Geralt of Rivia is back, and badder than ever in CDProjekt RED’s upcoming third installment of The Witcher series. They took the PC world by storm with the original, and finally made it to home consoles with the 2nd installment, Assassins of Kings. Read to see my Most Anticipated Game of 2014 – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt!
History of The Witcher
Originally released in 2007, The Witcher was developed by the unknown Polish studio, CDProjeckt RED and received solid reviews throughout the gaming industry. The game had been released in three different versions, the original, the “Enhanced Edition” which added hundreds of new animations, improved load times, new missions, and a slew of more options. Shortly after, the “Director’s Cut” was released in North America. This version, was quite similar to the Enhanced Edition but removed all the cencorship that was included in the original that was released to North America. In 2011, the 2nd installment, “Assassins of Kings” was released on PC with the home console version coming a year later, as the “Enhanced Edition.” Both versions received stellar reviews from the gaming community and critics alike, improving upon the original in many ways. Graphically quality was much improved due to the in-house engine that was developed specifically for the series, improved combat, and an ever engaging storyline.
The Witcher series is known for a few things: 1) overall choice in the game’s story. Each decision can have grave consequences further down the line. No decision is truly black or white, forcing the gamer to truly weigh their choices as they navigate this fantasy world. 2) The sheer amount of exploration, crafting, and side missions make this a game that will take months to even come close to completing and 3) the fantastic story and rich history that has been woven within your journey lets the gamer immerse themselves and truly become Geralt.
In “Wild Hunt,” you continue the story of Geralt of Rivia shortly after the end of Assassin’s of Kings storyline. The Nilfgaard have struck the Northern Kingdoms and ravaged the landscape, now most, if not all of Geralt’s allies in the Kingdom are gone. But this isn’t the worst of it all, an otherworldly group known as The Wild Hunt. These spectres/ghosts have ravaged humankind for ages and now have their eyes set on something that Geralt cherishes most.
There are a few things that I’m truly excited for with “Wild Hunt.” CDProjeckt RED has an entirely new gaming engine powering WH, which has many fantastic benefits over the previous installments. For the first time in the series, you will have a truly open-world experience throughout the duration of your journey. In the past, you were confined to small sections of the world that were open for exploration, but not to the point where you could travel from one corner of the world to the next. In some instances, you will need to use a sailboat or go horseback in order to get to your destination in a timely manner. For those who don’t want the extra exploration, you will have the ability to fast-travel to and from known locations. With the complex story that is The Witcher, CDProjekt RED has also developed their engine to allow for complex, user driven storylines and the ability to change the world to tailor it to your personal experience. It will give gamers the most immersive, detailed, choice-driven story to be released on a home console. Another great addition, is the ability for the engine to render fast enough that there will be ZERO loading times! For a world that has been said to be 30 times larger than the previous installments, as well as being 20% more than Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, that is not only remarkable, but once thought impossible with a game of this scope and magnitude. With the game being quoted at 100 hours total, the zero loading times will be key to keep gamers in the action.
With all of these new features, not only will fans of the series be excited, but I believe there’s some groundbreaking technology here and could bring in new fans of the series. Wild Hunt is definitely my Most Anticipated for 2014. Look for The Witcher:Wild Hunt in stores sometime during Q2 of 2014 for the Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC.