When The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt comes out in May 19, the fifth Game Of Thrones season will be half done. So the GOT faithful have five or six episodes to enjoy before a long wait till the next series. But The Witcher 3 could help scratch that itch.
The Witcher series of games has always been pure adult fantasy fare. Based on the novels of Polish sword and sorcery author Andrzej Sapkowski, the games follow the fortunes of one Geralt of Rivia, a yellow-eyed, white-haired mutant who is hated and feared by most of the folk he comes across, yet also happens to be a dab hand at hunting down and killing monsters. His ability to dual-wield edged weapons as well as magic not only makes him a fearsome opponent for any supernatural beast in his environment – it also makes him incredibly good fun to hang out with as a video game protagonist. That and the fact playing a Witcher game is like starring in an episode of Game Of Thrones. In fact it has enough in common with HBO’s high-fantasy series to warrant suspicion its release may have been planned to neatly coincide with the series finale.
Like Game Of Thrones, Witcher games – and The Witcher 3 in particular – is fantasy fare of the adult persuasion. It contains a lot of swearing. It contains more than its fair share of sex scenes. And yes, it contains battles filled with blood-drenching violence. None of any of the material feels gratuitous, by the way. Developer CD Projekt has handled the series’ narrative deftly. The brutality and forwardness of the characters, and plot events reflect the nature of an unforgiving world.
The Polish developer has taken its ambitions widescreen. While the first two games presented a vast sprawling world to immerse in, they were a series of beautiful, wide but restrictive corridors. The Witcher 3 is a sandbox, where players can spend ages traversing the fantasy world and whether they’re interested only in the main story or want to follow breadcrumb trails on flights of fancy, the game accommodates them.
The Witcher 3 hurls players into its world and tempts them into getting lost. The overarching narrative pushes them towards a denouement, but it’s the transient tasks that will probably ensure they spend days, weeks, even months lost in CD Projekt’s world. It’s like starring in your own episode of Game Of Thrones. As Jon Snow. If he wasn’t such a wet blanket.