CD Projekt Red has admitted it included a few too many points of interest in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’s Skellige map, but has also explained the reason why so many question marks filled the screen in the first place.
Speaking during the developer’s 20th anniversary stream, Witcher 4 campaign director Philipp Weber, who was a junior quest designer at the time, said that the various smugglers’ caches — underwater chests sprinkled in the dozens throughout the oceans of Skellige — weren’t actually introduced as points of interest at all.
Given the extraordinary size of The Witcher 3’s map, CD Projekt decided it needed something more than just quests upon quests to fill it.
“I can admit freely I’m one of those people that actually put those question marks in the world,” Weber said. “It was already late 2014 so not that long before release [in May 2015] when we basically just filled the world with them.
“There was not a lot of time so it was very much, ‘okay, we just have to do it and we can’t do it perfectlly’. However I do have a defense,” he continued. “I did a lot of those terrible — I can say terrible because I did them — smugglers’ caches. But originally, we put them into the world, we put some seagulls over them so you would see them circling, but it wasn’t planned to actually have an icon on the map.”
Instead, Weber explained, the smuggers’ caches were intended to be a treat that players would randomly come across, instead of being somewhat of a collectible that took completionists hours to tick off.
“I completely would agree that was a mistake,” he laughed. “I wouldn’t do that one again.”
The upcoming Witcher game seemingly won’t include so many question marks on its map then, at least not as many laborious ones. It’ll be a while before we find out, however, as The Witcher 4 (for lack of an official name) only entered pre-production in May and is therefore likely years away.
CD Projekt Red has only revealed a single teaser image for the game, but something so small still sparked myriad fan theories. CD Projekt later confirmed the image to feature a Lynx medallion, but whether it’s a new Witcher school or not is still up for debate.
We don’t know too much else about the game, other than that CD Projekt Red has partnered with Epic Games to build it in Unreal Engine 5 and that its director has promised no crunch on his watch.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.