Games Convention 2008: Interview with Michal Kicinski

At the Games Convention 2008, we had the opportunity to interview Michal Kicinski, one of the Co-Founders of CD Project, about the Enhanced Edition and the furture of the D'Jinni Editor. Hi, Michal. Please tell us, who you are, what you do and why you are so important for The Witcher that we do an interview with you.

Michal Kicinski: (laughing) That is a good question, especially the last part. My Name is Michal Kicinski. I’m one of the Co-Founders of the company, of CD Project. I found the Company together with Marcin Iwinski 14 years ago and I was one of the authors of the vision of the Witcher game. As a short introduction: What are main targets of the Enhanced Edition?
Great artwork at the CD Project booth

Michal Kicinski: Main target for the Enhanced Edition is to make The Witcher as perfect as it is possible. So it was our main target, to polish the game and to address all known issues and things which were not liked by gamers and change them and make the game even better than it was in the original version. And also add some additional content. One of the additional targets was to provide to all the players worldwide the same high quality of the box and all the content inside the box. About the atmosphere: We already have seen the new colorful clothes. But will you also include new models or faces in the Enhanced Edition?

Michal Kicinski: In Enhanced Edition, in terms of the models, we just made a system to create different NPC models of the crowd, so the crowd is not looking the same. But we actually were not adding new models, especially for the main characters in the game, because the storyline of course remains the same. I would say the biggest changes from the game play perspective are the new animations for the dialogs and for the cut scenes connected with a system of showing the emotions of the character. So right now, all the dialogs look much more like in real life. People are moving their hands; they are expressing emotions when they are speaking. It really gives a much better feeling to merge into the game. Especially in Germany, there were many complains about the game’s voiceovers. So together with the community and us,, you tried to do it better this time. At the end, how much of new voiceovers are in the game?

Michal Kicinski: I’m happy about this question, because this is one of the features which we are really proud of. We heard lots of complains about the quality of German voiceovers. And we decided that the whole German version is going to be done from scratch once again. So we once again recorded all voices for the game, all voices. There is no voice from the previous version which stays in the Enhanced Edition. All actors, all voices are new. And especially there’s a new actor playing Geralt. And I think that this actor is much more believable and speaks much better the role of Geralt, which is very important for the game, of course, you know why. Are there some new game play features you added for the Enhanced Edition?
Sweil interviewing Michal Kicinski

Michal Kicinski: Actually we are talking about the main features, but in the game there are like dozens of smaller changes, maybe not so spectacular but pretty nice ones. Of course a very big change is the new inventory panel. The previous inventory panel was not so handy, I would say, and the new one is much more user friendly and easier to manage. But there are more small different features like auto looting, helping to gather items faster. I personally like the feature, when the Witcher goes to the villages or the town people are looking after him, turning their heads, looking for who is coming and why this guy is looking so strange. That’s a very tiny feature, but it really makes the world more believable and gives additional “flavor”. So there are more of these small, nice features. And as I think, the gamers, when they will play the game, they will discover more and more of them. Will there be also some new contents, like new Quests, Items or Armors?

Michal Kicinski: Basically, in terms of the new content, it was not our main focus, also there is new content. The most important are the two new adventures “Price of Neutrality” and “Sideeffects”. One of these adventures was released with D’Jinni and one is completely new. So those adventures give additional game play time, four to six hours. And of course they are not connected with the main storyline, but the stories which are told in those small adventures are very consistent with the world and players will find some connections between the small adventures and the main story. That is, I would say, the most important new content in the Enhanced Edition. There are many new features. You now may think the Enhanced Edition will need a more powerful system. Is this right? Or did you also enhance the technique behind the game? So, the system requirements won’t change or will be even lower?

Michal Kicinski: That’s also a very good question. The Witcher is much more stable and much more optimized. We are focusing to make the game as stable as it is possible. So I think that right now there won’t be any technical issues some how connected with the stability of the game or problems with the operating system or something like this. I think that The Witcher is really like “technical-bug proofed” and will be really easy to start with any computer system with any configuration with any version of the windows system. I think this is also a big improvement and we also helping people to get involved in the game and not thrown away to the screen of windows. So that’s also important. And regarding the new content of the previous question, we’re also pretty proud because for those two new adventures, our focus was not to give additional game play, but to show how you can use D’Jinni content Editor, because those new adventures were created on this content. But at the very end stage of creating the Enhanced Edition we decided that they would be also fully voiceovered. So those two new adventures, they also have actor’s voices and they are pretty nice. Did you add new graphics for the high end sector in the Enhanced Edition?

Michal Kicinski: No, we are not adding new graphics. The game so far supports pretty high resolutions and high settings and I think there is no need to make it for even stronger computers. You know, from Release its only ten month and computers are changing not as fast that it would be worth to add some new graphics. Maybe if we will be releasing The Witcher in five years, maybe, we really hope that there's a presence, if we've worked up to something like this, maybe then we will think of improvements of graphic or interface, but not now. One question about D’Jinni: It is a tool from your workflow also, so we guess it is in constant development. Will there be a future update on D’Jinni?

Michal Kicinski: D’Jinni basically is all the time in development. In the Enhanced Edition D’Jinni will be in its latest version. So all people who have the Enhanced Edition will find a new version of D’Jinni editor, improved mod tables and we will be improving D’Jinni all time long, yes. So, till now, you are happy with the success of D’Jinni?

Michal Kicinski: Ah, you know, D’Jinni was not our main focus. I mean, The Witcher is a single player game, where the creation of the content, especially the graphic illustration, depends on 3d programs, like 3ds max, it cannot be done in the editor. From the very beginning we know it will be easy to create new adventures by D’Jinni. We treated D’Jinni as an additional feature, it was not our key. Our key is a single player game with story line and we focused on this. D’Jinni is more like: If you wanna try, if you want to feel how we are creating the game, you may try, but it’s basically no our focus. But there are pretty nice adventures right now in the creation; in the latest newsletter from Red (CD Project Red) a list of adventures was written. And I think there are right now like five, six very big adventures in the creation, plus dozens of smaller ones. Okay, so you we are nearly at the end of the interview. I just want to ask you three questions about yourself. Short questions and short answers. - PC, Xbox, Playstation or Wii, which one do you prefer?

Michal Kicinski: PC and Wii definitely. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Michal Kicinski: It’s definitely Chocolate, yeah. Why do you think you will never have an intimate relationship with Geralt?

Michal Kicinski: (laughing) You know, I’m not the kind of guy how likes Witchers to have a relationship with, but perhaps with some of the female characters from the game. Why not, why not. (laughing) So, thank you very much for the interview. We hope the game will be great, at least I think so.

Michal Kicinski: Yeah, hopefully, hopefully. And thank you, too!

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