CD Projekt Red have opened a new online store, and while that’s not usually something we’d pay much notice to, there’s one item launching alongside it that caught my attention: a very fancy statue of Geralt that was designed by some of the artists who worked on The Witcher 3.
Because of that direct involvement, and the way it dove-tailed nicely with what we normally cover here on Fine Art, I wanted to speak with some of the team involved—artist and statue collector Paweł Mielniczuk and business folks Rafał Jaki (CDPR’s business director) and Aleksandra Jarośkiewicz (CDPR’s e-commerce director)—to see what actually went into redesigning the character, especially because this was something that CDPR were making themselves, rather than licensing out to a dedicated collectible company.
What surprised me was the amount of love, history and work that went into this Japanese take on Geralt, when my first reaction to the idea was “this is hyper-targeted at the mall ninja dorks who always want a Japanese Assassin’s Creed”.
Note that the actual character design work was done by CDPR artists Jan Marek and Marek Madej (whose contributions we’ve showcased in our big Witcher 3 feature), while the 3D model used to craft the statue was done by Marco Plouffe.
“Japan has a special place in our hearts, both me and Aleksandra speak the language and have graduated in Japanese philology”, says Jaki. “When I’ve spoken with Japanese gamers, I often hear that in many ways Geralt is almost like a character from an old Japanese folk tale about ‘yokai’, or folk monsters. He is bound by a codex, but he has to break it in order to be true to himself — that’s a traditional dilemma for a Japanese hero.”
“The inspiration for the figure’s was Okunoin Cemetery, we also used Jizō statues that in the Buddhist tradition symbolize taking care of children (including those unborn). Finally, the owl is a lesser-known yokai called Tatarimokke — it’s a spirit of dead infants, so it connects with The Witcher 3's botchling mythos.”
“While designing the statue”, Mielniczuk adds, “we stuck with the principles that guided us when we created, say, Geralt in The Witcher 3 — the figure had to tell a story that was rooted in folk tales, something half real and half fantasy, and also full of monsters.”
The team are already planning a follow-up statue, this time featuring Ciri, portrayed in the same Japanese theme. After that, Jaki says “If they like it, we could perhaps create Yen and Triss to complete the set. We are also considering other themes, but of course only if this turns out something gamers and collectors really want. Since this is more a passion project than anything else, we’ll never make these for the sake of making them.”
Above are obviously shots of the finished product, but I thought it’d be cool to see some of the work that went into designing the character and statue as well, so below are some images ranging from concept art to early modelling work.