The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been officially announced by Polish developer CD Projekt Red. The game will be released in 2014 and will be coming to PCs as well as all other "high-end platforms."
The main source of inspiration for The Witcher 3 seems to be The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, with Geralt's third adventure taking on a more open-world role without acts and chapters.
According to the GameInformer reveal (digested via NeoGAF), the world will be 20 percent bigger than Skyrim's and will take up to 40 minutes to traverse from one end to the other on horseback. The new version of the proprietary Red engine features new streaming technology designed to minimize load times.
Right now The Witcher 3's visuals are running on an old renderer that will be upgraded before the game is released next year. "Right now you see the game in the old renderer, but it's going to be taken to a truly next level," says gameplay producer Marek Ziemak.
The game's quests and narratives are being designed around an interwoven three-tier structure, with Geralt's personal plot sitting at the top and feeding into the invasion of Nilfgaardian and then into typical quests like monster hunting and crafting.
Monster hunting promises to be far more in-depth this time around, with redesigned enemy AI and a much larger focus on gathering clues and information from townsfolk and books before engaging enemies. Factors like the time of day also affect where monsters will appear and their abilities. You can learn that it is possible to kill a vampire in one hit by stabbing both its hearts simultaneously, for instance.
The game's skill trees, magic signs, and inventory will also be tweaked, with CD Projekt Red admitting that many found The Witcher 2's inventory frustrating. Spells can be modified and developed, with Igni now having a new flamethrower effect and also the ability to be transformed into a 360-degree blast.
The Witcher games are based on a famous series of novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski and revolve around Geralt of Rivia, a member of the socially maligned but powerful monster-hunting Witchers.
In The Witcher 3, Geralt's memories (he had been suffering amnesia in the first two games) have been resorted. The game's subtitle suggests a confrontation with the band of spectres known as The Wild Hunt, which are presumably responsible for Geralt's amnesia and are also considered an omen of death.
CD Projekt Red also says Geralt's barber will be available from the get-go, but there will be absolutely no chance of dyeing his distinctive silver locks.
The Witcher series has sold more than 4 million copies as of last summer. CD Projekt Red has been teasing The Witcher 3 since 2011, with the latest barrage of speculation coming last month, when the company showed off a teaser image depicting Geralt's sword. For more on the series, check out GameSpot's review of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.
The Witcher 3 is not the only new game CD Projekt Red is at work on. The company is also developing Cyberpunk 2077, a new role-playing game set in a "dark future" where advanced technologies have become "both the salvation and the curse of humanity."