The Witcher 3′s Bleak Cinematic Trailer

By Jim Rossignol on August 14th, 2013 at 10:00 am.


It’s sort of difficult to understand why a game as good looking as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt would rely on a CGI trailer, because it’s simply doesn’t need it. Do these things even sell games? I know I buy because of the way the game looks when it plays, but do people get excited by story shine? I mean, it’s is really, really well done, but…

The Witcher 3 is due to land next year. We’ll be seeing it at Gamescom next week…

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171 Comments »

  1. El_MUERkO says:

    Nice trailer, the ending is also interesting, I hope it’s a sign of the moral choices you can make in missions, side quests etc…

  2. Spacewalk says:

    Now that we can do good looking CGI we can make up for all the years when CGI didn’t exist.

  3. Zephro says:

    Personally I like a bit of CGI now and again.

    • fitzroy_doll says:

      The cgi interlude in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. will burn forever in my mind. “Where will you go now?” “North…”

  4. Drake Sigar says:

    I enjoy some non-gameplay trailers as self-contained pieces of entertainment, but very, if any, factor into my decision to buy the game. There are situations which call for that kind of Hollywood fappery though. What about the Hotline Miami trailer? Perfectly sets the mood. Splicing in footage of the MS Paint graphics would just give people the wrong idea.

    But yeah, The Witcher 3 is a pretty game. Ditch the extra superficial layers and give us a peek up its skirt.

  5. Yosharian says:

    Thanks CDP, for torturing us by reminding us your game is still not available…

  6. RizziSmoov says:

    “Do these things even sell games? ”
    Yes, if we look in the perspective of a one of the few million people who see these trailers rather than the much, MUCH less than a million people that comment on videogame websites.

    • Megakoresh says:

      They need to listen to people like you more often.

      This is also a good trailer in a sense that it allows us to see kind what the choices there are. From the world of Witcher 2 know that the witch likely did commit some of these crimes. But then we have a choice to judge whether or not she really deserves that kind of punishment. I doubt I’d be wrong if I said that the game would allow Geralt to execute her quickly after that.

      I personally hope they listened to the feedback and will allow us to change up the atmosphere. My biggest issues with Witcher 2, aside from terrible facial animations, was the fact that even though it’s as non-linear as non-linear gets, everything still remained really grim. You always had a choice between evil#1 and evil#2, never between good#1 and good#2. Game had little positivity in it, little humour, compared to how everything seemed to be going to shit, regardless of the choice you make.

      [spoiler]
      Oh, you killed the usurpator? Too bad, 10 people burned alive. You helped the rebellion? Too bad the leader became possessed. You helped your friend? Too bad, your other friend got quartered. You helped your other friend? Too bad, you country got disintegrated. And so on and so fourth.
      [/spoiler]

      I am definitely not again’t proper choices, not like BioWare does it with black and white stuff. But Ultimately I want to have a feeling that I am actually doing something positive from time to time. I want to have more humour, more positive choices. Dark grey should not be the only colour that your choices and the storyline could be coloured in.

      • Niko says:

        That’s kinda the point of the Witcher books, there’s no triumph of good vs evil, and even though you might, say, save a witch, at the same time a nearby village is getting burned, its villagers raped and murdered. There’s plenty of humour though, it’s just a bit subtle (sometimes).

      • Hidden_7 says:

        Personally I really enjoyed how grim the big stuff was in Witcher 2. It seemed to fit very well with Geralt’s character and the sorta Witcher neutral ethos. It’s also a nice change of pace from your typical RPG where every problem can be solved with just the correct application of Hero Completing Quest

        Spoilers

        The end of the game, with Geralt commenting how TIRED he feels just worked so well for me. Geralt is a pretty cynical guy, and the Witcher code is to maintain neutrality in these big situations. After seeing how terribly everything ends up despite the best of intentions, you really feel in Geralt’s headspace of “why bother?”

        Spoilers end.

        The fact that Geralt DOES bother with trying to help is made all the more powerful for how grim the game is. Because sometimes it does work out. There are definite quest resolutions in the game where Geralt’s intervention was an unambiguous good. They just tend to be smaller stuff.

        To me, it’s a far more interesting heroic character who grudgingly tries to do some good in the world despite how often he’s seen how fruitless that impulse can be. Geralt’s character would feel completely hollow if most of the situations in the game had a “good” resolution where everything worked out for the best. You need to really see Geralt’s plight demonstrated for his character to make sense.

        • itsbenderingtime says:

          That’s the rub, right? The game makes you “really feel in Geralt’s headspace of “why bother?”” (and props to CDP for effectively putting the player there), but when it asks that, some of us end up saying, “hey, you’re right! This place sucks, everybody here sucks, why am I spending my time interacting with such a miserable environment?” I am a game player, and I have my choice of worlds, I choose to spend my time in places that don’t reek of despair all the time.

          When I was younger, I had much more of a fascination with wretchedness, so maybe the Witcher would be much more interesting to the younger me. But the older I get, the more that feeling leaves my system, and I just can’t get myself up for that any more.

          • FriendlyFire says:

            I don’t think games should be limited to happy funtime stories. That’s severely restricting the breadth and depth of what you can do and what stories you can tell in a medium.

            It’s alright if you don’t like it, but we need more, not less, of that sort of stuff. More diverse experiences. More mature (in the real sense, not the gore+sex sense).

          • itsbenderingtime says:

            Absolutely. It’d be awful small of any of us to think that just because something isn’t our style, then it shouldn’t exist, right?

      • gunny1993 says:

        That’s just the dark fantasy genre though, everything is dark, everything will remain dark. Usually it stems from there not being a large overarching evil like in high fantasy, meaning that evil is far more grey and requires more thought to understand.

      • PegasusOrgans says:

        No. Good god just NO!! We get enough of that in like every other game ever. We need a grim, and truly dark game. At the very least one. Give us that? Besides, the Witcher series does have funny bits here and there, and you ARE doing good, but reality is that there’s always a cost. That’s a realistic set-up. I know people play games to escape, but some of us want games to feature real maturity, as only a game like the Witcher can provide.

        • Stillquest says:

          *COUGH* sexcards *COUGH*

          • Ringwraith says:

            No, he means the other stuff.

          • Jockie says:

            Sex Tattoos?

          • tormeh says:

            Plenty of people collect sexcards in real life. Mentally, at least. Come on, most guys aren’t better than that. I’m certainly not.

            And anyway, if Geralt collects sexcards, then what right does the player have to say that he shouldn’t? The player can say that the game is worse for it, certainly, but if it’s a good representation of Geralt then I would say it’s appropriate. If the main character of a game isn’t silent then I think that character should have a real personality, making choices and doing things I won’t necessarily agree with. I’m not saying we shoul take player agency away, but the player shouldn’t be able to make the main character do things that are out of character.

            Okay, this went off-topic :)

          • harbinger says:

            They weren’t “collectables” in the first place, since you can’t even get all of them during a single play through.

            They were meant as a depiction of “they are having sex now” that is somewhat more tame and classy (the illustrations were tasteful erotic fantasy art and nothing more) than the full-on sex scenes in Witcher 2 or the laughable rubbing-against-each-other scenes in BioWare games, and even then they didn’t think that people from the US at large could deal with it and censored them preemptively for that region: http://kotaku.com/5327197/the-witcher-uncensored-for-north-america

      • dE says:

        It’s curious how, without a moral indicator pointing us towards some greater good or evil, something is instantly considered dark and bleak. To me, that’s how storytelling should be. Characters making decisions in a world where characters are making decisions. There’s no greater good at work, nor some evil doing evil things for the sake of it. It’s just different entitites looking out for themselves and their people any way they can: Cruel, brutal and messy.
        But that might actually be an interesting conflict between religion and non religion altogether. The idea that some greater force is causing all the evil and not humans.

        • Orageon says:

          I concur. But in a world where religion is everywhere, where we are told all the time about “good” and “evil”, and where games mostly surf on the same old manicheist trope, we can tend to feel uncomfortable when we can’t reach a happy ending, or when there is a dark and pessimistic take on mankind’s behavior.

          I wouldn’t want Witcher to change in that regard, into Fables, TES or anything else. For me, Witcher series is about dark fantasy medieval times, smelling of gutters, cadavers, intrigue, betrayal, and death lurking at every corner.
          We need to keep that dark flame burning…

      • SheridaH says:

        I was actually kind of expecting/hoping that he would execute her after killing those men. But perhaps they wanted to showcase a less dark Geralt?

        • Ringwraith says:

          He doesn’t know what she is or isn’t guilty of, though he knows what those guys were guilty of.
          He even leaves the last one’s fate in her hands.
          That’s a test of character if nothing else.

    • cdx00 says:

      I was going to post this but since you already did…

  7. Bostec says:

    That CGI trailer for the console launch for The Witcher 2, you know, the one with the ship that turns to ice. Probably the greatest game trailer I’v seen. Made me replay the game anyway.

    • Runty McTall says:

      Yeah, that ice one was what I immediately thought of when Jim posed the question. Not only was it damn rockin’, I’m pretty sure it was important in the train of thought* that led to me buying the game (on Steam sale, admittedly).

      * AIDA :
      A – Attention (Awareness): attract the attention of the customer.
      I – Interest: raise customer interest by focusing on and demonstrating advantages and benefits (instead of focusing on features, as in traditional advertising).
      D – Desire: convince customers that they want and desire the product or service and that it will satisfy their needs.
      A – Action: lead customers towards taking action and/or purchasing.

      • jpvg says:

        There is nothing like first year in business school eh? ;)

        • Runty McTall says:

          Pfft, I think I learned that in second year accountancy, thank you very much :)

    • rei says:

      Yes, that one is glorious. I rather like this one too. And the Cyberpunk one (scandalous!). And well-done CGI-trailers in general really.

    • Bishop says:

      No way you’re crazy and I hope bad things happen to you for our minor differences in taste. Mark of Chaos is clearly the best CGI trailer around http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5enBMSH5ghc

      • Rise / Run says:

        I second your minor difference in opinion. While that trailer has absolutely nothing to do with the game it attempts to sell, and it hangs out in the plateau of uncanny, as a short film, that thing rocks. And has the best moving-picture example of a cleric/paladin calling out for his god’s blessing I’ve seen.

      • Cinek says:

        Well, it is a very good trailer, no doubt, but I don’t see how it’s any better than average Blizzard trailer (say: from Starcraft series).

    • timethor says:

      I’ve regularly started the witcher, just to watch that trailer/intro, and then quit the game again -_-

      the whole disintegrating ship thing is magnificent, how the music swells, etc. And the guy being blown up by the sorcerer has the kind of “ok this is clearly fake so not really disturbing, but holy shit”-impact.

  8. Alexander says:

    Beautiful and relevant to the world of the Witcher. If only studios like CDP would be more frequent and not scattered to a few corners of the world.

  9. dr4gz0r says:

    I don’t really get the hate CGIs are getting these days to be honest…

    I understand people wanting to see the game itself, but if it’s not ready or simply not good enough, why showing something which could be a turnoff to many? What’s wrong with a trailer like this, showing some of the moral decisions the saga has been a favorite for?

    I think it’s a neat way to hype things up while the game gets readied, and I hope they actually keep them coming for their games. The CGIs for The Witcher were great (both graphically and in adding to the game’s story), and the one they added for The Witcher 2 was absolutely stunning. The Cyberpunk’s one was ultra hype too!

    Besides, with Gamescom being just 1 week away I think it’s safe to say there’s more coming from the Polish fellas in just a few days.

    • rei says:

      I don’t think the CGI scorn is particularly widespread. This is the only site where I’ve seen it at any rate.

    • Deadly Habit says:

      I think the hate comes from devs who put out nothing but CGI and live action trailers and never show any gameplay or in engine cinematics.
      People like the eye candy, but then want to see actual gameplay and usually that’s lacking when it comes to marketing campaigns.
      Take devs who have review embargoes until launch day and do nothing but cgi trailers and rendered screenshots. Alien Colonial Marines is a great example of this.

      • Deadly Habit says:

        Oh I know CDP have, I just mean in general with a lot of AAA stuff.

    • RakeShark says:

      I think the ire is rising due to things like the Aliens: Colonial Marines. You get CGI trailers for stuff like TOR, CoD, and other high-profile franchises that dedicate a lot to marketing. Sometimes the trailers are just a sales pitch that’s easily distinguished from the product. But as CGI and real-time rendered graphics are scaling ever more closer towards each other, you could look at a video/presentation and wonder “Is this really part of the game, or is this just stagecraft and deception?”

      Plus, as gamers are becoming ever more aware of how much money it takes to make a game of various developer levels, some look at expensive/extensive CGI trailers as a waste of funding better used on QA, polish, and features.

  10. Cinek says:

    mmmm…. goood stuff…. *munches*

  11. altum videtur says:

    Meh. Ain’t gonna top Witcher 2′s Updated Release trailer.
    I think it’s called the “Xbox Launch Trailer”.
    Search it. Watch it.

  12. golem09 says:

    I just hope Geralt’s new heroic mode is purely optional. I want to enact some Witcher neutrality in this open world.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Well, this is what Geralt is constantly struggling with himself. He knows he shouldn’t get involved, but has a tendency to do so anyway. It’s his major flaw that a lot of people point out.
      Besides, the previous games let you play the neutrality straight pretty much, so no reason to not expect it here. You’ll probably feel horrible for doing so occasionally however.

  13. tellrov says:

    I’d rather have a CGI trailer focusing on story than the actual gameplay trying to be that same CGI trailer. And funnily enough, the latter gets applauded nowadays.

  14. Calabi says:

    I like trailers and especially when there done by Blur.

  15. Thoric says:

    The Witcher CGI trailers have always been great tone-setters for their respective titles. They don’t aim to mislead with the use of CGI, but to give you a brief, spectacular look at the actual game’s art style and themes. They include characters you’ll meet, weapons you’ll use, clothing you’ll see, places you’ll visit, monsters you’ll fight and events that actually occur and are talked about.

    Because of that I always feel compelled to watch the TW1 and TW2 cinematics before starting a new playthrough. They’re a perfectly fitting intro for the games, not just throwaway promo material.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      I agree, the Witcher cinematics – and to some extension many other CGI trailers – are aimed at selling games in a different way than gameplay videos, because what you’re seeing is a representation (of a representation) of a world the devs are trying to make feel vital. Good CGI trailers say “look, this is our setting, these are the stories, and this is what you will live” in an idealized way that makes you feel that world deserves your full attention. Gameplay videos don’t prod the imagination that way, because you’re just seeing what kinds of things you’ll be doing and how, in a much more mechanical, much more rational approach.

      Remember the infamous Dead Island trailer? Lots of people thought ‘this is it, this is THE zombie game’. It was false and misleading, a bad CGI trailer in that sense, but man did it spark many a zombie fan’s imagination about how the game could be.

      • elderman says:

        Good point(s). I was going to say that the cinematic trailers set up the context for the gameplay, giving a meaning to the mechanics.

        On the other hand, the trailer doesn’t sell the game to me at all. Not a fan of this kind of game, and the fantasy here looks generic, the responses of the characters cinematic instead of human, the voice work disconnected from the figures on screen in a disorientating way.

        Taken as a whole, I find the trailer repulsive, but I wasn’t going to buy this game anyway.

        • jpvg says:

          Dear god, your quality bar is high, what games/trailers does cater to you?

          • elderman says:

            The GTA V gameplay trailer made me want to play the game. I probably wont, but it made the game seem appealing.

        • gunny1993 says:

          I think dark fantasy is pretty much as far away from generic (regarding Tolkein style fantasy as the archetype) as you can get.

          • elderman says:

            I don’t have time today to do a lot of web searching, but I have the impression that I’ve seen this trailer before. The timing feels familiar and I feel like I’ve seen that fight scene before. An anti-hero who comes to the bloody rescue of a woman in danger… that’s all pretty familiar.

            I guess I don’t see very much of the world in this trailer. It could pretty much just as well be a tale from the life of Arathorn the ranger of the North, as far as I can tell. Or taken from a game set in the Song of Ice and Fire universe. Or a scene from the life of Lan Mandragoran. Or a slightly dark tale set in the D&D universe.

            What seems unique to you here?

          • Okami says:

            Dark Fantasy is just as generic as Tolkien style High Fantasy or Conan style Sword and Sorcery.

          • gunny1993 says:

            Well firstly i’d say that the whole audio sequence sets it aside from the majority of Tolkien’s work (and therefore most derivative works), his stuff mostly revolves around defined good and evil, even though there are characters who may blur the lines they’re usually depicted as weak rather than innately evil.

            WoT and Lan in particular is pretty much the same, he’s all about doing the right thing and i don’t recall him really doing anything morally grey in the entire series.

            I’m not sure an song of ice and fire can be compared, it’s so Machiavellian.

            Having some moral dichotomy flying round sets it aside from a hell of a lot of games, even if it is a bit of an overused one. (in books at any rate)

            Sure the trailer isn’t some new amazing innovation in story, but it’s certainly not cut and dry generic.

            It could be my definition for generic differs from yours, for me for a fantasy game to be generic it has to have several things: A clearly defined enemy where there is no question in who is evil, a character who is clearly a leader and a clear goal for the leader… i.e. taking the ring to Mordor, or defeating “The Dark One”.

            Any deviation from that and i will consider it non-generic (not to say i consider generic a bad thing, it is just a thing) …. my definition is fairly loose i admit.

          • Niko says:

            Please take into account that Witcher books were written around 20 years ago already.

          • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            It’s a pity that Tolkien never finished his novel-size treatment of the story of Túrin, if only to provide a counterpoint to this “characters are either good or evil” thing. Túrin is counted as one of the “good guys”, but he did a lot of not-so-nice stuff, and even his human flaws tended to get in the way when he was intending to do good. It’s still very high fantasy and theatrical, but it’s still quite a long way from “defined good and evil”.

          • gunny1993 says:

            VelvetFistIronGlove: Any chance that was one of the books his sons finished after he died, that sounds interesting.

          • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            Yes, Christopher Tolkien filled in a missing chapter or two and edited it all together, and it’s published under the rather unobvious title of The Children of Húrin. It’s lacking the polish that a properly finished novel would have, but is quite readable, and I enjoyed it.

  16. sharkh20 says:

    Can’t really complain when they do that good a job.

  17. demicanadian says:

    “Do these things even sell games? ” – just think of Dead Island.

  18. kael13 says:

    Great trailer, but the pacing seemed a little fast.

    • Slazer says:

      Witchers have speed and reflexes way superior to normal humans, I think thats shown pretty good here

  19. Deadly Habit says:

    Typical damsel in distress trope, we need Anita Sarkeesian on the case.
    In all seriousness this has me hyped, I just hope we get more in game footage soon.
    CDP Red has always been good with the CGI and trailers. Hell the intro to The Witcher 1 was awesome, and they just keep progressively getting better with each iteration of the series.
    If only the TV show had been as good as what CDP Red does…

    • elderman says:

      In all seriousness, for me this is a great example of how the Tropes vs Women in Video games series has done me good. It has helped me to understand video games better by seeing the patterns that would otherwise have passed by unnoticed and also to observe my own reactions and the reactions of others.

      • Deadly Habit says:

        Want to become even more aware? Look up what a MacGuffin is.

        • elderman says:

          Ack, I’m letting myself get distracted.

          I love Hitchcock films (the original 39 Steps is one of my favourites) and have read a smattering of film criticism. I do love learning more, so tell me what your point was ’cause it’s not obvious from your post.

          • Deadly Habit says:

            That the whole Damsel in Distress trope is just a simple MacGuffin, but just nitpicking a small subset of MacGuffins.

          • elderman says:

            I think I’d say ‘analyse’ instead of ‘nitpick’, but so what? How should knowing about a larger category of plot devices devalue the insight that I’ve gained from Anita Sarkeesian’s analysis in my eyes. How should that knowledge make this trailer more appealing to me?

          • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            @Deadly Habit You’re correct, but you’re missing the point. You should be asking: is it appropriate that the role of women in games is so often to be nothing more than a MacGuffin?

          • Deadly Habit says:

            Sometimes they start off as a MacGuffin and develop into more with the plot development though which often gets overlooked. The Tropes vs Women vids are particularly bad about this.

          • Faxmachinen says:

            Yes, that’s clearly what happens in this trailer.

            Disregarding the blatant sexism though, this trailer is really boring and predictable. It certainly did not pique my interest.

      • jpvg says:

        You need to look at the trope again, the keypart is that the woman is made into an object that gets awarded by defeating a series of obstacles. There is clearly no obstacles and the woman is left empowered.

        She is however sexified with that strop falling down and clearly CD Red is pure devilspawn for catering to their majority audience. It’s time to stop filling your veins with that sarkeesian poison, you’re seeing phantoms now.

        • elderman says:

          What on earth are you on about?

          • jerf says:

            @elderman
            Sorry, but what on earth are _you_ on about? What he said made perfect sense.

          • elderman says:

            All right, fine, I’ll breakdown all the ways his post didn’t make sense to me. I don’t study this stuff myself, and don’t spend much free time thinking about it, so I’ll rely heavily on the Tropes v Women in VG videos.

            But first: the point is that his response had nothing to do with what I wrote. I wrote that Anita Sarkeesian’s videos had helped me understand video games and video game culture and I implied that it helped me understand things like this trailer. His response is to disagree and tell me to stop seeing phantoms? What phantoms is he talking about? I didn’t even say how the Tropes v Women in video games series had helped me think more clearly about this stuff. What is he on about?

            Now in more detail.

            “You need to look at the trope again”

            How do I do that? A trope is a thing in culture in general, it doesn’t exist in a specific location. What does looking at the trope again look like? Watching more game trailers? Playing more games? Should I make a series of videos about depictions of women in video games? I don’t understand this advice.

            “the keypart is that the woman is made into an object that gets awarded by defeating a series of obstacles”

            This is not the key part of the trope as I understand it. That’s the canonical example of the trope. The key part of the trope is that the damsel’s distress gives the player character his motivation and sets the plot in motion.

            There is clearly no obstacles…

            There are enemies to vanquish. Those are the obstacles.

            and the woman is left empowered.

            This is a part of the trope as identified by the Tropes v Women in Video Games series (couldn’t she have chosen a shorter name?) in the second video starting at about the 3m10s mark. I’m not saying whether it’s good or bad that the trope is used in this trailer, just that it’s there.

            She is however sexified with that strop falling down and clearly CD Red is pure devilspawn for catering to their majority audience. It’s time to stop filling your veins with that sarkeesian poison, you’re seeing phantoms now.

            What does this have to do with anything? I didn’t say anything about sex or sexiness, nor is that a key idea in the damsel trope as identified by Anita Sarkeesian. I didn’t criticize CD Red. Watching the Tropes v Women in Video Games videos has done me no harm, I don’t understand why jpvg says that it has and I don’t see why he thinks I’m seeing phantoms. jpvg is imagining a windmill made up of my imagined opinions and tilting at it, but there’s no call for it and I don’t understand why he’s doing that.

            Is the reason for my confusion clear?

        • Deadly Habit says:

          I just love the Eastern European devs like CDP Red who just don’t care when it comes to ridiculous things like Tropes vs Women. They make what they want with no apologies.

          • Viroso says:

            wow they so brave

          • Deadly Habit says:

            I wouldn’t say brave, it’s just nice to see them not pandering to be politically correct or not offend some group. They have their vision of how they want things and they stick to it.

          • quijote3000 says:

            In today’s PC world where even George R. R. Martin is accused of sexism , that is being very brave.

            I wish more companies dared that.

          • Faxmachinen says:

            Yep. You know who else is edgy and fresh? Westboro Baptist Church. They don’t let anybody tell them what to do. So brave!

          • Deadly Habit says:

            Faxmachicen: Apples and Oranges argument.

          • Faxmachinen says:

            Westboro Baptist Church is offensive in a new an exciting way (as far as churches are concerned), whereas CDP is offensive through lazy regurgitation of patriarchic stereotypes (like many game companies before it). That’s the only difference.

          • Deadly Habit says:

            Faxmachinen: Back to Tumblr with that crap

          • harbinger says:

            quijote: I agree, I would also call them “brave” since they know what the reactions from most reactonaries in US and UK media is going to be.

            They could just go with the general trend and do a BioWare and pretend like their products stand for equality in all things and whatnot and they’d likely be praised by these same publications even more, but instead they decide to not compromise their vision for their work and the source material with “political correctness” and turn it into gruel.
            That is “brave” and I’m very thankful for Eastern European and Japanese developers doing that and will reward them with my money for a CE Pre-Order for it.

      • Sian says:

        So far, she’s only talked about that one trope. For three videos. I don’t think there’s been that much to learn from that, although I didn’t watch the third video.

        • elderman says:

          And I never said you’d learned anything from her videos. I have.

          What’s the problem?

          [Edit: emphasis added for clarity.]

          • Sian says:

            “It has helped me to understand video games better by seeing the patterns that would otherwise have passed by unnoticed and also to observe my own reactions and the reactions of others.”

            It has helped you understand – that’s pretty much the definition of learning.

            And there’s no problem, I just don’t see how these videos so far would help anyone see patterns or notice reactions. I’m just saying that she could’ve probably been more concise and moved on to other tropes by now, thus presenting more opportunities to learn something.

          • elderman says:

            Well, you can take my word that I’ve learned some stuff.

            You should send her a helpful email with your suggestions. I’m sure she’ll be glad to hear you’ve had a response to her videos.

          • Sian says:

            Interesting. Apparently, voicing an opinion now requires a sarcastic response. Tell me, if we were talking about a film and I was telling you that I thought it contained too much filler and could’ve been shorter, would you then tell me to contact the director with my opinion?

          • Deadly Habit says:

            I think it’s a subject that should be covered, but her videos I find lacking, especially since she went in with a bias and just looks for things to back up that bias.
            And that’s just one of many issues I have with the series so far.

          • elderman says:

            No sarcasm intended: I meant exactly what I said. The internet is not Hollywood (thank goodness). You can just up and write to the people who make the stuff you watch. It one of the things I like about the web.

            But I don’t know how else to respond to criticism about Anita Sarkeesian’s rhetoric. It has nothing to do with me or my response to the Tropes vs Women in Video Games series or to the The Witcher 3 cinematic trailer. I think whatever faults the videos may have, those faults don’t get in the way of understanding the points the Tropes v W… etc. videos make, so it’s pointless to dwell on them unless you think you can influence them, which maybe you can.

            Anita Sarkeesian’s series has helped me understand why I find this trailer uninteresting and repellent. I wouldn’t have liked it anyway, and now I understand why a bit better.

          • quijote3000 says:

            I already sent here an e-mail asking about the accusations that she stole, at least for her second video, parts from other LP’s in youtube. Still waiting for her answer.

          • elderman says:

            Expecting a web person to respond to your personal email is a different matter, however. They wont.

        • Reapy says:

          I was hoping for more from it, she basically says the same thing for an hour and a half. All she had to do was lead in with several examples and say the damsel in distress is over used and anybody would be ale to get on board with that observation. What I was hoping for was more analysis on why it is bad and realistic solutions.

          Her one and only solution for a positive game is to copy the monkey island example she showed in the video of a princess escaping. Sure a neat idea but honestly just as shallow and insignificant as any platformer plot.

          No factoring in the basic lack of care most gamers have for story in the genres she picked apart, no considering how men just respond to sex appeal and we buy core games. (Hey you will make cash with sex appeal, but don’t add that in!) no factoring in costs to produce alternate animations and or voice work.

          Eh anyway, just real let down on the whole thing, was waiting to learn more than capcom writes shitty characters and plots.

    • MobileAssaultDuck says:

      The sexism is the Witcher games has never bothered me because the Witcher world has always been portrayed as “this is a terrible place to live, everyone is bad, everyone is racist, everyone is sexist, even the good guys.”

      Since they intentionally created a world full of terrible people, it makes sense for those people to be sexist, racist, etc.

      • Deadly Habit says:

        I know, but unfortunately some people don’t understand things being used as plot devices or intentionally having some of the cruel, unfair, and ugly aspects of humanity to craft a realistic fantasy world people find believable.
        They nitpick on one small aspect without looking at the bigger picture of why that’s in there.

        • elderman says:

          Oooh, this is perfect! I’m having a drink later on with a woman who studies what makes virtual worlds believeable at a university in Canada. I’ll ask her if having sexism in video games makes the world created for them more believable and post back about her response.

          • Orageon says:

            Will you tell her that this game is set in dark medieval times ? Or will you generalize for games in general, hence missing completely the point here ?

            Well, the way I see it, it’s more because the setting here is based on our own medieval times, in which gender roles were more strictly defined (influence of religion, but also the perpetuation of our own animalistic roots I suppose).
            Therefore, the women & men in the witcher tend to be depicted as you could expect from medieval times. And the same way there was some women of power (mostly in the nobility, because raw brute force was not the only factor in play), there are also some women of power in the witcher although most are part of the witches order.

            In a world where brute force and violence is still the main component of social hierarchy, of course women will seldom stand very high on the ladder, because by nature’s definition, most of the times men will overcome women in brute force.

            Today we strive to remove these shackles (it’s a long way, but it’s not easy to change centuries of machist culture into an egalitarian one), but the Witcher is not about today, it’s about a grim and dark medieval world where brute force reigns…

            Anyway, it seems that it isn’t your kind of games anyway. A dark fantasy game with less sexism (and other -ism) could be great, but changing the witcher series now is a bit pointless…

          • elderman says:

            The virtual worlds specialist had some interesting things to say.

            She shrugged away the idea of verisimilitude in virtual worlds, but said there was evidence that familiarity was important to the believability of a virtual world. Of course this is subjective and varies from person to person, but my new friend said that the mind would only accept a certain amount of alien environment before rejecting it as a whole. She counted social mores like gender roles among the possible sources of strangeness or familiarity.

            To me this brings up all sorts of questions like ‘what parts of the world of The Witcher are alien and which familiar and to whom’. Pesumably, people from different backgrounds will find different social mores familiar, interesting, and alienating, which perhaps explains why I see a dull and ugly trailer and others see a cool gritty fantasy universe.

            My friend also suggested a way of judging the genuineness of creators’ claims of ironic intent or fidelity to source material in the creation of virtual worlds. She pointed to the whole of the world or work and suggested one ask if all the pieces pull in the same direction, or if there seems to be a conflict between stated aims and the experience of playing a game. She pointed to Bioshock as an example of a game with a message that is undermined, for example by its game play.

            I hope this is comprehensible. It’s late where I am after a long, tiring day.

          • Haysoos says:

            I’d like to hear this response. If she says “no” to “is sexism in a medieval society believable” i would love to know how she got into a university.

          • elderman says:

            Well, the approach my friend took was to think closely about what ‘believable’ meant. Computer games obviously aren’t realistic, they’re games. So instead of talking about ‘realism’, she talked about familiarity. The question she would ask of a virtual world is how familiar it is to the player, though of course every player comes with their own experiences, so believability isn’t a constant, it changes for each player, but obviously there are patterns. Games have a limited number of liberties they can take with reality before the world they create stops being believable.

            So, inspired by my new friend, I would say in the case of The Witcher, it’s a moot point if the game accurately represents medieval society. The question is where does the game dare to take liberties with expectations and previous experience in both the real world and in virtual worlds. What do those choices mean?

        • gunny1993 says:

          I’d actually be quite interested to see a dark fantasy book/game/movie series that isn’t “sexist”, seems to me that patriarchy is kind of logically intrinsic to the genre.

          @elderman: Can you recommend any? You seem to care about this stuff.

          • elderman says:

            I don’t spend a lot of my time thinking about this stuff, but I like fantasy literature sometimes. Maybe The Steel Remains and sequels from Richard Morgan?

            It has self-aware sexual politics, anyway. But his cyberpunk novels are far from progressive [Edit: in their sexual politics], so maybe not.

          • Deadly Habit says:

            Gonna be a tough find since most are based off Medieval Europe at the core. It’s not to say you don’t find strong female characters in these worlds though.
            Hell in the Witcher, you have Ciri who was pretty much trained as a witcher, but didn’t undergo the mutation.
            Triss is also a very strong character, same with Shani, and Yennefer (hopefully she makes an appearance in this iteration of the games).
            I’d say try giving one of The Witcher books a shot.
            The Blood of Elves is a good read, plus it would give you some insight into why people enjoy the games and how it’s been faithful to the source material while creating a new non canon story.

          • gunny1993 says:

            elderman: I’ll give it a shot regardless.

            Deadly Habit: Been meaning to read them for a while now anyway, but I know why I like the games XD

          • MobileAssaultDuck says:

            If my pen and paper world ever gets published, you will have your wish.

            It is a world where the idea of gender roles never popped up. Many of the races are asexual or breed via non-sexual means, those that do have sexes have no sexual size dimorphism (males and females are the same height and similar weight, with body shape differences taken into account).

            It is a world where love and breeding became separated very early. You can love anyone, deeply, man, woman, hermaphroditic race. People didn’t even need to invent words like gay, or homosexual, or bisexual, because it is actually the uncommon position to be entirely heterosexual.

            I came to the realization that one day I may have a gender queer son or daughter, and I want my stories and work to empower them, not make them feel even more awkward than our society already makes them feel.

          • gunny1993 says:

            That sounds like a pretty interesting campaign setting, sort of reminiscent of the culture in Ian M Banks’ work, but in a fantasy setting rather than sci fi.

          • Dave Tosser says:

            Ursula K LeGuin would be my recommendation above all others. If you’ve never read The Left Hand of Darkness, you’re at a huge loss.

      • GameCat says:

        This x100000. Witcher’s world is a bad place (just like real world), deal with it.

        • Deadly Habit says:

          Yea I think it’s why stories like The Witcher and Game of Thrones are successful, they have a grey setting when it comes to morals which I think is why they’re more accepted by the mainstream instead of a lot of the same old, same old fantasy stuff. It’s not just black and white like say Tolkien’s work say Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit.

          • The_Great_Skratsby says:

            Interestingly they both fall under Tokien’s idea of secondary belief in providing a consistent and logical world as part of the process of ‘subcreation’, more or less world building and building a greater sense of fiction.

            Stuff like The Witcher is heavily steeped in low fantasy and your usual grim medieval fantasy fiction, so it’s easier to suspend disbelief when it comes to sexism prevalent in the world; interestingly enough the developers acknowledge it and it serves a purpose in contextualising the world. Could it be explored better, sure, depending of the focus of the narrative itself.

            Which is why people screaming bloody murder at whatever sexist tropes on display are missing the point; yes everyone is aware of it, it’s on the nose here and context is everything.

    • wodin says:

      The Witcher books are very dark, kind of a Polish folk story. I’d say the games aren’t dark enough compared to the books, but I expect many will be outraged if it did follow the book world, first they’d moan it was depressing, then they’d moan about the sex and exploitation of female mythical creatures or what ever…I never thought Mary Whitehouse like views and opinions would become so popular. Crazy. I don’t like the way young girls are sexualized in what they wear or what you can buy..but grown women can do what they like. If they want to be a glamour model..so be it.

      Anyway went of track then. So yes the books are even darker, fine reads, though suffer from the usual translation issues.

      • Niko says:

        Especially the parts of the story that take place during the war. I’d say it’s quite good at depicting the “casual” horrors of war for a fantasy book.

      • MobileAssaultDuck says:

        I grew up with a lot of Polish friends. Polish to English translations are particularly messy.

        • Deadly Habit says:

          Here’s hoping the new Witcher book coming out this month in English isn’t as badly translated as the last 2. They’re still readable, but you can tell they’re messy with the translation and it suffers a bit from it.

  20. Didden says:

    I was just surprised at the end a card didn’t flash up.

  21. DompR says:

    Nice trailer, as usual for Witcher games.

    The last few seconds got me thinking: has there been an RPG that randomised the outcome of leaving a choice in an NPC’s hand? Like, after leaving the bad guy at the mercy of the woman there’s a 50/50 chance of her executing him or letting him live? Because that would fit a game so focused on replayability and worldbuilding as this series.

  22. lupusamicus says:

    All Witcher intros were done by a polish animation studio “Platige”. More awesome animations at their site

    • Deadly Habit says:

      Some really cool stuff on their site. Cheers for the heads up.

  23. Kinch says:

    CGI trailers and intros for The Witcher 2 and 3 are not your ‘ordinary CGI trailers’. They’re works of art that set the tone for the actual games, done by the best animation artists in the world (just google Tomasz Bagiński and Platige Image).

  24. Tei says:

    Twist: She is the “patient zero” of a zombie infestation. The witcher just caused a zombie apocalypse.

    • Kodaemon says:

      Well, in TW2EE game you *could* end up providing the Nilfgaardians with a viral superweapon… :P

  25. Danny says:

    I love CGI trailers, when they’re skillfully created that is.

    Blur Studio – one of the oldest and most respected companies when it comes to CGI movies for the gaming industry (and others as well) has made numerous great ones, with Dawn of War’s intro being the most memorable one for me.

    A large part of their portfolio can be found here: http://vz3.blur.com/work?sort=fresh

    • Kodaemon says:

      That reads like a bot post. No real relation to the topic, instead advertising an unrelated company.

      • gulag says:

        I disagree. Blur Studios have re-written the book on game CGI trailers, and any discussion of the form merits mentioning them.

      • Danny says:

        After re-reading my post I agree that it sounds at bit dodgy, but I just wanted to state my love for CGI trailers with regards to John’s question about their legitimacy in the gaming world.

    • Harlander says:

      This kind of thing seems like a poor fit for spambots, though. I mean, you might impulse buy some dodgy boner pills or send money to a Nigerian prince, but commisioning a high-quality CG film is probably a bit much to do on a whim

    • kickme22 says:

      Oh! They did that amazing Prey 2 opening cinematic from a couple years ago!

  26. Agamemnok says:

    Lag no more!! High Performance Computer Systems focused on Gaming:

    http://www.gaminggurupc.com/product-p/moxypremade.htm

  27. Furius says:

    **Witcher 2 Spoilers**
    In my W2 playthrough I rescued a young female elf from persecution from Guards. To thank me she offered to meet me in the woods and “repay” me. I stuck autorun and got there as soon as I could only to be ambushed by a gang of elves. the cheek! My Geralt wont make that mistake again. String her up lads.

  28. gulag says:

    That was cool

  29. wodin says:

    In game, games look like CGI from a few years ago..so in a few years time this is what in game will look like….getting pretty lifelike..

  30. Gwilym says:

    I love bleak, but this is just shock value, which is boring.

    And “women being executed” is a weird recurring theme. But it’s been the core of the advertising for both of CDP’s current games in development, so I’ll have to assume it’s an important one.

  31. engion3 says:

    I disagree. I still love cgi. Resident Evil cgi blew my mind as a kid (and scared the shit out of me) It still gets me excited and enables developers to paint the exact picture they have in their head.

  32. His Divine Shadow says:

    Am I the only one who’s fed up with the ‘save-a-witch-from-a-mob’ trope? Is it absolutely necessary to shoehorn it into every fantasy/medieval game or movie? Moreover, while in a non-fantasy setting it’s just annoyingly cliched, in the witcher universe there’s a pretty good chance that the girl was in fact a witch, who did kill wounded soldiers and drank their blood to stay young / trapped their souls / etc. And yet Geralt still decides to play a hero after giving a soliloquy about moral grayness. Well, unless he did it solely for xp/loot/sex card.

    • cpmartins says:

      She wasn’t being accused of witchcraft. And even if she was, as Geralt knows well, that does not mean evil by itself.

      • His Divine Shadow says:

        true, but I felt that witchcraft accusations were kind of implied. The trailer doesn’t make it explicit since it would have looked silly, considering the guards are dealing with a witcher at the same time. And the main point is that the girl might very well have been guilty in a crime, reasonably punishable by death (well, considering the setting)

        • Deadly Habit says:

          The Witcher has had occasions like this before where his decisions to rescue “the poor woman” has bitten him on the ass, so who’s to say this one doesn’t.
          It’s one of his recurring character flaws, that even thought he’s a witcher who should just do his job and follow his training, ignoring these things, even after all the horrors he’s seen in his travels and war, that he still gets involved with things like this, trying to do what he thinks may be right and maintaining a bit of humanity.
          For example just from the games SPOILERS:
          The first quest in The Witcher 1, If you choose to save Abigail you find out that she is the witch who was unleashing the Hellhound on the village amongst other things.
          Witcher 2, when you rescue Malena, a seemingly trapped elf girl and she then asks you to come with her, only for it to be an ambush.

          There’s more like that in the games and books, but it’s not just a mere trope.

          • His Divine Shadow says:

            ok, good point about this being Geralt’s recurring theme. I just wish they’d added at least a hint of ambiguity instead of making it so facepalmingly cliched.

          • Deadly Habit says:

            Well it does seem to hint that he’s giving the power/choice to hang the guy to the woman he rescued.
            Tell me how you’d make it “less cliched” with how short a CGI trailer like this generally has to be.
            I think it showed off the world, setting, tone, and character pretty damn well in that short time constraint, for both fans and newcomers alike.

          • His Divine Shadow says:

            suggest that the girl might be an actual witch/demon?

          • Deadly Habit says:

            Didn’t the whole cannibalism angle kind of suggest that already? Personally I prefer some ambiguity when it comes to stuff like this rather than a blatant in your face statement of fact.

          • His Divine Shadow says:

            it seemed to me that the charges were supposed to be ‘obviously wrong’. but ok, maybe it’s just a knee-jerk reaction. if the girl was innocent though, making her decide whether to hang that dude was rather cruel. if Geralt killed the other ones, he might as well have finished it instead of tempting an innocent person to become a murderer.
            in any case, I’m certainly not going to judge the game based on that trailer, as w3 is still my most anticipated game.

          • Deadly Habit says:

            Wouldn’t him putting the choice in her hands be female empowerment, thus taking her out of the typical trope and developing even a background character a bit.

          • His Divine Shadow says:

            it does change the trope a bit, but
            a) it’s not really an empowerment, since it’s little different from just asking her “would you like me to kill him for you?” – in other words, it doesn’t make her exercise her own skills and talents,
            b) female empowerment is not an unconditionally good thing, and
            c) like I said, it’s quite cruel, since she might kill him now and then regret it for the rest of her life (otoh, if she doesn’t kill him, he’ll very likely hunt her down and finish what he had started)

  33. Xigageshi says:

    I for one have definitely grown exceedingly tired of CG trailers, and I’m a CG artist. The Witcher stuff is undoubtedly very good, but I can’t help but wonder what game companies could do if they stopped wasting creativity and time on CG trailers, and instead put that effort into gameplay mechanics, animation systems, effects, etc.

    since this trailer is so much more low key, I assume you can indeed stab people in slow motion in Witcher 3, but speaking of the games we can play now; was there anything in the Witcher 2 trailer that you could actually do in the game? destroy geometry with a spell? conjure a big shield of fire to counter a frost magic effect? can spells blow people up? can you dodge an arro with a sideways roll while moving?

    When you play a game, there are multiple narratives. One narrative is the one they wrote into the game, another is the narrative of the mechanics and there is also a narrative that is a kind of fusing of both that takes place in your head. Games that create really strong narratives in your head during play are the ones people really enjoy. I understand that cg trailers are normally an attempt to share with a potential player what that internal, imagined narrative might ‘feel’ like but what if games today if companies spent more money on asking those above questions than merely making trailers? could we have better, more mechanically deep and diverse and satisfying games?

    • Ringwraith says:

      Well, they don’t do these things themselves, they hire people for that. There’s a reason entire studios exist for making excellent CG stuff.

  34. Saarlaender39 says:

    Hm,…I don’t know if you are late to the party or if my mind is playing tricks on me.
    But I could swear, I saw that same trailer some weeks (if not months) ago.

    Cannot remember where, but im effing sure about that.

    • Thoric says:

      There was bits of it thrown into the gameplay trailer CDPR showed at E3.

  35. JFS says:

    How come everybody is so positive about this trailer? In my opinion, while it is close to being technically well done, it feels super-duper uncanney. The faces are off, the animations are off, everything is just wrong.

    On the content side, it’s basically an uninspired, very cheesy power fantasy. I didn’t think that was what The Witcher was about. What I just saw was basically more-than-manly space marine against the rest of the world. The voice-over didn’t help either, it tried way too hard.

    All in all, this was the definition of how NOT to do “gritty”. I can’t see how this appeals to people (and my judgement has nothing to do with perceived sexism or that jazz).

    • cpmartins says:

      To me it was the opposite. Now he gives a damn, whereas before he was all about neutrality and avoiding human matters. He is sick and tired of leaving certain kinds of monsters alone.

    • JonathanStrange says:

      In regard to the voice over, unless you meant the voice acting itself it’s actually taken almost word for word from one of the Witcher books. Here’s the full quote from ‘The Last Wish’:

      “Lesser, greater, middling, it’s all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I’m not a pious hermit, I haven’t done only good in my life. But if I’m to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

  36. Tasloi says:

    I very much like CGI trailers. They’re alot more enjoyable than the actual games in some cases (looking at you SWTOR). This one certainly doesn’t disappoint either. Love it.

  37. Zekiel says:

    Wait, so humans are the monsters? Wow CDP why did you never make that analogy before?

    /joking
    Love 2 Witcher 2 and CDP

  38. Kodaemon says:

    Plough the trailer, Charles Dance has just been confirmed as the voice of the Emperor of Nilfgaard @_@

  39. bongosabbath says:

    I didn’t know Big Boss was in this game! I am now excited.

  40. iEatWoofers says:

    I’ve always liked CGI trailers and CGI cutscenes. They don’t make me buy the game, but are much better for hype than some cut together “gameplay”. I’d rather have CGI trailers than fake gameplay and then watch some actual gameplay on youtube or something.

    (And as for CGI cutscenes, they don’t pull me out of the game like a lot of other people… what really pulls me out of a game is a cutscene with all the stiff animations and vacant stares of the in-game-engine. Looking at you Mass Effect!)