At CD Projekt Red, the Polish developer of the Witcher series of RPGs and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, development is all about sweating the details, and the studio is swimming in them, according to a post on the developer's blog by senior quest designer Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz.
CD Projekt Red splits development responsibilities between two teams: story design and quest design. The former creates "the very foundations for the game that we all build upon." The latter operates "at the micro level of the storyline, thinking what solutions could and what solutions couldn't be implemented in game, what could work in quests and how to implement them in a way that will appeal to the players," according to Tomaszkiewicz.
"Quest design work is a constant striving for perfection, and, being gamers ourselves, we genuinely believe that details do matter for the player's overall experience."
In pre-production, the story design team outlines a game's overall narrative and subdivides it into chunks, or "quests," which it passes to the quest team. The quest designers choose which to work on and work alongside the story designers to fill in plot holes and even design new quests. Finally, the teams fill in any remaining gaps, populating the game's world with NPCs, quest events and dialogue.
"As stated in the title [of the blog post], the Devil is in the details," he wrote. "This idiom explains exactly why the work of a quest designer on a quest doesn't end until the very premiere of the game (or even after, if patches are being prepared) — there is always some tweaking to be done, bugs to be fixed, things that may be improved upon. Quest design work is a constant striving for perfection, and, being gamers ourselves, we genuinely believe that details do matter for the player's overall experience."