May 8 2014 3:00pm

Gaming Roundup: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Looks to Make RPG History

The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt

CD Projekt Red, the Polish development studio for the critically acclaimed Witcher series, is no stranger to innovation in the realms of RPG narrative, graphics, and gameplay. The first two games of the franchise, The Witcher and The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings (based on Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s dark fantasy Witcher saga) met huge critical and financial success—a feat that enabled the developer to limit the size of their dev teams and build games at their own pace with an almost unheard-of level of autonomy in the industry. CD Projekt Red is currently hard at work on the trilogy finale, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and they’re looking to end the franchise with what they hope will be considered the greatest modern RPG to date.

What can we say about an RPG that aspires to create an open-world environment larger, prettier, and more alive than Skyrim’s, but without the busywork and fetch quests? A game that places an emphasis on meaningful stories as a means to explore the world, rather than picking 16 blue flowers or hunting 20 elk? A game whose target audience is mature, adult gamers, and doesn’t try to pander (too much) to the teenage mindset? A story that allows for the possibility of up to 36 unique endings? There’s not much to say, really, aside from hoping that this game turns out even half as well as projected. The developer’s commitment to excellence certainly can’t be questioned—The Witcher 3 was originally scheduled to release this year, but CD Projekt Red pushed the launch date to 2015 because they were unhappy with the level of polish on the game.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt launches February 2015 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

In other gaming news this week, Destiny’s getting a beta, Bill Gates talks selling Xbox, Nintendo gets hit hard, and forgotten classic No One Lives Forever re-emerges. Read on!

  • Activision has confirmed that Destiny, Bungie’s latest offering and the studio’s follow-up to the massive success of Halo, will receive a public beta in July.
  • Speaking of Halo, Showtime is reportedly close to a deal with Xbox Studios to pilot a live-action Halo series.
  • EA’s Need For Speed franchise will not enter the marketplace this year—racing fans can expect the next NFS title in 2015.
  • Titanfall pretty much hit the million sales mark in three weeks. Impressive.
  • If early screens are any indication, Telltale’s next project, Tales from the Borderlands, is looking pretty spiffy.

Tales from the Borderlands

  • Rumors of Microsoft selling off Xbox have been swirling for some time, but this week it was Bill Gates adding fuel to the fire, damning Xbox with faint praise, so to speak, and stating he would “absolutely” support a decision to sell the product line, were it made.
  • Yeah, streaming movies and TV shows is cool, but what about being able to stream video games to your TV with no console involved? Comcast and EA may be partnering up to make this happen.
  • Avengers fans, take note. Marvel’s hard at work trying to find the right partner to make an Avengers game the best it can be.
  • Murdered: Soul Suspect, a new IP from Square Enix exclusively for PlayStation, puts you in the role of a murdered detective in limbo, chasing down the mysterious Bell Killer on the streets of Salem. Have a look at the latest trailer.

  • File this in the unsurprising column. Nintendo’s Wii U sales absolutely tanked last quarter as the company lost nearly half a billion dollars. Nintendo’s tenuous hold on hardware creation continues to slip...
  • Finally, an old favorite of ours, No One Lives Forever, resurfaced the other day as Night Dive Studios filed trademarks for the franchise, possibly with plans to republish the games.

If there are games you’d like us to cover or blogs you think we should be following for more news, please let us know @tdelucci or @pritpaulbains.

Chris Nelly
1. Aeryl
Best partner for an Avengers game? That's easy, Lego. But they've already done that.

Well, you've talked me into trying Witcher now.
2. Hammerlock
@1 - You won't be disappointed. try; steam also has them. I do recommend you play 1 before 2 if you're going to play both--the first is a lot less polished and streamlined and its difficult to go back and play it after the incredible displays of TW2.
Though you don't need to play the first to get into the second; it just provides a bit more backstory and worldbuilding, most of which can still be accessed via flashback or in-game notes.
David Thomson
3. ZetaStriker
One warning about the first game; it's a bit archaic in its gameplay, and takes a couple acts to really get started. The prologue and first chapter are the weakest parts of the game, and it isn't until the end of that first chapter that the game really starts to feel like the kind of game fans remember the Witcher franchise for. I know several people who never got to the good stuff becuase of that.

I'd actually suggest playing The Witcher 2 first, and then going back to the first one afterward. Pretend it's an extended flashback or something, just keep in mind there's a jarring technological and gameplay shift between the two titles.
4. Dave '2600 Forevah' Clary
To be honest, as horrific as the Wii is, I was surprised THAT didn't tank Nintendo. When my beloved Atari went away, I set my life's mission to seeing the demise of Nintendo. Perhaps soon I can die in peace.

5. Colin R
I know a lot of people like these games, but I found the first game way too tedious to get very far--the combat is ridiculous.
Walker White
6. Walker
Combat in Witcher 2 sucked pretty hard, which is why I gave up on it. It wasn't Skyrim-level awful, but it was still pretty bad. Sure, it may have had some interesting storytelling, but it had serious issues as a game.
7. DougL
You can change a lot of what the Witcher and Witcher 2 gives you with mods, if you play on the PC.
Brent Longstaff
8. Brentus
If Nintendo insists on releasing last-gen hardware each generation, then it might be for the best if they become a software company for the good of their own games. Mario Kart on PC, PS4, or XB1 would look way better than the Wii U version.
Emmet O'Brien
9. EmmetAOBrien
Showtime is reportedly close to a deal with Xbox Studios to pilot a live-action Halo series.

But the big question is, will they accompany it with live-action Red Vs. Blue ?
Thomas DeLorenzo
10. flyingtoastr
The Wii U may have issues, but Nintendo moved *13 million* 3DS's in the last fiscal year. The total install base is now within spitting distance of the entire sales of the PS3 and XBox 360 over their entire 7 year lifetimes.

One can not overstate just how much of a juggernaut Nintendo is in mobile.

And they've got enough cash on hand to take these kind of losses for a decade, so they're not anywhere near being in real trouble yet.
Walker White
11. Walker
Nintendo moved *13 million* 3DS's in the last fiscal year... One can not overstate just how much of a juggernaut Nintendo is in mobile.
The competition in the mobile space is Apple. They sell 5x that a year. And look how many Kotaku articles are about iOS games vs. articles about the GameBoy.
Eric Wyatt
12. SunDriedRainbow
So, we're gonna have a gaming roundup poking fun at nintendo and NOT mention Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire announcements?
David Thomson
13. ZetaStriker
People buying phones is not the same thing as people buying a portable gaming console.
Andy Holman
14. AndyHolman
@12 Thanks for pointing this out. As a Nintendo fan, it bugs me how often people seem to enjoy ragging on it and just choose to overlook those areas where they're hugely successful. And I wouldn't be surprised if we see an uptick in Wii U console sales when Nintendo finally releases the Wii U version of Smash Bros.

But yes, I'm not such a blind Nintendo fan that I'm unwilling to admit that the Wii U is largely a misstep so far. From what I've heard, the expense of the gamepad is why Nintendo didn't boost the system's other processing doodads to match what Sony & XBox would put out (though, also, let's not forget that those systems came out a year after the Wii U - from what I've been told, when the Wii U came out, it was the most advanced system on the market), and yet they haven't put out any games that wow you with the utility of the gamepad. So, unless they can really figure out a way to harness the gamepad, I wouldn't be surprised if the Wii U ends up having a shortish lifecycle and we see a new system in a few years that somehow endeavors to both lure hardcore gamers and game developers while remaining appealing to the casual gamers that made the original Wii such a success.

Pritpaul Bains
15. Kickpuncher
@14 - That was kind of the Wii's fatal flaw as well (after its initial sales rush). There were so many more possibilities to motion control than Nintendo and Wii game developers actually ended up exploring, and it transformed the Wii controller from what was initially perceived as potentially industry-changing innovation into merely a shallow gimmick. Nintendo would do well to do all to try and preserve the Wii U from the same fate.

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