Atari has extended its deal with CD Projekt, agreeing to publish the Polish developer's action-RPG The Witcher in North America; in addition to Europe and Asia. Based on Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski's Blood of the Elves book series, The Witcher (originally, Wied?min) was first unveiled in June 2003 and made subsequent appearances at E3 each of the following years. The game utilizes a modified version of BioWare's Aurora Engine and is said to blend fast-paced combat with a twisting storyline driven by players' decisions.
The Witcher's relevance in North America is crippled by a lack of English-translated Sapkowski work (only one short story collection has been translated; to be published in April). Even the awkward name witcher is lost on English-speaking audiences (Sapkowski actually prefers his word to be translated as hexer). Wied?min is derived from the polish word for "witch" (wied?ma), and, as Sapkowski imagined, was invented by magicians as a derogatory term used to describe sterile mutants with (supposedly limited) supernatural abilities. In the game, players are Geralt, Sapkowski's legendary monster slayer, who is a witcher -- "The Witcher."
The Witcher is scheduled for release in North America this fall under the Games for Windows brand, and will be compatible with Windows XP and Vista.