that will make him do enhanced damage against specific enemy types,” it goes back to what they were saying earlier, it’s all about “knowing when and where to use them, and that judgment is left up to the player based on his surrounding environment, the weather, and even territorial marks that the monsters may have left in the area.”
The developers conclude by saying that “they’ve created a complex behavior system in the game that actually allows [the] creatures to live in the world that they inhabit. They’re never just [going] to spawn in front of you artificially, and they don’t just interact with the player, they interact with each other and NPC’s.” Damien Monier continues a bit more passionately, “[they’ve] created a unique ecosystem that includes monsters, animals and humans all living together, fighting, trying to survive, and you are merely a spectator.” He finishes on a definitive note, “Now, it is your choice to interfere with whatever’s happening in front of you, but don’t forget, every action you take in the Witcher, has its own consequences.” If that doesn’t have you marking down your calendars till the release date, I’m not sure what will.