CD Projekt Red has decided against having multiplayer in The Witcher 3, explaining to me that it has "no place" in a "strongly story-driven game".
"Yes, I can confirm this," Michal Platkow-Gilewski, head of marketing, told me.
"There's no place for multiplayer in so strongly a story-driven game as The Witcher 3. We want to focus on the single-player experience, delivering more than 100 hours of truly immersive gameplay.
"Geralt," he said, "can be only one..."
He was clarifying a Forbes report about the game, which mentioned that CDPR had dumped multiplayer.
To be clear, multiplayer was never strictly confirmed for The Witcher 3, but when I talked to the studio in March it was a possibility. Said studio manager Adam Badowski at the time: "We're thinking about something, but I cannot explain it now."
Badowski also rubbished the prospect of The Witcher becoming an MMO any time soon, laughing at the notion of 10 white-haired Geralts running around.
The Forbes piece went on to unearth a couple more nuggets of information. The rolling dodge has been elbowed in favour of a dodge pirouette. "Pirouettes look a lot cooler than barrel-rolling and they are consistent with the Witcher fighting style described by Andrzej Sapkowski in his novels," explained project lead Konrad Tomaszkiewicz.
Geralt won't need to jump out of the way as much because he'll be able to disable enemies' special attacks with his new Witcher Sense abilities. The parry system has also been upgraded, adding the possibility of ripostes. Sounds like parrying may be passive, automatic.
Tomaszkiewicz reaffirmed the studio's anti-DRM stance as well, calling it "the worst thing in the gaming industry". Remember that CD Projekt (not Red, the gaming studio) also runs Good Old Games, which has adopted a staunch anti-DRM policy from the outset.
However, should Microsoft employ an always-online policy for the next Xbox, there will be little CD Projekt Red can do not to embrace it (The Witcher 3 isn't confirmed for next Xbox yet but, well, yeah). Mind you, it sounds like it's a similar deal to having your game on Steam. If you want it there, you have to have Steam be a part of it. Let's hope Microsoft's implementation can be as skilful.