The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

  • Release: 2014
  • Developer:
  • Publisher:
  • Genre: Action RPG

[E3 2013] From Poland With Love

CD Projekt RED introduces us to The Witcher 3.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: June 16, 2013
Choices and Consequences. That's the ongoing mantra of The Witcher franchise. This time around they made the choice to release The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt with the consequence that more people get to play this series than ever before. Those are the sorts of consequences we can live with.

The boys from Poland tried to ply us with beer before they started with their extended demonstration of the game. Perhaps they were worried we weren't going to like what we saw, or maybe it was just a cultural thing. I decided to wait until after the presentation to partake, and instead settled into my chair for the next 45 minutes as I watched the world of the Northern Kingdoms opened up to me.

And open up it does, because for the first time The Witcher is an open-world game. Geralt will have twenty-eight times the landmass to crawl over compared to The Witcher 2, encompassing several islands, travel by horseback and boat, and multiple cultures to interact with.

What we were shown was a sprawling sidequest that branched off of the main quest and showed some of the consequences of choice in the game. Geralt (yes, you still play as Geralt of Rivia) takes to the craggy peaks of a Celtic-inspired village in pursuit of a lead regarding his main mission. However, upon finding his man he quickly gets drawn into something else when he discovers that a woodland spirit has been terrorizing the fine folk in the area.

Talking to the townfolk, it turns out there are two schools of thought. The elders accept the spirit as something that keeps the balance and therefore should be left alone. The younger set feels like it's time to get rid of the beast and live a more comfortable existence. Geralt isn't above doing work for enough coin, and he soon sets about on an fairly meaty quest filled with tough moral choices for both Geralt and the townspeople.

In the end, our Geralt chose to stay and help, and a quick bit investigation revealed the terror was from this very scary fellow who was a 15 foot tall deer who walked on two legs. Once we knew what it was, Geralt consulted his amazing bestiary that had a treasure trove of information about the creature. At that point Geralt could choose to help the elders or the young ones and we went with the plan to destroy the beast.

Problem in, this beast had marked a villager as a totem, and as long as that villager lived the beast would not stay dead. Using some of Geralt's magic it was revealed to be a young girl. Geralt left it to the village to take care of her while he went to stalk the creature. Following his bestiary he went towards the sounds of crows and broke various totems in the woods until at last the fight with the creature commenced and an epic battle it was, until at last Geralt prevailed.

Carrying the beasts head back to the village, Geralt finds that the villagers have killed off some of the elders and have no more time for Witchers after the deed is done. Geralt accepts payment before scorning the village for its short-sightedness and riding off. A brief epilogue tells how the village only lasted a few more years before they were destroyed by raiders after they lost their fighting spirit. Choices. Consequences.

It goes without saying at this point that all this LOOKED incredible. And this is only at the pre-alpha stage. The world was absolutely breathtaking, and the story beats were well timed and very mature. CD Projekt RED has mastered their craft at this point and after seeing first hand how things are progressing we couldn't be more excited for The Witcher 3. Sometime in 2014. Hopefully.