The Witcher 3 Breaks All The Rules

In one of his latest editorials for The Escapist, writer Shamus Young captures what I thought was the most impressive quality of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: CD Projekt's refusal to cut corners. For all its flaws, the game's commitment to both quality and quantity is something that has yet to cease to impress me:

Sure, you can have characters with different voices shout combat messages at each other. What I'm saying is that games can't spend that much time on complex, nuanced worldbuilding, because developers are afraid players won't want to listen to all that politicking, exposition, debate, and character-building.

Witcher 3 does exactly that. Every region has its own story. There's tons of politics, religion, history, culture, flirting, and even really shitty puns! The game keeps this up for over 100 hours!

Well, you have to understand that developers have certain tricks they use to pad out their games to 100 hours. In Dragon Age: Origins, you've got long sections like The Fade and The Deep Roads that are purely combat for hours and hours. I mean, it's not like you can give players 100 straight hours of plot!

The Witcher 3 does! There's no grind at all, unless you think "having long conversations" is a grind. The game actually contains many different stories, each of which is larger, more complex, and more reactive to player choice than than your typical AAA game. The Island of Skellige contains more characters, plot-points, cutscenes, and story beats than the entire plot of (say) Dishonored or even BioShock Infinite. And that's just one area of the game!