The witcher 3 Known for its excellent quest design, developer CD Projekt Red promises to evolve this trial-and-error true approach in the next game. Cyberpunk 2077.
At E3 2019, quest director Mateusz Tomaskiewiczâ € ‹told us about what he learned to direct his quest. Cyberpunk 2077, And challenges in designing more non-linear RPGs.
Much changed, I moved from Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, And I had to get used to what we have, assumptions, goals, etc., everything was in progress.And what’s really special to me about this project is especially The witcher 3For example, we’re no longer just trying to combine a rich divergence story with an open world- This time, I would like to add a layer of non-linearity, which is the non-linearity of gameplay.
Therefore, add this entire layer, which is related to the skill you select when playing, to the lifepath you select when you create your character. We do it all within the scope of our mission.
It turns out that this year we focused on showing this particular thing. So we spent a lot of time in the mall and showed you different ways to solve these missions. You can stealth your way, you can shoot your way if you choose to do so.
There are various paths that can be unlocked based on the skills invested in time. There are various dialog options based on the skills invested in time and the life path selected. And this influenced our design.
First of all, it’s a big change in how we think about quests, how we approach guide players, and how we perform these missions. Specifically, we not only needed to think about the paths players could take in terms of the story, but also focused on this. The Witcher 3- Now we need to think about how to build these encounters and sequences that provide interesting, divergent passes to the various skill sets that players have decided to go with.This is not what we did The Witcher 3.
For example The witcher 3 The battle sequence was like an inserted black box. You just spawned an NPC and the rest was happening there. I was fighting with a sword, a sign, and a bomb, but the result was the same.
This time around, we’ve strengthened our interconnection with other departments, such as gameplay level designers and encounter designers. In terms of what devices can be used [we consider] It ’s fun because you can build levels [clear] How you can follow it, how to combine it with the story, and how to make it work so as not to break the story of the game.
I think the hardest part about this is that these teams really have to start working closely together.To The witcher, The quest designer was the owner of the game chunks. They implemented almost all of that section. They were able to own it-many people couldn’t influence us. This affected their work if the entire level was changed for artistic reasons, but gameplay designers didn’t break it often for them.
With this very close cooperation in places where work overlaps, in this case the demo mall shown today is [that] Designed by Quest Designer, Encounter Designer, and Level Designer. As a result, whenever each person does a part of their work, they will have problems with each other if they do not communicate properly.
so I think the biggest challenge here is proper communication when working together to create this part of the game together and not breaking each other’s work. It may sound basic or simple, but it’s not. It takes a great deal of effort from all the teams involved to get it done and get it right.
To tackle this, I tried several different methods. Daily stand-ups were one of the ways our strike team was doing this. Then there were so many meetings that at some point we decided not to do everyday things. Another thing we did was to bring people from the strike team together in the same room to facilitate communication with each other.
We have a weekly meeting where people talk to us [about] What are the issues they face and are there any global ones that need to be fixed between teams? So I can help people with it. Apart from that, we encourage people and organize playthroughs for these missions for the strike team.
So they sit together in one room, play all this and talk about problems, what they want to do, and so on. These are some of the measures we have taken. Most important is the day-to-day communication between them-whenever you change something, keep this idea in mind that it may affect others. Let them know that it doesn’t matter to them, even in the worst case scenario. In the best scenario, they may see something that may be problematic or important to them.
Again, that sounds obvious, but it’s not. There are many tendencies in the thinking of those who believe that something is obvious to others, or that something may not be important to others because they are not looking at the cascade of results. But when they start talking to others, it becomes clear that “Oh, this will change a lot. It’s very important to let people know.”
This was a rule in all our projects. We always had this rule in the main storyline-we won’t fail the quest based on our choices. We treat them as a result. The only way to make them fail is if the player dies.
When you think about it when you start designing, it’s pretty restrictive. What comes out of it is pretty interesting. The game feels more organic-we have to think about all these different possibilities and consequences. It doesn’t feel restricted, it feels like giving players more freedom in what they are doing. Instead of saying, “Oh, you shouldn’t, that’s not the right way to do it,” the world gives the impression that it reacts to what you’re doing.
Side missions allow players to fail, but they can do so as a result. So it didn’t fail and now you need to reboot. It’s like “messed up”. Let’s say you are supposed to escort someone and they die, and that has consequences. It makes the game feel more organic and makes the player say, “It would have been if this were a pen and paper.” GM doesn’t say, “Yes, you killed the main NPC who had to resume the adventure.” They are trying to see how it lasts accordingly.
There are multiple methods. Of course, this is the most obvious through dialogue. Manipulating and passing through different quests can cause various problems in the game. You can tackle those problems.
Some of them are flavors, so the choice, some of them are meaningful decisions that influence many things. Another guideline for our quest design is to make the distinction between the two as vague as possible. Therefore, we need to ask the question, “Is this decision a flavor or does it have widespread consequences?” In our observation, this way people tend to pay more attention to all options because they don’t know which is important and which is cosmetic.
That’s one thing. Second, although it’s not a quest design in itself, it has the potential to customize your character while playing the game. As I said earlier, this time we have another layer, called the Lifepath. It’s like the origin of your character. When you create a character at the beginning of the game, are you a street child, a corporation, or a lonely person?
These lifepaths offer a variety of strengths and weaknesses throughout the game. For example, when you interact with a corporation, you know how it works. Talk to the Corp and know how to get an advantage over the Corp. On the street, there are not many advantages as a corporation.
The concept of cyberspace itself is very interesting in our game. The general idea is that everyone who interacts with cyberspace sees it differently. You might imagine what we saw in the demo is how V (player character) sees cyberspace. However, other characters like Bridget have a completely different view of cyberspace.
The general idea is that cyberspace is such a large amount of data that it uses known symbols, unique knowledge, and references to understand it so that the brain does not go crazy. Create meaning. It. This is one way. There are multiple threads in the quest that touches on different aspects of transhumanism.
And, of course, many are shown through dialogue. We show it through environmental storytelling through different stories about the whole city, different characters, ways to cross specific boundaries, and ways to move beyond what it means to be human.
The settings for cyberpunk itself differ in this respect. Today, there are many things that are very foreign or strange to us. In this society, people can easily replace their feet, hands and other body parts with cybernetics. .. This is a theme that we also pay close attention to throughout the game.
To do this, we do it with standard stories of various stories. There is also video content that goes deep into this subject to explain how this society works and how they are normalized. And of course, commercials, game ads you might find, you’ve seen many of them in Pacifica demos. I created a lot of content to show this message to the players.
of course. It’s a very sensitive and important subject that I believe. We put a lot of thought into this. One of the things we want to do in the final game is to give the player as many customization options as possible at the start of the game. This couldn’t be seen in the demo yet. as much as possible.
For example, I would like to do this when I create a character after selecting a body shape, for example, when I can use physics characteristics when creating a face that can be assigned to a male or female.
Or non-binary. The idea is to mix them all and give them the way they want to make them. The voice is the same. I wanted to separate this so that the player was free to choose. This is what we are still working on. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
This is part of it. Of course, we pay a lot of attention to how the character is represented in the setting itself, of course. We don’t want anyone to feel that we are ignoring or mistaking this.
Personally, I’m mainly inspired by other fiction works. I watch a lot of movies and play a lot of games, board games and so on. Most of the inspiration comes from it. Real life can be much stranger than the fictional situation we came up with. There were many situations where “if I proposed this as a game quest, I would be laughed at outside the room.”
People will tell me “it doesn’t make sense” or “the situation couldn’t have happened”. These things can be great snippets that you can use to build larger stories from them. My preferred way to work on these things with the designers is to give them the opportunity to do these short pitches. There you can get a glimpse of something interesting that we can build. It doesn’t have to be a huge long story, but it needs to be something memorable, something we can put into the game.
It’s not a specific inspiration, it’s a method of inspiration.