Geralt’s first outing as The Witcher is free on GOG

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If you’ve played through The Witcher 2 and The Witcher 3, you’ve spent hundreds of hours with the character of Geralt of Rivia. But have you ever taken the time to go back to the beginning? I… absolutely have not. But I played enough Witcher over the years to have encountered people and quests from the first title that I had to fill in via Wiki work later. So I can see the value in going back to figure out where they all came from.

Today (and possibly tomorrow, there’s no end point listed), you can get the first game in the series for free from GOG, along with a card keg for Gwent — which contains five free cards. The process should only take one minute of your time and we have the details below.

All you have to do to acquire your game and associated Gwent cards is sign up for GOG’s newsletter right here. You get the newsletter, The Witcher, the Gwent card pack, and an overwhelming sense of satisfaction at having done something meaningful on a Sunday. That said, if you feel like you don’t really need the newsletter, no one is gonna blame you for smashing that unsubscribe button and keeping your spoils of war.

Remember: Gwent proper is headed our way in October.

The Witcher looks a bit aged at this point, but please keep in mind it could have been so much worse. Brendan wrote a piece for us last year about the cancelled Witcher game that used tank controls, and well, boy howdy this franchise could have been tanked from the start.

40 Comments

  1. yhancik says:

    Mh, are you sure? It’s telling me “Sorry, you must have GWENT in your game library in order to be eligible for this offer.”

    • eeguest says:

      Had the same. So I searched for Gwent in GoG shop, for whatever reason I needed to create another account (but there is option to use existing at the bottom), then refreshed page and got pack + game (which I owned), so I gifted to a friend.

      • Baines says:

        Yeah, it is a bit of a mess. The offer page says you need Gwent in your account, but doesn’t link to Gwent’s store page. You have to search for it, which apparently prioritizes the coming expansion, so you have to make sure to pick the right one.

        Then picking to play that free Gwent will take you to what looks to be a log-in screen, but which is actually a “create new account” screen. You have to click on the little non-button line of text at the bottom of that panel to be taken to the log-in screen. Once you click on that, it will add Gwent to your account, and you can go back to the original offer screen.

        When you go back to the original offer screen, it will tell you that you’re being emailed a redemption code for the free Gwent cards. You are not automatically given Witcher 1 though. You have to click to the next panel on the offer screen, which will let you click the button to be taken to the store page for Witcher 1, which will list the price as free. You still have to add it to your cart and go through the checkout process to actually get it.

        Funny thing is, I wouldn’t have even bothered except I could years ago never get GOG to acknowledge that I owned Witcher 1 on Steam. (Way back before GOG Connect, when there was a special page specifically for activating Witcher 1 and Witcher 2.) Back then I went through the “this didn’t work for me” bit, but nothing was ever resolved.

        • Baines says:

          And the end result was for me to end up with a (new) copy of Witcher 1 in my library and another copy stuck in my shopping cart?

    • visor841 says:

      I had to login to GOG again to get it to work.

  2. poliovaccine says:

    Oh dammit, I like *just* bought this haha.

    • mac4 says:

      I don’t know about GOG, but it seems Steam will refund/make up the difference if a game goes on sale just after you bought it.

      Don’t know how long “just after” here is, and again I don’t know how it is with GOG, but you could ask them about it.

  3. Servicemaster says:

    Three fantasy games and the only person of color is a black succubus you’ll probably kill. Whiter than winter in Poland.

    • Nelyeth says:

      Axe to grind, yada yada.

      a) If the author wants his story to be set in a kind of medieval Europe, he’s not going to include every skin colour and sexual orientation just to please you

      b) You can meet quite a few Offieri (roughly based on arabian tribes) in the Witcher 3 : Hearts of Stone. But hey, at least you tried.

      • Servicemaster says:

        What complete and utter shit excuses for not having the IMAGINATION to include characters with darker skin for, iunno, maybe sitting out in the sun longer than the rest but I suppose it’s hibernation for every goddamn character in the Witcher series.

        Not only that but holy shit people how sheltered are you that you actually think people of color didn’t exist in Europe a thousand years ago? Google Silk Road and you better be sitting the fuck down cause you’re about to learn some heavy shit about cultural integration

        • Nelyeth says:

          Guess you took the “Europe” part of my comment at face-value, at least way more than I thought you would. Yes, there were non-white people in Europe, I know, thanks. But if you tell me that the entirety of medieval Europe harboured Asian/African traders, and that there were no places which only had causasian people, then I can’t take you seriously. Like when you tell me about the Silk Road when we’re talking about a book/game mostly set in a fictional Poland.

          Also, nice of you to ignore my second point, really. Doesn’t make you look like someone with an agenda, I mean it. There ARE coloured people in the Witcher’s world, Offieri and Zerrikanian. But you’ve come here with way too much prejudice and way too little common sense, so I guess I’m just talking to a wall.

      • cuchlann says:

        I mean, if the creators wanted the games to be set in medieval Europe, there would be way more non-white people. If they wanted to ignore history and just make up a place, then whatever, sure. But they can’t really have it both ways. And they sure try to in their posts about this.

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          Ninja Dodo says:

          You do realize Europe isn’t one country, right? Culture and demographics vary rather a lot from region to region (and have done through history). It seems to me that the game reflects today’s Poland as much as it does medieval times and from what I gather modern Poland is *extremely* white. It seems pretty unsurprising that an ethnically homogeneous culture would produce art and entertainment that reflects similar demographics. Projecting generic (usually North American) templates of what diversity should look like onto everything seems like it’s not really in the spirit of promoting actual diversity…

    • criskywalker says:

      Who would have thought that people are white in Poland? Yours is a truly weird complaint.

    • kud13 says:

      Actually, TW1 features a darker-skinned Zerrikanian mage. He’s one of the main antagonists.

      I love TW1. Played it through maybe or 8 times. It’s a wonderful love letter to the book series, chock-full of nods to the short stories, especially.

      Sure, it can be clunky, and the combat is a joke (unless you play on Hard, where you don’t get the cursor prompts to chain attacks and must rely on sound cues and momentary flashes of your blade), but portions of the game (esp CH 4) captured the mundane nature of being a witcher- which is something TW 3 did as well, but this feeling was totally absent in TW2

      • Killy_V says:

        Thank you sir, this is exactly what I feel from the Witcher series.
        I’ve played 5 times in Hard, made all the three pass quests, and it’s one of the most immersive game I played, very ahead of its time. Combat in hard and the preparation of potion was very enjoyable.

        Tbh there’s a total conversion mod for TW3 which takes the best from TW1 (ie alchemy, and componentes to make the potions) that I need to try.

      • Ravel says:

        Oh yes, that’s exactly how I feel too! I loved the shit out of TW1 and even tho TW2 is by comparison to most other games not a bad game at all, the story wasn’t told in a very good way and the cool bits of actually being a witcher were sorely lacking. Thankfully, TW3 then hit the ball out of the park not only in that department, but in all departments.

        Still, TW1 was amazing and I’m glad that I got to play it when it came out! Fond memories.

        • sinbad says:

          Exactly the same here. Adored 1 despite its roughness. Disappointed in 2 even though most seemed to think it was far superior. Adored 3.

          • Darth Gangrel says:

            Nice to know I’m not the only one who thinks like this, even if the major consensus is that the Witcher series made big leaps forward with each game. I liked TW2 much better the second time, because your choice at the end of Act 1 actually made a difference and a much larger difference than choosing who to ally with in TW1.

            However, that first impression and other experiences during that first playthrough will forever place it below TW1. Bland, uninspiring music, dark mood/story the whole way through (very little variety), small areas, “streamlined” combat and QTE’s, among other things. It’s still way better than many other games past and present, but not that good compared to TW1.

          • Blastaz says:

            Congratulations. You have the correct opinion!

            If you replace disappointed with “bounced off of it hard in the swamps then came back a year later or so with a better pc and was amazed.”

            For some reason I always seem to play cdpr games with an ageing rig. Averaged about 15fps slogging through 3. Then upgraded in time for blood and wine and jaw dropped. – which means as my pc is now two years old we can expect steampunk to drop in about another two years just before it gets put out to pasture!

    • SaintAn says:

      So you’re saying you would like a Witcher type game set around African mythology? I too would like that.

    • Jimbo says:

      Umm, wow, okay, and how do you know they don’t identify as people of colour?

    • dskzero says:

      This complaint is so 2017.

    • Jokerme says:

      It’s a fantasy world with only white people. Believe it or not some parts of the world don’t have diversity. Some people have never seen black people or white people. And they don’t have any obligation to create diverse fantasy worlds. You should deal with it. World doesn’t only consist of USA culture.

    • Moraven says:

      I always thought the larger issue at hand was the juvenile sex card collection/trophies. That they thankfully dropped for 2&3.

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        Yeah, it’s kind of amazing how they went from “I’d like to get to know you better” (commence sexy times!) to the nuanced relationships of Witcher 3… I mean you can still get up to assorted shenanigans, but the baggage-heavy relationships with Geralt’s old flames are really interesting, and (imo) they outdid Bioware on the romances.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      If you’re going to glibly dismiss an entire series based on superficial characteristics (which seems ironic under the circumstances), at least be accurate.

      As others have pointed out, while not numerous there are several other non-white characters in the series, from one of the main villains in Witcher 1 (link to witcher.wikia.com) to the Offieri (link to witcher.wikia.com) in Witcher 3 Hearts of Stone, who only become unfriendly when you accidentally murder their prince (so, you know… understandable), and two of them are friendly traders who the player can do business with.

      You’re probably just being a troll, but if you *actually* care about diversity in entertainment you’re definitely not helping by willfully ignoring such obvious holes in your own argument.

      • Someoldguy says:

        It’s also pretty weird to slam a game for not being ethnically diverse when a major plot theme of all the Witcher books & games is the appalling treatment of the other fictional races in their fictional setting. Elves are enslaved and brutally repressed, Dwarves are marginalised and despised.

        Now, it is possible that an extremely talented person might have been able to do that while having the human nations made up of a diverse cultural melting pot. Equally it could easily have been a complete mess that ruined the source material they drew inspiration from. Either way, you can’t accuse the Witcher of being blind to the evils of racism.

  4. Tony M says:

    Cards come in kegs? That doesn’t seem very practical.

  5. Chaoslord AJ says:

    I think it’s still worth playing for hardcore RPG enthusiasts. Dark and edgy and definitely different to the usual Warcraft/Warhammer/Forgotten Realms fantasy-tropes.
    Backtracking was baaad but lack of clear direction and hand-holding felt like an interesting change. Players are not entitled to finish every side-quest following a quest marker, that’s what Ubisoft and Bethesda make their games for.
    Ingenious here: the striga quest.
    And the fact the first boss after the tutorial slaughtered me made me laugh.
    Also great plot twist with the main antagonist.

    • kud13 says:

      While it would be absolutely ludicrous of me to try to defend the Swamp, I will say that Places of Power allow the player to teleport to an active gate, of which there are at least 3 by Act 3, and this can cut down the trudging through muck times considerably.

      And in Act III, the combat in the swamp actually offered variety and challenge, as opposed to just having endless drowners and leeches in Act II

    • Kreeth says:

      Was that the hellhound boss? That absolutely kicked my arse so many times until I finally managed to work out how to deal with it (which I have now forgotten) on my first playthrough. Was the cutscene not unskippable as well early on? I remember something like that being patched out pretty quickly, but the first time I got there it was load, watch cutscene, load again, get arse kicked by glowing dog, load, watch cutscene, load again, get arse kicked for a good 45 minutes or so, most of which was loading and cutscene.

      The improvements made to this game just over the first couple of months, let alone when the enhanced edition came out, were amazing.

      • Chaoslord AJ says:

        Lol, yes. I wasn’t ready for this.

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        phuzz says:

        That was the point I gave up on the game.
        Unskippable cutscene? Eh, I’ll put up with it.
        Massive spike in difficulty? I can probably cope after some practise.

        Massive difficulty spike preceded by unskippable cutscene? Nope, I’m gone.

      • Horg says:

        You can knock The Beast down with Aard and coup de grâce it to death. Afaik this is the only boss you can one shot this way. Alternatively, just keep dodging around Abigail (if you save her) and swinging with group stance while specter oil is up. The Beast eventually dies in the melee.

  6. napoleonic says:

    Don’t bother, it’s dreadful.

  7. Stillquest says:

    If you’re going to play the original Witcher, I strongly, strongly recommend installing the “Full Combat Rebalance” mod – even for first time players.

    I rarely use mods, and practically never before finishing a game vanilla – this is the one I made an exception for.

    • hijuisuis says:

      Seconded, I also prefer vanilla but this mod is excellent. Just don’t increase the difficulty, it’s already hard enough unless you’re after a real challenge.

  8. Sin Vega says:

    Well worth trying, especially for free. I found the first one did some interesting things (in particular, I loved the choices I was offered as they felt like actual judgement calls rather than ‘choose which path you want to see for this subplot’ things), but then after a few hours I got to a sewer level and uninstalled it pretty much immediately.

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