CD Projekt Red revealed at WitcherCon 2021 that the original game adaptation of The Witcher planned to omit the books’ main character, Geralt.
Due to The Witcher’s international multimedia popularity, Netflix and CD Projekt Red, developers of The Witcher teamed up to host the first WitcherCon on July 9, 2021. A celebration of all things The Witcher, WitcherCon included panels from developers of the video game franchise. During one of these panels, CD Projekt Red revealed the original game almost didn’t include the book series’ central character, Geralt of Rivia.
Much of the developers’ conversations were spent reminiscing about the early days of The Witcher, as well as discussing what is needed to make a successful video game adaptation of a popular book series. Development on the first game began in 2002, and while many CD Projekt Red team members cringed fondly at The Witcher‘s 20-year-old graphics and extended dialogue scenes, they were happy with the open-world experience they were able to create.
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In the midst of this reflection, the developers revealed that, in the early stages of creating the The Witcher, the plan was to deliberately omit Geralt. For the first few years of development, CD Projekt Red designed the game so players could create their own witcher, allowing for the possibility of an adventure distinct from the books. Ultimately, however, it was decided Geralt needed to be included.
Why Geralt Of Rivia Became The Witcher Games’ Protagonist
The primary reason CD Projekt Red decided to make Geralt playable was all in the title: The game was called “The Witcher,” not “A Witcher.” CD Projekt Red wanted The Witcher game to be as authentic to the source material as possible, as though the author Andrzej Sapkowski himself had created it. CD Projekt Red also realized fans of the The Witcher books, not to mention the developers themselves, would rather play as Geralt than create their own character, and making Geralt the central figure would enable the introduction of other main figures such as Ciri and Yennefer.
If Geralt had been absent from the first The Witcher game, it would have caused more problems than upsetting fans. The world of The Witcher is massive, with a a textured political structure almost as complicated as that of the real world. Without using undue exposition, it would have been nearly impossible for the CD Projekt Red developers to introduce new players to The Witcher universe without Geralt’s knowledge and experience. Having players maneuver a known, established character helped introduce players to the world and original story of the games, and the team was still able to make The Witcher its own by telling a new story set after the events of the books.
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