As mentioned a month-or-so ago, there’s an update to last year’s The Witcher on the way. But we’re not talking your normal minor bug fix. Creators CD Projekt have, in a moment of complete madness, overhauled the entire game, from animations to voice acting to combat, taking almost a year to correct problems with the original version and hopefully create something closer to their intended vision. What makes this remarkable is that they’re offering all the fixed and new content to existing customers entirely for free. Valve come close to this kind of free content with their brilliant Team Fortress 2 updates, but those are delivered as a trickling stream rather than a sudden, one-off torrent. Otherwise, I can’t really think of a modern developer that treats their customers so well – and it certainly puts to shame the likes of Bethesda, who charge for even the most absurdly small additions.
The area the drew the most ire from critics and players upon the game’s first release was the dialogue, which suffered outside of its native Polish due to wobbly translations. This was apparently particularly horrendous for German players, but the English version that I played certainly featured its fair share of odd lines and stilted acting. The enhanced edition features newly translated dialogue and re-recorded voice acting, so promises to be a far more convincing affair – quite crucial in an RPG that hinges on conversation. It looks like the enhanced version’s animations may even trump Mass Effect for creating convincing drama, even if it doesn’t come close to that game’s photorealism.
Here’s hoping that CD Projekt’s dedication pays off financially and gains them a strong and loyal following. I can’t wait to see what they do next and it would be an absolute tragedy if this remarkably altruistic act causes them any financial difficulty. There’s a week to go until the enhanced edition is available, so here’s a video while you wait: