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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Uncovered

by William Schwartz

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CD Projekt’s next big thing is just around the corner with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The developers have begun to unveil new information about the upcoming dark-fantasy RPG and things are looking promising for fans of the franchise. From what we’ve heard so far, The Witcher 3 sounds more ambitious than previous games, inviting players into a non-linear, open-world with a focus on a character driven storyline.

The Witcher series has been one with plenty of mature themes for fans to explore, and the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be no different in that regard. The last part of the adventures of Geralt of Rivia draws on the events from previous games in the franchise, but it is a separate adventure, more captivating and full of surprises. Geralt embarks on a more personal quest, to save his
loved ones and protect the world from an ancient threat.

We’ve heard that this new story is drawn based on player decisions. Each action will have consequences that change the story and the game world. NPCs, communities, monsters and locations all change, based on player choice. Players can resolve quests and main story threads in any order or complete them in a parallel fashion.

Today, CD Projekt has revealed even more about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt:

The Open World

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The open world environment creates living ecosystems that the player may explore in different ways than in previous Witcher games. Vast vistas teem with life where riding a horse through the dangerous No Man’s Land, running in the narrow streets of Novigrad or sailing under a full moon through the Skellige islands are all an adventure in themselves.

The living world is not a stage filled with “dead” props, but an interactive environment dependent on player actions

Avast open world environment – 30 times bigger than The Witcher 2. The size of the world requires new methods of exploration such as horse riding and sailing. The free-roam environment of the game consists of diversified lands, each with a completely different atmosphere. The player may go beyond one ecosystem and culture and experience a completely different type of adventure in each part of the world. Each lands has a different inspiration and deep cultural reference, giving each of them that personal feel.

CD Projekt has confirmed three of the lands today: Skellige a wind-swept and rugged archipelago, The delta of Pontar River, and the war-ravaged No Man’s Land. But these open world environments don’t consist of set piece scenes the player rushes through, but real ecosystems, with their own life, which can be easily set out of balance by Geralt’s choices. The living world is not a stage filled with “dead” props, but an interactive environment that interacts with the player and is dependent on Geralt’s actions in the Northern Kingdoms. The world is shaped by the player’s decisions, but left to itself it just lives – predators hunt for other animals and villages defend themselves against monsters. These are not scripted events, but something incorporated into the game world AI itself.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Combat

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Unique, intuitive combat system blending a wide range of tactical elements with the most spectacular and dynamic combat sequences ever seen in a role-playing video game. In The Witcher 3 the swordplay gives combat a more realistic feel. The player can feel like a real witcher, the ultimate monster slayer, taking full control of his swords and becoming the most dangerous hunter. Intuitive and unique combat system rooted in traditional RPG systems but updated and improved to provide modern, spectacular and thoroughly gripping entertainment full of dynamic and brutal combat sequences. Combat effectiveness comes from real-time player skills combined with RPG mechanics rooted in character development stats that interact with opponent AI.

The game features a broad range of obtainable abilities and skills and players can vary their tactics in battle, mixing advanced swordsmanship with the witcher’s magic signs and alchemical boosters. The number of strikes, swings and all other possible attacks have been significantly increased and all combat movement looks smooth thanks to additional combat animations (96 animations compared with 20 in the Witcher 2).

The real feel of being a huntsman, who makes a living by tracking down beasts, is brought to a new level.

Combat complexity based on a variety of actions at the player’s disposal, not only on correct attack sequencing. Basic attacks and their sequences are triggered simply and available at the players’ fingertips, but there are many more tactical options at the players’ disposal such as magic signs, potions, oils, bombs and traps. The combat mechanics do not require the player to take part in QTEs even during important fights or events.

The Witcher Senses system brings new tactical depth to combat – strike at your opponent’s weak points using Geralt’s knowledge of beasts. In The Witcher 3 the real feel of being a huntsman, who makes a living by tracking down beasts, is brought to a new level. For example to track down a Basilisk, first you may use Witcher Senses to investigate a corpse, find clues in the surroundings, prepare bait, and finally, when facing the enemy, use the combat Witcher Senses to pierce the venom glands to gain advantage.

The Deeper RPG

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt delivers an enhanced and deeper role-playing experience, thanks to advanced gameplay mechanics. Stats will have real consequences in gameplay, but will be intuitive for the player to use. No unnecessary scripts or gameplay mechanics will spoil the player’s immersion. A tutorial system incorporated into the game that allows player to dive into the world of the Witcher with ease. This creates a smooth learning curve for new players. All aspects of gameplay will be explained.

The Witcher Senses mechanic, Geralt’s abilities will come in handy not only during combat. You will also use them to discover tracks and clues invisible to others, examine dead bodies for essential information, and detect magic and danger using the witcher medallion. There’s also an expanded sign casting system – each of the 5 signs has two totally different modes of use. This creates even more possibilities in combat allowing the player to use magic in creative way.

Highly-intuitive Alchemy system. In addition to potions, bombs and blade coatings, players can create new pyrotechnic devices. Alchemical concoctions and creations provide greater benefits when players use them regularly. Geralt can create concoctions for specific monster types, fortified potions and control his toxicity level to derive benefits from it. In The Witcher 3, a new potion activation system gives more control over the effects of drinking elixirs.

Unforgettable quests deeply linked with the core storyline. The game’s significant quests are linked deeply with the core storyline, affect relations with NPCs and population and avoid well-known quest patterns such as “FedEx” quests. All quests are designed from scratch; there are no automatically generated assignments.

Advanced crafting mechanics. Geralt’s options for creating items have been significantly expanded. The effects of crafting have more influence on gameplay

This was just the first offering of information from CD Projekt about this epic RPG, but it is sounding fantastic. Stay tuned for more details as we recieve them. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is due out on PC, PlayStation 4, and presumably the next generation Xbox in 2014.

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