By Joseph Leray
Nestled deep in the bowels of a cavernous interview with CD Projekt Red staffers Jakub Rokosz and Michal Platkow-Gilewsk lies this golden nugget: “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” will offer 100 hours of content, three different epilogues, and three dozen different states in which to leave the world at the end of the game.
“There will be a main plot, a main storyline, but we won’t treat it as a chain of quests,” Platkow-Gilewski explains. “It’ll be more like the theme for everything you’re doing. You’ll travel through a diversified world, and in the different regions, you’ll have a main storyline for each region. You might complete it, or you can abandon part of it.”
“All that will move the main plot somewhere. By doing something or not doing something, by being involved in it or by skipping whole quests.”
Of course, it’s not enough that “Wild Hunt” have non-linear quest structures: the game is being pegged as “a story-driven RPG set in an open-world environment” with a strong emphasis on having the world react to our decisions and choices. “As far as asking what will be the consequences of your actions, there will be a lot of them. … Bigger and smaller actions will all bring you to small or huge consequences,” Platkow-Gilewski says.
“To be honest, the ending for us, the epilogue, it should just be the cherry on top of all your consequences and how you wanted the world to change,” he elaborates. “I don’t know if there’s anything like a bad ending or a good ending. It’s just the way you played.”
The developers touch on Bethesda’s own high-fantasy romp, “Skyrim,” and the unspoken criticism seems to be that the Dovakhiin’s rise to prominence simply wasn’t as interesting as exploring the world, raiding dungeons, and smiting draugrs with abandon. CPR’s approach is “totally different,” Platkow-Gilewski explains. On the other end of the spectrum might be BioWare’s “Dragon Age” series, which leans heavily on its characters but shunts them from one linear map to the next as needed.
“The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” is using CPR’s new REDengine 3, designed to take the best of both worlds. We’ll see how well they do next year, when the game is released on PC, PlayStation 4, and (presumably) whatever Microsoft’s console division has in the works.
For a more in-depth look at the ins and outs of “The Witcher 3”’s world and its effect on the story, do check out Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s extensive Q & A.