Earlier this week, CD Projekt Red dropped its E3 2014 trailer for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The long-awaited sequel and conclusion to the franchise of Witcher video games, based on the fantasy books by Andrzej Sapkowski, hits the shelves in February 2015. The new game will tie up loose plot lines from The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings and showcase the quest of antihero and main protagonist, Geralt of Rivia, in a war-ravaged world. Geralt meets his match in this game in the form of the Wild Hunt, a malevolent group of specters led by the King of the Wild Hunt.
Having seen last year’s E3 first-look preview of the game, the game’s visuals have gotten better. The new trailer shows off what appears to be actual gameplay as well as cinematics. The textures and environments look rich and vibrant. The character models look even more lively and dynamic. Also, the movements and character models appear to move in a much more realistic fashion than they did in the last game. Of course the story and game content looks very dark, intense, and brutal. The Witcher games have always been adult game. But adult does not mean mindless violence and graphic content. The mature content of these games is all part of the brutal world where Geralt of Rivia resides.
In terms of story, it’s good to know that Triss, Geralt’s frequent lover, apparently has a major role in the game. In the second game, Triss was the default romance option for Geralt. In addition, the trailer depicts a young, white-haired woman, who is most likely Ciri. Ciri is a princess of noble lineage, but also the adopted daughter of Geralt. In the trailer, the Nilfgaardian emperor, Emhyr var Emreis (voices by Game of Thrones star Charles Dance), informs Geralt that Ciri has returned. Unfortunately she’s being pursued by the Wild Hunt, and the Emperor wants her brought to justice in order to “give her what she deserves.” Based off the words of the King of the Wild Hunt, their path of destruction based on the intent to find and capture Ciri.
Other story details are thin, but we know this much: The story takes place six months after the end of the last game. As seen in the trailer, the Nilfgaardian Empire has taken over the Northern Kingdoms. The malevolent band known as the Wild Hunt is invading the land, laying waste to whomever stands in its way. Official CD Projekt Red summaries also mention that Geralt is trying to protect someone from an ancient prophecy. Based on dialogue from the new trailer, the girl of prophecy is clearly Ciri. Consequences and outcomes in the plot are determined by the player’s actions, and The Witcher 3 will have a total of 36 different possible endings.
The trailer gives us a taste of some of the action and combat, as well as the open-world sandbox. Based on the trailer, you will be able to ride horseback and take small skiffs out into the ocean. The environment of the game will feature weather changes that are supposed to affect the narrative. Geralt will have to dispatch beasts and creatures that look nastier than ever.
Finally, there is the King of the Wild Hunt. His visual design looks like a mix of Sauron and the Ring Wraiths from The Lord of the Rings, as well as the Skull Knight from Berserk. His voice has a haunting, reverberating sound. After some brief references and glimpses in the first game, I’m very much looking forward to a final confrontation with the King of the Wild Hunt.
After seeing the trailer, Feb 24, 2015 can’t come fast enough. I eagerly anticipate finally playing a Witcher game on a PlayStation console as well. CD Projekt Red’s time and effort looks to be paying off with a deep and immersive RPG experience.