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The Witcher 3 Developer on Hard Decisions & Killing Important Characters

CD PROJEKT RED talked about making big plot decisions.

It has nearly been a decade since The Witcher 3 was released, but we still learn new details about it now and then. At GDC 2023, CD PROJEKT RED's quest director Paweł Sasko talked about making tough choices and shared how the team decided to kill one of the important characters in the game. 

Obviously, if you want to avoid spoilers, you should stop reading here.

Killing Geralt's mentor Vesemir was not an easy move, but there was a reason behind it:

“I needed the moment for Ciri to actually make a decision that she’s not going to be hunted anymore…she’s going to be a hunter, she’s going to go after the Wild Hunt. But to do that I needed an actual event that would break her inside, and that was the moment when I proposed to our writer’s team that we kill Vesemir.”

The team was reluctant as this is a very important and large presence in the game. But eventually, they reached the conclusion "that it was actually a really good decision for Ciri to make that step."

“[Vesemir] is built up really well and prepared, you get to know him…that’s why this moment was so impactful. I also wanted to do something that players wouldn’t believe we were doing. I wanted to surprise them… in a good way, I hope.”

Sasko also talked about other quests in the game, including the Bloody Baron story and the botchling – a creature appearing from the improper burial of a stillborn infant.

“There was a lot of concern. We have some young fathers in the company, and we pointed out that we’re maybe not comfortable with having a zombie child in the game,” he said. “When we talked, I told them that it’s about messy violence, it’s about a broken father…who’s trying to do his best, and actually trying to understand his shortcomings.”

Sasko shared that it was all done to highlight something that wasn’t talked about, especially back in 2012, when the quest was designed. "We had the purpose of doing something different because when players come to us, they need to feel like they’re playing our game. And sometimes we do things no one else will do."

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