Richard Cobbett on RPG Artbooks

The latest installment of Richard Cobbett's RPG-focused weekly column for Rock, Paper, Shotgun is dedicated to artbooks. While by no means comprehensive, Cobbett offers examples of artbooks for RPG series that he has found interesting throughout the years. An excerpt on The World of the Witcher, which isn't quite an artbook but still fits the same mold:

The World of the Witcher meanwhile takes a completely different slant. It’s a gorgeous companion book to the series rather than an artbook per se, but you certainly get your money’s worth in terms of pictures. Instead of being about the games as games though, it presents itself as an in-universe text that combines them with vast amounts of text going into the different monster types, the nature of sorceresses, how Witchers train and so on, with varying levels of seriousness, and supposedly written by Geralt’s bard friend Dandelion and occasional guest authors like Vesemir. The writers don’t always seem to remember that, but it adds a fun spice to the prose when they do (“Vampires. Most of the traits commonly ascribed to these creatures are bollocks.”)

If you’ve played the games then you’ll know most of it already, but it’s a great way of dipping back into the world and filling in gaps that you’d only really know from reading the books. Chapter V for instance is an abridged version of both Geralt and Ciri’s backstories, and then a very potted version of the trilogy. It’s a great celebration of a fantastic series that keeps up the kayfabe right up to the point of advertising a spin-off game at the end, and a book I can easily imagine reading instead of embarking on some 200 hours of RPG when I want to fondly remember Geralt’s adventures.