Seven Wyvern-Murdering Minutes Of The Witcher 3

Geralt, pictured right, about to receive the world's largest hug.

What a wonderful trip it has been for The Witcher [official site]. From dodgily translated, shoe-string original to vastly improved re-release, hotly appreciated if flawed sequel through to one of the most anticipated RPGs of all time. The idea that it might now rival, if not surpass, the likes of a Dragon Age or Planescape would have been unimaginable in 2009. Yet here we are, with the added bonus of it possibly being the prettiest game to grace our hard drives. A new commentated trailer from PAX East below.

Phwoar, look at all those pixels. Hopefully it’s optimised or scales well enough for graphics cards that aren’t large enough to beat whales to death.

On the hack’n’slash front it’s looking more dodge-rolly, action-RPGy than Dragon Age’s tactical party positioning or the first game’s by-the-numbers clicking. Tom found the combat lacking in his otherwise very positive preview for us in January and I can see what he means. There’s an awkward half-way-house look to it, somewhere between Dante’s ludicrous combo builders and the slower, methodical pace of the Soulsian. Will need to wait to go hands-on myself for final judgement, of course.

Meanwhile the chattier side of things is going from strength to strength. For a side quest, the voice acting and writing were great – so glad to be living in an age where video games have the budget for fully acted casts – while Geralt himself is sounding wonderful. Monster-slaying extra bits with some depth, like looking for the brother, will be good for staving off the plot fatigue I’ve had with earlier games in the series.

After a slip, release date is now set for May 19th on Steam, GOG and probably elsewhere.

63 Comments

  1. SMGreer says:

    Ah…it’s almost boring to repeat it at this point but that looks fantastic! I think I’m one of the few people who outright enjoyed the combat of 2 so there’s nothing to slow me down on the hype train with this one. Well, nothing except the fear my computer will combust the instant I put the disc into the drive.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    I was quite disappointed to notice Geralt popping potions with no animation during combat.
    I liked the ritualistic, preparatory approach of the previous games. On higher difficulty levels in particular, potions became essential, and having to prepare by choosing the right mix of potions before an encounter added a welcome layer of complexity to proceedings. Reducing them to instant-use boosts with vastly reduced durations is hugely disappointing.

    • Ben Barrett says:

      I’ve only played the first game, but couldn’t you just run around with all of the good ones on all the time in that?

    • Premium User Badge

      Mungrul says:

      Actually, just been looking into this, and it’s not as bad as I thought:

      “The potions will work in a different way than in The Witcher 2. So now you will prepare them, you will drink them before a fight, but you can release the effect of those whenever you want. So it’s not like you’ve drunk the potion and you have 30 seconds of boost and then it wears off. You can start the fight in the moment it suits you, and if the fight proves hard, you can just release the effect through your metabolism. But if the fight is easy, you can preserve that and use it in the next fight”

      I can live with that :)

    • Zenicetus says:

      I agree that it feels more dumbed-down and “action gamey” than the way potions worked in the earlier games. I liked the ritual, and the thought that had to go into preparation.

      On the other hand, that potion prep mechanic required a fair amount of foreshadowing for major encounters. The game would hint that something was coming up, there would be a safe spot just before the fight, and you knew to drink potions and oil weapons. Maybe this new mechanic will be okay if it means monster and major boss encounters are a bit less predictable than they were in the first game, so potion use means just making sure you craft the right ones to have on hand.

  3. RaoulDuke says:

    The Wyvern fight was so drawn out and fake, the “combo” (i.e. – pressing the attack button as fast as he could) he did at the end could’ve been repeated at least three times during one of the Wyvern’s many ponderous landing/taking off animations. It looks like he could’ve killed it in seconds of it landing

    Conversely I don’t think that a bad thing, I like easier combat most of the time, like the Batman: Arkham games, but hopefully it will have a bit more health [1.5-2x?] in the full release, I’m sure it was just for demo purposes, but then why not just let the guy go bonkers hitting it, but give it a bigger health bar.

    I get that attacks must be avoided and you have “wait for the right opening” but its not like real players will be drawing out battles with all that fake tension, they will just go in for the kill as fast as possible surely?

  4. Ryuuga says:

    Surpass a planescape? Surely you do not mean the Planescape, i.e. Planescape: Torment? For then you speak utter heresy and I shall listen to your opinions nevermore.

    • WiggumEsquilax says:

      He just compared Planescape: Torment to a trailer. Forgiveness will take lifetimes.

    • inf says:

      Not only that, Dragon Age now belongs to the same standard? God help us all.

    • Monggerel says:

      Well it would be pretty difficult not to surpass the gameplay elements of Planescape
      tee-hee
      nostalgia is a drug, you know that

      and there’s a bunch of shit about the writing I think is pretty fucking suspect, having recently played the thing and also not being blinded by a raging hard-on
      sexy demon girl falls for your rotting corpse supes hard sure also she just happens to have to wear next to no clothes because uh tieflings overheat lol
      the word “slaking” is used unironically
      apparently belief can totes change the nature of a man thankfully there’s a better alternative when you get to say fuck you to everything ever heyyy

      welcome to game is it fuck

  5. Herbal Space Program says:

    “Dragon Age’s tactical party positioning” Please tell me you’re talking about the first Dragon Age.

    • Archangel says:

      There is no other Dragon Age.

    • skyturnedred says:

      I don’t even know why he brought up a game with party-based combat (with pause)..

    • inf says:

      Dragon Age and “tactical” shouldn’t even be in the same sentence… ever. In my opinion the entire franchise is a snoozefest where shallow combat against easy trash mobs acts as a gimmick to get you to the next pubescent piece of dialog or cut-scene. It is utter fallacy to hold it to any kind of standard in a tactical sense.

      Real time with pause combat can be “tactical”, but you need more in-depth, fleshed out encounter and RPG systems. Things that, you know, create a challenge and the need for party positioning ect.

      • skyturnedred says:

        It would also be a lot more fun with more than four party members.

        • Abndn says:

          That would make it worse. Dragon clearly wasn’t designed with tactical combat in mind, they probably just slapped it on near the end to appease Baldur’s Gate fans.

      • sansenoy says:

        Exactly, I started the game, early combat encounter, put my tank character in the hallway to block the mob rushing in, they just clip through him like nothing… I can’t believe people were comparing this to Baldur’s Gate 2, the greatest of the isometric combat systems, the only “tactical” decision you can make is move people away from the fireball radius before rushing the mobs with as many swords as you have, a fucking joke. The thouroughly generic, trashy fantasy setting and the ever-present wooden chatterboxes really sealed the deal for me.

  6. Kreeth says:

    Is there a proper video of this somewhere? What I can only assume is Youtube compression makes it damn near impossible to tell how impressive the graphics actually _are_. I mean, it sort of looks pretty nice, but there are massive blobs everywhere every time he moves so it all looks really splodgy. Or is it just me who’s seeing this?

    • Paul says:

      Check out gamersyde, they have noncompressed 1GB copy of the video and previous ones too.

      • Kreeth says:

        Ah, excellent thanks, that’s exactly what I was after. To the downloadmobile!

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Even then the downgrade is pretty apparent, especially when it comes to object density, and especially on the ground.

        I guess i won’t need to wait for the next yet to be released card before unleashing this game, this is nice but still a little sad.

    • Rich says:

      Watching it in 1080p looked pretty good to me.

  7. Laurentius says:

    Looks disappointing. AssassiensCreedy style of runing, it feels wrong, it’s not Geralt, just some parkour dude. Apart from great visuals, everything feels copied from different games, I don’t see anything individual or orginal in this Witcher game.

    • grimdanfango says:

      I actually came to post exactly the opposite – if there’s one thing I think it’s a fantastic idea to include from Assassin’s Creed, it’s the wonderful fluid animation system. (Certainly doesn’t need to borrow anything else though :-)
      I’m playing through Witcher 2 at the moment, and the biggest glaring issue with it for me is the jittery animation. Every move Geralt makes has no sense of weight or momentum, he’s either standing still, or moving… there’s no in-between acceleration.
      I absolutely love how much more fluid and weighty the animation is looking in Witcher 3. It makes it look so much less clunky.

      • Laurentius says:

        Of course it looks better and more fluid but also it looks wrong thematicly. I just feel like there is no way Geralt would parkour through forests unless in a very specific situations ie. combat/life threatening etc.

        • SMGreer says:

          I think you’re exaggerating a little here…he bounds and climbs sure but you’re acting like he’s leaping from tree branches and back flipping off cave walls. I think it’s a much better fit than previous games. Geralt’s always described as moving with a certain amount of grace, especially in combat and the way that’s depicted in 3 so far is much closer to what my imagination conjured up reading the books than the movement/fighting of the first two games, enjoyable though they were.

          • Asurmen says:

            Of course he’s exaggerating. Laurentius hates Witcher 3 and let’s everyone know on every Witcher article.

          • Laurentius says:

            @Asurmen
            I don’t “hate” Witcher3 as this game is not even out yet, I am just concerned and disappointed by a CDPR direction with this game as shown in previews and trailers, suprising that this franchise build its succes at bulding individual take on cRPG. Something I don’t see here at all..

          • Cinek says:

            Laurentius – problem is that you expect…. interactive book in an essence. Keeping everything as close to the “masterpiece” as possible, and thinks like running everywhere and jumping on a rocks make you annoyed. Most of the people however never read books, don’t care about them much, and expect simply an excellent and fun game to play. In this case I’m quite sure that fun game is an opposite of keeping the game as close to the books as possible. So I’m with them, with that whole crowd that’s most likely going to enjoy the game for what it is.

          • Asurmen says:

            Laurentius, every single article on Witcher 3 is you saying how poor it is, and not only that but exaggerating what you’re seeing, such as your posts here. Assassin Creed running? What does that even mean? He barely moves at a jog, and there’s no parkour to be seen in that video.

            It is clear you do hate what you’re seeing, and yet you decide to tell us that with every article. Why bother looking anymore? You don’t like it, we get it already.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          Apparently parkour= run. I’m sure you can walk if you want.

        • MattMk1 says:

          Dude, the Witcher stronghold basically has a parkour obstacle course built around it, the “mordownia”.

          Incidentally, what did they call it in the English translation? The root word is murder, but in Polish idiom “mordowac sie” or “murder self” means to struggle painfully, and that’s where the name comes from.

          • HothMonster says:

            Pretty sure it was called ‘the killer’ in the fan translations. Read Blood of Elves before the official book came out though so not sure what they went with.

  8. edwardh says:

    “the prettiest game to grace our hard drives”

    That may very well be but it still doesn’t wow me as much as The Witcher 2 did. When I bought a new computer, I got a second graphics card in anticipation of that game. And I did not regret it – it was an amazing experience.
    But it still didn’t wow me as much as the first Mass Effect.
    Which didn’t wow me as much as Resident Evil 4 on Game Cube.
    Which didn’t wow me as much as Rogue Leader on Game Cube.
    Which didn’t wow me as much as Shenmue on Dreamcast.

    And this is where it all ends. The one game I will remember as the single most visually impressive game of all time.

    And it gets less impressive every year, it seems. Improvements become less and less revolutionary and more and more incremental.
    Photorealism? Holodeck? Oh please. We were closer to that when there were FMV adventure games than we are now.
    Give me some single blade physics for that grass on the ground (and lots of more grass!), single leaf physics for the trees, character models with 3x the resolution and detail, etc. and we can talk about me being impressed and drooling over a game again.

    • edwardh says:

      Wasn’t there an edit functionality at some point? Oh well. I also wanted to say: Until then, I’ll keep playing things like This War of Mine and will stay away from big(ger) budget titles that are mostly crap gameplay-wise anyway and thus don’t manage to keep me amused for more than 2-3 hours. Metro: 2033, Arkham City, GRID 2 and probably more that I’ve already forgotten – all diarrhea as far as I’m concerned.

    • bill says:

      The most visually impressive game was Doom 2.
      The only ones that came close were Quake, or whatever was the first game you played on a Voodoo1.

    • Frank says:

      You are old now. This is normal.

      For me, HL2 was the peak. I didn’t really play 3D games much before that. Man, I love the colors in that game.

    • alms says:

      Get off my lawn! Pong was the most visually impressive game and that’s the end of it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Photorealism? Holodeck? Oh please. We were closer to that when there were FMV adventure games than we are now.

      The people may have looked more realistic (because they were real people) but I don’t know where you live if you think FMV-era CGI looked like much of anything that existed in physical space

  9. bill says:

    Is this the same Wyvern battle that they’ve shown a dozen times before?

    the one in the header image with the picture of the Gyphon? Or is this something new?

  10. CookPassBabtridge says:

    The alt text makes me suddenly wonder if there are any animals out there which lure humans in by virtue of being incredibly cute, but then turn out to be incredibly lethal. Like a sloth with neurotoxin in its armpits or something, so when it hugs you, you suffer central nervous system shock and, you know, die a bit.

  11. Abndn says:

    Yet here we are where, exactly? The Witcher 3 looks like it might be a good game, but aren’t you getting a little ahead of yourself suggesting that it “might surpass” Planescape based on a 7 minute gameplay video of a moderately interesting side quest and the promise of *another* huge open world? If anything I’d be worried that this huge open world approach will make the game less focused, less narratively driven and less interesting overall than TW 1 and 2.

    • ansionnach says:

      As the man says in the video: you must find a child of prophesy to save the world. They’re not even attempting to challenge Torment. Someone needs to go to the dentist and have his hyperbole removed… with a pliers!

      • Arcanon says:

        I’m very surprised they’d choose such a cliche line. In the Witcher book saga yes, there is a prophecy mentioned, but it never dictates Geralt’s actions. And “the child” is very important and strangely gifted, but NOT BECAUSE of the prophecy (fuck you Star Wars prequels!).

        The point is, it won’t be that kind of trash story. If they stick to the books that is.

        • ansionnach says:

          Hopefully it’s more a result of it being difficult to communicate what something is like in a short video. The Torment one’s very poor: ugly pre-rendered graphics and it leaves you scratching your head as to what the game’s about. All it really tells you is the game is set in this weird and mysterious place – the mood feels about right. Doesn’t misrepresent the game by making it look dump but doesn’t do it any favours, either. Not sure what else they could have done without giving too much away. Maybe if they went with some of the shots from the trailer, some clichéd-enough looking gameplay… but then player death, waking up and a ghostly Deionarra floating away. I actually liked that I knew nothing about the game going in, even after reading quite a bit about it. Perhaps one of the few times “just play it” is all that’s needed.

          Certainly a quite a challenge, and maybe something that deserves more examination in the film world: How to make a trailer of a man?

      • bill says:

        Finding the prophecy child does indeed sound rather cliche.

        But, having just read my way through 100s of judge dredd comics in a very short time, I now find myself hoping that they do something along the lines of The Judge Child ending. Because that would be awesome.

  12. racccoon says:

    That clip was actually made for the live presentation of the “NVIDIA GRID” last week for those that missed it.

  13. alms says:

    So, basically… The Elder Witcher III: Arkham Skyrim ?

  14. Tim James says:

    Sometimes it feels like it’d just be easier to read a press release and click on a trailer than trudge through paragraphs of equivocation.

  15. Hunchback says:

    I am probably alone in this, judging by the comments here, but every new trailer they release scares me even more. I am now almost sure they’ve managed to ruin one of the best RPGs EVER made for PC.

    First of all, i am sorry but it looks like shit. Someone mentioned this here, but The Witcher 2 was a masterpiece of style, design and beauty. One of the main reasons i like it so much is because of the whole visual aspect of it, the lack of heavy armours, the way everything looks realistic and super well placed, coloured, lighted… I know that this video is compressed and all, but this doesn’t change the lack of details, the general bland look of everything we saw… And there’s something else missing, visually, but i can’t pinpoint it. It must be some filter or effect or something that the Witcher 2 had, that made if magical. In short, Skyrim with a couple of mods looks better than this, The Witcher 2 looks better than this… Sad.
    Oh and, i can’t believe devs still can’t figure out how to handle capes and other hanging clothes and horses. In a next-gen game, the robe of Gerald is still passing through the back of the horse like it’s the year 2000 or so.

    Next, what concerns me even more is that it’s frighteningly looking like a single player mmo. “You can always whistle for a horse while outdoors”??? Wow, great, thanks! Not immersion braking at all! You whistle and a magical horse appears. If that’s all it takes to have a horse i hope that at least it’s not immortal and eventual enemies consider it a target, aoe too or something. It’d be ridiculous if the horse would just stay where you left it, waiting for you to whistle so it can come speed you up.
    The dialogues seem to be quite bland too. That’s quite upsetting too, since to me Gerald is one of the most interesting characters in a game of late, with his arrogance and irony and all that. And this all comes from the dialogues he has with people. I am afraid that since the game is now open-world and technically has more content, the quality of it all is worsened and dialogues are made generic, without enough time for the writers to flesh them out like in a narrated, tighter game.

    I don’t know, i am just not convinced. The Witcher, and even more The Witcher 2, were awesome because everything seemed to work together, people seemed to be alive in it, do stuff, talk to each-other, react to you and all that… From what CDR have shown us so far, i feel everything is toned down, more bland, and that’s probably because it went open-world. I REALLY hope i am wrong, i hope that they’ve managed to build a serious, dark, mature and believable world (as much as a fantasy setting can be “believable”) with quality dialogues and story, that the hero won’t spend his days running errands and killing rats in basements. That you won’t “unlock” things or “achieve” things and… yes, you won’t GRIND for things.

    Here’s to hoping!

    • Laurentius says:

      Don’t keep your hopes up, fully realesed games are usually like the previews and trailers but even more so. Cue DA:I.

      • Hunchback says:

        Oh yes, DA:I… They turned a game that has excellent characters, dialogues and relationships and all, into a stupid mmo-thing with no soul, silly dialogues and bland characters. Oh and a ultra-simplified combat system.
        That must be why i am so afraid of The Witcher 3, i suppose…

  16. Cinek says:

    Love the music in this trailer. Really adds to the climate.

  17. Kjacks says:

    Am I the only one who is like ripping their hair out at all these pampered gamers as of late? All they whine about is graphics this, fps that, ya know I remember when I first picked up a controller in 1997 and was blown away by the thought that videogames even existed! And now its like, “ermagerd guys you can’t see every spec of sand on that beach” or “OMG I’M so disgusted by the graphics of that game, every separate hair didn’t move individually, that ingrown facial hair was just a red spot LOLZ” come the Fuck on. Game developers go through hundreds of thousands of hours to put that fucking red dot on the face of some game character so you can have something to do, and you’re gonna bitch Because it doesn’t look real? It’s a game. It’s amazing that it even exists. Quit bitching and if you don’t like it Fuck off. The witcher 3 looks insane and the graphics are better than the witcher 2 and if you don’t see that you are blind. The textures are beautiful, the combat looks friggin awesome, and yeah the voices could use some work, the accents suck, but It’s a videogame. Nothing will ever be perfect. That being said, can’t wait to have a copy! Game on guys.

    • Abndn says:

      You say that as if older games weren’t trying to amaze you with graphics. They were, they just had less to work with. Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2 were beautiful when they came out. especially the attention to detail in its backgrounds. Graphics are really important for immersion and they always have been. I’d even go as far as suggesting that the lack of revolutionary graphical advances is one of the main reasons we aren’t immersed and wow’ed by games nearly as often as we were 15 years ago.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      Yeah, I grew up mostly playing new games on old PCs and my first games were Space Invaders and King’s Quest 1 on a monochrome green screen, so when gamers whine about not getting 60 fps 1080p, no pop-in, no blurring textures and ALL OF THE OPTIONS (!) I’m like cry me a river.

      • Hunchback says:

        Such hard, so core, wow!

        • Premium User Badge

          Ninja Dodo says:

          I guess you feel like I am talking about you specifically or something. If I were trying to establish some kind of gamer-cred with my comment about being old, I might take your doge reference as an attempt at an insult, but my point was actually about people complaining about trivial details that are ultimately incidental to the larger experience of games and how they fail to appreciate the achievement that modern games represent.

          • Hunchback says:

            I didn’t think your comment was directed at me, it wouldn’t make much sense if it did… It was just the tone of it that got me chuckling and a doge reference seemed appropriate… :)

  18. Sedghammer says:

    Geralt just slayed a giant wyvern, thereby saving the lives of those men, and they don’t even thank him and just bumble off.

    Combat was not decisive and the wyvern looked like it was swimming through water, not flying.

    Bargain bin game.

  19. Cortes says:

    For me CDProject RED have a lot of work yet. Combat with this monster looks very easy and they need to do something with camera. I want can focused my camera on the enemies. Things like grass looks very rigidly. I expect much more from game like this.