Ever since the release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt back in May, a steady flow of mods have been trickling out for the PC version of the game. However, pretty soon modders will be getting new tools to help make content creation even easier via the introduction of official mod tools by CD Projekt Red.
But what can we expect from these tools? I recently got the chance to talk to CD Projekt Red about what The Witcher 3's mod tools can do and what their plans are for mods in the future.
Was it your plan all along to offer mod tools? Or did the decision come about recently?
CD Projekt Red: Mods are kind of like the free DLCs we've been releasing, just made by the community. As devs, we're pretty pumped that someone sat down and devoted their private time to create something for our game (because mods for Wild Hunt do exist already). Since it's in our nature to support these kind of initiatives, we want to nurture that and help as much as we can. As soon as we saw that the community is eager to create mods, we wanted to help -- we hope that these tools will empower modders to do more crazy and cool stuff.
How important are things like mod tools to the game's longevity?
Mod tools definitely impact the longevity of the game but we like to think about them as something that primarily adds another way for gamers to interact with their favorite title. It's something similar to house rules in board games: you love how a sword looks but it's just too weak for you to use at the current level? Just change the stats and you're set. Hell, sometimes it's just cool to break stuff on purpose and watch the world burn, simply because you can.
Let's go into some detail. What will players be able to do with the mod tools? Does it go beyond the cosmetic?
First of all, the modding tools we are releasing are not an editor. They're meant for people who are somewhat experienced with modding software and are designed to make creating mods easier. They give access to game files and allow for easy extracting, compilation, and decompilation of resources. Beside visual changes, like modifying textures and models, they will allow to change UI assets and script files. The majority of gameplay-related mechanics are written in scripts. Having access to these scripts will allow to create even more ambitious and complex modifications. If you're not a modder and you're wondering about real life applications, in short, all this means that from now on, people will be able to put their own textures on models to make them feel more personal (or cool, or whatever they wish!), or, say, substitute Roach's model with a unicorn (and ride it towards the setting sun). You will be able to use these mods when they get published. Also, we hope the community builds on these resources and, who knows, maybe some people who haven't ever dreamt of modding will start doing so? There might be future devs among you!
Obviously this opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for the community. What sort of things are you expecting people will create?
On one hand, we have the extremely popular character appearance modifications, which should be even easier to make now. On the other, we have gameplay modifications, which -- so far -- have been limited to XML files. With access to script files, players will be able to change nearly every aspect of gameplay mechanics, including creating new, custom skills for character development, adding new features to the game, modifying aspects of enemy AI, making changes to UI, and so on. To answer your question more directly, well, all these things can significantly change the gameplay experience so we imagine there will be a lot of "hardcore mode" mods, making the game more difficult or "power up" mods allowing Geralt to kill stuff with a flick of his fingers. Alternatively, someone can turbocharge village cats to run twice as fast, hell, we're eager as hell to see ourselves!
Let's talk about how people will be able to share/access mods. How will they be able to do that? And why did you decide to do it in that way?
There are several places on the Web gamers can access The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt mods. Nexus Mods is what we see as a very prolific community right now -- you can download Wild Hunt mods from there already and we hope more will come after modders get to play with the tool.
With mods, people can create basically anything they can imagine; how does this impact your feeling of authorship of The Witcher 3 if at all?
We are just happy to see people getting creative with the game. Some of the best mods for The Witcher 2 gave us ideas for improvements in The Witcher 3. We love to be surprised and, in the past, we have been floored with the creativity, passion and skills of the community. Bring it on gals and guys -- we can't wait to see what you create!
What are the plans, if any, to bring these mods across to console?
We are thinking about it but it's a way more complex process to do this on consoles so we can't give you any details now. It's really important for us not to partition The Witcher community and allow access to mods to console gamers, too. We're considering various approaches to solve this and started initial talks with first-parties about this. We can't make any hard promises yet, but you can be sure that we're looking into it.
What are the next steps when it comes to modding? Any future plans you can divulge about mods?
Well, the ball's now on the community's court. Let's see what gets created and what we'll be surprised with, and we'll adapt and move on from there. Honestly, we can't wait for all that stuff! In the meantime, we're hard at work at the expansions and supporting the game!