games / Previews

E3 2013: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Multi-Platform) Preview

June 27, 2013 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris

During the tail end of my E3 excursion this year, the last game I got to check out was The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. CD Projekt Red showed us the special behind-closed-doors, hands-off demo preview of the game. Wild Hunt marks the first entry in the franchise to be featured on a PlayStation console, which makes me especially excited. Projekt Red is marketing this as the “final chapter” in The Witcher saga as well. The Witcher 3 looks like it will offer a massive, immersive, and epic medieval fantasy gaming experience unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. In this new adventure, the Nilfgaard Empire has invaded and taken over the Northern Kingdoms. Approximately six months have passed since the events of the second game. The early part of the demo showcased a cinematic of a village under siege and what appears to be a dark force in the sky, an eerie flying longship. This dark force is apparently the deadly, tyrannical threat called the Wild Hunt.

Wild Hunt will feature over 100 hours of non-linear gameplay. Over half of the gameplay time is devoted to just the main storyline narrative for the game. Outcomes and consequences will be determined by player actions and choices. And with a total of 36 different possible endings, Bioware and Mass Effect 3 can pretty much eat their hearts out. The demo showcased massive environments and areas you can traverse through. Luckily you can access a quick travel map to quickly get back to certain areas, otherwise you could be trekking across oceans and land forever. This open world game will also have no load times while you travel. The developers clearly put a lot of work into the engine and physics of the world. The weather and changes in temperature even affects how people in villages might dress. The forests are teaming with wildlife. Early in the demo, Geralt visits an old friend who asks him to investigate some claims about the Wild Hunt.

Another sequence showcased Geralt going on a monster hunt in a small village and the game’s combat system. This particular village is under siege by a goat-skulled demon called a Leshen. The demon has infected one of the villagers, who happens to be the lover of the village leader that summoned Geralt to hunt the Leshen. Geralt then goes into the forest, and the developers showed how you can utilize the “Witcher Sense.” This basically works a lot like Detective Mode from the Arkham games. Geralt can use the Witcher Sense in order to track his pray. You can use your magic attacks to burn the signs and markings the Leshen has made in the forest in order to weaken the creature. Then Geralt goes into combat with the Leshen. The Leshen uses wolves as its servants to attack you, so you must kill them as well. After the fight, Geralt goes back to the village to collect his fee. The villagers however have killed the woman. Depending on your choices in these sequences, it looks like Geralt may or may not get involved and perhaps prevent the death of the hapless victim of the Leshen.

Besides what was revealed in the demo, the developers were extremely mum on story details, which was a tad annoying since it was hard to tell what’s been going on since the second game and what has happened to Geralt’s allies. Still the game looks gorgeous and I can’t wait to play it on PS4. The game is set for a release on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 in 2014.

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Jeffrey Harris
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