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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Essays

Essays 18 March 2015, 15:20

author: £ukasz Malik

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt FAQ – featuring devs from CD Projekt RED!

Can we continue the game once the main storyline is completed? Will Ciri be a playable character at any given moment? Can we drink elixirs during combat?

We’ve collected the most frequent and important questions about The Witcher 3. The answers to the most difficult ones were given by developers from CD Projekt RED – these answers were marked with the symbol [RED]. For obvious reasons, most of the questions about the details of the story were avoided. With the exception of the information about the locations in which the plot will be set, the article contains no spoilers.

Updated: March 18, 2015

Release date and game editions

When will the game launch?

The game is due to be released world-wide on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on May 19, 2015.

Will it be possible to change the language in the game?

No matter where you buy the game, it will allow you to freely change the language and subtitles independently. Depending on the region, the number of available languages may be different. [RED]

Will the PC retail edition contain Steam or GOG key?

The information has not been officially confirmed yet, but it will probably contain a GOG key.

Do online stores offer unique pre-order bonuses, such as a DLC or a special game edition?

Once the game is released, the players will receive a special, free DLC (containing, among other things, hairstyles and one extra side quest) on all platforms, regardless of the store where they bought the game. Some retailers will offer a Steelbook edition.

Will there be a Collector’s Edition of The Witcher 3?

Yes, although at the moment all copies are sold out in most countries. However, you can sign up on a standby list in selected stores and wait for someone who pre-ordered the game to cancel their order.

Story

Was Andrzej Sapkowski, the author of The Witcher novels, involved in creating the game’s story, and if so, to what extent?

No, Andrzej Sapkowski was not involved in creating the game’s story. [RED]

Should I know the previous games in order to enjoy The Witcher 3?

No, the creators announce a completely new opening. All important story arcs and characters are going to be introduced properly, so that the player does not feel confused.

What about the choices made in the first Witcher and Assassins of Kings?

PC players will be able to import their saved game from The Witcher 2. Besides, players on all platforms will be able to (optionally) state their previous choices during a scripted scene in Vizima.

Does the game have a tutorial?

Yes, and it is optional. It also contains many references that fans of Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels will recognize, and gently introduces new players into the universe of The Witcher.

Will it be possible to switch characters to Ciri at will or only in specific moments?

Ciri will be playable only in specific moments. [RED]

We haven’t seen elves in any of the game trailers (maybe with the exception of the “elves from an outer realm”, i.e. the Wild Hunt). Are they going to be included in the game, as they were in the previous installments?

Yes, elves are included, although they play a less significant role than in the previous games. [RED]

Will it be possible to continue playing once the main story missions are completed in order to finish side quests and other additional activities?

Yes, once the end credits roll you can continue playing with the equipment, skills, etc. you had by the end of the game. [RED]

How many endings are there?

There are three different epilogues, as well as 36 conditions in which the game’s world can end up.

How long does it take to complete the main story arc and all additional activities?

Depending on the difficulty level, the main story itself offers about 50 hours of gameplay, and completing 100% of the game requires about 100-120 hours.

World

Is the world open?

Yes. However, there are several large locations where you cannot go freely and they will be preceded by loading screens.

Are there loading screens on entering buildings?

No.

Can I travel to the far side of the world at the very start?

No. Before Geralt is admitted to the open world, players get to learn the gameplay mechanics in the prologue.

How long is the prologue?

About 3 hours. The prologue is set in an open location with much additional activities, so meticulous players will spend even more time there.

Is the experience level of monsters scaled up to the player’s?

No. In this regard, the third installment of The Witcher is more reminiscent of Gothic than of Skyrim. In the prologue, when you’re on the first experience level, you have to be really careful about where you wander off to. It is noteworthy, though, that especially tough enemies are properly marked (you can learn more about this matter in Gameplay mechanics section).

Is there a fast travel system?

Yes, but you can fast travel only between signposts you had previously discovered.

What regions are available in The Witcher 3?

In The Witcher 3 players will visit No Man’s Land and Skellige Islands, as well as the bustling streets of Novigrad and its surrounding area. Each of these locations is vast, unique, and offers various missions. There are also several smaller locations, which we’d rather keep a secret for now. [RED]

Can you explore Vizima freely?

No, the story will be limited to the palace in Vizima. [RED]

Will the creatures lurking after dark be more dangerous as opposed to daytime enemies?

There are monsters that come out in daylight – such as noon wraiths – as well as those that appear mostly at night. Moreover, night creatures are a bit stronger at night, but this won’t pose a threat until you reach higher difficulty levels. Some monsters don’t appear during the daytime at all. [RED]

Is it possible to join a certain faction?

No, the story of The Witcher 3 is much more personal than in the previous installments – Geralt is neutral and does not join any faction. Of course, he sometimes has to make choices that somehow shape the world, but he never binds himself to any faction.

Are there time-limited missions in the game?

Yes, some missions (or parts of them) require intervention at a specific moment. These are situations such as chasing a suspicious merchant or defending a character from aggressors. Such missions can end differently depending on additional factors. The only way to correct a mistake is to reload a saved game.

Combat

Are there any boss fights?

Yes. Fights against bigger opponents are more difficult and played out in stages. Moreover, they require additional preparation, e.g. getting extra information about a given monster.

Are there QTE sequences in the game?

No, there are no QTEs in the game. [RED]

Can you drink potions during combat?

Yes, you can drink potions during combat. What limits you is their quantity – you cannot carry too many, and they have to be prepared during meditation using alcohol – and their toxicity. What is more, there are also mutagenic potions, which are more powerful than the usual ones and work longer, but are more toxic. Thus, drinking potions becomes a meta-game of sorts: should I drink more of the weaker ones which give immediate effects, or use the powerful mutagenic potions instead, or try to keep a balance between the two? [RED]

Does headshots with a crossbow deal more damage?

Yes. Headshots inflicted with a crossbow have a significantly increased chance of a critical hit, which deals much more damage. [RED]

Is Ciri a significantly weaker fighter than Geralt or are they equally strong?

Ciri is different – she has her strengths and weaknesses, as well as unique abilities such as blink. [RED]

Gameplay mechanics

Is it possible to steal in the game?

Yes, you can rob a house of active items. However, the residents may call guards when they see you doing that.

Does stealing have consequences?

Similarly to the previous games, there is no system that would somehow mark the stolen items. The only consequence is a possible fight.

Can you pick up all in-game items, such as plates, buckets, etc. as it is done in the latest installments of The Elder Scrolls games?

No.

Can items wear out?

Yes. Geralt’s crafting knowledge is limited to alchemy, so items can only be repaired by craftsmen.

Is it possible to own a house/hideout?

No, Geralt is a monster hunter, always on the road – the road is his home. He has some places he goes back to, but that’s all. [RED]

Does eating replenish health?

Yes, just as drinking alcohol and other drinks does. [RED]

Is there automatic health regeneration in the game?

There is no automatic health regeneration. There are, however, abilities in the character development tree that impact speed of health recovery on eating. Also, meditation replenishes health. [RED]

How does the system of upgrading weapons look like? Do you have to find any specific ingredients? Is it necessary to find an appropriately skilled blacksmith?

Witcher’s weapons can be upgraded. This is done in a form of special quests. First, you need to find a schematic, which often requires killing a monster guarding it. Then, you have to collect the required ingredients. Finally, it is necessary to find the right craftsman. There are craftsmen on 3 levels of skills available: Journeyman, Master and Archmaster. The better the item, the more skilled craftsman is required. Archmasters first have to be “unlocked” by completing special quests. [RED]

Are there any other mounts besides horses?

No, we only have horses. [RED]

Is it possible to buy or steal horses that differ in galloping speed, etc.? If so, are all of them called Roach, as is the case in The Witcher books?

The player can steal a horse, but it will never become their “main” horse. Geralt may modify his horse’s equipment and summon it at any moment. It cannot be changed to another horse and you cannot purchase horses. [RED]

Does delaying main missions have any consequences?

No, but ignoring certain side quests (those important for the game world) may have consequences. [RED]

What will characterize the Dark difficulty level? Will it be the same as Hard with the exception of permanent death?

There are 4 difficulty levels. Easy, Normal, Hard, and Dark. There is no permadeath; the Dark level is simply more difficult than Hard. [RED]

Is it possible to travel with a companion by your side, e.g. Dandelion?

Geralt is a lone wolf; he considers others more as a responsibility than actual help (unless he is travelling with, e.g., Vesemir). Except for some specific moments, players hunt monsters on their own. [RED]

Is it possible to sit on chairs or benches, like in The Elder Scrolls or Gothic games?

No. [RED]

User Interface

Are important places and locations marked on the world map?

Yes, places worth visiting and undiscovered points of interest are marked with a question mark.

Are mission targets marked on the map too?

They are, although, similarly to Dragon Age: Inquisition, these are either precise spots/characters or broader areas that you first have to explore (e.g. using the medallion). Of course, the only missions marked on the map are the ones you set as active in the journal, thus the indicators can be easily removed.

Are there health bars displayed over monsters?

Yes. What is more, you will also see information on the opponent’s level and the type of sword you should use against them (silver or steel).

Can you turn off these indicators? Will all of them be present on higher difficulty levels?

Each element of HUD can be turned off individually. So the answer is yes, you can turn off opponents’ health bars and level information. [RED]

Is it possible to turn off map indicators pointing toward special monsters, places of interest, etc.?

Yes, it is possible. HUD is highly customizable. You can turn off individual elements displayed on the minimap, as well as the minimap itself. [RED]

Tech

Is The Witcher 3 going to have a companion app?

No.

What will be the screen resolution and frames per second (FPS) on the console version of The Witcher 3?

PlayStation 4 – 1080p, 30 FPS.

Xbox One – 900p, 30 FPS.

How many frames per second can you reach on PC using the recommended configuration (Intel Core i7-3770 3.4 GHz, 8 GB RAM, GeForce GTX 770 2 GB VRAM)?

According to an interview we did with Adam Badowski, the PC version will display 30 FPS as well. However, it is still too early to talk about specific graphics settings.

Is the PC version of The Witcher 3 running on highest graphics settings optimized for four or eight threads?

RED engine is a multi-threaded game engine so it scales on the basis of the available configuration. [RED]

How can you explain the difference between the graphics quality in the first trailers and the currently presented materials?

As Adam Badowski told us in an interview given on January 28, 2015, the quality of models, shaders and textures in the game has improved. During the development works, the rendering engine that provides, e.g., the lighting, was changed. “I think that there will be locations that will look jaw-dropping, and no one will claim that they differ from what was seen in the trailer. Unfortunately, there will also be fragments where the game will look worse. It’s the same with GTA – when the wind picks up and it gets grey, especially in the forest, the graphics seem certainly worse than in a neon-filled and lively city”, told us the Managing Director of CD Projekt RED.

Will the game support modding?

Yes, but not on launch. The developers promise to release REDkit editor faster than they did for The Witcher 2: Assassin’s of Kings (almost a year after its release).

Is it possible to change color saturation like it was done in Arcania, where different variations of color settings were available?

No. [RED]

Is it possible to adjust draw distance on PC version?

No. Most distances (e.g. for meshes) are set in assets. [RED]

During one of the press events, many journalists complained about texture pop-in, occurring mostly in cut-scenes. Are you going to fix this problem?

We have managed to reduce this problem noticeably, so that it’s virtually nonexistent in cut-scenes. There may occur slight delays in texture loading, but this should happen sporadically. [RED]

Is The Witcher 3 going to support Mantle on the launch day or later?

That is highly unlikely. The developers of The Witcher 3 work closely with Nvidia, whereas Mantle is a competing technology developed by ATI.

Will The Witcher 3 support DirectX 12 in the future?

At the moment there is no such plan. [RED]

Miscellaneous

To what extent has CD Projekt RED supervised the voice recording sessions?

We cannot be in the recording studio at all times, but someone from RED is always present when the voices of key characters are recorded. All localizations were supervised by a special team from RED, formed specifically for this task. [RED]

To what extent were the actors familiar with the game material? Were they allowed to see cut-scenes and the appearance of their characters or did they read out their lines with no insight into the game?

We prepared various game materials for the actors and director for the purpose of voice recording sessions, such as artworks and character descriptions. In the case of some cut-scenes, voices were recorded with the use of video material, provided that it was available. Besides, someone from the studio was always present during recording sessions to clear up any doubts, explain the context and provide other information. Being unable to see the actual scenes they voice during the recording is a great challenge for the actors, as they have to imagine everything based only on descriptions, comments, and our suggestions. [RED]

Is the new Witcher going to include microtransactions?

No.

Will the conclusion of Geralt’s adventures mean no more games in The Witcher universe?

At this moment it is difficult to expect an official, clear statement on the matter from CD Projekt RED. The company is listed on stock exchange and such big announcements must be planned carefully.

However, years of effort put in building the globally known Witcher franchise are definitely not going to be laid to waste with the launch of the third installment. We may only speculate that at some point (when the works on Cyberpunk 2077 are at an advanced stage) we will hear an announcement of a fourth game in the series, whose protagonist will not be Geralt, but, e.g., a player-created witcher.

£ukasz Malik | Gamepressure.com

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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