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Witcher 3 Previews at GameBanshee

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Witcher 3 Previews at GameBanshee

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 14 June 2013, 17:40:08

Tags: CD Projekt; The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

In the wake of E3, a whole bunch of previews for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt have appeared across the web. Once again, our friends at GameBanshee have done the hard work of collating them all. Here are two of the more interesting ones.


Geralt has fully regained his memory, meaning the in-game Bestiary now catalogs every creature he has run into in his travels since he was a boy. Using a new ability called Witcher Sense, he can track beasts and creatures through clues uncovered in the game world. In the demo, the Sense was shown off when Geralt needed to identify a beast that had been terrorizing a village so he could determine the payment he'd deserve. As he travelled the woods, activating the sense gave him clues--highlighted in red--as to the beast's strength, habits and traits. Once these were known, the bestiary could be used to identify the creature, as well as its special abilities and ways to defeat it.​

The idea behind the bestiary is to capitalize on the monster hunting aspect of a witcher. It gives the player another area of expertise, as well as a way to earn experience through completing monster kill quests. There will be about 80 new monsters in the game, two of which were shown off the the demo. These beasts required more dodging and special attacks to take them down than just whacking them with a sword. The goal was to give each of these monsters the feel of an epic fight, without being a boss battle.​

The demo showed off some of the moral grey choices that the player will need to make, similar to the previous games. In the village quest, discovering the beast forced Geralt to choose between siding with village elders to preserve this "spirit," or listening to the younger villagers who wanted the beast killed. Choosing one side led to the an unforeseen massacre. But another choice led to a different, but equally dark and unfortunate result.​


Each area of The Witcher 3's open world has its own visual signature, with different architecture, climates and natural beauty. The Skellige islands, where this demo takes place, have a Nordic feel to them – its countryside is rugged, its mountains snow-capped. Geralt walks through a city built on a cliffside, the sun beating down on Skyrim-like wooden houses. The inhabitants, dressed in furs and horned helmets, go about their day, out in the sunshine, chatting, swearing and complaining in Irish accents. On rainy days, they'll stay inside. NPCs have their own lives in The Witcher 3 – they gather together to travel and go hunting, working to individual schedules. If you wanted, you could follow them around.​

This one island, Ard Skellig, is evidently bigger than the entirety of The Witcher 2's world. As Geralt stands on the edge of the cliff you can see far, far into the distance. He boards a pulley-powered wooden platform that takes him down the side of the mountain to the coastline below, and I saw boats leaving the harbour for the sea, oars driving through the waves, and stone buildings hewn out of the mountainside. At the harbour, fishermen are working. After walking along the harbour, Geralt boards a boat of his own and sets out for another island – when he gets out to open sea, a whale's tail emerges from the deep and slaps against the surface of the water. On a stormy day, our demonstrator says, the small craft would be dashed against the rocks, making boat travel ill-advised. All of this is totally seamless. There's no loading at all.​

Out in the wilds, you'll come across things that you can choose to investigate, or not. It's not like Bethesda's world, where new locations are often mini-dungeons that you can enter; everything lives on the map itself. You can see settlements, lone buildings, ruins, forests and plenty else off the paths, feeding the impulse to explore. The Witcher 3 doesn't do quest markers, at least not right now. CD Projekt Red wants players to be driven by their own inquisitiveness. With such a huge map, it needs to be well-populated with things to do; our demonstrator explains that there will be a combination of random events and plentiful written side-stories to take part in.​

No quest markers! I imagine there's a good chance they'll be added eventually, but it's a great sign that the game is being developed without using them as a crutch.

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