The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was hit with its second delay, but don’t take that as a sign of trouble. The upcoming role-playing game might be unprecedented in both scope and ambition – the world in Wild Hunt is thirty-five times bigger than the map in the series’ previous entry, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings – and Polish-based developer CD Projekt Red seems remarkably confident that their latest title will deliver on its potential. The delays, the company says, have nothing to do with the content; gamers simply deserve a working title, and CD Projekt Red is committed to delivering one.
While the The Witcher 3 isn’t available for a few more months, information on the gritty fantasy epic has been flowing like good ale, thanks to a press-only event held last week and regular players shouldn’t feel too left out; recently, CD Projekt Red released a fifteen minute gameplay video and answered a batch of questions about some of The Witcher 3’s most anticipated features. These new tidbits confirm what gamers have long suspected: the game looks incredible, and should sport gameplay to match.
Unlike previous titles in The Witcher series, Wild Hunt takes place in a non-linear open world, which is home to stunnng views and stuffed full of side-quests. During an interview with VG24/7, Witcher 3 level designer Miles Tost discussed some of the challenges the CD Projekt Red team faced in changing up the game’s structure. An open-world Witcher game was always the dream, Tost says, but it’s not until now that technology (particularly on consoles) caught up with the developer’s vision.
Tost also discussed the ways in which CD Projekt is hoping to avoid some of the problems that plague other open-world RPGs. Unlike, say, Dragon Age: Inquisition, where many side quests felt repetitive and superfluous, every mission in The Witcher 3 is designed to drive forward the story, either by progressing the main plot or fleshing out the world and characters. Areas change based on the events of the story; while enemies don’t level up alongside player characters, Tost hopes players will return to earlier areas in the game “just to see what happens.” The continuance of the developer’s promise of free DLC will help in that respect.
While the new video only hints at it, The Witcher 3 boasts a dynamic, regionally-driven weather system, and non-player characters will react differently depending on atmospheric conditions. Tost couldn’t say too much about Ciri, the game’s second playable character, but he noted that her sections would be more linear than those involving Geralt, the game’s titular monster-hunter. Console gamers won’t be able to import saves from previous Witcher games, but can recreate past experiences via special in-game dialogue choices.
The new video offers a substantial look at the game, highlighting combat, exploration, and dialogue, before concluding with a trailer that lays out the game’s basic plot: Ciri is hunted by something called the Wild Hunt, and it’s up to Geralt to save her. Judging by the video, The Witcher 3 has everything players would want in a dark, gritty fantasy game: horrific monsters, dazzling spells, hard-to-pronounce names, and silly accents. There’s a lot happening on screen at any given time - Tost notes that the game’s UI might receive some additional updates before launch – but possible confusion aside, the The Witcher 3 looks to be in good shape. May can’t come soon enough.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt releases May 19, 2015 for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.