A storm has been brewing in the action RPG camp for some time. The Witcher, a classical fantasy RPG series from CD Projekt RED, drawing chiefly on European influences, has caused quite a stir and a hubbub amongst PC gamers, but its third outing, The Witcher III: The Hunt, is slated as the series’ console debut. What do we have to look forward to, and will we be bewitched?
The series’ protagonist, Geralt, in this concluding chapter in The Witcher’s story, is set to return heading up a completely renovated combat system – to wreak havoc by spell and by sword across a massive game world, suggested by Gamespot to be “20% bigger” than Skyrim. I sense an enormous timesink approaching…
The massive world looks set to be filled with plenty to do, CD Projekt RED suggesting a runtime of 100+ hours. The quests and storyline are set to unfold dynamically, each sensitive to Geralt’s past decisions and actions. It’s this wide-branching plot mechanic that really has the potential to be a gamechanger. When player choice and consequence is implemented in games, there’s often the sense that the effects of your actions are only superficial; that consequence only runs skin deep. If the developers can ensure that each consequence, and therefore each decision, bears enormous weight, then perhaps CD Projekt RED can finally deliver on a promise that studios have been regurgitating for years now.
The vast open world is powered by the studio’s proprietary REDengine 3, which (cue rapturous applause) should mean no loading screens once in game, assuming all goes to plan. If the team building this monster can deliver, The Witcher III looks set to be one of the boldest, biggest and most immersive nonlinear RPGs to date. Consider me sold.