The opening was intended to be an integral part of the narrative — every episode was therefore given a unique introduction, designed by Michał Niewiara from the Platige Image VFX studio/production house.
When Netflix expressed interest in the studio’s pitch for a live-action adaptation of The Witcher, Platige Image became a co-producing entity and Niewiara, an artist and long-time fan of the saga, became a consultant. “For our Platige crew, I was 'The Witcher professor'—if the team wasn't sure how to present one thing or another, they'd ask me and I'd share ideas based on the descriptions from the book,” said Niewiara. Eventually, he was chosen to design the title sequence.
The idea for the opening was to foreshadow or encapsulate the story of a given episode. Each sequence would become a mystery that would be solved by the end credits. Niewiara tried out a number of different approaches. Platige narrowed the selection, and the final direction was decided by the producers and production designer Andrew Laws.
“The most spectacular idea was the puppet theatre. In The Witcher books, there's a character named Stribog, a travelling storyteller who entertains children with stories about Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri. I thought that a wandering puppeteer could also exist in this universe.”
— said Niewiara
Another scrapped idea was for a more detailed version of the final opening. It was to feature the symbols seen in the sequence, but engraved in stone, in the form of a wax seal on a letter, etc. The producers liked it but opted for a simpler, more elegant version. The symbols would stay, and their look would stem from The Witcher's logo and medallion, designed by Michał Niewiara and Andrew Laws.
The logo was one of the most controversial pieces of design created for the show. Niewiara moved away from the well-known look established in the games and towards something more faithful to the literary original. "The video game medallion works well in a game, but we needed something more practical and simple. The witchers aren't skilled jewellers. We also wanted to emphasise the fact that we were creating an adaptation of the book, not the game," explained Niewiara. He managed to pay subtle homages in his designs to the Polish covers of the first edition books of the saga.
The openings went into production almost a year before the scheduled premiere of the show. Made by Platige Image, they are now an inherent part of The Witcher's storytelling.
Showrunner: Lauren Schmidt Hissrich
Excutive Producers: Tomek Bagiński, Jarosław Sawko, Piotr Sikora
Production Designer: Andrew Laws
VFX Producer: Krzysztof Krok
VFX Supervisor: Mateusz Tokarz
Art Director: Rafał Sadowy
Head of Production: Magdalena Machalica
Head of CG: Bartłomiej Witulski
Head of Technology: Tomasz Kruszona
VFX Production Assistant: Dorota Woropaj
Sequence Supervisor: Bartosz Skrzypiec
Title Sequence Art Director: Michał Niewiara
Sequence Art Director: Karol Klonowski & Agata Wacławiak-Pączkowska
Music Compositiors: Sonya Belousova & Giona Ostinelli