Here’s a new Witcher 3: Wild Hunt gameplay video from GDC 2015 (Game Developers Conference). The video is short but we get a nice glimpse of combat and random enemy encounters in the open world.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt got its ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) rating, and not surprisingly, it is rated M for Mature. As the norm with the Witcher series, the game will feature plenty of gore, violence, nudity, strong language, use of drugs (mmm fisstech) and the like. Yet another good sign Projekt Red devs are aiming to deliver a quality, mature RPG instead of watered down politically-correct doo-doo.
Here is some fresh info from a recent Witcher 3 Q&A session:
- Witcher 3’s item crafting will be similar to Witcher 2. To craft items, you will need a blueprint and the required materials, which you will then use at a blacksmith. Different items require different skill levels from the smiths and the higher level smiths might need to be unlocked through for example a quest.
- As in the previous games, you will be able to create all sorts of potions through Alchemy. Just like with crafting, you will need both a recipe and the given ingredients. Also, potions will have multiple charges (3) , and will be refillable.
- Tons of new combat animations (over 100)
- You can choose to shave or keep Geralt’s beard (super important of course 🙂 )
- Like in Witcher 2, you can meditate almost anywhere
- You will be able to transfer your story/progress from TW2 by speaking to a character that sings about your deeds in-game
- There will be many “leisure” activities in the game, some old (dice games, fist-fighting) and some new (horse-riding, card games, others)
Nothing really earth-shattering in this list, but it is nice to get at least a few details.
The Witcher developers (CD Projekt Red) had a 70 minute interview session recently, and one dedicated Witcher fan has translated some of the most important points from Polish to English:
- there are many different types of additional weapons that you can pick up. What’s interesting, you need a higher level in order to be able to use it
- weapons (including swords) will not last forever and can be destroyed if used too much. You need to regularly pay a visit to a craftsman to maintain it
- HUD is very customizable. There are several options available, including turning off minimap and all sorts of notifications if you so desire
- all graphical settings are present in the in-game menu
- enemies will parry crossbow’s bolts with a shields
- skill tree is really massive. There are 5 trees (according to witchersite there was 4, so I’m not sure who is closer to the truth), each has 5 tiers and each tier contains 5 skills. Every skill has 3 or 4 levels to unlock. Even though later Geralt will gain more skill points per level it’s still will be impossible to unlock all of it
- after unlocking the skill it needs to be activated. You do that by putting it into separate tree, which contains a limited number of slots (it will increase with character’s progress). Activated skills affects Geralt’s fighting style. Activating set of skills from the same category will increase it’s effects. It adds another layer to preparations and tactical planning, as you have to choose an appropriate set of active skills depending on what kind of opponent you going to face (for example, if you going to fight with heavily armored knights, you can activate Igni upgrade that allows you to melt armors)
- there are also four slots for mutagens, which also affects your abilities
- temporary companions are quite helpful and even use different fighting styles. For example, one woman that accompany them waited for a right moment while enemies were focused on Geralt to backstab them for massive damage
- game is pretty difficult, as you can die even on easy if you’re not careful
- some details about dynamic weather: there will be snow, different phases of day/night, different stages of cloudiness, storms, a few types of rain and even a morning mist
- enemy AI is really good. Wolves and bandits spread to cut off all of Geralt’s escape routes. If you kill their respective leaders, they end up completely disorganized. One enemy can use himself as a living bait to give the rest of his squad a chance to put Geralt in a corner If you set up a trap or Yrden sign in front of the enemy, he will avoid it
- NPC’s models are very diverse and interior of every hut looks different, so there will be no feeling of deja vu
Personally I’m excited about all of this. A lot of the things pointed out, like enemy AI, complex skill trees, and customizable HUD are exactly the kind of thing that so many games have failed at recently, so it is nice to see Projekt Red pay attention to these areas. More importantly, they’re not just “doing more” for the sake of more content; they’re actually polishing that content so it’s good.
As you may have heard, Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been delayed several times, with the latest delay pushing the game from a February to a May 19th release.
CD Projekt Red, the developers behind the Witcher series explained their decision in a recent interview:
"It’s very simple: it wasn’t ready yet. If you look around recently, there are bad responses if you release a game that isn’t ready yet...We shouldn’t put out shit, and we don’t want to put out shit."
I'm getting a bit tired of buying games that are buggy and unfinished and waiting for months for them to get fixed, so I'm willing to wait longer to get the best gaming experience.
This is yet another reason why these guys and their games are some of my favorite. As an avid PC gaming fan who has been disappointed by the many rushed releases of the past couple of years (*cough* Diablo 3) as well as the rise of beta/alpha-release games, this attitude is very reassuring.
Following up the hands-on preview, several websites have released the first reviews of the game. Check out the official post here, featuring reviews from several major gaming sites like Kotaku:
And here’s 15 minutes of Witcher 3: Wild Hunt gameplay. Graphics, writing, and gameplay looks awesome!