In-depth at E3: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
At the invitation of CD Projekt Red, Stevivor took part in a special Witcher 3: Wild Hunt presentation that picked up where the Griffin hunt shown during Microsoft’s E3 Media Briefing left off.
Select media began the hands-off preview following Geralt, Griffin head in tow, as he rode toward a densely populated town to collect his bounty. From in-game cutscenes that got close up on Geralt, it was clear CD Projekt Red was presenting this portion of The Witcher to us on a PC; granted, it could have been because the Xbox presentation was on a very large screen, but the detail in Geralt’s face was like night and day in the version we were watching.
The town Geralt rode through was full of life and vibrancy, with townsfolk engaging in lively conversations that were disgusting, amusing or just downright strange. Considering the level of detail in the world, I hope that the dialog recorded by CD Projekt Red is vast and varied, as I’d have stopped to listen to every single conversation that Geralt rode by. Having any conversation duplicated would absolutely destroy the scene that CD Projekt Red are trying to set.
I’d previewed The Witcher 3 at E3 last year, and Nicholas just a couple months ago, but the game continues to impress. Each time we see it, it appears to have grown, not only in size but in grandeur. While I noticed some draw distance issues during the Xbox Media Briefing, the PC version was pristine for as far as the eye could see. Let’s just say it’s a good thing there’s fast travel.
As we moved out of the town and headed to the forest, I couldn’t help but to continue to notice the game’s detail. The way enemies’ blood hit and pooled in the water was breathtaking; I know it’s way too much information, but this ‘prone to nosebleeds’ journalist knows what blood looks when it hits a body of water. CD Projekt Red have nailed it.
Better still, Geralt chases down a Godling -- a being that looks like an ashen-face young boy -- as part of a quest. I’ve never EVER seen a child look so realistic in a game. Where normally a child in a game normally looks like a weirdly-shaped adult model, this Godling looked perfectly true-to-life. It was almost like uncanny valley, but in a good way; I wasn’t freaked out that it was too good, but just that someone finally could model a child properly.
Apart from the level of detail, once again we were shown just how subjective the game’s quests can be. After entering the lair of a slightly loopy old woman, Geralt promised to aid three witches – who existed, apparently, on a tapestry – in order for information. After tracking down the witches’ target, a “demon” who existed at the heart of a great tree, Geralt was told that the entity was actually a benign spirit, imprisoned and misunderstood. At that time, the media had to choose if we’d strike down the entity and fulfil our pact with the witches, or if we believed the story of the entity itself.
While I won’t tell you what transpired, it was very clear that there were major ramifications, no matter which decision we made. Think of it like Mass Effect before the shitty ending of the third game.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has made great strides to be accessible for newcomers yet thorough for those who’ve followed the franchise. I almost loathe to say it, but it’s absolutely jaw-dropping on Windows PC, which means I’ll be looking at upgrading my rig before the game’s release. For those familiar with the site, that’s saying something; you win this time, PC master race, for I’ll be making sure to play this brilliant-looking game off-console.