Since it's lackluster title announcement on February 5th, CD Projekt RED has been making up for the most boring title release trailer ever by feeding us titillating details to keep fans happy. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt picks up the story of the amnesiac bad ass monster hunter Geralt on his quest to uncover his memories and rejoin his lost love.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been confirmed to be available for next generation consoles and the PC in 2014. One can assume this will hold true for the new Microsoft console that has yet to be revealed as well. They have said that they will only be releasing the game on top of the line consoles, so those who have no interest in buy a new console, it is best time to prepare your PC.
One can assume they are releasing The Witcher 3 only for high end consoles because CD Projekt RED wants to run their new engine, unimaginatively named REDengine 3, through its paces. Now whereas the previous Witcher games have been split into acts because REDengine 2 could not support an open world.
With this new engine though, CD Projekt RED promises a new open world in Witcher 3 that will put Skyrim to shame. The open world of The Witcher 3 promises to be larger than the world of Skyrim and 30 times larger than The Witcher 2. However, they have released that average gameplay will only take about 50 hours to complete. One can assume that they only mean the actual story is 50 hours long and that open world will be plentiful with side quests. After you complete the main story though it leaves room for a lot of replay value to play through it again. After the main story, the world will be in one of 36 different states and will lead to one of three one-hour long epilogues. It has not been clarified as to whether these epilogues will be a playable venture or just a very long cutscene.
Being as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is named after the Wild Hunt and has such a long epilogue sequence, this game may be the last in the series. However, no official announcement has been made. As we know from previous games the Wild Hunt is responsible for Geralts' ongoing amnesia so it is possible we will finally confront them in this game. It sets the perfect storyline for a final game, if you ask me.
The Witcher 3 has a level cap of 60 and you can spend your time in the wild tracking monsters and brutally murdering them for money and resources. However, killing monsters for random fun does not give any experience. To level your Geralt up, you will only be able to complete quests to gain experience towards levels. Unfortunately some of the developers at CD Projekt RED have hinted that if you neglect the main story for too long for doing side quests and hunting, it may have dire consequences. Similar to the ending of Mass Effect 2 where if you drag your feet going to save your crew, they will die.
Inside the open world of The Witcher 3, they have implemented a day/night system along with a weather system to help determine what zones are open and if certain monsters will spawn. So it will make things a little more difficult if you are looking for a particular monster type to gather resources from while hunting. You will now be able to explore the world via horseback, walking, and riding around boats. The creators have stated that the open world experience of The Witcher 3 right when you start the game up, however monsters do not scale to Geralts level. So should you wonder too far, you may find your Witcher taking a dirt nap somewhere in the hills.
The towns in Witcher 3 have also gained a dynamic economy. This means if you flood the market with one item it will begin to lose value in that area. Not only can you completely decimate the economic value of wolf pelts, the NPCs will take note. They will take note of your presence in town. This making the game much more realistic as Witchers, the demon killing cursed ones we know and love, are not well liked. The towns people will make note of any daily routines you develop and tattle on your to city guards if they catch you stealing.
many spells make a return in The Witcher 3 including the Axii sign that lets you tame wild horses to ride around and the Ignii spell that now shoots a long torrent of flame instead of just one small burst. It is yet unknown if the Axii spell is limited only to horses or if you can still control enemies for a short time like in The Witcher 2. With these revamped spells also comes a new combat mechanic which is quoted as being "similar to the VATS system from Fallout 3". This system replaces the QTEs of the previous game but like the VATS system form Fallout 3, I foresee it slowing down what otherwise could be fast and furious fun game play.
With these new changes to The Witcher 3, it puts itself on a pretty high pedestal. Though the screenshots that have been released are utterly gorgeous, some of the boasting CD Projekt RED has done is suspicious of being mere puffery to make Dragon Age 3 and other big RPGs quake in their boots. The fact that the game is boasted as being bigger than Skyrim but having significantly less gameplay to the story is slightly worrying. Side quests are fun and everything, but a game with such a high level cap and a short story is a set up for infuriation.
Even though the game is set to release in 2014, I am still concerned that they are just talking big to rush EA into releasing Dragon Age 3 before it is polished. I still have high hopes for the game though, The Witcher and The Witcher 2 were both amazing and fun games, I am just concerned that CD Projekt RED is being brutish.
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