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

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - FRONT PAGE - Daniella Lu­cas

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!

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