Presenting Exhibit A In The Witcher 3 Trial

There were so many great games in Cologne this year and yet I decided that the first thing I’d write about from the show would be the one disappointment. Maybe disappointment comes more naturally to me or maybe I just wanted to get it out of the way – whatever the case, later that evening, I was slightly annoyed with myself for sending a grumpy dispatch rather than a chronicle of the good times. The Witcher 3 presentation that I watched is now online, so you can watch it for yourself below, and then use the comments section to solemnly agree with my judgement, or to thank me. Because if you do enjoy the video, it’s thanks to the expectations that I so graciously lowered.

There’s an interesting contrast with the more intimate Pillars of Eternity presentation I attended (Witcher, like a small cinema full of journos – Pillars, two devs, two spectators). Obsidian’s game doesn’t have enormous vistas or anything near the scale of The Witcher, in visual terms at least. It won’t have a city as convincingly populated and staying from the beaten path in wilderness areas probably won’t carry the same immediate sense of mystery.

But for all its tighter focus, in design and visual perspective, Pillars is built on spaces where the unexpected can happen. Spaces in which designers can be unexpectedly undone by their own creations during a thirty minute demo. What a wonderful feeling that is. More on Pillars later today.

For now, leave your thanks, agreement and fistbumps below. Naturally, you’re actively encouraged to enjoy the ludicrously attractive skyboxes.


  1. golem09 says:

    I’m not having any problems with nothing unexpected going on during any of the Witcher presentations. I fully expected there to be nothing, because at this budget, they are probably planned completely through and through. And this isn’t even a presentation, but a prerecorded and edited video.

    That aside though, I skipped most of what I already knew from other demos, but that little new cutscene in the middle with the ladies was simply great. Music, camerawork, details, wow.

    • staberas says:

      What was the problem with the gameplay video again? Cause its seems fine to me. D:

      edit: oups replied on the wrong place anyways

      • karthink says:

        If I remember correctly, it’s that The Witcher 3’s open world feels like a pretty venue for the usual Witcher 2 style quests, and doesn’t do anything interesting or emergent. It’s just padding out space.

        Wait–I’m paraphrasing, and my reading comprehension and memory are untrustworthy at the best of times. Best reread Adam’s post before dissecting mine.

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      Adam Smith says:

      It’s a prerecorded and edited video that is exactly the same as the live demonstration shown at Gamescom.

      I think your second paragraph is what made me grumpy – I didn’t feel like I’d seen anything new except cutscenes.

      edit: I should say, ‘the things you mention in your second paragraph’. Your paragraph was lovely and didn’t make me grumpy at all!

      • golem09 says:

        Maybe I should have left that sentence about the prerecorded video out. I didn’t expect the live demos to have anything unexpected either, not for such a high profile game. The demos were made for everybody from the console player that will finish the game in 30 hours to the pc player that will spend 30 hours with fiddling and modding.
        Pillars is “indie stuff”, they can be hip and do whatever, the game is paid for, the fans don’t expect to be dazzled by meticulous planned shiny demos.
        I’m not judging any of the games, one is backed, the other preordered, and they are my two most wanted games of next year (#3 goes to the wildcard Sui Generis), but I don’t know why we even need to discuss their neccessarily different PR politics.

        Back to that cutscene though, at least to me it felt like a whole other level compared to anything else I’ve seen in RPGs. I hope there is much more of this in the game, it could give a huge atmosphere boost, and that’s what I’m looking for in an RPG.

      • ohminus says:

        Well, given that the cutscenes are what tells the story of the quest, it’s understandable that they held them back so far. I also can’t really understand your criticism in the other article. What did you expect? That you can yell to them “Turn around, I want to see what’s making that noise?” You can do that when you play the game. As it stands, they showed a nice bit of what is likely the main (or a main) quest, which is already quite something. Given that it’s half an hour and obviously just a small piece, it also indicates just how big the whole thing will be.
        They picked a 30 min part of the quest and showed that to the audience. Diverting from the plan would have meant losing the timeframe and possibly spoiling surprises for the actual game. They wanted specific info out in the public and they made that information, and only that information, public.

        They also come from a totally different background than Pillars – they are letting you in on their game. Pillars, with its kickstarter backers, has people out there who invested into this game and thus have a totally different relationship to the process.

  2. Cinek says:

    What exactly does the PoE have to deal with Witcher 3 again? Two completely different games.

    Equally well you could compare W3 to Battlefield 4 and say how humble and intimate Witcher 3 is in comparison to the new instalment of EA franchise.

    • MaXimillion says:

      I’ve been reading so much about the next PoE expansion these last few days that it took me a long time looking at that comment before I realised you were talking about Pillars of Eternity, not Path of Exile.

      They really should have thought more about the abbreviation before naming that game.

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      Adam Smith says:

      The Witcher 3 was a demonstration that had lots of ‘open world’ talk beforehand, while Pillars was described as a quest walkthrough. One went off script and had devs skipping dialogue to show how the game worked underneath the hood, the other was on rails and packed with cutscenes. The difference caught my attention.

      I said in my Gamescom article that I was writing about the presentation rather than the game – it might well be absolutely brilliant – because that’s all I’ve seen.

      • Cinek says:

        Well, one guys came prepared to the presentation, others didn’t. I don’t get why you seem to make an accusation out of that against the W3.

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          Adam Smith says:

          Observation not accusation. I like presentations that show interaction with the game rather than big ol’ trailers.

        • tigerfort says:

          Both devs came prepared to make a presentation. But they were two very different presentations – Obsidian presented a game, whereas CD Projekt presented a video of a game. You also make it sound as though devs being surprised by their own game is a bad thing, but if you’re boasting about the open world and emergent behaviour of your NPC systems, and the game doesn’t surprise you occasionally, you’re boasting about stuff that isn’t really there.

          • REDDQ says:

            How the devs can be surprised by their game anyway? Is builder surprised by secret room in home he constructed? Probably not.

            And they weren’t surprised but only bested by AI. Whether the did it on purpose or not is another matter but it is interesting thing to see that can give you some recognition. Strange thing though is to point at presentation of Witcher 3 while majority of AAA games do exactly the same thing. Whether things they boast about are actually in game or not yet remain to be seen. Video present game quite nicely (although some clunky mechanics can be seen) and let’s be grateful it is actual not cut gameplay instead of some rendered work like previous ones.

      • Joe3 says:

        This is the thing i am worried the most when it comes to W3, no random, unexpected stuff happening, like monsters attacking the city, especially at night, or thie’fs robbing someone, simply something that caught you offguard during your adventuring.
        I’m pretty sure the game is going to be awesome without a doubt, but if after each re-play the same stuff is going to happen just with different outcomes it might be a bit of a downer for me, unexpected stuff is what makes a world alive and interesting.

        • baozi says:

          What games are there were monsters randomly attack a city? Not that I wouldn’t welcome this kind of thing. Just curious.

          • Wulfram says:

            Well occasionally Dragons attack in Skyrim. And then everyone mobs charges at it with their knives. And 5 minutes later everyone is back to normal, aside from a few dead bodies.

          • Joe3 says:

            Skyrim, although it was just the annoying dragons, but some mods pushed that further by adding bandit patrols and stuff.
            That being said, i did not like Skyrim, because how shallow and generic it was, but you could, to a certain extent, experiment with the randomess.

            And it doesnt necessarily have to be monsters attacking city, it was just an example, i mean like in the case of W2, you had set quests that branched from your decisions and while i loved it, simply having some random stuff happening makes the world feel more alive, but W2 wasnt an open world game so it was fine.

            I’m going to love W3 im pretty sure and having your decisions making an impact on the world sounds great but it feels like the same set up from W2, if you know what i mean.

          • Zanchito says:

            Din’s Curse, and the attacks rock, they really make you prioritize and make important decisions with hastiness. Do you save the blacksmith or try saving more NPCs at the risk of losing an important one?

          • Cinek says:

            Ok, so, to put it into a perspective: Joe3 wants to have a feature that he had seen on one specific mod to one specific game, and says lack of it would be a real downer.

            Seriously? I mean: SERIOUSLY?! You’ve got to be kidding me.

          • Joe3 says:

            No Joe3 says he just a bit worried about stuff being too much scripted, set up on some path.

            Stop using google translate and read what i wrote, seriously? SERIOUSLY!

        • Zenicetus says:

          Have you played the first two Witcher games? It’s not exactly a series known for emergent, randomized gameplay.

          W3 is supposed to offer more of an open-world experience, but I’m not expecting anything more than nicely scripted events in each area the player visits. That’s what this studio does best.

          • Joe3 says:

            Yep played them several times and loved it, that’s why i also said im going to love W3, but im just a bit worried how this is going to work out with the open world.
            Apparently ” MIGHT BE a BIT of a downer” translates to some people as “real downer”, duh.

          • bill says:

            @joe3: On the internet “might be a little bit of a disappointment” translates as “it’s the worst (game) ever made and I damn it to the fires of hell for all eternity and anyone who disagrees with me deserves to be hung drawn and quartered. I challenge you to dare disagree!!”. *

            That’s why internet discussion is so friendly and worthwhile. **

            *or it translates to sarcasm.
            **exhibit A

  3. The Dark One says:

    The Witcher is pushing hard for that succulent AAA mass-market look. Pillars doesn’t have to appeal to every console gamer, and so gets to be a bit looser, even as it tries to stay close to that BG/IWD vibe. And also it has ropekid.

    link to

    • Cinek says:

      That BG/IWD vibe is precisely why it doesn’t appeal to AAA market. BG vibe used to be AAA market years ago, but we’ve came very far away from that now.
      But I don’t have a problem with that. I backed PoE and I’m glad to see that the games with `old vibe` come back. Few months ago I made another run into the Planescape: Torment and I can’t wait to start a new adventure in a similar `climate`.
      There’s obviously enough people like me to make PoE worthwhile, which is great.

  4. asadlittlepotato says:

    I might even look forward to this game if Geralt’s voice and general existence doesn’t make my skin crawl.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      That is a really strange objection to have, given that the whole series is specifically about that character. It’s like saying “I would really love James Bond films if they didn’t have that annoying James Bond character”.

      • aleander says:

        But it’s actually true! If spy action movies and RPGs didn’t have a single grumpy old (sometimes already at age 20) alcoholic guy in them anymore, ever, I wouldn’t even shed a tear. I find Geralt profoundly annoying, and I’m mystified why so many geeks love the Bond character, as for me he seems like the archetypical high-school bully. Plots may be fun and all, mad science, investigation and dragons are all cool, but the main characters are huge weaknesses in both to me.

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          Ninja Dodo says:

          Which is totally fair! But what you’re actually saying at that point is you would like a totally different series with the same theme and maybe tone and some of the same features… I would also be very interested in some good alternative spy fiction (especially in games actually) or some other more grounded RPGs sans Geralt, but it seems to me if you don’t like the character, you don’t like the series. Like it or not, the character IS the series.

          • aleander says:

            Actually, I think that the character isn’t the series, because it’s the most generic main character possible – I mean, seriously, even the main dude in the bible is an old, bearded dude with a grumpy attitude who is surprisingly hard to kill. At least the sequel had a bearded radical socialist hipster dude with some proper emotions. But I digress. I just really doubt the stories couldn’t be told with significantly more interesting main characters.

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            You could have The Witcher without a Witcher but it would be a different story. Many of the qualities, positive or negative, of Geralt’s character define how he interacts with the world and his relationships with the characters in it are specific to him. Characters are not interchangeable.

          • bill says:

            James bond definitely IS the series.

            Geralt *probably* is the series. I haven’t played them, only read the first book, but his character and outlook on life and profession are basically the core of that book. I can’t say how well the games have captured him or whether his character is central to them.
            The books do have a few interesting other things going on, such as subverting of fairytales, but basically the world is relatively generic fantasy, and it’s the characters that make it stand out.

            PS/ The very first page of the first book actually describes Geralt’s voice as unpleasant to listen to… so maybe the games have gotten that right.
            PPS/ While he starts off as a very generic grizzled tough guy (basically, clint eastwood) he turns out to have more depth and humour than you might think, and his main weapon seems to be his wits. *

            *again, in the book. In most RPGs the character is interchangeable and just hits people.

        • golem09 says:

          And to me Geralt is a great protagonist. But you need a lot of backstory for that, and the games don’t exactly shove it into your face.
          As much as they try to market the games for everyone, they are really made for the people that have read the books.

          • Slazer says:

            Yes, the books actually give you a the whole background on why he is grumpy, except when he is getting drunk with mainly non-human friends like Yarpen and Zoltan.

            Starts with Geralt moving out of Caer Morhen for the first time, where he kills some bandits who try to rape a merchant’s daughter. He expects thanks and glorification, but fter they saw what unnatural stuff he is capable of (think_ Killing Monsters trailer) the girl just screams in terror when he tries to talk to her and the merchant ran away together with the bandits.

            As a reader it feels natural (and I am grumpy myself), but I can see how it feels different without the background knowledge, especially as the game doesn’t give you inner monologue outside of some cutscenes

          • aleander says:

            Actually, I’ve read all the books (though predictably I’m not a fan, but back when I was in high school these were kinda a thing in Poland, and everyone I know read them), and the old grumpy man always has some “reason”. It’s a part of the tired trope, the loss of privilege. But it’s not very believable — first, he’s a super-powered disease-resistant guy who doesn’t need birth control, second, he doesn’t behave like a survivor, he behaves like a polish alcoholic fantasy writer, with the minor difference that the writer isn’t all that good with a sword. My general dislike of the character is way older than the games :-)

          • asadlittlepotato says:

            I’ve never read the books, but it’s unlikely a better understanding of Geralt’s backstory will make him (or the general tone of the story) less cringe-inducing, or change the fact that the character is mostly constructed to be a very specific type of power fantasy. I have to agree with aleander here that he doesn’t make a convincing survivor. He comes across more as an uncomfortable mixture of his creator’s alter ego and an amature actor’s disastrorous attempt to portray said alter ego. Perhaps in another game this can be overlooked, but here you are literally forced to step into his grimy boots and see the world (which looks rather amazing, I must say) through his oh so mature but tortured eyes… :[

    • Blackcompany says:

      The voice does not bother me. As for Geralt…he sometimes makes me a little uncomfortable. But I would rather play as a character who lives in a morally gray world and has to make interesting choices than as Shooterdude McBroguy any day. Rather a protagonist who makes me a little uncomfortable with his words and actions than one who tries so hard to offend or upset no one, ever.

      • Niko says:

        Well, he isn’t the most nice pleasant character indeed. He is considered a mutant and shunned by a lot of general population, spends a lot of the time in wilderness dealing with weird creatures, and is often forced to choose between two evils in a not very pretty medieval world.

        • Geebs says:

          Geralt comes across as less creepy when you consider that he behaves the way he does for two main reasons – firstly he does have strong moral code, but he’s strongly neutral; secondly he goes to such great lengths to protest that he doesn’t care, precisely because he cares a lot and that conflicts with his neutrality. To be fair to the books, his friends spend a lot of time alternating between being annoyed at him and taking the piss out of him for precisely those reasons.

          I think the games do a reasonable job on this, but people get turned off because it can be harder to spot. I think that some of the dislike for Geralt’s voice actor (who I actually think is better then he is given credit for) being ‘off’ comes from the fact that he’s trying to convey that the character doesn’t really believe what he’s saying.

    • Oozo says:

      I played the previous games with Polish voices and English subtitles. Added to the atmosphere in spates, I think, and the voice actor is better. (Also, I’m more forgiving of lapses in writing quality when it’s not a language I know fairly well.) Maybe that could be an option for you?

      Plus, I could say “dwarf” and “dragon” in Polish at a Polish marriage, which… well, it didn’t really make me cool or better liked or anything. Still, I knew how to say it.

      • Henson says:

        This was my approach, too. For Witcher 1, it really is the only way to go. I think their English voice cast has improved since then, but English Geralt still bites in comparison with Polish Geralt. The same goes for Dandelion.

      • asadlittlepotato says:

        I will definitely give it a try. Visually the game looks very attractive (with the exception of Geralt’s character model), and I’d love to see it without its cast of characters. How I’m going to do that in a plot-driven RPG, I don’t know, but it may be worth a try.

  5. JustAPigeon says:

    There’s an uncompressed version available to download here: link to

    I really want to look forward to this game, it looks amazing, but I completely bounced off the first two games. I know some people say just go straight to The Witcher 2 if you can’t get in to the first one. Well I tried but I still fucking hated the combat.

    • Cinek says:

      If you’re talking about W1 combat then well… nothing can be done about that shit.
      If you’re talking about W2 combat then look up for the combat rebalance mod – it’s made by one of devs (if I remember well) and many people really like it by far more than the standard combat model.

      • karthink says:

        It’s about the same, combat rebalance or no. It’s still janky, with inconsistent invincibility frames and delayed hit reactions. Considering it’s a 5 GB download, I wouldn’t bother.

        The one thing the mod does that is a noticeable improvement is a reworked skill tree. The new skills seem more useful and better thought out, and you don’t have to get to level 6 to open up the Witcher trees, and you start with all the training tree talents. Makes the opening battles a little less insufferable.

        • JustAPigeon says:

          Huh, thanks, I’ll do some research anyway. Maybe these games are just not for me, it wasn’t just the combat but I couldn’t bear the UI either. I was very interested in exploring the world but wasn’t having any fun doing so.

  6. Walkerz says:

    I have always wondered, how good it is to be a hipster?

    Joke aside, it’s been long since I watched/read anything related to The Witcher 3 and I think it’s kind of the issue here. With all the promises, the expectations and so on, it’s hard to keep excited.

    Nowadays, it’s the only way to keep the excitement and the simple joy to discover something by oneself. And I’m pretty sure I’ll be both excited and pleased to get my hands on this game.

  7. serioussgtstu says:

    I’ve decided to stop watching Witcher trailers, having read the books and played the games, it’s fair to say I’m well into the series, but I just want to see it all for myself. I don’t have unbelievably high expectations for this game, I’d be more than happy if it was a good as the original, just with Red Engine prettiness and less loading screens.

    Honestly my main concern is that they’ll muck up some of the characters from the books, like Yennefer and Ciri. Yennefer is a brilliant character, and her pathological relationship with Geralt is what made those early stories most memorable. But based on the previous games, I’d say CD Projekt have done a fairly bang up job recreating Sapkowski’s characters; like Zoltan, he’s been as endearing as ever.

    I just fear that CPR might be trying to pander to console crowd with this game, and that worries me, I mean look at what Geralt’s wearing in all of the preview material, he’s covered in chainmail, which in my opinion is a bit too action hero-ey for my liking. He never wears chainmail, it’s only ever been leather up until now, so what’s changed?

  8. Geebs says:

    Jeez, the bar for hating success is set pretty low these days if CDPR are now on the receiving end.

    Also: obsidian presentation buggy and had too much dialogue, requiring it to be skipped? Colour me surprised.

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      Adam Smith says:

      Where is the hate? In what way is it directed toward success? Judging by the people I spoke to after the presentation, the game is making lots of people very excited. I wish I was one of them because I like being excited but I haven’t seen anything that convinces me yet.

      As for Pillars, if playing an RPG and having things work out different each time is a sign of bugginess, that is a sad state of affairs. And it’s perfectly legitimate to show off writing during a presentation but when there’s a lot of ground to cover, I tend to nudge devs toward playing with their own systems (ahem) – teaches me far more and isn’t something I can easily replicate when they’re not around.

      But in short, doubt is not hate and I would like nothing more than to play the final game with a big smile on my face and a slice of humble pie in front of me!

      • jerf says:

        Adam, if you claim that it’s not prejudice on your side, then could you explain once again more specifically what is it that disappointed you so much in this video?

        In your article you were talking about the lack of “dynamic world”. Actually, in the video you can see a lot of elements of this “dynamic world”: a pack of wolves tearing a drowner in the distance, people in the city doing lots of stuff actual people tend to do, and so on. What is your exact problem? That the video wasn’t focused on these aspects? The Witcher series is renowned for the awesome story and characters. Of course, the devs wanted to show off some story and some of the interesting characters. Otherwise people would be shouting: “You went open world and lost all your core values! It’s not what you promised!”. Also they wanted to show a substantial amount of combat, to show that it was improved, since many people believed that the combat was not that good in the previous installments of the series. Do you think that these aspects they actually focused on in this video are bad?

        I honestly don’t understand your opinion.

        • derbefrier says:

          Its not that difficult to understand. They are billing it as an open world game and hes concerned the open world will be fairly static. Every thing i have seen or read doesn’t really go into detail about those things and instead focuses on story and things like that, which forces one to wonder how alive and dynamic the open world will actually be. You guys really need to accept not everyone thinks the Witcher series is the best thing since sliced bread. They are fairly average games gameplay wise but make up for it with character and story which simply isn’t enough for everyone as a lot of us don’t really find the characters or story that interesting or are not willing to put up with terrible combat just to see a story but if there’s a dynamic open world to explore that allows for some emergent game play that might be the hook we need to get excited about it.

          • Hmm-Hmm. says:

            Personally, I’d have preferred it if Adam had spent more time actually saying that rather than saying he disliked something about The Witcher 3’s trailer. Oh, I understand it’s supposed to be funny-grumpy but it’s only in the comments section that it really became clear to me what he was referring to.

            It’s all a bit vague, and it seems a relatively harmless difference to complain about. I mean, I like open worlds and in all likelihood I’ll enjoy Eternity more than The Witcher 3, but that’s not the end of the world. Maybe I’m being dense here, I don’t know.

      • Orija says:

        While I largely agree with the concerns you’ve raised about The WItcher 3 after watching the presentation, I’d like to hear about what you were referring to with Witcher 3 missing a dynamic world.

        • MichaelGC says:

          Have they claimed that it will have a dynamic open world? Maybe they did so during the presentation Adam attended, but I tried a “ dynamic” search and got one result – Google’s obviously seeing something I don’t, as I can’t find the word anywhere on that page. (A slightly wider search suggests ‘dynamic’ day/night cycles & weather, but I guess that’s not quite what we’re talking about.)

          I’ve been assuming the main difference, worldwise, from the two previous games would be that you could run around anywhere, should you wish, rather than having certain player-accessible ‘lanes’ (for want of a better word) surrounded by inaccessible if pretty scenery bits.

          That assumption is based on basically nothing at all, though, so I’m happy to be corrected!

          • basilisk says:

            Yeah, that’s pretty much exactly what I expect it to be. Just like the first two games, except that you don’t have to follow one of the many designated and invisibly-walled paths through the forest, but can take a shortcut right through the bushes. Which would definitely be an improvement, but not a particularly earth-shattering one.

            It seems to me that a lot of people heard “open world” and started extrapolating in a direction that’s frankly unrealistic. Even the second game is pretty clunky, there’s no way they can pull off anything as massive as all that without it all falling apart.

      • Geebs says:

        The whole business of complaining about their presentation being too slick comes across as being unnecessarily pissy; CDPR’s narrative seems to have gone from being a scrappy smaller company that punches above its weight and does cool stuff for its customers (Witcher 1 and 2) to being the soulless big guys. The reason for that shift appears to be that they have continued to be ambitious after being successful, which smacks more of accusing one’s favourite underground band of selling out as soon as more than three people turn up to their gigs than anything concrete.

        • Laurentius says:

          It’s rather down that CDPR in this presentation didn’t show anything novel or unusual, it’s like watching annual presentatioan for Battlefield game or Assassins Creed, people saw these things before. Quest structure is exectly like in millions games, fast travel there, talk to this guy, kill that monster, fast travel back, get your reward etc. You can climb mountain and see the world and I did that in Skyrim, just now graphical fiedelity will be better. You can ride a horse for 24 miles now, which accidently 63% more then in Skyrim. Even presnetation with boobs or sex scens of Witcher2 brought something in a sense novel.

      • blastaz says:

        The accusation of “hate” is because rather than saying “it was interesting to see the difference between these two demos; I much prefer debs to play with their systems than just try and play out a glorified trailer” you said “this game bores me fist bumps in the comments from all who agree”

        As a result you get witcher fan boys, and people who watched the vid and thought that it looked cool asking what it was exactly that you were smoking.

        I love RPS but after that video games are like music article it does seem that you guys are becoming that sort of Indy music fan who will only talk to people whose tastes are as alternative as theirs and will talk about nothing else…

        Cd are a studio who publish pc first, they optimise the game to look best on pc, they publish games that don’t really handhold (hello dragon in the tutorial). Maybe this time round they have started to consider the console audience but frankly I’ll allow them the cash. Devs like these you should be supporting not casting arch looks at because now the game is making “lots of other people excited”

        Oh no now other people have found out about this band! Time to move on kids!

        • basilisk says:

          Oh, come on, the dragon bit sucked. There was no skill to it, just running and hoping you make it this time.

          And I don’t see why “not handholding” should be considered a special quality of PC games when the least handholdy PC game in recent memory was made by a studio with a very long history of developing console exclusives, and ported to PC only a year after its console release. (Yes, I’m talking about Dark Souls.)

          If you ask me, I think part of the problem is that CDP Red seems to have a very dedicated fanbase, which tends to make every discussion highly polarised very quickly.

  9. Laurentius says:

    Left me absolutly cold. Sure, looks splendid but apart from that all in all rather vapid, fast travels, exclamation mark quests etc. Like a mix between Witcher 2, Skyrim and AC:Black Flag. What i would like to see in open world games is something like Dwarf Fortess, a living world that still operates without my interference but i can meaningfully interact with. i.e you can find a camp full of robbers, or camp empty and deserted beacue army dispatched them, or maybe this robbers took over two neighbouring towns and now their chief is important political figure, or maybe a dragon landed and took robbers as subordinates and they are collecting gold for him or all that while i was busy elsewhere.

    • golem09 says:

      Witcher 3 at least goes half the way, by letting the main story advance on it’s own if you don’t do something about it.

    • Niko says:

      I would also like to see such a game (although that would be a really ambitious project. There are reasons why Dwarf Fortress is 2D and looks like, well, Dwarf Fortress), but that doesn’t mean that existing games built around slightly different concepts are bad for not meeting my expectations.

      • Laurentius says:

        Well, but last time I checked you are not me, so this presentation left ME cold as I really have no love now for open world as shown in this video and I say this as someone who think that Witcher was an excellent cRPG bar horrible prologue and so-so first act but onwards it was excellent: I even liked swamps and combat. Witcher 2 was very good too, but flawed but Witcher3 is shaping as tottally not to my liking at the moment.

  10. Gog Magog says:

    “Emergent gameplay” is not something big names ever do for any purpose other than to tick off a small item on a big list. Actually, indies do it for much the same reason but it’s a bigger item on a smaller list. It’s marketing in both cases just with slightly different attitudes.

    Example A:
    Far Cry 3 I heard lauded for having it. Islanders and Pirates were set as enemies and if they met they fought. Predators were set as enemies to humans so if they met they fought. “Met” being “script fires to spawn them next to each other”. There were scripted events set up for crocodiles to catch animals and people. Not nibble on them, just kill them and sit there of course.
    You would occasionally get to see these little things where world was happening and not by your dispensation and that is meant to appease your ever-so-spectaclethirsty little hearts. And once these events were done the AI involved is done for good basically. Sit around or walk in a random direction.

    This is the fucking Soggy Shitty Fries You Wish You Didn’t Actually Buy But You Were Quite Drunk of emergent gameplay. Systems interacting in the most minimal way possible, for the sake of showing off that the game engine does that and how cool and indie we are.

    Example B:
    STALKER’s system, the “A-Life” (standing for “Park Life”) was shitty too.
    But it was bloody well unscripted. It didn’t tell the systems involved to “okay, trigger this script and interact now with a more-or-less determined outcome”. They just existed and conflicted by accident, with the explicit understanding that nobody gave a fuck about them. Their existence and ability to interact were purposeful. Purpose being simple versimilitude. It’s there because the game world exists not to amuse you but to crush you.
    Naturally, this is still all just empty spectacle. Overcomplicated, yes, but no more meaningful or heartfelt or what the godfuck you want.

    As far as food metaphors go, it’s a fucking cheezeburger. No, not cheeseburger. Cheeze.
    Several steps above the mournful fries but still utter tosh.
    And y’know? It’s fine. It’s just there to hide the fact of the game and present you with the bloodlands of the world you ostensibly navigate for a few hours at a time.

    STALKER does that efficiently, if clumsily.
    Far Cry does not do it with any efficiency, instead reminding you that you paid for this ride and now you don’t even get to throw up on people.

    • LennyLeonardo says:


    • KenTWOu says:

      Far Cry 3 emergent gameplay is way bigger than just script fires to spawn them next to each other. The game was designed around emergent gameplay from basic game mechanics like an ability to place a bomb almost everywhere you want to level design forcing emergent situations. It’s not a small item on a big list. It’s the entire game.

  11. Lobotomist says:

    From very first game, this site has had very strong bias against Witcher series.

    • Premium User Badge

      Adam Smith says:

      “The Witcher 3 could be the most important mainstream game of 2014” “the third game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, threatens to outshine an entire industry with its technical and artistic prowess”

      link to

      “Well done, CD Projekt, you’ve just brought the fantasy RPG back to life. It’s still twitching from the electricity, but it’s a beautiful thing.”

      link to

      It’s true!

      • Nordom says:

        But also:

        “It’s tough to recommend The Witcher right now because there’s just so much else out there” Rossignol

        link to

        “Last year’s most divisive RPG” Meer

        link to

        • Cinek says:

          I find it hard to disagree with any of these comments. People who could look over all of the crap in W1 had a lot of fun and found it to be an outstanding game. For majority though it was a very poor game on almost all fronts. There’s definitely a lot of different, better games out there. Yes, that does include Witcher 2.

        • Oozo says:

          Can’t help finding it hard to see how those quotes prove Lobotomist’s point, too.

          The second one is not even an expression of personal opinion, merely a statement that the game’s reaction was overall very mixed. (Something that a look at Metacritic will confirm.)

          The first quote, though, is taken from a longer piece that expresses quite clearly why Jim thought the game to be spotty at best, something that even CD Project agreed with by releasing an “Enhanced Version” (the statement predates that release, if I’m not mistaken). And as Cinek says, even the first Witcher’s admirers (among whom I count myself — I thought that the first one was the more interesting game by far, if not necessearily the “better” one) readily admit that it was more of a diamond in the rough.

          (In fact, I hope that they do return to the weirder aspects of the first game with the third one — the bestiary, for example, was much more interesting.)

          • Laurentius says:

            Ha, I think the same about WItcher games, second was a “better” game but ultimately I liked it less then the first one, which was more interesting and I would say better a RPG.

          • green frog says:

            I think this “good” vs. “interesting” dynamic sums up how a lot of people feel about Piranha Bytes games – they’ve never been very “good” in the conventional sense, yet obviously they’re “interesting” enough that they’ve established a significant following anyway.

  12. clumsyandshy says:

    Why the need to compare The Witcher to PoE all of a sudden? Why not just let this news piece be about the game The Witcher 3?

  13. schlusenbach says:

    I’m impressed by the size of the city and the amount of NPCs, that looks absolutely great. Three years ago we had to make do with 10 houses and a fortress as a major city in the north.

    • Niko says:

      But way before that, in Daggerfall…

      • Quiffle says:

        Millions of houses, each one copied from one another and devoid of flavor. I mean, I really loved Daggerfall back in the day when it wasn’t crashing or bugging out, but let’s not put it on any pedestals here.

  14. noodlecake says:

    I never read the previous article but it makes me feel optimistic about the game. I never wanted The Witcher to give me freedom. Nothing is going to be able to beat GTA V for that, probably until a GTA V expansion comes out.

    The Witcher 2 delivered a fantastic, believable world with an engaging plot and beautiful environments to explore. It made me care about it’s characters and the world. |That is what I want from The Witcher 3. Not parkour or open world or dynamic missions. I want a believable world, engaging plot, beautiful environments, characters I care about and meaningful decisions that change the course of the game.

    My biggest worry is that open world will affect some of those things negatively and that they should have gone for much smaller but still fairly open environments that were in The Witcher 2.

    • Laurentius says:

      It has already lost something, and it can’t be helped, you add fast travel system to your open world game and that change how players interact with your game, for good or bad it will different experience then Witcher1 and Witcher 2

      • Slazer says:

        You realize there were different fast travel systems in Witcher 1?

  15. Auldman says:

    I really did not enjoy Witcher 2. I wanted to get into it but the clumsy combat and those awful qte’s really put me off of it. I am cautiously watching this one though. I had a more pleasant reaction to this video than Adam did however. I don’t see those damn qte’s and they had better not be in there!

    Also the narrator at one point does claim that you’ll be able to run around as much as you want (He says something about no boundaries or walls at one point) and we should hold their feet to the fire on that promise and they should deserve a hail of rage if they fail to deliver that. But I don’t see anything here to get too riled about other than yet again it seems to be a console demonstration and that blows.

    I do see the quest in the swamp as being integral to the main quest for a fetch quest is not being presented here and I see a pretty vibrant city and village with a lot going on. I am still wary about this game given how I felt about the second which I think is massively overrated but we shall see.

    I am also a beta tester for PoE and it’s two different kinds of games. Not fair to compare them. Skyrim would be more useful in comparison.

  16. sonson says:

    I’m very excited about Witcher 3, as with both the Original and and Witcher 2 they promised very big and delivered in a very considerable fashion. I have no reason to doubt this will be great.

    Just as an aside though I’ve heard a lot of talk about Graphics and fidelity and everything but it doesn’t look markedly superior to 2 to me. I’m glad about this as I don’t want to have to improve my PC to play it. Just sayin’ is all.

    • Strangerator says:

      You’re right that the graphical quality isn’t much different from Witcher 2, but you’ll be seeing a lot more on-screen at once. That said, I’ll probably suffer through playing this on my aging pc initially before upgrading in a couple years.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      This is a 720P you tube vid. Its gonna look much better at full res and sparklies @ ultra. Anyway, Witcher 2 still holds up today, so a bit better then that with bigger areas is OK.

  17. Strangerator says:

    Why is the Witcher 3 “on trial”?

    The demo material they’re showing is on rails, but that doesn’t mean the final game will be. This footage is showing one of the more detailed in-game cities we’ve seen in a while, and the environments seem to be truly wide open. This article feels like you are pouting because you didn’t get the playable demo you wanted.

    It seems popular lately to be pre-emptively critical of epic RPGs. DA:Inquisition has basically been trashed at this point, despite the fact that is has not been played by those doing the trashing. It’s not just RPS of course.. I am beginning to wonder if games journalists see upcoming massive-scale RPGs as a huge workload being heaped upon their desks, since they don’t have the luxury of enjoying at a more moderate pace?

  18. Neutrino says:

    If you are going to have to spend that amount of time looking at a horse’s arse it woud be nice if it was at least half decently modelled, which that was not. The muscles did not bunch with the movement, there was no sweat or sheen on it or anything that looked like hair, and the gait was quite unconvincing. Needs mocap.

  19. gabrielonuris says:

    My God, disappointment?! What the hell are you talking about? Why The Witcher 3 is a disappointment, because it’s “too mainstream to be loved”? Because “it was really a great RPG before it was ‘cool'”? Yes, it will be released on consoles, but I don’t think all the bias come from that. The almighty Skyrim suffers exactly from a bland and shallow world, with repetitive quests just to fill the world for the sake of simply “being there”. But no one bats an eye, because it’s Skyrim. Maybe that’s the why the comparison was made with Pillars of Eternity. You know, complain about a new game being (probably) shallow comparing it with one that is surely boring, would’nt make sense.

    • Joe3 says:

      Yeah, skyrim in its vanilla form was an absolute turd, but bethesda is in such position that they can pretty much produce these turds all the time and get 10/10, they dont have any real competition and doing this sort of thing for a decade they are ungodly overhyped.
      What im hoping for is that CDPR will fill that place, i mean just looking at this video they already outdone bethesda by miles.
      Here’s hoping bethesda stop’s being lazy and start to compete with CDPR in terms of quality, would be a win/win scenario.

  20. Shooop says:

    I think I get what you’re saying Mr. Smith, and if so I agree to a point. But I’m going also going to play devil’s advocate for a bit.

    I noticed Projekt didn’t go into any detail over how decisions the player makes changes the game’s story and events. That’s the signature feature of The Witcher games – decisions having drastic effects on the game and not just “This NPC is not there anymore”. Are you saying the chunk of gameplay they showed was disappointing not because the quality of the game isn’t up to par, but because it didn’t show us anything we didn’t already know would be in an ARPG?

    This probably has to do with everyone’s favorite thing, marketing.

    CD Projekt has to sell their product to a wide group of people, so they’re using tired-but-true marketing methods. One of those methods is pre-recorded gameplay that caters to people who have never played any of the previous games.

    Pillars is already pretty much a success – the game’s been funded. The team doesn’t need to worry too much about having good sales to recoup the money they spent making it. They’re free to take more risks in how they market it because they already have a good idea how many people are buying it thanks to the Kickstarter backer gift of a copy of the game. They have less need to sell it to a large number of people because many copies have already been sold.

    That said, the Witcher trailers have been fairly bland and uninteresting trailers so far probably because the games’ draw is the story taking such high priority in them and you can’t tell much of it too early.

  21. Fredward says:

    I’m seeing all this nice polished shininess and it’s still all so meh to me. Played the first Witcher, didn’t like at much at all. Played the Witcher 2, liked it better than the first but it was largely unmemorable. I dunno. I just don’t really get it. Of course I also didn’t like D:OS either so maybe I’m just a broken, broken gamer. Think I’ll stick with Bioware, Obsidian, Telltale and Paradox.

  22. -funkstar- says:

    So, using Edsger Dijkstra‘s name is a nice easter egg for computer scientists, but couldn’t they at least have gotten the pronunciation of his name right?


    • DaeL says:

      That’s an easter egg planted by Sapkowski himself. Sigismund Dijkstra was an important character in the books. He gave of the same kind of vibe as Roche – uncorruptable, tough and… far from being noble. From what I remember he really hated Geralt, because Geralt broke his leg.

  23. Dogsbody says:

    I want to like this series – beautiful settings, excellent graphics, 3rd person badass mofo killing fools with swords and spells, purportedly good writing…

    But damn, the combat is just drivel. Just another God of War/Darksiders/Wap-the-baddie-repeatedly-until-he-dies style – just, terrible. Or maybe I’ve been ruined by Dark Souls. Either way, blehhhhh.

  24. Binho says:

    I’m not sure this is exactly what Adam meant, but I did feel disappointed with the gameplay video as well. Namely, how the quests were structured…they were essentially identical!

    1.) Go to location A, talk to person B. They have the information you need.
    2.) You find person B. Person B will only give you the information you need if you get them artefact C.
    3.) To get artefact C, kill creature D.
    4.) Return to person B with artefact C, and they will give you a bit of story as a reward. Turns out they don’t have all the information you need, so they will send you to talk to someone else. Start back at 1 until you finish the main story.

    Of course, this was only a small slice of the game. It doesn’t instill me with much confidence though. I’m still excited about the game, since I only really buy the Witcher games for the wonderful atmosphere and great art direction. I agree with Adam though, that it wasn’t terribly exciting demonstration of the game. Part of the fun of an ‘RPG’, especially open world ones, is wandering off the path and doing new and different things. Not the same quest with a different coat of paint.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Umm… you’ve described all the Witcher games? Except what makes those games cool is what happens when you complete the fetch quest: discover a new location dripping with atmosphere, meet new or familiar cool characters, sleep with an attractive lady, step deeper into the game’s intrigue. There are always cool little details to discover by exploring and interesting combat and crafting, but those were never the meat of the series.

  25. Enkinan says:

    I think Witcher 3 and PoE will both be great games. I saw nothing in that trailer that worried me in the least.

  26. PopeRatzo says:

    For a game that was not Kickstarted, a lot of people here seem to be heavily invested in the success of Witcher 3.

    I just hope that unlike Witcher 2, Geralt is able to list step over a small log lying in the road or jump down from an 8-inch riser. The requirement that the character stick to one specific path in the middle of an open forest was a deal breaker for me. I took three separate runs at that game (played it, hated it, deleted it, read about it on RPS and reinstalled, played it a second time, hated it, etc etc). I mean, you would think a Witcher would be able to move better than a 75 year old man in a walking boot.

    And the writing was just not that good. Adult themes, yes, but the quality of the writing was poor, dour and the characters uniformly unpleasant company.

  27. Megakoresh says:

    Nothing extraordinary, but I am just glad the facial animations have been finally taken care of. Hated that in Witcher 2.
    As for the “unscripted and fun”, well you saw the random fighting happening there thats one. If there are random events happening thats the second part. Also it is clear from the dialogue that you talked to this woman and she refused to help and so you have found this other way to appease her through this little fella. Thats some nice nonlinearity.

    Yes I agree if this all turns out to be nothing but fetch quests and all this size just a pretty coating for a standard RPG fare, that would not be exactly fit the ambitions of this game, but you can at least be sure that these will be some superbly written and voice acted fetch quests, which is a lot more than other popular RPGs like Skyrim certainly have. The game will be good, I think. But I agree that it’s unwise to set expectations to the moon. We’ll wait and see what they do, but I am almost 100% certain, that it WILL be an improvement over Witcher 2. That’s enough for me. I don’t need it to be anything more.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      I’d even say that as long as it’s exactly as good as the Witcher 2 and the story doesn’t feel recycled, I’ll love it. If it innovates, even better of course.

  28. DrManhatten says:

    The only thing Adam is achieving with this article is overhyping Pilars so people will become disappointed when it is actually released. At the moment I don’t think Pilars will be even as good as Divinity (and I backed both)

    • Megakoresh says:

      Yeah right, because RPS is a news website where we can find unbiased information about the industry and are presented with info expressed in neutral fashion so we can make our own opinion based on the information. Ok… Come on, it’s RPS, what do you expect?

  29. green frog says:

    This article and the comments just show that snark and skepticism, like humor, is all fun and games until it’s your favorite thing’s turn, and then all of a sudden feelings are hurt. If this was a BioWare (unpopular) game you guys would be egging him on and then some, but it’s The Witcher (popular) so if Adam shows anything less than full enthusiasm then people are indignant.

    For what it’s worth I like both The Witcher and Dragon Age, so there.

  30. MellowKrogoth says:

    I was initially excited about the open-world thing, but then I realized that I enjoyed in Witcher 1 and 2 when the game opened up a completely new area to explore. I was encouraged to explore every nook and cranny of an area and complete all the quests before moving on, whereas with Skyrim I tend to superficially search an area for stuff then move on. Which causes me to actually dread traveling, because I feel it’s easy to quickly get a general idea of the types of sceneries the game offers, and then there’s nothing new to discover. Here’s hoping that Witcher 3’s story doesn’t make you jump from major city to major city like an idiot (looking at you, Oblivion Mages Guild quests) and instead make you spend quite a bit of time in an area before moving on.

    Invisible walls and very obviously contrived paths were indeed annoying, but they were means to tweaking the gamer’s experience and I’m not sure the replacement will be better.

    I’m actually hoping they block off sections of the “open world” or make some of them super dangerous so we get some feeling of progression instead of a theme park.

  31. racccoon says:

    Spoiler alert!
    I didn’t watch much this game looks great & needs to be played… like.. soon! :)

  32. krisk7 says:

    Well, sometimes you recognize the game has reached mainstream status when people start bashing it without valid reasons to create controversy and bring more views.

  33. kud13 says:

    I have seen exactly nothing in this video to make me regret giving my preorder dollars to GOG.

    Was the video scripted? yes, it sure was. Do I like that? Hell, no. I am very frustrated that the Geralt in the game demo didn’t ask every singel possible question. I am not particularly happy with how that tree spirit was handled either–I’d have investigated the situation A LOT more–if this was a choice for me to make, I want my geralt to make an informed choice, dammit!

    Re: voices. Witcher in English always sound wrong to me, no matter the quality of voice actors. I’ve read the books in Russian, I’ve played TW1 and TW2 in Russian (with TV-level actors doing voices), and the English just doesn’t carry the tone nearly as well.

    Most importantly, I just don’t think its fair in any way to judge the game by this video. What we are seeing is a “main quest”, and, going back to my 3 or 4 playthroughs of TW1, each clocking around 80h, I can tell you right now, it never goes this fast, since you start talking to everyone. Hell, If I was playing the demo, It’d have taken me 2 hours to get from the second village to the Hillock, because I would’ve asked every villager about the dissapearances, hopefulyl gotten some background on the Crones, and picked up a few “Gather x of Ys” side quests while I was at it.

    And I can see this game taking a very long time, if i don’t use fast travel, which I’m not planning to, because the best fun of roleplaying an open-world game is figuring out how to get from one point to another–that was simply the best part of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.–finding yourself in the middle of a hostile location, in the dead of night, in a thunderstorm, with wildlife chasing you, as you try to make your way to camp just over the ridge, where there are some friendlies.

    If Witcher 3 can deliver anything near this–unscripted hostile encounters in a a war-ravaged land (which they should be able to, given the original Witcher had them in spades), combined with the ability to go anywhere on the map (jumping confirmed, no more impassable 3 foot fences), and if they can actually maintain dynamic storytelling in this giant open world (and one of the GOG conferences presentations went into some depth about locus-based quest lines, which makes me think CDPRed, can pull it off), while staying faithful to the canon and the atmosphere, I’ll b happy.

    And Novigrad… my word. Hell, I can see myself spending like 10 hours just skulking every corner of the city. I wonder if there’s a comparison as to how many times bigger than the 2 districts of Vizima this will be.

  34. bill says:

    I see what Adam’s saying, but you have to be careful about criticizing something for not being what you wanted it to be, rather for what it is.

    the Witcher games seem to get a lot of criticism for things that are pretty standard in most cRPGs (bad combat, A to B quests, etc…). I’m not sure why they get so singled out.

    • Quiffle says:

      It’s the “Codex Effect” where enthusiasts suddenly forget why crpgs are fun to play and start scrutinizing anything of the genre against the template of the holy grail of rpgs that never has nor will ever exist. Though these days the focus has been shifted from gameplay to narrative to coincide with the viewpoint of a greener generation of curmudgeons.