by Joseph Leray
Since the announcement of “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” earlier this year, CD Projekt RED’s official line has been that their open-world RPG is in development for PC, PlayStation 4, and “other next-gen consoles.” During Microsoft’s E3 presentation yesterday, the Warsaw-based studio officially announced an Xbox One version of “The Witcher 3.”
“Microsoft delivered some pretty amazing technology and we’re extremely excited that we’ll be able to show the full potential of REDengine 3,” enthused John Mamais, CD Projekt RED’s head of production, in a prepared statement. “No boundaries, no technological limitations — the hardware’s pure power and our creative vision will produce some outstanding visuals and unparalleled gameplay.”
The Xbox One version will include optional Kinect voice commands allowing players to switch weapons and spell signs on the fly.
To mark the occasion, CD Projekt RED have also released two videos. A gameplay trailer (embedded above) introduces the broad strokes of the game’s story and touts its diverse, open world, a familiar talking point by now.
Eagle-eyed fans have also discovered a hidden message in the trailer, which points to a secret website promising to “lead to something big.” So far, a desktop wallpaper showing Geralt on a horse is the only thing on offer.
The second video is a developer-narrated documentary that also, predictably, does a lot of hyping and ballyhooing: “The Witcher 3 will be an RPG fan’s dream come true,” senior writer Borys Pugacz-Muraszkiewicz says.
CD Projekt RED’s dev diary also spends a few minutes hinting at the specific through-line of Geralt’s plot for “Witcher 3.”
Until now, the only real narrative cues we had involved a war between the Empire of Nilfgaard and the Northern Kingdoms. I’m not the most ardent “Witcher” fan, so dark fantasy geopolitics aren’t as interesting to me as the titular Wild Hunt: a ghostly calvary of huntsmen, guided by a corps of wraiths. They’ve set their sights on those Geralt of Rivia holds nearest and dearest.
“A lot of effort on our side was made to usher the potential of the next generation with a new kind of RPG experience – for the first time we could open the world to the extent we wanted and tell the story with the flair it deserves,” says studio head Adam Badowski. “I’m confident that we’ll deliver something groundbreaking and I hope, based on what we’ve released today, you’re seeing this as well.”
One last thing: “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” will “bolster the initial Xbox One games line up,” according to CD Projekt RED’s official announcement. I wouldn’t take this to mean that “The Witcher 3″ will be a launch title this fall, but I’d bet on seeing Geralt sooner rather than later in 2014.