In Poland it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t know Geralt of Rivia, a witcher, the main protagonist of Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels and our game. Outside of Poland not so many people know Geralt. While working on the 360 version we thought it would be a good idea to show the White Wolf to others in a short clip made with the REDengine.
Good ideas are like the Spanish inquisition – nobody expects them. The spark to make what later became “52 and a half”, came to us quite late in the production process, so we had little time to produce a film which contained enough information. There were a lot of thoughts on how to reveal as many details about the witcher’s abilities as possible, while at the same time having a very tight deadline. What we finally agreed on was a clip in which the witcher was preparing for combat with off-screen commentary.
We assumed it was going to be impossible to make a recording with Geralt’s voice actor and that implied that the witcher would have to be silent. So the narrator had to be someone else. Borys Pugacz-Maruszkiewicz (Senior Writer) was our obvious choice – not only is he a pro actor, but also he is our RED brother-in-arms.
The other problem – our writing, level and character teams were busy with their tasks, so our cinematic squad was alone on this one (against all odds).
We kept our heads high and believed that we’d somehow do it.
First turning point
After the second round of brainstorming our whole concept began to fall apart. We realized that an anonymous narrator wasn’t what we were looking for. It should be someone from the Witcher’s lore. Unfortunately, we still couldn’t have a recording session, so we had to create characters for Borys.
The script started to grow. I introduced the peasants who would contract Geralt. When he’d go off, the village elder would start his tales about witchers. And if we’d already started to expand the tale, why not add an ending in which Geralt would enter a monster-infested cave and thanks to his potions be able to see the threat awaiting him?
Piece of cake. We still believed, that impossible is nothing.
Two ways to go: 2d Animatic
I started with drawing a storyboard. Soon I realized that it would be better to do a 2D animatic. On this stage I also began to test different soundtracks and sounds. I could not use a band so the animatic used samples from freesound.org. The results can be found here:
After basic editing and adding temporary voices a couple of things struck us:
- The cave entrance sequence didn’t feel right.
- The narrator was just awful – he killed the atmosphere, and the plot didn’t have that proper flow. He had to go.
We had two options. Either we’d get Geralt or we’d have an almost silent movie allowing for viewer interpretation.
Geralt couldn’t be talking to himself and if he were a classic narrator it wouldn’t feel right. What else could we do?Tweet