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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Scheduled release date: TBA 2014
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The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt could be so big, so dynamic, and so addictive, it’ll be downright frightening. Developer CD Projekt Red intends to deliver an unparalleled experience that should satisfy even the most die-hard role-playing enthusiast. The final installment in the esteemed Geralt trilogy is dark, brutal and massively expansive in scope. Those who enjoy a great narrative will get what they desire and those who love epic, lively worlds will appreciate the freedom and attention to detail. In short, this game could be evolutionary.

Firstly, the writers have made it clear that you don’t need to have played the first two titles to understand the plot. That’s because this new adventure focuses more on Geralt’s personal journey, who is in search of The Wild Hunt, a band of shadowy assailants that attack villages and kidnap young human children. The Wild Hunt is led by a band of ruthless Wraith Commanders who pull no punches. Geralt himself has survived such an attack in his past, and he has vowed to track down the monsters who perpetrate such abominable crimes. There's also a lost love involved...

The game will feature the brand new RED Engine 3, which allows for a fantastic branching storyline where choice is a major element. Obviously, freedom is a big part of any large, sweeping virtual world, and exploration is a primary focus. That exploration will involve a gargantuan landscape with a huge amount of variety, and you will be sucked into every facet of fantasy life. Huge vistas, medieval-type constructs such as castles and forts, dense forests, dank caves; it’s all here. And in fact, it has been reported that this world is 35 times bigger than the one in The Witcher 2.

The team is also instituting a new economy system that makes the commerce between villages and cities more realistic. For instance, if an item is easily produced in one area, it will be relatively cheap, as opposed to a place where it’s difficult to find such an item. The harder it is to find, the more it will cost you. To enhance the realism even further, CD Projekt Red is implementing a fresh dynamic weather system, which can bring brilliant sunlight and vicious storms. Might the designers take even another step, and have the weather impact the gameplay? In other words, will visibility and movement be hampered during a storm?

Everything you see, from far-off mountains to lush forests to gorgeous coastlines, can be reached and explored. There’s even a place called “No Man’s Land,” which sounds appropriately foreboding. As you progress, you will interact with all sorts of characters and various NPCs, watch their lives unfold around you, and of course, go toe-to-toe with all sorts of nasty creatures. There will be over 80 different types of monsters to face down, and special hunts will allow you to become more popular with citizens. You’ll have to track down clues to identify a monster’s type, and you may also have to learn how to defeat it.

Even the freakin’ monsters have individual back stories! You may come across a few faceless goons here and there, but many enemies are extremely well defined, complete with unique attack style and personal history. Although I remain skeptical that they can produce a gripping, cohesive narrative in the midst of such a humongous world, the team’s ambition is worthy of praise. The sheer amount of graphical and story detail, seemingly unparalleled landscapes, and engaging, interesting combat makes this a hugely promising title. For RPG aficionados, this could be a defining experience. Next generation immersion, here we come!


7/31/2013   Ben Dutka