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By Kris Rey on Thu, Jun 20 2013

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When The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt comes out next year, Geralt of Rivia will reprise his role again as the titular character for the third time in the action role-playing series by CD Projekt RED. Not only will the game boast an open world area larger than any other modern RPG, the explorable area is thirty-five times larger than Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. One of the many reasons I couldn't wait to demo the game.

Fight with wolves

Upon arrival at the CD Projekt Red meeting rooms, I realized they had two problems on their hands. They had more beer than they could drink and not enough seats for one of the most highly demanded demos at E3 2013. As we moved through the initial lobby area of the meeting rooms, we were funneled into a small theater where we were greeted with a gorgeous high gloss fact sheet, codes to play the previous Witcher games and a short survey to fill out after the demo. After everyone was settled, we were greeted by Marek Ziemak, Gameplay Producer for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. As someone who played through The Witcher 2 three times (One for each skill tree) I entered the demo with a fair bit of skepticism. How could CDPR top what was one of my favorite games last year? Marek wasted no time diving into a 45 minute demo showcasing the improvement in graphics, vastly increased scale and completely revamped combat animations.

Witcher 3 brochure
We were handed this gorgeous fact sheet when we entered the meeting room.

The demo kicked off with a stunning CG trailer showing the protagonist Geralt doing what he does best, cashing in on Monster bounties. When Geralt arrives at the exchange point for payout on the bounty, he is presented with a difficult situation. The men who hired him are stringing up an innocent woman to be hung. At first Geralt does what all men who have a sense of self-preservation would do; nothing. As he is riding away, Geralt’s conscience gets the best of him and he comes to the realization that there is no point killing monsters if he allows himself to become one. Marek didn’t specify which point of the game this demo starts at however he does state that it isn’t the beginning. The fact that CDPR kicked off the demo putting Geralt in a moral juxtaposition is telling for the game. In the Witcher 2 Geralt didn’t remember who is was or why he was on this journey. This led to a lot of moral ambiguity in the player’s decision making as you had no context (Unless you played The Witcher) as to who you are supposed to be. It seems that CDPR is setting us up for a powerful story with many tough choices for the player to make.

Witcher E3 awards
A life-sized statue of Geralt proudly showing off his E3 awards.

After the opening cinematic Marek took us through a series of quests showcasing the breadth of the world CDPR has painstakingly created. When I state that this game is F****** gorgeous, I mean it. The amount of geometry and detail packed into everything on the screen is simply breath taking and the scale in which it is delivered in makes the gameplay that we saw truly engrossing. When you combine that with the completely revamped combat animations and a few new moves; you get a game with brutally fast combat that leaves you feeling truly powerful as a player. The few words that I have written doesn’t do the morsel of gameplay that I saw justice. This game is on the top of my radar for upcoming titles.

See what else Marek had to say about the third installment in the Witcher saga.

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be released in 2014.