Previews to The Witcher 3 have become available as of yesterday with many fans getting their first proper look at the title.
The German website World of Players mined a PCGames Preview of the title and complied together screenshots and information from the game, with details ranging from a rough release date to movement in the world. Many details are both points of praise and concern and seem to suggest some considerable changes within the title.
The most notable of these is the mention of a much more expansive world and heightened agility, with a few aspects resembling more of something you’d expect to find in Skyrim than a Witcher title. As well as hunting monsters and animals for fur, meat and resources, Geralt is now capable of climbing many objects in the environment and using boats and horses to traverse the landscape. Do not expect to be able to grind up levels from hunting, however, as experience is going to be earned exclusively through the completion of missions with a level cap of 60. Alongside this there is now a fast travel option available, which, as you would expect, gives you the ability to quickly move to locations you had previously visited.
The world itself is noted to be 30% larger than the one found in Skyrim, but impressively it will not have any loading sequences between scenes or when leaving certain areas of the game. Quite how that is going to be pulled off is anyone’s guess. Three of the major locations are noted to be “Action scenes” which consist of the capital Novigrad, the Skellige Islands, and a war-torn wastelands. The actual Letzgennates area is as of yet not that well defined, however. Most interestingly though is the note that along with the day-night cycle, the weather will directly affect gameplay; with some monsters only appearing in certain conditions or puzzles only being permitted to be solved depending upon the sky.
Major gameplay changes seem to suggest that the title is going to be more open to newcomers and addressing some major concerns from the past. Along with a tutorial to help deal with the supposedly hard to learn controls and battle system, similar to that found in the Enhanced Edition of Witcher 2, save imports will only have a minor impact on the game. While it is an option, it will only affect actions in response to some minor characters like Triss Merrigold and some of their behaviour towards you or the major antagonist, but will not alter the game’s background story. Despite this, it has been reported that there will be 36 states of the world brought about by the player’s actions, and three distinctly separate endings (read: epilogues) planned which will each take one hour to play through.
Final points of note are that Witcher 3 will not feature any quick-time events but instead will have a system similar to Fallout 3’s VATS. Something which will apparently be needed as monsters within the game will be levelling alongside you.
Planned to be released sometime in 2014, the game will not be limited to the capabilities of the PS3 and Xbox 360, and will instead be designed for the next generation. Along with a completely different UI systems for console and PC releases, and working off of the CDPRs REDengine 3 graphics engine, which will be optimised for DX11.