In the weeks leading up to the release of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Extended Edition CD Projekt RED released a short animated feature for promotion that was apparently obscured by the much more impressive prerendered intro by Platige Image and Tomasz Bagiński (who also worked on cinematics for the original The Witcher).
Entitled 52 and a Half, this six minute long animated feature was created entirely in house by RED, with the aim of introducing Geralt of Rivia to audiences outside of Poland. It follows our favourite witcher as he accepts yet another contract for monster extermination and makes his way to the monsters’ lair, musing on the hardships of his life. In terms of atmosphere and narrative, it is very close to the short stories of Andrzej Sapkowski (collected in the Last Wish and Sword of Destiny anthologies). See for yourself:
Why are we mentioning it now? An interesting behind the scenes look at the creation of 52 and a Half has been recently posted in two parts on CD Projekt RED’s official blog. Part one details the conceptual stages and includes the original 2D animatics used to draft the short story. The second part is even more interesting, as it goes over the actual process of creating the video, complete with work-in-progress screenshots straight from the Motion Editor. Both are very compelling to anyone interested in how games (or, in this case, animated features based on a game) are made.
Finally, for those that absolutely need to know everything about The Witcher 2, RED also offers a quick look at the circumstances that surrounded the birth of Geralt’s ponytail for the game and reasons for the inclusion of barbers and various haircuts.