At this year's E3, CD Projekt Red's John Mamais told us more about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and what we can expect from the open-world adventures of Geralt when the game launches next year.
The series' shift to an open-world setting will provide a big change. Mamais outlined some of the things that will be different. "We wanted to do the same kind of deep story telling, so that side's the same. Combat's a lot different there now, and it's set in an open-world environment so you can basically just go anywhere you want to play the game, so that's a big change."
With big changes come new challenges. We asked what some of these were for the studio: "Depth of storytelling and depth of character. This is important to people and you kind of lose that when you have a huge world to populate with so much content. So what we're trying to do is push the genre forward a little bit by really focussing on story and character, and I think that's how we're going to make our difference."
Geralt's story is set to a much more personal one, where he'll be free of the political machinations that he was embroiled in the Witcher 2.
"The guy's basically just a mutant monster killer, so we wanted to get back to those basics, but at the same time there's an epic story going on," said Mamais. "So it's perfect for open-world because we've got all of these monster hunting quests that we're building into the game, along the side quests and the random encounters. Then you've got this really killer, epic main story, but it's all set against this backdrop of this Nilfgaardian attacking the north. So for us it's quite layered, and deep storytelling, and really interesting gameplay. And of course, this monster hunting thing really brings back the core values of what The Witcher is."
Previous games landed first on PC (with Assassins of Kings ending up on Xbox 360 later). We wanted to know what it was like working on the next-gen consoles, and whether the game would follow in the footsteps of its predecessors and land on PC first: "The technology is coming together in the Red Engine 3, and it's a cross-platform technology. We only just started working with the kits, the PS4 and Xbox One kits, but that's all going to be done in parallel, because it's important for us to be able to launch at the same time."