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Very impressive article Jake! You are very talented.
nice article! i love seeing the breakdowns.
Today Witcher is considered one of the most successful game series from Eastern Europe. Wild Hunt is arguably the best RPG in the world with its wonderful visuals, amazing quests, and an enormous world. However, behind every success is a story of a long forgotten failure. Back in 2015, Eurogamer told a story of the first ever Witcher game, which actually never managed to get to the store shelves.
It was a long time ago. In 1996-1997 a developer named Adrian Chmielarz wanted to do something revolutionaly. Adrian is a cult figure in the Polish game development community. He led People Can Fly, he worked on Bulletstorm, Vanishing of Ethan Carter. But before People Can Fly he actually founded another company called Metropolis. Together with his friend, he started working on a Witcher game.
Chmielarz was a big fan of Andrzej Sapkowski and he sort of knew him. He got the permission to build a game based on his literary works. Sapkowski wasn’t really involved in the development. The game was supposed to be an action adventure title with moral choices, psychologically complex characters, and interesting story. There would be some RPG elements and the authors really wanted to build everything in 3D. Dynamic 3D environments of ‘The Witcher’ looked quite impressive at that time.
Metropolis managed to create the working prototype, but unfortunately the game never actually made it to the final release stage. The studio wanted to build a huge 3d world, but they had very little experience with these huge projects. All they did before were point&click adventures. Even the publisher (TopWare) couldn’t help them. Actuall, at that time, the publisher wasn’t even sure the game would be able to achieve international success, because of the Slavic Mythology themes.