Last October the team at CD Projekt Red released The Witcher, one of the best PC RPG titles of year, and they've been working on it ever since. Not in a big fixing sort of way, though surely some of that has gone on, but rather working on improving the title – enhancing it, hence the subtitle of next month's The Witcher: Enhanced Edition. See, despite the slew of awards and accolades the original release has received, CD Projekt isn't done. They are trying to build the perfect game, and they're not content to rest until both themselves and The Witcher community are completely satisfied. I got a chance to sit down with a beer on a nice, comfy couch and watch a demonstration of the newly enhanced features of the ultimate edition of The Witcher.While hundreds of tiny changes were made for the latest edition of the game, the presentation whittle things down to the biggest, most notable changes the game underwent. The first became readily apparent as soon as the loaded the demo. They've managed to cut load times down 80% since the day the original game shipped, While they've been working on this issue since the day the game was released, new players should appreciate having them cut down from day one. Upon community complaints regarding the static nature of characters during conversations, the team went back to the motion capture studio and created 200 brand-new animations for the game. The result, conversations that I've sat through 3-4 times on different playthroughs have an all new life to them, the animations enhancing and in some cases greatly improving the conversation tree. Speaking of...speaking, The Witcher Enhanced Edition contains every language the game has shipped in so far, both voice overs and subtitles. That's 10 different subtitle languages and 9 different voice over languages, all swappable on the fly. Go into the menu, select Chinese subtitles and German voice overs, and they immediately switch. Just make sure you know the language pretty well before switching to Chinese, as the entire menu changes to reflect your new choice.
Further enhancements include a new dynamic NPC generation system that randomly generates NPC and monster skin colors and combinations to give the game a bit more variety, ctrl-click auto looting, as well has some changes to the inventory system to make alchemy much less of a pain in the ass.
The Witcher Enhanced Edition should be in stores next month, coming complete with the game, a making of DVD, an adventure editor with 2 new adventures, the soundtrack, music inspired by The Witcher, a game guide, and a short story from the author Andrzej Sapkowski. As the game is effectively replacing the original titles on the shelf, don't expect to pay collector's edition prices either – the whole package retails for the same price (or lower) as the original. And before anyone cries foul, folks who've already purchased the game will be able to download everything for free, including MP3 files of the songs and PDFs of the books. You'll even be able to chose which voice over and subtitle options you prefer in order to cut down the download time. The amount of work CD Projekt has put into improving an already award-winning game is simply amazing. Most development teams would just iron out the bugs and be done with it, they're going for perfection. We'll see just how close they've gotten next month.