Have you played The Witcher? Not the massively popular third one, mind, but CD Projekt’s 2008 series-starter. It’s a little uglier, a little jankier, and Geralt’s face doesn’t look quite so dashing. But it’s also now free for anyone who downloads the GOG Galaxy client, letting you jump back into Geralt’s boots for nary a crown.
I’ve no idea how it plays these days myself. But at the very least, it’s a neat insight into the studio’s history ahead of Cyberpunk 2077‘s release next week.
Re-launched last year as a sort of library for all your other games libraries, GOG Galaxy is currently giving away the studio’s break-out 2008 RPG for folks who download (or update to) the latest version of the client. You can claim it by going to Galaxy’s “recent” tab and clicking the banner, with the game appearing in your library “after a while”.
According to this promo page, you’ll need to agree to email updates and offers. A nuisance, but I have to imagine you’re free to unsubscribe from those once Geralt has settled into your collection.
The version you’re getting here is the Enhanced Edition, which added a good few new missions, fixed up a load of bugs, and amended the original release’s dodgy localisation. It’s also the version our old man Keiron reviewed back in the day for Eurogamer – praising the game for being a grand ol’ PC RPG at a dark time for those games, while even then noting that its take on gender was a bit, well, naff.
“The game’s creators have a tendency to not understand that while setting a game in a sexist world (as in, characters really are terrible bastards) is fine and actually worthy of praise, adding sexist mechanics (as in, whenever you sleep with a character you get a collectable card of them posing for you) undercuts any serious intentions you may have had.”
The years haven’t been too kind to Witcher The First, of course. But it’s an interesting origin for the series, and dove into the nitty-gritty of being “a Witcher” in ways that would be streamlined out of later games. Besides, as Brendy discovered a few years back, Geralt’s gaming debut could’ve been a whole lot worse.