Sometimes, even the most critically-acclaimed games don’t get everything quite right.
The Witcher 4 campaign director, Philipp Weber, was a junior quest designer during the development of The Witcher 3. Weber appeared during the 20 years of CD PROJEKT RED: Anniversary Stream, admitting he made a mistake in designing the game’s smugglers’ caches, floating barrels in bodies of water that gifted players a decent amount of loot. As the smugglers’ caches developed, they became points of interest, so completionists had to go to each one and find it, becoming tedious.
As originally reported by IGN, Weber didn’t mean to make all of these points of interest, and the smugglers’ caches were originally meant to be a random discover players came across.
“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.”
As game development went on, it was getting closer to its 2015 release, and they needed more content for the maps. In late 2014, the team added smugglers’ caches to the points of interest to make the large maps feel less barren, and give the player more to do. Since then, he has concluded that it was not in players’ best interest to do so.
“I completely would agree that was a mistake,” he said while laughing, “I wouldn’t do that one again.”
For those players that wanted to fully complete the game, unlocking all points of interest and leaving no question mark unsolved on their maps, those caches proved to be a serious headache. While the first main areas of the game only feature a few here and there, the islands of Skellige contain more than 50 smugglers’ caches. Many of those caches are in the middle of the area’s open sea areas, making getting to them slow, not to mention that very rewarding at that stage of the game.
While The Witcher 3 is still a glorious and groundbreaking entry in the series, it did have those small flaws. We can assume that The Witcher 4‘s points of interest will have a little more depth to them and won’t be a random sprinkling of things to do.