CD Projekt RED has formally announced The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for PC and ‘high-end’ platforms, slated for 2014. The studio has also confirmed that this ‘ultimate’ game in the series will also by the final Witcher game designed by the development house.
‘The captivating and non-linear story of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt takes place in a rich, truly open-world environment. A world which is thrilling to explore, full of daring adventures, momentous quests, memorable characters, and unique monsters,’ said Adam Badowski, head of the studio. ‘Players will freely travel through woods, lakes, mountains, cities and villages. Each region is inhabited by distinct populations with their own customs, legends and problems. The world of Witcher 3 is 30 times bigger than The Witcher 2.’
‘Imagine playing a dark fantasy game with the same great non-linear story as in the previous Witcher titles, but now told in a world you can explore freely with no artificial boundaries. The war-ravaged world is so huge that to reach farther places you will need to ride a horse or sail a boat to get there. A world where your choices have truly epic consequences. From the development side, this goal is extremely demanding.
‘Our team had to make significant design changes and our tech had to be rebuilt. But we believe that this will lead to a completely new level of non-linearity and a whole new, richer gaming experience. As a gamer, I would love to play this kind of RPG, and I think this is what many players are waiting for. This is our dream come true at CD Projekt RED, and we hope it will be the same for you.’
The official press release depicts the project as ‘open-world, free-roaming exploration’ where players will gallop through war-ravaged lands, sail misty waters and track down dangerous beasts for money. An improved combat system is also promised, while new core mechanics are said to have been implemented with the goal of immersing the player in the experience completely; with no quick time events, only intuitive RPG gameplay.
‘People may ask if this is really going to be the last Witcher game. Yes, it is. Why? Because we believe that we should end the series on a high note,’ added Badowski. ‘Technology has progressed to where we can finally tell the story the way we want, with the visuals we want, in the world we imagined. This will be the ultimate fantasy RPG experience, and while we’re hardly out of stories to tell, we believe it’s time for us to look to new worlds and new horizons to keep pushing the boundaries of what we can create.’
The Witcher series has so far been notable for its more mature approach to storytelling and themes so the announcement of a third will be greeted warmly by fans of series and genre alike. Although we’d take with a pinch of salt the suggestion that this will be the final part should Wild Hunt prove a commercial success.
Before we can find out however it seems we’ll need a console or two to play them on, the game undoubtedly destined for PS4 and the next Xbox, as well as PC, with the studio confirming the title will run on their recently-announced REDengine 3 in order to take full advantage of ‘modern hardware’.