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Is The Witcher 3 A Huge Step Forward For Video Game Writing?

If there's one element of video games that desperately needs to get better, it's the writing.

It has gotten better over the years but we're still a long way from where we need to be. Sometimes, it's just plain embarrassing.

But every once in a while, a game comes along that is very clearly a step in the right direction. Now, I haven't played The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt just yet (I'm still dealing with Project CARS and obviously, I'm too low on the totem pole to warrant a review copy) but I've been reading the reviews. And it's encouraging to see that a lot of critics are noting excellent writing; perhaps even top-tier writing for an industry that definitely needs it.

One also gets the sense that this truly is a narrative-driven adventure, despite the massive open-world structure. I've always wondered if it was possible to balance the open-world idea with a compelling, cohesive story and I still say it can't be done as well without a linear progression. But maybe CD Project Red has found the secret to that balance, and perhaps it's the writing - as opposed to the endless tasks and missions - that keep us coming back for more.

I'm hopeful...

Related Game(s): The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Tags: the witcher 3 wild hunt, the witcher 3, the witcher 3 writing

5/12/2015 9:52:04 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (25 posts)


Temjin001
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 @ 10:21:01 PM
Reply

It sounds like it's taken some cues from Mass Effect. That is there is one major plot that is populated with tons of episodes with sub plots. Stories within stories. Some have criticized it for doing this. Where the side stories are more interesting than the main story.

I'm fine with that though.

Edit: I did like gametrailers review better than ign, gamespot, gamesradar, or destructoid's.
Funny enough the gamesradar guy was seriously chaffed that it was too restrictive for a game professing to be open world. There's just no way to serve both preferences optimally.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 5/12/2015 10:29:33 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 @ 10:46:24 PM

restrictive? I don't like the sound of that.

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Temjin001
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 @ 10:53:13 PM

He bemoaned that the game is always directing what you should do next and the level caps on missions sorta force it. Or something like that. He wanted something more free roaming, like a bethesda game.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 @ 11:06:18 PM

yeah free roaming is good, it doesn't have to be bethesda level but at least the ability to go wherever you want whenever you want.

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Squirreleatsman
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 @ 11:48:42 PM

Gametrailers tends to be incredibly professional and reliable in terms of there reviews. I really can't think of a review of their that I disagreed with. I really respected them for their review of the Order 1886, as they didn't jump on the hate wagon.

Last edited by Squirreleatsman on 5/12/2015 11:48:53 PM

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Temjin001
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 1:19:52 AM

Yea, as of late gametrailers really hit it good for me too with Drive Club, Order, and Bloodborne. I feel safe with their Witcher review.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 10:14:22 AM

Btw the gamesradar review I'm referencing is from the playstation official magazine UK (80) link on meta critic. Strangely that link takes you to a gamesradar review which is different than the regular metacritic gamesradar link. How one site had two different reviews from what looks like the same site confuses me.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 5/13/2015 10:16:52 AM

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Underdog15
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 10:19:42 AM

Remember the old NES games, like FF2? If you "free roam" to an area you aren't supposed to go to yet, it usually just ended in death... like when you try to go south first, instead of north.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 10:23:17 AM

Underdog, that's why you could powerlevel :)

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Underdog15
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 10:32:10 AM

For sure. Great place to boost that HP!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 @ 10:50:07 PM
Reply

Writing is certainly a great thing for the best experiences and it does need to advance. However, since I've been around the whole time I don't mind the terrible scripts in games as long as they satisfy other needs.

Like I'm playing Risen 3 right now. Sure it's got terrible writing but it also has many more interesting quests, characters, and RPG elements in an open world than Dragon Age Inquisition.

I'd love to write games some day.

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Jalex
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 @ 11:42:53 PM
Reply

I trust that 'Wild Hunt' will, at the very least, be one of the better efforts when it comes to writing in video games. But I do question the judgment of many 'professional' reviewers, the kind who praised 'Grand Theft Auto IV's writing as some kind of high point in the history of the medium.
Even as a 'Grand Theft Auto IV' apologist, I can't defend that kind of hype.

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Tim Speed24
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 6:10:45 PM

Now that AC Syndicate will be single player only and on next-gen hardware only, maybe the story will also be great.

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Jalex
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 6:22:42 PM

That does give me hope, but 'Assassin's Creed' really has to earn its way back into my good graces. They've taken advantage far too often recently, making me increasingly skeptical with every new installment. Still, that kind of news will always be good news to me.

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Squirreleatsman
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 @ 11:57:30 PM
Reply

The sad fact is many of these professional review praise the writing of games like Metal Gear Solid, Skyrim, Final Fantasy, Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption and while all of these are very interesting concepts they are by no means well written or acted, this is very clear when my wife who is a professional theater actress, and stage manager can't help but laugh at these games. Hell even COD games have better writing and execution then these games. Yet games like the Last of Us, Uncharted, and The Order 1886 are knocked for their writing yet feature ridiculously professional writing, acting, and pacing that truly is unmatched in this generation or the past ones. That said I am very excited for the Witcher 3, and I'm sure there will be some very interesting stories, however it's already apparent that the dialogue and acting aren't quite where they could be, and come off as cheesy in multiple instances already revealed.

Last edited by Squirreleatsman on 5/12/2015 11:59:09 PM

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Deleted User
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 12:45:04 AM

Red Dead Redemption NOT well written and acted and Call of Duty IS? The only sad fact is that you are clearly out of whatever mind the divine saw fit to bestow upon you.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 1:22:49 AM

The girl at the ranch in RDR had terrible acting. The rest of the cast have been good though.

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Squirreleatsman
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 10:17:33 AM

KidPresentable, Perhaps I should have been more specific as the last Call of Duty I played was MW2, which was absolutely terrible on all levels. In terms of COD4 MW however, it was actually very well written and acted, while the premise was very similar to that of every Tom Clancy novel ever written it doesn't change the fact that the narrative was well executed.

Red Dead Redemption was a lot of fun, and had a great narrative concept, even the pacing was fairly solid up to the end, much more so than most open world games. As for dialogue and acting, just like the Grand Theft Auto series Rockstar avoids true acting instead characters act like caricatures of people and the genre to avoid too much criticism. Watch any classic western, or hell even a modern one like Open Range and you will quickly realize that Red Dead Redemption is not well acted or written. That doesn't mean its bad at it's base, or you're wrong for liking it, it simply means its is flawed in that way but not in others.

Now take something like the Last of Us and compare it to I am Legend, The Walking Dead, Children of Men and guess what it absolutely obliterates the first two in writing and acting and falls about on par with the latter.

The problem is that too many people think that the longer and more complex a story is, or the more dialogue that comes from each character's mouth means good writing (Metal Gear Solid), it doesn't. Hell some of the greatest stories ever told are short stories. A good story teller knows when a story should be long and when one should be short in length.

Last edited by Squirreleatsman on 5/13/2015 10:19:31 AM

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Underdog15
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 10:21:36 AM

Your wife is an actress AND a stage manager? That's impressive. It's pretty rare to find someone who likes both. Usually the two are like... the antithesis of one another! lol

I -HATE- stage management. So much damn work... My stage management course was more work than my biomechanics and physics courses combined. No lie.

Good on her, man. I have crazy amounts of respect for stage managers.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 5/13/2015 10:22:56 AM

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Underdog15
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 10:30:37 AM

To be fair to a game like FFXIII, I actually wonder how much of the story was left on the cutting room floor. I'm no big advocate for the game, by any means, but I always got the impression that Lightning and especially Fang, were excellently written characters with terrible dialogue. With so much of the story being confined to optional archives you could read, I have often wondered if the first FFXIII was meant by it's writers to be far better than it was given the chance to be.

I don't know of any sane person that thinks TLOU was terrible writing. It has some generic plot points (in video games, it's hard not to since we still need to play something), but the story was fantastic... and anyone who says Troy Baker was not a good actor is fudging nuts.

At any rate, I don't know if I 100% agree with everything squirreleatsman said, but I'm super happy to see someone come along who actually knows how to talk about this kind of thing.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 5/13/2015 10:31:11 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 7:45:54 PM

You're wasting your time, Squirrel. It's a great explanation but perhaps you haven't been around long enough to know that KidPresentable is not only never wrong about anything, he knows more than you about everything. He knows more than all of us put together. He's a genius.

Accept that and move along; it'll be so much easier.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 5/13/2015 7:46:20 PM

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Banky A
Thursday, May 14, 2015 @ 7:44:18 AM

He is An genius.

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JackieBoy
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 2:58:56 AM
Reply

I wouldn't know, I didn't play it yet...
Hope it is tho! :)

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 8:04:06 AM
Reply

thats certainly sounds really encouraging for sure i'm really hoping its really great cos we certainy need it.

happy gaming

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maxpontiac
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 @ 4:53:24 PM
Reply

Speaking of Project Cars, I need to see what you (Ben) say about it. I see a few people on my friends list playing it, but from early reports, playing that game with a DS4 can be troublesome.

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