Game Info

E3 2011: The Witcher 2 Xbox 360 First Impressions

Waaaay back in September of 2009, in the near-early stages of The Witcher 2's long development, CD Projekt RED expressed their clear intentions to release their new western RPG for console fans who never got a chance to enjoy their first entry. At the time, this may have been driven based on the failure that was "The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf", but it felt genuine all the same.

After having been invited by CD Projekt RED to learn about a new project they were working on, all signs seemed to point directly to what has always been their motive all along. That was confirmed last week, when the team announced that The Witcher 2 will be launching on the Xbox 360.

Now, there isn't a whole lot for me to talk about when it comes to the differences between the two platforms. After going through a short presentation over how successful the game has been for the company, such as how they have sold 400,000 copies in its first week of release, and how they have experienced critical acclaim from the top games journalism sites in the world, they proceeded to lay out their blueprint on how they intend to make sure that this time around, their vision will be straightforward and assertive.

Their policy is one of adaptation. Rather than simply phoning things in with a port, they will provide the same amount of support for the Xbox 360 version as they have been doing on the PC version. That includes providing all current and future DLC free of charge, launching the game with all of the patches that have so far been released (included the 2 major content updates), and the same quality of customer support we have expected from the developers. They want to ensure that they are listening to feedback around the clock, and welcome any and all comments or questions that players have about the new game.

As far as the demo was concerned, one of the level designers and the lead combat designer walked us through two of the four possible methods of completing the prison break quest in the prologue. As far as I could tell, the User Interface is completely identical to the PC game aside from the obvious inclusion of the XBYA controls, which were also used during the fist fights at the beginning. While the RED Engine continues to shine brilliantly even on a console, there were still some frame rate hiccups and animation issues present, but this was a pre-alpha build so should be understood as such.

There are still very little if any real loading screens to speak of just like in the PC version, and the lighting is still incredible. The outdoor environments, however, may be lacking in actual detail. Overall, however, it is definitely one of the better looking games you can find on a console release, and it's as if you set your graphical settings to High instead of Ultra as many people already do.

After showing the latest trailer for their console game, the team announced that they will be releasing Witcher 2 by the end of the year, and it will include a limited edition just like the PC counterpart. During the Q&A session, they did express their love of wanting to bring the game to the PS3 as well, but they just simply lack the resources being the small team they are to undertake a project such as that.

They have also mentioned that they are seriously considering adding modding support to their PC game, but right now their focus is on making sure the 360 title is the best they can make it. Overall, this is still a very solid effort from CD Projekt RED, and one that for those of you who cringed at the idea of a port ruining what made Witcher 2 great should not make you worry in the slightest.

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