The patch notes for The Witcher 2 update 2.0 have been revealed. The update will roll-out this Thursday, 29th September, and will be free to all PC users.
The 2.0 changes will be present in Q1 2012 Xbox 360 adaptation of The Witcher 2.
Aside from the gameplay tweaks, fixes and adjustments, The Witcher 2 update 2.0 will also bring three significant new modes: Arena, Dark Mode and a new tutorial.
The Arena is separate from the main Witcher 2 game, and has its own character progression and challenges. The idea is to win increasingly hard battles inside a gladiatorial arena, gaining fame, fortune, power and, crucially, points, as you go. Those points will be pumped into a leaderboard shared by all players of The Witcher 2.
CD Projekt Red showed a pre-recorded demo of Arena while on stage at the Eurogamer Expo 2011. Arena was impressively detailed, with oodles of atmosphere dripping from the dirty appearance of the arena; the crowd cheering or jeering above; and from unsettling, guttural monster roars. Kill things and the crowd applaud; run away and they may even throw rotten apples.
Dark Mode will be the hardest way to play The Witcher 2 campaign. CD Projekt Red also showed a pre-recorded demonstration video of Dark Mode at the Eurogamer Expo 2011. Geralt wore five out of six pieces of the new Kinslayer's Outfit armour set. This was dyed a near-black colour and had a hood obscuring Geralt's face. Geralt also had the new dark weapons - cursed swords. These have "big bonuses" on attack, but if you don't have the whole Kinslayer's Outfit armour set they'll also drain Geralt's health when used. Geralt fought some trolls and died quickly when his guard was lowered. Pansy.
The new tutorial we didn't see demonstrated, but this will take place separately from the main Witcher 2 story so that, once the campaign begins, you're worried less about what buttons to press and more about what's going on. Apparently the tutorial will recommend a difficulty level for you upon completion based on how you coped.
The Witcher 2 patch 2.0 is an impressively massive update, then. Will CD Projekt Red consider making a Witcher 2 version 3.0?
"I don't think so," story designer and writer Jan Bartkowicz told Eurogamer at the Expo. "We added some extra content but, for me, version 2.0 means it's a better version of the original. The additional stuff probably outshines the enhancements and adjustments.
"But that's why I don't believe we're going to see The Witcher 3.0 - I don't believe there's so much more to do."
Corrections and improvements to combat:
- Numerous improvements have been made in the targeting system.
- Parrying is now unlimited (even when Vigor is completely depleted), though parries no longer cancel all damage (maximum 50% reduction once the relevant ability has been acquired).
- Responsiveness of game controls has been improved. This includes but is not limited to casting Signs, parrying, and attacking immediately after evading an opponent's assault.
- Geralt's attacks are no longer interrupted by attacking opponents. Attacks are now contiguous and foes cannot interrupt Geralt's attacks by landing a blow.
- Assorted fixes now prevent opponents from incessantly attacking Geralt after he has been knocked down. Geralt can no longer be knocked down repeatedly in quick succession. Also, he rises quickly while evading subsequent attacks.
- Geralt no longer attacks opponents located behind other opponents positioned nearer to him.
- The target locking system has been improved. Preference is now given to previously highlighted targets.
- Target selection has been improved. Priority is now given to foes affected by a critical effect facilitating the completion of a finishing move.
- The additional two steps Geralt took after mounting an attack with the W, S, A or D key depressed have been eliminated.
- Attacks can now be continued even when a key controlling Geralt's movement (e.g. W, S, A, D) is depressed.
- Attacks can now be continued if the attack key is depressed immediately after the final strike of an attack animation sequence.
- Geralt can now pivot 180 degrees immediately after completing an attack.
- Assorted problems with key responsiveness have been resolved. Keys no longer need to be depressed twice or more to trigger a given action.
- A distance attack problem has been resolved. Geralt now mounts distance attacks (lunge with sword in hand in the Fast style) when opponents were located at a suitable distance from him.
Other corrections and amendments:
- Casting several bombs no longer blocks further inputs.
- An option has been added to the configuration tool enabling aspect ratio to be set independently of resolution.
- The amount of disk space required for game patching has been reduced.
- The loading of selected Witcher 1 game saves no longer causes the game to crash.
- A greater number of monsters now appear in the cave leading to Loc Muinne.
- Improvements have been made in the manner in which monsters are spawned in the mist in Chapter 2.
- The visual effect accompanying Adrenaline use no longer disappears prematurely.
- Archers now draw their swords more quickly when Geralt approaches.
- Mages no longer automatically cast shield spells when Geralt casts daggers at them.
- The game is now paused when Geralt executes a finishing move in combat.
- The troll in Chapter 2 has been corrected. Previously, in some circumstances he could not be attacked.
- Physics on cast daggers have been improved.
- The site for aiming daggers is now more visible.
- Geralt's animation when he dies while casting the Axii Sign has been corrected.
- An exploit in the fight against Letho has been eliminated. Previously, this foe could be killed by casting bombs in quick succession.
- An exploit related to the 'Insane' difficulty setting has been eliminated. Previously, game saves could be loaded with difficulty set to this level, which was contrary to design intentions.
- Camera positioning/operation has been corrected during the boss fight against the kayran.
- Camera control via gamepads has been improved.
- Assorted adjustments have been made in mutagen statistics.
- The 'Junk' filter in the Inventory has been adjusted to provide for correct item filtering.
- In the Inventory, the dialogue window warning of prohibited actions has been corrected.
- Assorted corrections have been introduced to the mini-map in Chapter 1.
- Audio balance throughout the game has been adjusted.
- Erratic character teleportation in mini-games has been eliminated.
- Assorted adjustments have been made in animations applying to nekkers.
- A minor bug in the "Scent of Incense" quest has been resolved.
- Numerous minor fixes have been introduced in character lip-sync throughout the game.