Long-awaited Computer Game to be Blockbuster Hit
The game has been promoted by the media as the first-ever Polish game likely to achieve mainstream success around the world.Since 2003 when the project name was revealed, the Polish company CD Projekt, which is developing the game, has secured a mighty global distributor, Atari, and an impressive budget of 22 mln zloty (6.1 mln euro).In Poland the game actually needs no marketing campaign as it is based on a cycle of books by Andrzej Sapkowski, a bestseller on the Polish publishing market of the ’90s. This partially applies also to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Russia, Germany and the Ukraine, where the series also was popular and so are computer role-playing games in general.The writer himself has approved the shape of the computer game.
The most important question is whether “The Witcher” also manages to achieve commercial success in the U.S. and the UK, where the books are not well known.CD Projekt and Atari hope to sell at least one mln copies of the game. Sapkowski, an educated economist, published his first short story about the Witcher Geralt (in Polish: “Wiedzmin”), a traveling monster hunter, in 1986 in “Fantastyka” magazine.After a warm reaction of readers, three books of short stories followed between 1990 and 1993. By then Sapkowski had already started his work on a series of full novels based in the same world and with the same hero. He signed a long-term deal with SuperNOWA publishing house, which released five books of the so-called “Witcher Saga” between 1994 and 1999.The series enjoyed a success unprecedented among Polish fantasy books. Each year saw more and more people waiting for the books’ release date and lining up in bookstores to buy copies.
Sapkowski’s work also secured a significant place in Polish popular culture.The books were followed by comics, role-playing card games, a TV series and a movie which, however, was a major disappointment among the Geralt fans.The world of the “Witcher Saga” is based on medieval realms with a strong presence of magic.A few small kingdoms vie for domination in a region which is to be attacked by a mighty empire of Nilfgaard. Sapkowski emphasizes dirty politics in this imaginary world as well as the power of money which encourages bribery and wars and creates rich merchants.The Witcher Geralt travels this world as a monster hunter for hire. He is an excellently trained fighter and blessed by superhuman powers as a mutant. However, he is in some ways lost, not knowing his past. He becomes a part of a major political intrigue, which provides the main thread for the five-novel series.
Geralt is also the main character of the upcoming computer game. As in every role-playing game, the main task for the player is to develop the skills of his hero in the way he wishes. This may lead to Geralt being, for example, a great magician, fencer or speaker, depending on which path has been chosen. The game will be released in at least 10 language versions. It will feature real-time fighting. According to the producers, it will guarantee at least 90 hours of play in a graphical environment .
Screenshots have already been published by CD Projekt and appear also in the promotional video song “Sword of the Witcher” by Polish band Vader, one of the biggest names in contemporary metal music.