Geralt of Rivia is back, and this time, it's personal.
If you've been itching to dive back into the morally ambiguous world of The Witcher, you're in for a treat. CD Projekt Red, developers of the Witcher series and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, has lifted the veil on the third title in the Witcher trilogy: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Digital subscribers to Game Informer got a peek at the adventures in store for Geralt in his final outing.
Wild Hunt looks to be bringing a number of changes to the traditional formula of the past two games in the series. The most notable difference is in scope: The Witcher 3 will let Geralt wander freely in an open world that challenges Skyrim in size. Despite the grand scale of the game's free-roaming playground, the focus will be much more personal; Geralt's days of questing as an amnesiac sword-for-hire are over. Instead, players will navigate a continuous storyline (no more discrete chapters) that leads Geralt towards a confrontation with a "personal nemesis."
REDengine 3, developed for the next generation of gaming hardware, will power Wild Hunt as it brings The Witcher's world to life. Horse travel will allow for quick traversal of the countryside (with the possibility of saddlebags for some much-needed inventory storage). The open-ended gameplay also places a heavier focus on monster hunting, though players will need to study up on their otherworldly foes by reading books and questioning villagers to discover exploitable weaknesses. The monsters themselves will be brandishing overhauled AI, with a notable absence of highly-scripted boss battles. Veterans of the series can expect to see the return of gameplay staples such as in-depth alchemy, a detailed magic system, and fluid sword combat.
Details on the plot of Wild Hunt are still mostly under wraps. The freeform nature of the game means Geralt will be able to advance a variety of local storylines as his personal quest unfolds. These areas span the hotspots of a Nilfgaardian invasion, including Skellige, Novigrad, and No Man's Land. Geralt's journey will no doubt see him getting tied up in the politics of war, but the main storyline is driven by his own motivations: the protection of his loved ones and tracking down the titular Wild Hunt, a nightmarish horde of specters that always appear in times of great strife.
Geralt will embark on this hunt sometime in 2014. In the meantime, feel free to speculate wildly and/or swoon over his incredible new beard.