During a livestreamed press conference this afternoon, Polish developer CD Projekt Red detailed many of the 2.0 changes coming to its hit PC title, The Witcher 2. Those features include a new tutorial system, addressing complaints that the game dropped players off right into the deep-end of the gameplay pool.
If your complaint wasn't that the game was too hard but rather too easy, version 2.0 also introduces the so-called "Dark" mode, which "is nearly as difficult as 'Insane,' but allows players to save the game." And if your complaint wasn't that The Witcher 2 was too easy or too hard, but rather too finite, you'll be interested in Arena mode, which is a wave-based arcade mode where players will fight (and fight and fight) until they finally succumb to the enemy horde. Depending on how you fared, you could opt to upload your progress to Facebook or the game's forums.
In addition to the PC enhancements, the upcoming Xbox 360 "adaptation" (don't call it a port!) includes all of the new 2.0 features, as well as some other "new features." Most notable, according to CD Projekt Red, is an all-new "4 minutes long CGI Intro by Oscar nominee, and BAFTA winner, animator Tomasz Bagiński." Baginski did the CGI intro for the first Witcher title, but promises, "The CGI Intro for The Witcher 2 will have different flavor than the one known from the first Witcher game." And before you get too upset, PC players, while the CGI intro is strangely being billed as an Xbox "feature" it will "be part of the future update of the PC version of the game as well."
The 2.0 update hits PC a week from today, on September 29th, for the low, low price of free, while the Xbox 360 release is still expected in the Q1 2012 window. If you've been looking for an excuse to try your hand at witching, a new retail price point as well as some digital promotions should help. Beginning today, the Steam version is available for $29.99 (or €29.99) until October 6. CD Projekt Red sister company GoG.com will offer a DRM-free version on the 29th for the same price, until October 6 as well. If retail is more your thing, The Witcher 2 is getting a $10 drop from $49 to $39 (or €39), a price already beat by Amazon.
The CD Projekt Fall Conference is already behind us! During the presentation CD Projekt RED revealed a lot of interesting information regarding The Witcher 2, the new and improved version 2.0.
Adam Badowski, Studio Director commented "We quite modestly called this new update 2.0, but while testing it, we have realized that this update is, actually bigger than Enhanced Edition known from our first game! So this is a major update not only for us, but also for all those who want to start their adventure with the game and for those who would like to play it again." He added, "We promised to support our game after release and also bring new content for free. Version 2.0 is one of the steps to fulfill our promise." Isn't this policy too generous? Adam Badowski replies: "Around 1 milion units sold worldwide and solid financial results are the best proof that that we have the right approach. You don't need draconian DRM to have good sales and you don't need costly DLC to have good financial results. You just need to treat you customers fair, and you get not only financial results, but fans admiration which for us is absolutely priceless!"
The Witcher 2 version 2.0 the most notable gameplay enhancements and features are:
• New Tutorial System – New, more comprehensive tutorial is designed as a separate part of the game and takes place in the Kingdom of Keadwen. New Tutorial System gradually explains all gameplay mechanics, from very basic to the most sophisticated systems. The Tutorial ensures that start of the game for everyone will be a pleasureable experience without too steep a learning curve.
• Special "Dark" difficulty setting - A new, intensely challenging difficulty setting that provides the ultimate challenge for players. On the "Dark" setting, The Witcher 2 is nearly as difficult as "Insane," but allows players to save the game. It also provides a completely new set of dark-themed gear with very high stats. "Dark" mode also includes other special elements related to the "dark" theme. This setting is yet another reason to play the game again for those seeking new Witcher challenges.
New items in the "Dark" setting:
3 new sets of dark armor (light, medium, and heavy)
6 new dark swords (3 silver, 3 steel)
Other "Dark" themes/elements in the game...
• Completely new, arcade-style Arena Mode. Infinitely replayable and progressively more challenging, Arena Mode lets you hone your combat style and techniques against all the different opponents from the game as well as a new monster type, the Werewolf. Dispatch wave upon wave of increasingly more difficult enemies, earning awards that you can use to upgrade abilities, weapons and armor, and to test alchemy. Hirelings can also assist you in battle for a price. Combat waves will continue until your character is defeated, when you'll see a statistical summary of results. Players can share their results with their friends by uploading this summary to the forums or to Facebook.
Arena Mode includes:
New location – forgotten stronghold in the Kingdom of Keadwen
Dynamic, responsive audience reacting to the events
A new monster type, Werewolf
30 different waves of enemies, looped with increasing levels of difficulty
3 different prizes to choose from in each wave
3 new characters (mage, knight, and dwarven fighter) that can serve as allies during clashes
A shopkeeper offering gear and enhancements
3 new GUI panels designed specifically for the mode
New background music
New Witcher Forum and Facebook integration
Each one of the new features was accompanied by live gameplay footage showing them in their full glory, but version 2.0 is not only about new features. There are also more than 40 new technical and gameplay enhancements to be included as well.
Version 2.0 will be available via automatic update to all existing and new users for free on the 29th of September. All versions of the game will update automatically to the 2.0 version, whether bought before or after 29th of September.
Release of the version 2.0 is synchronized with special sales promotions which starts today! Gamers from all over the world will be able to take advantage of this special deal as Steam offers Assassins of Kings for 29.90 Dollars or Euros (depending on your currency) from 22.09.2011 to 06.10.2011. CD Projekt RED sister company GOG.com is not far behind, with their promo starting on the same release day as version 2.0. They will be offering The Witcher 2 for 29.99$ from 29.09.2011 to 06.10.2011. If you haven't bought the game yet, it's a great opportunity to buy it now, as The Witcher 2 is definitely not a game to miss.