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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Trailer, Video and Screenshots

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Game Informer Review

May 12, 2015



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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Developer Diaries

May 5, 2015



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Hearts of Stone & Blood and Wine - two massive expansions

April 7, 2015



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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt PAX East 2015 Official Gameplay Video

March 7, 2015



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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Hands-on Video

January 6, 2015



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The Witcher universe in a brand, new video

January 15, 2015



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GameInformer Preview

March, 2013



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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt PAX East 2015 Official Gameplay Video

March 7, 2015



Narrated by Peter Gelencser, Senior Level Designer, the new 7-minute gameplay video takes players on a guided tour of parts of No Man's Land, one of the giant regions available for exploration in the game. Watch Geralt discover the secret behind the phantom of the trade route and see him fight a Royal Wyvern to save members of a remote village in need of help.



The Witcher universe in a brand, new video

January 15, 2015



"So-called witchers... Stray children taught the ways of foul sorcery, their bodies mutated through blasphemous ritual. Their numbers have dwindled through the years. But a few still roam our lands, offering their bloody work for coin. To this day they shame us with their very existence!"



The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Hands-on Video

January 23, 2015



Recently journalists from all over the world had a chance to play The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt during global hands-on events for the very first time. Here's a quick sneak peek of what to expect!



GameInformer Preview: The Next-generation role-playing The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

March, 2013



Everyone wants something different out of a role-playing game. Some yearn to explore their own path through a beautiful open world. Others want to struggle with meaningful decisions that determine the outcome of dramatic plotlines. Another set of players looks for characters with depth to become invested in. Still others need weighty combat and power development to test their skills against.



The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is for those wild dreamers who want it all.



Geralt of Rivia isn't an old man, but he's tired. Tired of hunting monsters for fearful people who think his mutation-born powers make him a fiend himself. Tired of being ensnared in the politics of kings only to see his friends killed and their kingdoms shattered, left unable to resist the imperial ambitions of foreign conquerors. Tired of being alone in a world that has taken everything from him - his love, his home, his companions - and the conscience that won't let him ignore the further sacrifices demanded of him.



Tired he may be, but the White Wolf has his memory back and a sword arm that can still swing faster than any in the North. Not even the mighty wraith commanders of the Wild Hunt that has stalked humanity from the shadows throughout the centuries, the armed might of an aggressive empire, or the long list of personal enemies Geralt has made in his years of adventure will stand between him and his long-lost sorceress love.



Though you don't need to play the first two games to get the full experience out of this third entry in the franchise, the strong foundation laid by CD Projekt RED's first two games inspires confidence in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The Witcher (PC, 2007) introduced Geralt and his dark fantasy world to American audiences, and won more than a hundred awards despite its odd timing-based combat system thanks to the exceptional storytelling. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (PC/Xbox 360, Mac; 2011/2012) won nearly a hundred critical awards as well on the strength of its non-linear storytelling, excellent characters, and rich world while ditching the unusual gameplay for more traditional third-person action. The second game also marked the debut of CD Projekt RED's internal engine technology, which proved capable of delivering lush environments and gorgeously smooth animations on par with the best RPGs on the market. Together, the games have sold more than five million copies worldwide.



As ambitious and successful as The Witcher 2 was, its sequel is an order of magnitude larger of an undertaking, and not just because it's coming out on "all available" top-of-the-line consoles (the company is being vague, but reading between the lines isn't difficult) on the same day it hits PC next year. "We decided that we were ready for the next step," says studio head Adam Badowski. "We decided to combine two types of games. We mastered storytelling in RPG games - that's our strongest side. On the other hand, we feel that we missed something. We missed the huge freedom of open-world games like Skyrim."



The studio has already demonstrated its ability to competently execute the mechanical trappings of a modern RPG, from tactically rich action combat to deep crafting, inventory, and progression systems. Now CD Projekt RED is challenging itself with the task of creating an open world the team has measured at 20 percent larger than Skyrim's. To handle such a tall demand, the development team has doubled in size. The Witcher 3 doesn't have chapters, acts, or other artificial breakpoints. For the first time, Geralt's story truly is what you make of it.



The new streaming technology in REDengine 3 allows Geralt to seamlessly cross from one end of the world to the other - a trip estimated at 30 to 40 minutes on horseback - without seeing a loading screen. From solving mysteries in the dense urban environment of Novigrad to tracking monsters to their stinking lairs in the blasted forests and swamps of No Man's Land, Geralt's path is wide open. The massive landscape is your sandbox to be explored on foot, by horseback, and via boat as you pursue your long-lost love, play the game of empires on behalf of the northern kingdoms that still claim independence, and thwart the nefarious Wild Hunt. Fast travel allows players to instantly revisit any location they've discovered.



Filling a game world this large with content is a daunting task, and the team is taking several approaches to ensure that players aren't just wandering empty landscapes searching for the next pin in their map. "A huge goal is to keep the high quality of our quests, with all the cinematics and impressive events and moments," says game director Konrad Tomaszkiewicz. A point of interest will always be in sight, beckoning players to explore dank caves, embattled villages, decaying ruins, and more. More than a hundred hours of hand-scripted quests fill the world, running the gamut from helping villagers to engineering the succession of the Skellige kings. Monster hunting (see sidebar) is a constant source of adventure, income, and unique rewards. Minigames based on the area of the world, like knife-throwing in Skellige, offer distraction and unique rewards, though players who don't care for those activities will never be required to complete them in order to progress the main storyline this time. A rudimentary in-game economy is full of profits to be made, especially if you resolve quests in such a way that they affect prices in your favor. Monsters, bandits, traders, animals, and more walk the wilderness alongside Geralt, and attack anyone they deem hostile. This can be a problem, opportunity, or both for a clever witcher.



Taking advantage of opportunities like luring a monster into a bandit camp is one of the ways The Witcher 3 rewards being smart rather than just good with a sword. The world is a dark and dangerous place, especially since enemies don't scale to the player's level. Being prepared is the best way to stay alive. Thanks to the seamless, open, dynamic world in The Witcher 3, finding a group of friendly sword arms to retreat to is as legitimate of a tactic as drinking the right potion or wearing the appropriate armor.



Slaying monsters, fighting hostile humans in all of the many forms they come in, collecting items, leveling up, and exploring the world are all important parts of The Witcher 3. The element that elevates this franchise beyond the rank and file of any other competently crafted RPG, however, is the impressive amount of choice available to players within the narrative. This third entry applies the same concepts that propelled the last game to fame and success across a world 40 times larger, and brings clever solutions to the challenge open-world freedom poses to the narrative. "It was a really complex task to combine an open world with a story-driven game," says lead quest designer Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz. "To do that, we had to make some changes in the philosophy of making the game structure."



Narrative comes in three forms in The Witcher 3. On the lowest level, you have free-form activities like monster hunting, crafting, and individual standalone quests. One step above that, the political situation and Nilfgaardian invasion is resolved through the core plotline of each major area (Skellige, Novigrad, No Man's Land). "Each of these lands has its own storyline," Tomaszkiewicz says. "If you're not interested in it, you can abandon the plotline, but it will have repercussions in the future. This is a new kind of non-linearity in our game. Not doing this plotline will be a choice that you have." Finally, the main narrative thread of Geralt's search for his loved ones and conflict with the Wild Hunt naturally runs throughout the entire game.



These narrative units have multiple branches that feed into themselves and each other. Nothing outside of the main storyline itself is required to beat the game, but you could have help in a main-line encounter from an ally you gained in the Skellige archipelago if you've completed certain quests in certain ways.



Major events in the main storyline act as "gates" for the state of the world. For example, a village threatened by bandits might be abandoned after certain events if the player doesn't help them with their troubles. The developers were understandably reticent to share detailed examples for fear of spoilers, but the general idea seems like a sound response to the challenges of player choice and non-linear storylines in an open-world game. Romance and sex have always been part of Geralt's world, and the third game continues the franchise's slow move toward more romance and fewer shallow sexual encounters. "We want to treat it maturely like we did in The Witcher 2," Tomaszkiewicz says. "We are not bringing sex cards back." With the story's emphasis on Geralt's search for his lost love, we can hope for a somewhat more mature handling of the subject. "When we talk about maturity, we talk also about things that happen to a common guy who is looking for loved ones," says lead writer Marcin Blacha. "He's not a kid, he's not a young boy who's looking for adventure. He wants to be left alone."



Though The Witcher 3 doesn't have entirely different environments based on singular choices like the previous game - a structure that would be impractical in an open-world setting - players face similarly impactful decisions. Players engage with mutually exclusive storylines and situations based on certain momentous choices, though not quite on the level of The Witcher 2. While The Witcher 3's game mechanics are based heavily on the systems in the previous game, the developers are revisiting many details. Common concerns, like the backward difficulty curve, are being addressed, and reworking the flow of combat is aimed at bringing the gameplay more in line with mainstream action games without compromising the second game's tactical variety or high skill ceiling.



The presentation is getting an expected facelift, with 96 animations for Geralt's combat moves as opposed to the last game's 20. An innovative "weighting" system for the camera helps to keep the biggest threats in frame at all times, which will hopefully mitigate some of the previous title's problems with enemies slipping behind Geralt unseen. The Witcher 3's combat system makes three significant changes that combine to solve the problem of being locked into long animations. Every button press is now mapped to a single strike, each move takes a roughly equivalent time to execute, and you can always interrupt your current action to immediately dodge or block. You can even dodge or block when out of stamina, though you'll be staggered in that case. This marks a repudiation of the initial design concept of the second game, which demanded weightier decisions in moment-to-moment combat but alienated some players with its harsh punishment of poor choices or targeting miscues.



"Our goal is to make the combat more intimate," says lead gameplay designer Maciej Szcześnik. "You don't run - in the Witcher 2 you were running constantly. You walk, but your attacks are very fast. Your opponents also walk but they have charges and things like that." Geralt's explosive dodge roll is also replaced by a pivot move that retains its defensive utility without the game-breaking mobility. Attacks, however, are faster than they were in the last game. The team hopes these changes to the philosophy of moment-to-moment combat create a more naturalistic but still deadly experience.



Enemy AI has been completely rebuilt, and scripted boss encounters are out as well. The team grimaced and laughed when asked about the heavy quick-time event usage of the second game's Kayran fight. One boss-type encounter we saw, with Geralt locked in deadly combat with an ice giant at the end of a quest segment (see sidebar), could repeat out in the wilderness if the witcher comes across another of the creatures. The difference would be that a giant on a mountaintop would lack the contextual stalactite-dropping move of the giant in the cave.



Environmental contributions to combat don't stop there. Around a dozen types of interactive objects exist in The Witcher 3. The developers gave one example of a wasp hive Geralt can irritate with the telekinetic Aard sign to create a damaging distraction for his foes, and disperse the swarm with the fiery Igni sign once the wasp swarm becomes more problematic than helpful. These magical signs have been retooled as well. Each of the five signs has its basic form, like Igni's new flamethrower effect. If the player advances down the magic tree as Geralt levels up, they can unlock a second form of the sign - in Igni's case, a 360-degree blast that immolates anything nearby. Yrden's small trap can be modified into a larger field that slows any enemies within, as another example. The player retains the use of the basic form as well.



The other two trees, based on swordsmanship and alchemy, are also returning in slightly different forms. Players who specialize in swordfighting can unlock new strikes now, as well as boosts like improved stamina and parrying. CD Projekt RED didn't offer much information on the alchemy tree, other than that the mutation mechanic has been moved off of to a separate development path (unlocked via monster hunting) independent of the level-up process, and so the alchemy specialization is based more on potions now.



Some forms of improvement are available for the player's horse and boat as well, though those are still in development. The most exciting idea the developers have for those is the possibility that players could access their long-term storage stash from their horse as well as from inns. In any case, the team is well aware of how frustrating inventory management was in The Witcher 2 (especially at release, with substantial improvements coming in post-release patches). CD Projekt RED is committed to a less tedious process for this entry.



Powerful weapons and armor can be found in many ways, but crafting remains critical to players seeking to maximize Geralt's capabilities. Players can customize their crafted items now, with some components able to be substituted for similar things - monster scales instead of leather in a piece of armor, for example. This obviously affects the properties of the final item. Unique components can be found as part of monster hunts or questlines, which can be combined with special recipes to create artifacts of immense power. Don't expect the village blacksmith to be able to craft the legendary sword you're lusting after, though; finding the crafter with the skill to execute a high-end recipe is part of the effort required to obtain such an item.



Each piece of armor has its own unique appearance just as in the previous game, though they benefit from the improved presentation and the new cloth simulation. Players can also visit a barber to change up Geralt's hairstyle, though dyeing it is out of the question - he's called the White Wolf, after all.



Telling another chapter of Geralt's story with a few tweaks and new visual effects would have been a perfectly acceptable direction for CD Projekt RED to take the franchise, but The Witcher 3 is much more. This third title is the culmination of Geralt's long-running conflict with the Wild Hunt, but it's also the result of a talented studio learning innumerable lessons from its impressive success to date and challenging itself to go above and beyond expectations. Delivering an open world without compromising on the non-linear storytelling and strong characterizations that got the studio to where it is today is an ambitious goal, especially considering the challenges of appearing on new hardware platforms, but the team is committed to doing just that. It's difficult to imagine a more fitting way to kick off the next generation of single-player RPGs.



THE ICE GIANT

The fearsome foe that Hjalmar must defeat (with Geralt's help, of course) to claim the kingship of the Skellige islands is presented here in 360 degrees of stunning glory. This is the actual in-game model, though it is much more terrifying when it's knocking stalactites loose from the ceiling, throwing boat anchors at you, and doing its level best to stomp Geralt flat. The musical track on this page sets the tone for the epic confrontation - but remember, Ice Giants are just another species. Just because Geralt has bested one on this questline doesn't mean that he'll never be threatened by one again.



Hearts of Stone & Blood and Wine - two massive expansions for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

April 7, 2015



"With the development of Wild Hunt coming to an end, the team has embarked upon the creation of two new really big adventures set in The Witcher universe," says Marcin Iwiński, CD PROJEKT RED co-founder. "We remember the time when add-on disks truly expanded games by delivering meaningful content. As gamers, we'd like to bring that back. We've said in the past that if we ever decide to release paid content, it will be vast in size and represent real value for the money. Both our expansions offer more hours of gameplay than quite a few standalone games out there."



Hearts of Stone will take Geralt on an all-new, 10-hour-plus adventure into the wilds of No Man's Land and the nooks and alleys of Oxenfurt, where he'll try to complete a contract from the mysterious Man of Glass. Caught in a thick tangle of deceit, Geralt will need all his cunning and strength to solve the mystery and emerge unscathed.



Blood and Wine, a 20-hour-plus tale that will introduce the all-new in-game region of Toussaint, will take Geralt to a land untainted by war, where an atmosphere of carefree indulgence and knightly ritual masks an ancient, bloody secret.



"While we're offering the Expansion Pass now, we want to make one thing clear: don't buy it if you have any doubts. Wait for reviews or play The Witcher and see if you like it first. As always, it's your call," Iwiński concludes.



The upcoming expansions will offer gamers new adventures, gear and foes and will feature characters both new and dearly missed - all crafted with maximum attention to detail and quality by the joint forces of CD PROJEKT RED's Warsaw and Cracow studios.



The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Game Informer Review

May 12, 2015



Ever since The Witcher's 2007 debut, the series has been raising the bar for choice and consequence in role-playing games. Every entry in the series has taken the concept one step further, but The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the most ambitious attempt yet, showing the ripple effect of tons of choices across a large world. CD Projekt RED doesn't disappoint, proving once again why it's a genre juggernaut. With abundant improvements, a bigger world, and more exciting choices on every level, The Witcher 3 is one of the best games I've played in recent years, providing a stimulating challenge on and off the battlefield.


What makes the choices so interesting is the immersive world that they shape. From snowy mountain tops to beautiful waterfalls to wildlife running across the forests, CD Projekt RED created a landscape with an excruciating amount of detail that makes it a thrill to explore. You never know when you might find a hidden cave, discover a hidden treasure underwater, or stumble upon crafting materials for potions or new armor. The towns feel alive with events happening all around, like drunken bar fights and houses burning down. You never feel like a bystander - you are a part of what's going on around you. You can choose how involved you want to get, and even little choices carry consequences. For instance, I told off a religious man preaching about the dangers of witchers, and he later sent thugs to beat me up. 


Unlike games that offer a few key choices to alter the narrative, The Witcher 3 provides abundant options that can shape the world in all kinds of ways. Hundreds of quests are available across the map, focusing on monster contracts and treasure hunts, while smaller story quests center on the inhabitants of each town. I was surprised at the variety and how well-written the quests are - everything holds an unexpected story, like a jealous woman trying to steal her sister's werewolf boyfriend. It made exploring the world a blast; I always looked forward to revisiting past people I helped to see what path I set them on. In one case, I chose between a brother and sister for the throne and saw the empire flourish due to my decision.


I've never felt like so connected and like I had so much power over a virtual world before. The dilemmas are some of best in the series. You have plenty of ways to solve them (like brute force, doing favors, and using witcher powers), but I never felt judged for any of my choices. My favorite part is how the writers are always one step ahead and my decisions are never safe; the shades of gray mean that you never know who to trust, requiring you think carefully about every situation. The world is brutal, full of liars and tricksters just waiting to outsmart you. Would you trust someone who tells you to throw a baby in the oven if it's for the greater good? I didn't - but maybe I should have.


The main narrative is also intriguing, but only fans who have been following the series will get the most out of it. Geralt remains the composed hero we've come to know, but he's no longer a blank slate with his memories back. This entry explores his past and shows a more emotional side of him thanks to Ciri. She is like a daughter to Geralt, and he must find her before the dangerous Wild Hunt organization uses her for evil. Seeing Geralt react as a father would in this dire situation is an interesting change for the character.


In addition, new and returning personalities have fascinating developments. Geralt's former flame Triss has her own storyline about fighting against the persecution of mages. The writers handle every situation with authenticity - Triss and Yennefer's complicated relationships with Geralt in particular. The romances have more substance than what CD Projekt RED has provided before, with better build up and discussing more complex emotions and topics. These romantic plots were too abrupt in previous entries, but I was satisfied this time around.


Great writing and intense decisions aside, the gameplay has also vastly improved. This is the most accessible entry yet, thanks to different difficulty settings, a better interface, more lenient weight restrictions, and a less demanding alchemy system. Combat is much more responsive and action-packed compared to the stilted experience of past entries. This doesn't sacrifice any of the difficulty; outside of playing on story mode, a great deal of strategy is required in the tense battles. Exploiting enemy weaknesses with spells, crafting potions to give you an edge, blocking at the right time for counterattacks, and dodging in the nick of time are still of the utmost importance.


You are always in danger, even during basic exploration. Enemies can strike from anywhere, including the air and underwater. The new crossbow eases the pain of flying enemies, but it wasn't my favorite weapon. Even with upgrades, I found it a pain to aim and fire at enemies, slowing the momentum of battle. Still, whether you are taking down a difficult monster contract or participating in an adrenaline-pumping scripted battle, fighting is intense and fun, forcing you to exploit every weapon in your arsenal. You can also upgrade your character any way you want, focusing on the areas you prefer, such as magic, physical attacks, and alchemy.


I have very few complaints about The Witcher 3, but it does have some minor nuisances, such as some long load times. Breakable weapons also interrupted my adventure more often than they should have (you can only repair them by finding a craftsman or buying armor repair kits). Addtionally, I wasn't too impressed with the scenes where you play as Ciri.  She's an awesome character so I liked getting to know her better, but these sequences were far from exciting. Ciri is more agile than Geralt, but she doesn't have access to magic and the fights just felt too simple. Also, some late-game locations are unnecessarily difficult to access, lacking good fast-travel options. Sometimes the witcher sense for investigating crime scenes gets overused, but I still enjoyed using it to piece together mysteries.


By the end of the game, 36 different world states are available, depending on your actions. The main story also has multiple endings, and some are definitely more satisfying than others, which I wish wasn't the case. In such a big game, you want to walk away feeling like your time was well spent. My initial ending rubbed me the wrong way, and the disappointment lingered long after the credits rolled. For the most part though, I reveled in the experience leading up to it, even more than I did in past games.


The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt encompasses what I hope is the future of RPGs. It stands out for its wonderful writing, variety of quests and things to do in the world, and how your choices have impact in interesting ways. Usually something is sacrificed when creating a world this ambitious, but everything felt right on cue. I still think about some of my choices and how intriguing they turned out - for better or worse. 



Note: This review is based on the PS4 version of the game. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is also available on Xbox One and PC.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Developer Diaries

May 5, 2015



To be a great monster hunter, you must first understand your foes. Learn about the monsters you'll face in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and how to defeat them in this developer video from CD PROJEKT RED.



Why GameStop is excited for The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt

Monster Slayer Wanted

Death is coming to Northern Kingdoms and it's up to you to defend your sacred land from a mysterious plague that threatens its mere existence. As Geralt of Rivia, you must fight to stay alive in this epic open-world adventure game. Plus, an intriguing new storyline make Witcher 3 the best Witcher yet! Witcher 3 Wild Hunt scored an exciting 9.75 on Game Informer Platinum.

Get even more Witcher 3 fun with the expansion pass. Get two epic new adventures, set in the vibrant world of monster hunter Geralt, with 30 extra hours of gameplay - all within the expansion pass.

Get more epic adventure and priceless Witcher swag with the Witcher 3 Collector's Edition. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Collector's Edition includes: Witcher 3 game, Geralt figure, Witcher medallion, SteelBook, art book, collector's boxes, game map and more!

Leave no enemy standing. Get an edge on the competition with a Witcher 3 strategy guide. That's right; there are two strategy guides from which to choose: The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt Strategy Guide and Collector's Edition Official Strategy Guide for all those hardcore Witcher fans.

Dark times are upon us. Do you have what it takes to be the Witcher and save the day? Embrace otherworldly adventure today with Witcher 3 Wild Hunt. The Witcher 3 released on May 19.



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