The Witcher 2 Panorama’s
CD Project RED’s sequel to it’s 2007 hit, The Witcher , demonstrates several extremely well designed elements of the natural environment. What make TW2 great is the changes in the standard weather cycle aren’t just limited to large scale weather shifts but include the momentary shifts: i.e. watching the sunlight pouring through the overheard braches/clouds suddenly shift from intense sunlight to a dark overcast shadows mimicking the subtle winter/spring weather patterns we so often encounter as fleeting moments is wonderful, it’s not immediately obvious which again adds to the atmosphere of the TW2.
The environmental fauna is wonderfully detailed, rich and varied: small, medium/large fauna is integrated around the natural environment in a much more believable manner, rock crevices are complete with plants, hanging moss from entrances to caves, the forest floor illuminated by the sunlight, scattered by the forest canopy is scattered with a variety of leaves in different stages of decay. The tree’s in Flotsam Forest have thick gnarly gangly roots are almost stereotypical as they rise from the ground to form the large ancient trunks overhanging the cliffs and wonderfully twisted and organic terrain.
The terrain found in the natural environments i.e. gullies, brooks and riverbanks are wonderfully crafted to form detailed almost textbook representations of natural geology: there is a great deal of attention in the game’s terrain, demonstrating erosion, decay and related organic processes. The environment also lacks identifiable visual repetition, it’s hard if not impossible to identify two identical tree’s or rocks, the bane of any virtual environment with virtual assets that are fixed, and overused often lead to visual repetition, which can break the believability of a natural, organic setting.
The minor geological formations are also impressively crafted , harsh transitions (i.e lake beach and the forest) between landscape types has been almost removed through a careful design i.e. the riverbanks in the game aren’t uniform, it’s long form is broken by irregular mounds of loose stone than blend the form with it’s surroundings.