The first 15 minutes of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt have been shown off by CD Projekt RED.
IGN published the video as an exclusive first, giving us our first introductory taste of the game ahead of its May release. You can check it out below.
The footage features a glimpse into the game’s dialogue tree system, which looks to be your run-of-the-mill decision between being aloof and brooding or interested and heroic. These systems typically offer little variance, giving you the “illusion of choice” by tacking on a “Wow, rude,” or “Hey, thanks,” but ultimately leading to the same bit of script in the end – but the game’s developer, CD Projekt RED, has long prided itself on ensuring that choices in its series are meaningful, with long-term consequences which can see the narrative veer dramatically in different directions depending on Geralt’s actions.
Although a large part of the video is focused on traveling and admiring the landscape, there are several opportunities to take in the combat system as well. The weapon wheel is still in use, Geralt is still rolling around like an acrobat to dodge arrows and delivering brutal finishing blows to enemies. But the video also shows a new form of combat: Geralt, atop his horse, charges at a bandit and as he draws nearer he leans off to the side, pulls back his sword. Suddenly everything starts moving more slowly: the game offsets the often-finicky system of mounted combat in other games by slowing down time once you come within range of an enemy, giving you ample opportunity to aim your strike. It’s an interesting system, although whether it will become cumbersome (or whether there will be an option to disable it) is something that will only be revealed in time.
All that aside, let’s talk about what really makes this video great: The Witcher 3 is beautiful. The skybox features a vibrant sun amidst a sea of dark clouds as it nears the horizon, casting streams of light through the forest and transforming the characters, at times, into mere silhouettes. The lighting is excellent, with shadows offering a contrast to the game’s surprisingly-bright palette. The terrain looks as though each piece were designed individually, so that a forest actually looks like a forest, and not like a few different types of trees copy and pasted onto a square. It’s not hard to believe that an i5-2500K processor and a whopping 40GB of free space are listed as minimum requirements.
The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt will be released on May 19th on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.