The second delay for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt came as a huge blow to many that were excited for the game's February release. A couple of months ago, CD Projekt Red opted to push the game back by a few more months, citing the fear of broken game launches and, much more typically, the need to address some in-game bugs.
As has been said many times before, delays are largely positive because they allow the developer more time to work on the game, while also giving people additional opportunities to learn more about the game's own mechanics. Case in point, more details regarding The Witcher 3 have emerged and been compiled together by a user on CD Projekt's own forums. User Shavod gained most of the info from several people that played the game ahead of its release, then further confirmed the details using other websites.
A visual representation that accompanies all the new (though not major) news would go a long way, but for now, there's just text and our own imaginations to go on. Besides, with three more months until The Witcher 3 releases, CD Projekt Red could very well decide to show these things themselves.
The HUD in The Witcher 3 is very customizable, apparently, though there are very few details about it. At most, the ability to turn off the minimap is an option, among several others, as well as notifications that can be turned on and off. Presumably, this means messing around with in-game hints or reminders about on-going quests.
Additionally, those that like to tweak the graphical settings and quickly see the results will be thrilled to hear that those particular tweaks are available through an in-game menu. Hopefully, this means the game won't have to be restarted with each minor change, and PC players can see how far they can push their hardware.
Weapons will degrade over time, to the point that they may become dull or completely unusable. Certain weapons like swords will likely last longer than other, but throughout the course of the game, players will need to visit craftsman for repairs and, probably, upgrades. Furthermore, an assortment of weapons can be picked up and used in combat, however, they may require players be of a higher level in order to use them properly.
This leads into leveling and the skill tree, which is reported to be quite large and, presumably, more involved that its Witcher 2 counterpart. There are either four or five skill trees, with five tiers each, and each tier holds five skills. Within the skills themselves, each one has three to four levels to unlock, though even after being unlocked, the skill still has to be activated on its own. This is done by placing the skill in an entirely separate tree that only has a certain number of skill slots.
Using these skills in combat is said to alter Geralt's fighting style, while activating multiple skills placed within the same skill tree increases the skill's effectiveness. Similar to the nature of combat in the last game and how preparation was heavily encouraged, the skills players choose before heading into a fight can be the difference between walking away alive and reloading a save. In addition to this, four mutagen slots are available for use, which will also affect Geralt's abilities.
AI Companions, Enemies & NPCs
According to Shavod's info, being reckless and uncaring will result in numerous deaths, as the game is fairly difficult. Enemies encountered during the game will surround Geralt to prevent escape and use tactics to catch him off guard.
Enemy AI is also said to be so good this time around that they'll actively avoid traps, should they be placed directly in front of them, and attacking from a distance won't always be an option, either. Should an enemy have a shield, for example, they'll parry any crossbow bolts fired at them. However, defeating the leader of any given group of enemies should cause a panic, leading to an opportunity to either flee or attack mercilessly.
On the opposite side, with regards to AI companions, several can be picked up throughout the course of the game, and will help players in various way with their different fighting styles. One example given was a female companion that waits to backstab enemies that leave themselves open.
Finally, and more peacefully, are the game's NPCs. NPC models will range in appearance, while the inside of every hut will look different, thereby avoiding the situation where a player goes, "Oh, I've seen that model before. Same exact colors too."
The Witcher 3 was already known to be a large game, but after taking into account all this new info, it leads one to wonder what state the game would've been in if it wasn't delayed. CD Projekt Red in an ambitious developer, and it'll be very impressive to see this game launch with little to no bugs - even Dragon Age: Inquisition couldn't get away with it.
Readers, do these new details make you more excited for The Witcher 3, or make you worried that it may be trying to implement too much? Weapon degradation and smarter AI wasn't readily apparent in that 15-minute gameplay video from a while back.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt launches on May 19, 2015 for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.