Almost 10 years ago to the day, CD Projekt launched the online digital game store Good Old Games. The operation and scope was small - a handful of people salvaging iconic old PC games for modern operating systems - but the prices, customer service and DRM-free message were right, and slowly the service grew. And grew, and grew. And today things are different.
Microsoft's Xbox One X enhanced programme for classic Xbox 360 games recently added support for a very special last-gen release: The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings. I was particularly keen to check this one out because CD Projekt Red's 360 conversion effort was absolutely outstanding and with its arrival on the X, you might describe it as one technological miracle layered on top of another. The 360 release wasn't just a port, it was a top-to-bottom revamp of a PC original specifically built for the strengths of a far more capable platform. The port had many cutbacks, of course, but in some respects, I thought it actually improved on its counterpart. So with that remarkable port now upgraded for Microsoft's latest console, how does it look running on 4K displays? And how does the PC original hold up running at an equivalent ultra HD resolution, almost seven years on from its initial release?
Andrzej Sapkowski has something of a reputation.
It's the middle of December, 10 days away from Christmas. I'm on a train chugging along the south coast of England, across chilly countryside under a darkening grey sky. It's almost idyllic but mostly bleak, and so very ordinary - I've watched industrial estates and small villages like these roll by a hundred times before. This isn't where you'd normally go looking for a superstar.
The Witcher 3 is out today, and so we've hauled another exciting Witcher-related article out of the Eurogamer archive for you to read again or enjoy for the first time if you missed it. Here, Robert Purchese reveals the story of the Witcher game that never was in an article first published in June 2014.
The Witcher 3 comes out on Tuesday, 19th May, and so we've hauled an exciting Witcher-related article out of the Eurogamer archive for you to read again or enjoy for the first time if you missed it. Here, Robert Purchese reveals the story of Witcher developer CD Projekt in an article first published in November 2013.
It's befitting of a game that features an amnesiac protagonist that the recounts of its players can vary wildly from one person to the next. This variation can leave one player scratching their head in befuddlement when they hear of the events that befell another, but it's not due to anyone misremembering quest details, game features or the story's closing sequence. Instead, it has as much to do with when you played The Witcher 2 as how you played it.
This week, Microsoft re-released The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings via backward compatibility, and for a limited time, the game is available to download for free for Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners in selected regions. It's a welcome gift and well worth checking out on either console, especially as it runs rather well on the new Microsoft console. With that in mind, we decided to republish our article on the game's technological genesis, first published in May 2012.
Ready your accusations of bias, because this week's Eurogamer.net podcast is a bit of an Xbox-fest - by accident, not design, we promise. That's if three awesome 360 sort-of-exclusives releasing in the space of six days is an accident! (It probably is.)
When the original Witcher launched back in 2007, the game received plenty of positive reviews, but the utilisation of BioWare's Aurora technology disappointed many. Developer CD Projekt RED's response? A state-of-the-art engine that powered one of the most technically accomplished, outright beautiful releases ever seen on PC: The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings, released in May last year.
I think for the most part we get a bit of a raw deal in the hero stakes these days. At one end of the spectrum, you have the likes of the wordy John Shepard, a man who's always struck me as more of a council mediator working through a series of lengthy noisy-neighbour disputes than a saviour of the universe. At the other end, there are the quieter meat-heads who let their guns do their talking, backed up with the kind of crotch-enhancing space armour all too reminiscent of those horrifyingly tight, shiny suits that Jamie Redknapp's fond of wearing on Sky Sports.
And as I grow older and fartier with what seems like every passing second, it's characters like Geralt of Rivia I find myself growing closer to - the more life-like middle ground where pleasantly brutal violence goes hand-in-hand with believable characters, convincing relationships and repercussions.
In reality it's simply not the done thing to deal with life's infinite array of petty irritations by tracking down the instigator and planting a silver sword in their anus before winding down with a nice cup of coffee and a pancake. This makes me sad.
"Make no mistake," said SEGA this week, "if one quarter of the people that usually pirate [Football Manager] switch to purchasing Football Manager 2012, the sales of the game worldwide would more than double." That was the eye-opening statistic used to justify Football Manager 2012 requiring Steam to play. In other words, more than 80 per cent of people playing Football Manager are doing so with a pirated copy.
It's an early bird special this week, with many of the biggest upcoming games available to pre-order now for really low prices. With all the new announcements coming out of E3, it looks like we've got an exciting year of gaming ahead of us, and this is your chance get in on the fun at discount prices.
Weeks like this don't come around too often.
It's going to be an incredible year for RPGs: this much is clear. After a year in the relative wilderness with only the dry bones of Dragon Age II to gnaw on, the remaining months of 2011 now promise us the excitements of Skyrim, Mass Effect 3 and a lesser-known game that we're now sure can stand tall amongst such towering names: The Witcher 2.
I'm an explorer at heart. I'm never happier than when I'm lost in a world that exists for its own sake, rather than as a fleshed-out backdrop for 20 predetermined hours of linear derring-do.
Last week Polish publisher/developer CD Projekt held a press conference in a trendy Warsaw club to reveal the innards of the Collector's Edition and Premium Edition of upcoming fantasy role-playing game The Witcher 2: Assassin's of Kings. Eurogamer was there to bear witness to the amazing scenes.
Expo! It's been a hell of a weekend for developer session speakers at the Eurogamer Expo so far. We've had Peter Molyneux and Tim Willits and all sorts. Today we've got CD Projekt showing off The Witcher 2. Senior producer Tomasz Gop and level designer Marek Ziemak were on hand to show how things are going for good old Geralt now he's in a new game engine with refined combat, improved dialogue systems and a newer and much bigger story.