The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt announced, goes open world

Tuesday, 5th February 2013 04:36 GMT By Brenna Hillier

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has made its debut in the latest issue of GameInformer US, and boasts a completely open world.

The issue’s cover has been scanned and uploaded to NeoGAF along with a few details harvested from within.

The open world is said to be 40 times as large as The Witcher 2′s, 20% bigger than that of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and will take up to 40 minutes to cross on horseback.

The story, like the world, is not divided into chapters or acts. The open world is enabled by a new streaming technology enabled by the new CDRED Engine 3, and includes no loading screens. There will be fast travel, though.

Protagonist Geralt has recovered all his memories, and probably as a result is not interested in fighting for a faction. Instead, he wanders the world slaying monsters and solving mysteries, as in the books. Despite the non-linear setting, CD Projekt is doubling down on cinematics and storytelling, with over 100 hundred hours of scripted quests.

The story is said to come in three flavours. The first is quests the player sets for themselves, such as slaying monsters or crafting to level up and earn better equipment. In the second level, major plot lines in key areas will resolve the Nilfgaardian invasion storyline. Players don’t need to complete every area’s major plotline, or may make a decision not to begin, but not completing a set of quests can have consequences for another, like an area being abandoned or an ally coming to your aid. However, the environment won’t undergo dramatic visual transformations as it did in The Witcher 2, and some plot lines conflict, forcing the player to choose.

The third narrative thread is Geralt’s search for his lost love and some sort of conflict with the Wild Hunt. The game can be completed by pursuing only this storyline and ignoring everything else. CD Projket wants to focus more on romance and less on sexual encounters this time; the trading cards are not making a return.

Although Geralt can go anywhere, monsters don’t scale to the players level, so presumably some areas are best elft for end-game. While wandering the world, Geralt will encounter monsters, animals and human characters, all of which may attack if they consider him a threat. Weather is dynamically generated, and what kinds of creatures are encountered and their behaviours are modified by time of day, among other factors.

The image on the cover shows Geralt riding with an adult companion whose face cannot be seen. Mounted combat is on the cards but CD Projekt hasn’t nailed it yet so isn’t making promises, but ships are available, and will float on water thanks to a new physics engine. Both horses and boats can be upgraded.

Mini-games will vary by location, with the example of knife-throwing in Skellige provided. These optional diversions offer rewards but aren’t needed to drive the story. While out and about, Geralt will also be offered monster-slaying commissions, but won’t receive contracts. Killing monsters often yields otherwise unobtainable alchemical ingredients and mutagens, which will unlock parts of his skill tree.

Sometimes these commissions wil require investigation, and Geralt will be able to spot slues in the environment using his Witcher senses, activated with the left trigger. It’s not just a matter of spotting gleaming items and hitting a button, though; Geralt will mutter to himself, or view memories, in order to communicate his problem solving skills to the player.

In combat, the more Geralt has learned about monster, the more likely he is to identify critical strike locations. CD Projekt RED is still balancing the combat and hasn’t decided between real-time special moves or quick time style events for certain abilities. CD Projekt hopes to address the difficulty problems of the previous games, and is reworking combat considerably.

Geralt now has 96 combat animations, as opposed to 20 in The Witcher 2, but to avoid the player being caught in long animations, three major changes have been made: every button is mapped to a single strike; every move takes about the same amount of time; and all moves can be interrupted to dodge or block.

Geralt no long runs in combat, but strikes even faster, and instead of rolling, he pivots. Enemy AI is all-new, and there will be no scripted boss encounters. Bosses do still feature, including an ice giant.

For those who’d rather avoid combat, Geralt can use the environment to distract and evade, as for example when he uses the sign of Aard to annoy wasps so they attack guards, and then use Igni to scare them off. There are around a dozen objects that can be used in this way.

Magic has been rejigged; each of the five signs has a basic effect which can be upgraded while still retaining the original use, too. In addition to magic, Geralt has a swordmanship and alchemy tree. The alchemy tree is all about potions, and CD projekt promises improved inventory and crafting systems, including customisable crafting items, and the ability to substitute similar items in recipes, modifying the final results.

On the gear side, finding unique ingredients and special recipes unlocks powerful artefacts, but even standard armour sets have a unique appearance. Plus, you can change Geralt’s hairstyle; a feature recently added to The Witcher 2.

CD Projekt RED has doubled its development team since The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. It did not give platform information beyond a mention of “all top-of-the-line” consoles, suggesting a potential next-generation release (hello, PlayStation 4). The GameInformer cover describes it as a “must see next generation RPG”.

A video has been made available; check it out below.

Thanks, Dan.



  1. Dark

    I’m so hyped right now.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Brenna Hillier

    This is me going to transport school just so I am better equipped to get on the hype train.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Telepathic.Geometry

    Sweet! Finally be able to get my hands on a Witcher game…

    #3 2 years ago
  4. JediLounger

    More Details.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Wychodzew

    Geralt has a beard! A beard! GOTY!

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Telepathic.Geometry

    ^^ This statement is logically sound. ^-^ ^^

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Brenna Hillier

    Updated with video, more details incoming.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Dragon246

    Just like Brenna, TG responded I am dazzled that someone is making a next-gen rpg so soon. Have you read this site…. ?

    That aside, I am not a very big fan of WRPGs. I played Witcher and TES4 and 5 on pc and I just couldn’t bring myself to like them. Although I will be excited for a Fallout-esqe game.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Brenna Hillier

    Huge info dump added.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. mathare92

    @8 :D

    #10 2 years ago
  11. freedoms_stain

    It sounds like a grand vision, I hope they can pull it off.

    If this works as described they basically shame Bethesda.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Edo

    Holly fuck yes!

    #12 2 years ago
  13. BULArmy

    Very good narrative and open world just don’t mix properly for me. Yes we have exceptions like Fallout 1,2 and Planescape Torment.

    The more linear story of the previous games is actually closer to the overall feel of the books. It is nice that they will try to incorporate more the lore of the books, but I am not so sure how they will do it to really feel epic. Geralt is all about saving the world, even if he doesn’t like it. The first game did that perfectly, the second fell short in doing that. It was a good story, but didn’t feel true to what was established. For the wole time I felt that Geralt is more of a henchman that is just cought in the events. And the whole quest for of clearing his name is not what an epic Withcer story must be.

    This franchise is currently on top of my favorite list, even if the games had a fair share of problems, just because it is something unique. But I really don’t want to see it turned it a generic fantasy RPG just for getting some of the TES fans.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. hives

    @13 – I don’t agree. Witcher can’t save the world, and he DO NOT WANT TO. Remember – his memory is 100% back. So he just don’t give a damn about politics, for sure less than in previous games.

    This game will fit witchers’ style of life. Freedom in big world. Slaying monstres. Ocassionally helping people for money. That’s what being a witcher is all about.

    Story will be about finding Yennefer and it’s ok. We don’t need another “Quickly, save the world from the bad guys!”. More personal for our hero = better.

    Besides – proper dialogues & cut-scenes are still in here. So you can just follow main plot and you won’t feel it being like Skyrim etc.

    But anyways, I’m hyped. Fixed fighting (I liked this in first game more, happy that pivots are coming back and it will be more “witchery”). Horses :P Better monster slaying element and improved crafting. Awesome.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Gadzooks!

    Everything mentioned sounds good, but most importantly: No level scaling.

    I want to wander into a new area and have my ass handed to me, go away and beefcake up, come back and lay down the hurt. That’s satisfying.

    Always being able to take on any monster in any area means there is little danger in exploring.

    W2 was semi-openworld so going full openworld is not that huge a change, but a welcome one, IMO.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. BULArmy

    @14The Witcher books are very complex in their storytelling and how things are connected. And yes, Geralt is all about saving the world. He is always caught in the greater events even if he hates it. :D
    Ciri, the Nilfgaard war and Lodge of Sorceresses. Geralt is always there and it is always part of the fucked up things. But the clever thing about them is that in the end it looks that he was not so important and the whole time he was minding his own business and only coincidence was at play.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. LuLshuck

    probs be shit like the 2nd game

    #17 2 years ago
  18. sh4dow

    While open world is nice, I sure hope it’ll still be faster to get around than in Skyrim or the newer Fallouts, despite them mentioning those 40 minutes by horse. Because I find it damn annoying to have to walk around for half an hour just to get somewhere for the first time.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Moonwalker1982

    Awesome awesome news. It doesn’t nessecarily have to rival Skyrim or any other game for that matter. Skyrim has its own things that i don’t see happening right away in Witcher 3, like the many different dungeons and that’s ok. It’s coming for the next-gen consoles and that’s just awesome news. Open-world gaming is new for them though, this is gonna be a challenge no doubt.

    Some screenshots:

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Erthazus

    My PC is ready.

    and no, open world won’t be a challenge for them. SKYRIM was shit with the same dungeons all over the place. First and second games in witcher series were brilliant.


    #20 2 years ago
  21. GwynbleiddiuM

    @20 Damnit Erth, mine needs upgrading :(( 8GB RAM, R5850, Core i5 750… that’s not good, like at all.

    This and Cyberpunk would make my entire gaming calendar epic, next 2 MGS games as well.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. DSB


    Day one bizzotch.

    Not sure I’m comfortable with it being bigger than Skyrim. Skyrims best and worst feature was always the scale. It gave you a ton of stuff to explore, but there was no real substance to most of it.

    The Witcher needs substance, mang.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. freedoms_stain

    They’re promising so, sooooooooooooooooooo much here. I just hope and pray they can deliver on it.

    If they can it has the potential to be the greatest open world RPG of all time.

    I think they’ve learned a lot as a studio over the last 2 games. Hopefully this is the one that prings it all together.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. nando


    i am pretty sure that your pc is not ready at all for this game for this engine

    #24 2 years ago
  25. hives

    Huh, yeah, I’m scared of PC system required specs. Witcher 2 runs on high for me, but this will be next-gen game so… Yea, I’m hoping for “low-medium” :D

    Or maybe I’ll buy one of next-gen consoles till then? We’ll see (depends what exclusives they will get on start).

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Bomba Luigi

    In my Opinion, if you have the Choice, buy the PC Version. I’m sure Wticher3 will get a ModKit too, and Mods just a great Thing. And all the DLC Stuff will be Free on the PC. Not sure if they can bring free DLCs to Consoles, guess it depens on the Politics of Sony and MS.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. Moonwalker1982

    Screenshots here:

    #27 2 years ago
  28. NeoSquall

    No sex card? No buying.

    j/k I’ll get the Collector’s Edition, of course.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. Edo

    @27 Thanks for that!

    #29 2 years ago
  30. Ireland Michael


    #30 2 years ago
  31. Dark


    #31 2 years ago
  32. Night Hunter

    Will there be a press conference? Just the GI article and a teaser wouldn’t be CDPRs style.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. Kabby

    Geralt ‘Big Boss’ of Rivia.

    More beard, more win.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. YoungZer0

    @33: Agreed.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. manamana

    And here is the teasertrailer!

    Edit: efff, I’m late to the party. Again. ;-)

    #35 2 years ago
  36. viralshag

    I haven’t even finished the first or second game but hell, I’m excited!

    #36 2 years ago
  37. YoungZer0

    @36: You NEED to finish the second one. It’s one of the best games ever made.

    #37 2 years ago
  38. viralshag

    @37, I know, I know! I have it on the PC and they even have spot on pad support. I really have no excuse other than not having a week off to dedicate to it.

    That’s really the only reason I haven’t played through it completely. I think I will definitely try to get around to starting it properly this weekend if I get the time.

    #38 2 years ago
  39. YoungZer0

    @38: How far are you into the game?

    #39 2 years ago
  40. viralshag

    @39, Shamefully, I don’t think I’m even out of the first settlement, Flotsam is it?

    I don’t know what it is. I start it, enjoy it, stop to do something else and then don’t come back to it for a couple of months. Then I just start again because I can’t remember what I got up to.

    It’s not even like I dislike the game. It’s an odd one for me.

    #40 2 years ago
  41. YoungZer0

    @40: And you were playing the extended version?

    #41 2 years ago
  42. viralshag

    @41, No I don’t think it was. I think that was the reason I stopped, when that was announced I decided to just wait for it and then never got around to it.

    I’ve recently done a clean install of everything on my PC so I think I will get it all installed and ready to go as I have a quiet weekend planned (which normally never stays that way), so I will get started then.

    #42 2 years ago
  43. YoungZer0

    You do that, you’re missing out otherwise.

    #43 2 years ago
  44. viralshag

    Just booked a cheeky two days off next week, one that that I might dedicate to Geralt and the other to risk my life on an off-road Segway…

    Just how I roll.

    #44 2 years ago
  45. YoungZer0

    That is so cool. B|

    #45 2 years ago

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