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Game Informer magazine have shown off their March cover, and with it revealed a big new title in the works. That game is the third in Polish studio CD Projekt RED’s monster slaying, politically-minded fantasy RPG series The Witcher.

The third game in the series sounds as if it will be just as impressive as the previous two titles, but in different ways; The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be an open world game in the vein of the Elder Scrolls series, and its world is said to be 30 times larger (!) than that of the previous game, 2011’s Assassins of Kings, and also larger than the realm of Skyrim from TESV.

There is also a short video introducing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt from developers at CDPR, which I have embedded below. In it, we can see some of the motion capture sessions for Geralt’s swordwork, and we hear that the story this time around will be more personal, less political, and that Geralt will have a “personal nemesis” who will be a threat to the Witcher and those he holds dear.

Now, I’m still only about halfway through the first game, but I’m not entirely sure how I feel about The Witcher as an open world game; it’s one of the main things I love about Skyrim (160 hours and still going strong!), but The Witcher is a rather more focused experience, and while the environments are quite large, I wonder how transposing the gameplay of a Witcher title to a full, expansive, streaming open world will affect the narrative flow. I’m hopeful that CDPR won’t really have to sacrifice too much (going by how much back-tracking I’ve had to do so far in the first game anyway), but I usually find myself returning to the main quest sooner rather than later, whereas in Skyrim I abandoned the main quest halfway through and eventually returned to it after about a hundred hours. What facilitates this is the ability to explore for hours and always come upon something new, something that catches your attention and leads to you crawling through a dark cave for half an hour to see what lurks inside.

I’m really interested to see how The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt handles similar instances, even with my handful of doubts – put me down as cautiously optimistic. I think it’s great to see that CD Projekt RED are willing to take risks in order to build up the scope of their already-impressive games, and I have faith that they will be able to do so while retaining the unique flavour expected from their work. That they are currently working on both this and Cyberpunk 2077 shows how far they have come since the days when they were all about localising games like Baldur’s Gate for the Polish market.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is due to launch in 2014 on PC and “all high-end platforms available”, so I think it’s safe to say that the expansive RPG will be a next-gen console title at this point. While we know very little of the new machines from Microsoft and Sony (and even less of what games we can look forward to), it’s comforting to know that we have a massive, involving RPG to get stuck into, hopefully fairly early in the new console cycle. Follow the link to see the full cover image at Game Informer.

Image and video courtesy of Game Informer:
http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2013/02/04/march-cover-reveal-witcher-3-wild-hunt.aspx

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