Devs Detail the Differences Between the Development of The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077

September 13, 2018Written by Brianna Reeves

witcher 3 development

The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, while both open world games, are remarkably different. One is set in a fantastical version of the 13th Century, while the other calls the distant future home. Of course, the switch between third and first-person perspectives constitutes another contrasting quality. Naturally, CD Projekt RED’s development team had to adjust, especially with regards to the technology powering Cyberpunk 2077.

Cyberpunk 2077 is the face of Edge Magazine’s November 2018 issue. In the cover story interview, Richard Borzymowski, a producer at CD Projekt RED, divulged how The Witcher 3’s success aided in boosting the studio’s confidence. This morale boost is key to the team’s taking bold new steps for Cyberpunk 2077’s development. Borzymowski said,

It gave us a sense of safety in our own skills. Right now our environment artists are populating a level with the assets, and they are not afraid of testing out new things. This is exactly what we need to stay open to, because personally I believe that The Witcher turned out that good—and why Cyberpunk will turn out really good—because we are not afraid of change.

It takes a degree of determination, for sure. From the very beginning we were saying ‘Alright, this is huge, but this is what we want to aim for.’ As producers, we’re responsible for taking this vision and verifying the capability of the team and deciding if we have to change it structure-wise, or if we have to somehow change the content of the game to make it more flexible.

The Witcher III wasn’t less complex, but it was complex in a different way. When we were world-building you had those big open spaces, which still had to be filled out. It’s not like it was easier or cheaper to build all those beautiful forests and meadows, but it is more forgiving. If one tree is a bit more off to the right, this is exactly how forests look. But if you put a building too far apart from a different one in the middle of a city, then this can’t really work, right? You have to fill this gap in between doing other things already. And you have to push everything.

CD Projekt’s world design standards aren’t all that have received an overhaul. Animations have been updated, too. Interestingly, all of the aforementioned changes push the studio’s engine forward. Which means every side of development is evolving. Still, while expanding its engine capabilities, the team remained mindful of ensuring Cyberpunk 2077 runs on current-gen hardware. Lead Cinematics Animator Maciej Pietras explained,

We have a completely new animation system, and we completely changed the approach to handling animations. We have a better mocap studio, we have a completely new facial animation system based on muscles. We have a new way of generating lip sync animation when people are talking. We have a completely new approach to creating environments, so instead of working on a huge world at once we are creating prefabs which are then adjusted and placed differently, so everything is scalable. Another thing is simply our engine, which we decided to push far while still working hard on optimisation [sic] to make sure the game will run on current-gen consoles. It’s a completely new way—I would say almost every single department went through this kind of evolution.

To some degree, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One may already be holding back Cyberpunk 2077. Recently, Level Designer Miles Tost said environmental destructibility is currently up in the air, since the PS4 and Xbox One can only accomplish so much performance-wise.

CD Projekt RED has yet to announce a release date for Cyberpunk 2077. Thankfully, there is a video with 48 minutes of gameplay to gawk at while we await further details.

[Source: Edge Magazine via Wccftech]