CDPR started a Community Q&A a couple of days ago, which has been posted on the official forums. Miles Tost, Level Designer from CD Projekt RED, answered several questions.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt features huge dungeons
Several questions regarding the size of the dungeons, included in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, were asked to which Tost replied:
“There’s some really large dungeons. I guess some of them offer 1H+ game time, depending on how good you are with combat, how thoroughly you explore them (SECRETS!!!) and how well you cope with being in utter darkness for an extended period of time.”
Miles was asked whether the dungeons will have a horror vibe, and he explained:
“With some we did, with some we didn’t. Sometimes you want to go for more of a mystical vibe, for example. It helps that, much like in the previous games, dungeons and caves are very dark unless you come prepared though. Luckily this time around, Geralt has a torch. Comes in handy should you not have your cat potion or if you have it, but already find yourself at the edge of the toxicity threshold. You can even fight while wielding the torch in one hand, however, IIRC it renders Geralt unable to parry attacks.
Does look quite spectacular with the dynamic shadows, though.”
The dungeons in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt are handcrafted
Due to the extremely large size of The Witcher 3, some of the dungeons must be randomly generated, a fan commented. In response, Miles Tost replies:
“Ah, we in the Locations Team are really proud of the fact that everything is hand-crafted, which is why you keep hearing us say it over and over. Your conclusion there makes my heart almost hurt just a little bit. So for this reason, to be a hundred percent sure, I called in what is now called the Environment Council, consisting of me, Daniel Olejnik (Senior Environment Artist) and Marcin Michalski (also a Senior Environment Artist).
We discussed this and shed a couple of tears together. Enough of it is hand-crafted for us to not feel like lying when we say that everything has been hand-crafted by us. Even when the team created the basic land shape it started out in zBrush, then got some erosion applied via software, and then iterated in-engine (sculpting the terrain without terrain brush tools). Terrain Textures are painted by hand, assets including foliage are placed by hand as well. We do have foliage generation for a basic foliage layer based off the type of terrain texture used (which again is painted by hand). It will apply a layer of grass. However, any further vegetation, trees, bushes, flowers, etc, are all hand placed.
Think about Novigrad City: none of the houses have been placed procedurally or by an algorithm, the city was carefully planned and crafted all the way from the rough districts to individual pathways in between (or through) houses. Also I realise that the question might’ve been meant differently. In that regard: Terrain was shaped by hand, erosion effects are applied, at this point, there’s virtually no spot of terrain in the world that hasn’t been touched by a dev.
Yes, it is an insane amount of work that we did have to sacrifice our fair share of evenings for – but for us it’s just worth it and honestly, we firmly believe it makes for a better game, because it makes the world more enjoyable.
If we wouldn’t we would’ve not done it, right?”
Miles Toast also mentioned that the team is hard at work ironing any issues, such as the vegetation pop-in that was evident in the last trailer.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is releasing on May 19, 2015 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox one and PC. We will bring you any new information as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime you can read more on Witcher 3 in our previous coverage, here and here.