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CD Projekt Red Retrospective Videos

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PlayStation has released a couple retrospective videos about CDPR and The Witcher. Although many of us are already well acquainted with the story of both, it's always fun to hear Geralt (Doug Cockle) talk about his creators:
 
I really enjoyed these videos and the first one reminded me, that I always wanted to give some Feedback, about one thing.

Witcher 3, cutscene. Kaer Morhen, Ezekiel fights the Wild Hunt.
At some point, he holds his weapon the way, that the blade is straight backwards.
As a Martial Artist myself, who trained with different kind of weapons, including swords, knives, etc. this always makes me laugh and shrug my head. Its a small detail, but all the great details made Witcher 3 sp perfectly good. I found only one purpose in holding a sword like that, during my Ninjutsu training...as concealment. Nothing more.
You give up every advantage a sword provides, if you fight like this.
I know, many gamers like that style, but, for me, that is an immersion breaker, because such a skilled Masterfighter, every Witcher is supposed to be, should know, that this style will put him in a bad position.
It is the same with young Ned Stark fights Ser Arthur Dayne, in the Game of Thrones episode "Tower of Joy". Ser Arthur Dayne is supposed to be one of the most skilled fighters in the world. Besides the fighting choreo was beyond terrible, he made that thing with both swords, too, so my most anticipated fight scene just gone completely south.
I believe I heard that you had a very skilled swordsman for the Witcher 3 development onder contract, so I am still wondering, how that scene actually could happen.
That is no big rage and no big deal, just, as a devoted Martial Artist and devoted Pen&Paper player, who loves deep immersion, for me, it was a breaker and I hope, in Cyberpunk I wont encounter that, too. ;-)
Keep the great work up and big thanks for it. :)
If this feedback belongs to other places, feel free to move it. :)
 
I really enjoyed these videos and the first one reminded me, that I always wanted to give some Feedback, about one thing.

Witcher 3, cutscene. Kaer Morhen, Ezekiel fights the Wild Hunt.
At some point, he holds his weapon the way, that the blade is straight backwards.
As a Martial Artist myself, who trained with different kind of weapons, including swords, knives, etc. this always makes me laugh and shrug my head. Its a small detail, but all the great details made Witcher 3 sp perfectly good. I found only one purpose in holding a sword like that, during my Ninjutsu training...as concealment. Nothing more.
You give up every advantage a sword provides, if you fight like this.
I know, many gamers like that style, but, for me, that is an immersion breaker, because such a skilled Masterfighter, every Witcher is supposed to be, should know, that this style will put him in a bad position.
It is the same with young Ned Stark fights Ser Arthur Dayne, in the Game of Thrones episode "Tower of Joy". Ser Arthur Dayne is supposed to be one of the most skilled fighters in the world. Besides the fighting choreo was beyond terrible, he made that thing with both swords, too, so my most anticipated fight scene just gone completely south.
I believe I heard that you had a very skilled swordsman for the Witcher 3 development onder contract, so I am still wondering, how that scene actually could happen.
That is no big rage and no big deal, just, as a devoted Martial Artist and devoted Pen&Paper player, who loves deep immersion, for me, it was a breaker and I hope, in Cyberpunk I wont encounter that, too. ;-)
Keep the great work up and big thanks for it. :)
If this feedback belongs to other places, feel free to move it. :)
I did a lot of fight choreography for stage and film in my 20's and 30's, so I can sympathize completely when something very obvious makes me wince. (Not too much eastern style for me. I only got a little formal weapons training in Tae Kwon Do, the rest was primarily training specifically for performance and mostly European style.) For myself, I've always gone for less flair and more realism in my own routines, but truly, there are lots of hurdles to overcome when dealing with any form of violence in "entertainment".

1.) It needs to be entertaining! Unrehearsed fights (even highly-skilled) tend to be tenuous, rather sloppy, and rather abrupt. Plus, from a purely martial standpoint, the goal with any exchange is to move the weapon as little as possible to get the job done. Don't want to over-extend and don't want to tire myself out. That can result in rather...lackluster theatre. :p

2.) Patterns. Pretty much all melee is based on patterns. Therefore, if one handles the choreography realistically, things will tend to get a little monotonous after a handful of fights. Hence, artistic license is often taken to spice things up at the cost of realism.

3.) Skill levels of the people involved. Even if I can personally handle some advanced choreography...other actors may not have the same level of comfort or ability. So, things may need to be handled accordingly. Especially spacing. Realistic sword work is so close in, I've had some actors simply admit they don't think they can do this. (Incidentally, a very effective European technique is to reverse your grip on the sword [holding it like a dagger] in addition to possibly half-handing it in order to deal with close-quarters situations, like fighting in a narrow hallway or defending against a smaller, faster weapon if your opponent gets too far inside your circle.)

4.) Impact on the audience. Despite the lack of realism, it's often better not to disappoint the house if they're expecting something "really cool".

So, I'd say that all of that might combine to create scenes that occasionally...take liberties :cool:...with realistic weapons play. (I'm guilty of it. :giggle: Especially when I direct stuff in the cape-and-sword or Commedia style. Sometimes, fun and exciting just works better than realistic.)
 
So, I'd say that all of that might combine to create scenes that occasionally...take liberties :cool:...with realistic weapons play.
Ay, as another former swordsman myself, I agree The Witcher is often guilty of theatrical, fantastical swordplay -- though nowhere as outlandish as some other games, as we know. Grand stuff to watch, of course, and some of it mechanically possible; however, as grounded in reality as the game is, there are a few fundamental points which it suspends, for the sake of entertainment, or, as one former RED put it, to just 'look cool'.

After all, even the witchers' signature manner of carrying their swords on their backs is impossible. From experience, I can say that there is simply no way to draw a fully sheathed sword from this position, as the arm is simply too short to clear the blade from the scabbard. Ah, well, this hasn't stopped many players from enjoying the game.

Geralt's arms must be mutated as well. . . heh.
 
One thing I'd like to see done in some game, eventually, is proper footwork in swordplay. Pretty much all games show characters do a wind-up --> step --> strike. It telegraphs the move, which, ironically, works in a game's favor by making it more fun :p. True technique is to step and strike in one move. I'd love to see a game that models that. Perhaps it could be one of the things that happens when the player selects higher difficulty modes.
 
Couldn't agree more with the point of adding more "coolness" on the account of "realism". I won't trade any cool and realistic sword combat with the mix of Griffin gear and piercing cold. It is like a walking White Frost; in other words, a lot cooler. But it mainly depends on the expectations of the game, so in a fantasy game like the Witcher I definitely prefer more coolness. On the other hand, in a game like Kingdom Come: Deliverance, which also includes different techniques and conditions depending on higher difficulty levels, a strict and realistic combat is something to be wanted. I haven't played it, so I can't tell how realistic the combat is. The same also applies to the environment. For instance, to me, nothing beats the scenery of Flotsam's forest in Witcher 2, especially near the dock with the beautiful flute music, as it looked ultra-cool, so it genuinely felt like a fantasy game.
 
Couldn't agree more with the point of adding more "coolness" on the account of "realism". I won't trade any cool and realistic sword combat with the mix of Griffin gear and piercing cold. It is like a walking White Frost; in other words, a lot cooler. But it mainly depends on the expectations of the game, so in a fantasy game like the Witcher I definitely prefer more coolness. On the other hand, in a game like Kingdom Come: Deliverance, which also includes different techniques and conditions depending on higher difficulty levels, a strict and realistic combat is something to be wanted. I haven't played it, so I can't tell how realistic the combat is. The same also applies to the environment. For instance, to me, nothing beats the scenery of Flotsam's forest in Witcher 2, especially near the dock with the beautiful flute music, as it looked ultra-cool, so it genuinely felt like a fantasy game.
My take on Kingdom Come (the combat) was that it was based on realistic concerns, but it still took a lot of liberties because "game".
  • Stances and guards are exaggerated.
  • Movement is quite sluggish.
  • The effect of being struck with a weapon while in heavier armor is very exaggerated (it will mostly have no immediate effect).
  • Footwork, while the critical element with any weapon, is handled quite loosely. A big thing is that I need to step in to my opponent to effectively parry. I'll mostly step away if I want to dodge or get completely out of their circle.
  • In actual combat, I don't rely on only my weapons. They're just extensions. A lot of weapons play involves using the weapon as a hook or lever to push / pull an opponent off balance, trip them, or disarm them. Games will often model "dueling" or "sparring" rules (which is more of a sport), and that's not what would happen on the field. Actual combat with weapons involves as much grappling / wrestling / hant-to-hand as it does weapons play.
Some stuff "feels" right though.
  • One thing it gets 100% right is that there are very limited angles any attack can come from. The game deals with 6, it should be 8. (Horizontal cuts are actually quite challenging to deal with without "blocking" but they're not represented in the game.)
  • Needing to pre-empt my opponent's move, knowing ahead of time what they're going to do in order to counter effectively, is spot-on. (However, in real life, I look at my opponent's feet and stance and watch how they position and move the foot that their weight is on...I don't really pay attention to the way they're holding their weapon.)
  • "Combos" are the right idea -- taking initiative in an opening and pressing without over-extending. Very true to life to purposefully attack in such a way as to let your opponent parry and dodge and tire themselves out. Defending will almost invariably take more effort than attacking if both combatants are practiced and reserved.
  • Stamina worked surprisingly well for me. Especially when wearing as little as an extra 20 or 30 lbs., it's surprising how quickly I tire out (...even when I was in good shape :p). Armor doesn't "breathe" like modern sports gear, and that takes a lot out of you. The mere seconds it takes for muscles to feel a burn and start turning to jelly feels right.
  • Fights are fast. Or at least the little bit I played seemed that way. Most engagements between two combatants would last 15-45 seconds.
But I agree with the way you end your post. Hyper-focus on any one aspect of the larger piece (game, film...whatever) will wind up leaving something feeling out of place. I wouldn't want my fantasy or sci-fi experience to be stilted in order to ensure footwork or weapon grip was accurately represented to simulation levels.