HANDS-ON WITH GERALT AND MORE INSIDE
Witcher 3 developer speaks The latest demo playtested See the first in-game shots of Geralt in action
W ith the stage of history being set to return later this year for lots of fisticuff funtimes, we expected some classic characters, such as Sophitia and Killik to return, and maybe even a few new challengers to keep things fresh. But we never expected Geralt of Riviera from the hugely successful Witcher series to join Soulcalibur VI. And yet when we got to go hands on with him in a recent demo, we left feeling like it was the most natural fit in the world. But how do you go about taking a character from one game and stick it in another while making them fit? We’ve spoken to both the teams at CD Projekt Red and at Bandai Namco to find out how this history-making crossover has come to be.
Marcin Momot, community lead at CD Projekt Red, tells us how the collaboration came about. “The
Soulcalibur series is known for featuring awesome guest characters, it’s one of the series’ staples,” he tells us. “As a fan myself, and someone who’s involved with The Witcher games, I always thought Geralt would be an awesome addition to Soulcalibur’s fighter roster. And then Bandai Namco reached out with the idea—we worked together on previous Witcher games—of having Geralt in Soulcalibur VI, which, at
the time, wasn’t announced yet. We have a lot of fans of the Soulcalibur series in the studio, myself included—it was a great opportunity for folks on the team to contribute to something they’re passionate about. Most importantly, we thought this is something that The Witcher community would really enjoy.” Bewitching Of course, transplanting a character from one game into another isn’t as easy as it sounds, there’s a lot more to it than you’d expect, as animation director Sebastian Kalemba tells us. “Our role was making sure that the Geralt in Soulcalibur VI moves, feels and—ultimately—plays like Geralt from
The Witcher 3. And it’s not as simple as one might think. It’s not copypasting something from one game to the other. Timings, perspectives, responsiveness—these work very differently in a fighting game and in an open world RPG. Basically, in order to make this work, it boils down to having to go back to the drawing board on many things. We decided to start with a detailed brief on the character—who he is, what he’s like, why he moves the way he does, and so on.”
Character art director Paweł Mielniczuk was also on hand to make sure his appearance is true to both games: “We also shared dozens of The Witcher 3 assets with creators of Soulcalibur VI as part of that briefing. We wanted artists at Bandai Namco to have ample source material to use as reference when working on Geralt’s model—his weapons, animations, etc. Everything needed to be perfect. It’s the little things that sometimes make all the difference. We’ve helped with the hair, face, and body—little tweaks here and there. I think they really did an outstanding job transitioning Geralt into the world of Soulcalibur.”
“From there, we started setting up core silhouettes and establishing the character’s center of gravity— the latter is especially important,” Sebastian adds. “Geralt is always confident in battle—no unnecessary movements, very steady. When he fights, he’s always 100% focused on the here and now, very determined. That’s who he is as a warrior, and it’s also something I wanted gamers to feel when controlling him in
Soulcalibur. Maciej Kwiatkowski, our stuntman for Geralt in The Witcher 3, even made the trip to the HQ in Japan, to supervise motion capture for Geralt’s appearance.”
From what we’ve played, all of that attention to detail has really paid off—Geralt moves and feels exactly as you’d expect him to without feeling at odds in the Soulcalibur universe. His slightly bent, primed stance as he faces down an opponent is reminiscent of him facing countless
above Geralt’s Signs allow him to unleash magical fire on his enemies. Surprise! opposite Well that’s just a fire hazard. Quick, someone call 999!