The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Previews and Comic-Con Panel Reports

Given a fairly lengthy demo of the title was shown at San Diego Comic-Con, I'm not at all surprised to note that a few new The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt previews have popped up in the last couple of days. As always, we've rounded them up for your reading pleasure.


In camp, Geralt can meditate and prep certain items and mutagens based on the challenges he expects to face next. For werewolves, Geralt takes a silver shrapnel bomb, which prevents werewolves from regenerating health. He also opts for a strength mutagen to help him do more damage. The mutagens have to be managed carefully, however; loading too many starts to result in unpleasant side effects.

In the battle against the werewolf, we got to hear a bit about the game's more flexible difficulty system. Rather than radically adjusting the strength of the individual monsters, the team is going to scale the difficulty of encounters by increasing the number of allies the monster has. So, for instance, an easy fight against the werewolf might just include one or two additional wolves, while a hard fight could include five or more.

After the fights, we got to see a bit more exploration as the Witcher climbed up into a cave on the side of the hillock. The sequel also includes new exploration options for Geralt to dive underwater, which he does in the tunnels under the hill. At the other end of the underwater tunnels, Geralt confronts the Tree's Heart, a massive, pulsing form that lies imprisoned in the roots of the massive tree on top of the hill. Assuming this is the evil power plaguing Downwarren, Geralt moves to destroy, but stops as the Tree's Heart asks to be freed so it can help confront the real evil in the forest. Does Geralt just burn the Tree's Heart? Does he trust it and give it its freedom? These are the choices the player has to grapple with.


The map looks huge, and according to Monnier, the quest location would take 25 minutes to reach by horseback. The map is huge and still carries over the hand-drawn style from previous installments (which was kind of a pain to navigate, even if it is pretty).

In the first combat encounter with a group of swamp creatures, it's clear that Geralt has gotten more limber in his old age, dashing near and away from enemies with ease. A later fight showed some of his new abilities including a burst of flame out of his hands to immolate single enemies, as well as a confusion attack.

The quest structure isn't radically different: Geralt takes a hike through the woods and hacks his way through a handful of enemies, chats with an NPC, repeat (with a little swimming thrown in for good measure). The world of The Witcher appears to still be filled with plenty of ancient and odd creatures through gorgeously-realized environments.

The Game Fanatics:

Combat in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be extremely familiar to those who played either of the two previous titles in the series. Geralt is still a master of (Signs,) which are a Witcher's version of using magic. We were only treated to a Two-Handed Sword presentation of Geralt's slaying abilities but the animations were fluid, visually satisfying and as Damien said before, there was no shortage of gore when the bodies had finished hitting the ground. The Signs that Geralt wielded were showcased the most with each combat scenario we saw and these consisted of a (fire spraying) ability, a (mind control) ability which seemed to stun the undead, a (telekinesis) ability that would knock opponents to the ground and a few other tricks. Rounding out the few other combat mechanics we were shown was the ability to dodge roll and also wield alchemical potions and concoctions against your enemies, a staple that Geralt has had since the beginning of the series.

After Geralt had found the lost child, it was discovered that the young one was missing his voice (on purpose this time!) and we would have to brave a cliff side to reach a Harpy nest and find the Vial that contained it. Damien Monnier made his way promptly to the cliff side and then showed off a new feature in the series the ability for Geralt to climb rocks, much like Nathan Drake or Lara Croft as an example, minus the parkour element and in a more realistic nature. At the top of this cliff side, he was waylaid by Harpies and quickly dispatched them with his use of Signs, Potions and overall sword-in-the-face skills. Geralt retrieved the vial from the nest that was needed for the child and then stopped to show off something else that had only been talked about briefly and shown in small glimpses before.

Akin to the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, everything you see, you can travel too in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Where the real difference is in this title though, is that it has a few years on Skyrim and it really, really shows. Folks, this game is gorgeous. You could hear jaws dropping when Damien Monnier stood Geralt on the cliffside and panned the horizon. The other improvement over other titles in the genre is the sheer size of the game. When we were first introduced to the fast travel option, Damien panned the map for us and showed us what was easily the biggest world I've ever seen in a title like this. We were assured that this world was (lived in) and wouldn't contain pockets of absolutely nothing just to fill out the land. We were also told the title would contain a unique ecosystem that featured Humans, Monsters and Animals all having effects on each other throughout the land in their own faction-like ways.


Every time we see The Witcher 3, it looks better and better. The demo shown today at a San Diego Comic-Con panel picked up right where the E3 press demo left off. Geralt had just restored Johnny's voice; in return, he leads Geralt to a decrepit-looking hut housing an equally decrepit woman. Turns out, she's actually a medium for a trio of witches, who are trapped inside a tapestry and possess the old woman to communicate. They point Geralt in the direction of a tree where they say a great evil resides, and give him a ritual dagger.

To get the job done, Geralt heads out of the swamp and into a forest, just as dusk falls into night under a full moon. The lunar cycle makes Geralt job's harder, because soon after finding a body covered in claw marks, he's accosted by a hulking werewolf and his two attack dogs. Luckily, Geralt came prepared, having already equipped himself with an empowering potion--a double-edged sword, since chugging too many potions will actually make Geralt start tripping balls from high toxicity levels. The werewolf's swipes are vicious, but with an agile combination of carefully timed dodges, sword slashes, and the fiery blast of an Igni spell, Geralt dices the lycanthrope into mincemeat. That leaves the path clear to a cave beneath the roots of this fabled evil tree.

Finally, Polaris has a video interview.