The Witcher Script Heavily Edited for English Audiences, Says The Writer

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Players of CD Projekt's hardcore Polish RPG The Witcher may not be hearing the whole story when it comes to the game's characters and quests. According to one of the game's writers, and a chorus of disappointed fans, The Witcher was heavily edited in its transition to the English language.

"Yes, it's true," said writer Sande Chen in response to the issue on the official Witcher forums. "My writing partner and I worked on the English adaptation of the script (based on the translation from the Polish script). It was edited down considerably, not because of censorship, though."

According to translations worked up by fans, the cuts range from minor alterations to drastic changes. One line in the English version reads, "Humans have always hated dwarves and elves," while the same line in the Polish release translates as, "Why do pricks go in cunts? It's the natural order of things. Humans have always disliked dwarves and elves. Not for me to know why."

Though that line may seem to be an obvious candidate for censorship, The Witcher is rated "M" for Mature by the ESRB, and features plenty of equally-vulgar language throughout its existing English translation.

Chen elaborates on the situation via her blog, stressing that CD Projekt did the best they could--while not going so far as to blame publisher Atari for the uneven localization.

"As writers, we accept that when we hand over the script, there's always the possibility it will get changed," Chen writes. "It is sad that not all was able to be retained, but the cuts were ideally done in a fashion so as to keep as much of the original meaning as possible. We think CD Projekt has done a phenomenal job."

The Witcher is based on a series of novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. While Sapkowski monitored and advised on the project, the game was adapted independently by CD Projekt.

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    November 7, 2007 11:55 AM

    I don't get it. Its already a M rated game. Why the need to sanitize (aka butcher) the mature original script? I love that "Why do pricks go in c****?" line. Classic.

    • reply
      November 7, 2007 11:57 AM

      It's pretty bizarre, considering that there are equally vulgar lines in the game as it stands.

    • reply
      November 7, 2007 12:04 PM

      Atari just wanted to save money by cutting some of the dialogue.

    • reply
      November 7, 2007 12:35 PM

      After all the fuss over the news of the US censorship, didn't they think maybe having a game with edited text might piss people off further? I wonder if they learned of this, wanted to redo it but then Atari said "Goddamnit just ship it already" and the deal was sealed. That seems very likely judging by how apologetic Chen sounds.

      • reply
        November 7, 2007 1:49 PM

        Um, us censorship? What country was Manhunt 2 given all the grief over? What country released God of War 1 and 2 with nudity?

        • reply
          November 7, 2007 3:33 PM

          I meant that after we all heard the Witcher was going to be censored for north america there was a big stink about it and people ordered the UK version. Didn't that teach that perhaps people despise any and all censorship?

          What was all that crap about the definitive version being the UK edition?