The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt E3 Preview: Massive, Beautiful
Back on land, Geralt saw a group of bandits pounding on the door of a small home, demanding to be let in. Let them do their bandit thing or continue on with your core mission? The devs decided to step in, showing the bandits Geralt is deadlier than ever in The Witcher 3. Of note: the camera is closer, giving combat a more intimate feel, and Geralt now has a combat stance, slowing his movement as he navigates through battle. It also felt less frantic and more tactical, as Geralt picked his points to parry and attack the three bandits at the most opportune times. CDP notes they’ve also tweaked enemy AI so groups of bad guys won’t be so helpful in attacking Geralt one at a time, but from this particular battle, it still appeared as if enemies favor individual fights over coordinated group attacks.
Bandits dispatched, Geralt knocked on the door, informing the resident his troubles were over. The man thanked the witcher, but pointed out Geralt now had a new enemy, a powerful bandit leader who would inevitably seek revenge. This, CDP pointed out, was an example of choice and consequence in The Witcher 3. There will be immediate as well as long-term consequences to just about every decision a player makes — even if you’re just popping off the trail to do a seemingly quick good deed. It’s worth pointing out that these choices appear somewhat limited. In this particular case, it was: attack the bandits or let them do their thing. There was no option to lend a hand and kick down the guy’s door, potentially earning the bandit’s favor and a future ally.
Back on track, Geralt found the lone survivor of the Wild Hunt attack and questioned him, discovering which direction the horde was headed. But before the mission could continue, a cry for help was heard. A villager was found dead, the grisly victim of what appeared to be a monster attack. CDP pointed out that this new side mission — hunt down the monster — is a good example of how they are working to integrate side quests into the main storyline. Players won’t simply be able to find adventure by wandering off the beaten path, they’ll find plenty of tasks on it, a nice touch that will hopefully keep players engaged in the main storyline while feeding the desire to seek out fun on their own.
Now on the hunt for the monster, CDP showed off Geralt’s new Witcher Vision. By examining the area with this very Batman detective vision-like skill, footprints were discovered leading into the woods. Following the trail, Geralt discovered a circle of stones that had been carved with claw marks. Based on the prints, Geralt was able to determine the creature he was after was the aforementioned Leshen. A quick jaunt to the menu screen and the new Bestiary gave Geralt all the info he needed to further track and defeat the creature, and CDP added that this helpful tome will be filled with info on The Witcher 3’s 80 monster types. That’s a nice, wide range of creatures that should go a long way in making the game world alive and even more ripe for exploration.
Finally, after further tracking the monster, and making a handful of more difficult choices with consequences in the village, Geralt was ready to do battle with the Leshen. Unfortunately, the beast had its own buggy plans, and the demo ended on a low note. Didn’t matter, though. Even with its non-violent Leshen, I’d already seen enough of it to convince me it has the potential to set the new standard for open world RPGs.