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The RPG Files: Witcher 3 - 2 Expansions, 30+ Hours of Content

By Christopher Coke on April 10, 2015 | Columns | Comments

Witcher 3 - 2 Expansions, 30+ Hours of Content

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of the most anticipated games of the year. With the main game still a month from release, CD Projekt Red surprised fans by announcing its first two expansions, Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine were well under way and would total thirty hours or more of content.  The developers also took to Twitter to answer fan questions not seen in other big interviews. All that and more in this week’s RPG Files!

The first expansion hitting the game will be Hearts of Stone and is due in October. Hearts of Stone will send players to No Man’s Land to make a deal with the deceitful Man of Glass. Without playing the game proper, it’s hard to say how exciting working with this character will be (but, come on, with a name like the Man of Glass, you know he’s got to be at least somewhat interesting), or how tied into the main story it is. If there’s one area that CD Projekt Red excels in, however, it’s writing.

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Players have tons of choice in the Witcher series, so when studio co-founder Marcin Iwinski describes the content as being “caught in a thick tangle of deceit, [where] Geralt will need all his cunning and strength to solve the mystery and emerge unscathed,” I listen. This sounds to me like an excellent opportunity to expound on the game’s excellent roleplaying systems and give players the chance to bread crumb it through a meaty side ten-hour story.

The second expansion is due next year but also sounds much deeper. Blood and Wine will bring a completely new region to the game called Toussaint. The land sounds like an island lost in time with CD Projekt describing it as “untainted by war” with an atmosphere of “carefree indulgence.” It also hides a dark secret. If you know The Witcher at all, you know that being “untainted by war” and “carefree” are pretty much the antithesis of that world.

When I read this, my mind immediately goes to old horror tropes where something terrible is happening but everyone pretends it doesn’t exist to keep their ideal life intact. It reminds me of Cabin in the Woods or that part in The Passage where they sacrifice villagers to keep the vampires at bay. Dark stuff that begs you to pull back the WTF just a little bit further. 

Blood and Wine is expected to take about twenty hours to finish.

What really gets me excited about this is the rhetoric. CD Projekt Red is pro-consumer in a way most game studios just aren’t. These two expansions will be separate from the other sixteen pieces of free DLC. More than that, though, they sound like real expansions.

In an interview with IGN, Iwinski waxed nostalgic about the days when game add-ons seemed to mean something. You guys remember those days, right, when extra content came on discs and was a little more than horse armor? I sure do, because it wasn’t that long ago. And Iwinski does too. According to IGN’s interview, it sounds like the team at CD Projekt  wants to make something that capture’s last decade’s spirit of “game changing content.”

Somewhere along the line – when did the PS3 and Xbox 360 come out again? – we slid into this place where adding onto a game meant nickel and diming customers for skins and booster packs. Most gamers aren’t even aware that most DLC isn’t even made by the original developers but is actually farmed out. Why not outsource for a quick buck because, hey, the game is already sold. Everything else is just a good old fashion wring on the wash cloth.

But CD Projekt Red, they just impress. For $24.99, they’re releasing enough hours of play to warrant a whole second game if they were greedy (Saints Row 4). Likewise, they are, at least to this gamer, the case for why we should root for indie studios to make it big without marrying into major publishers. EA wouldn’t allow 16 free pieces of DLC, even if they were making up for yet another EA BadTM.

The Witcher 3 is out May 19th.

Quick Hits:

Speaking of The Witcher 3, Senior Designer, Damien Monnier, took to Twitter to answer questions from fans.  Some interesting information came out that we haven’t heard much about. Of particular note:

  • The author of the original book series, Andrzej Sapkowski, was actually involved with the original Witcher, however, CDPR’s writers took over The Witcher 3
  • Dark Souls was a “big influence” for W3’s combat: “responsive, fast”
  • The free DLC is “not small at all” and includes quests
  • Armor sets are not customizable but the top 3 each have three tiers of upgrades
  • The ocean has monsters, storms, and rocks, and boats are destructible
  • Ciri plays extremely fast and is not played exclusively in flashbacks
  • CDPR’s silence on the PS4 version is due to Microsoft contracts but “don’t worry about a thing.”

If you don’t mind spoilers, you can watch the first fifteen minutes of the game here.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was leaked ahead of its planned date. The game will continue with series protagonist Adam Jensen two years after the end of Human Revolution. It will feature improved AI and a new set of augmentations to customize your character, but your path through the game will be remain your choice. The big question: will the boss fights be outsourced again? Have a trailer.

The first expansion for Pillars of Eternity is well underway. Developer, Obsidian Entertainment, hopes to have it released to “be there” for when players finish up their first or second playthrough. They’re also releasing a tabletop card game. Which fits, because, well, everything is a card game these days.

Void Expanse has officially released! To celebrate, the team has released a new trailer. In other Steam news, Neocore Games is releasing a third game in the Van Helsing action-RPG series which is due in May.

Hey, look! Asteroids is back. This time as an RPG. This reminds me a lot of when Battleship got turned into a movie.

That’s all from us, folks. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Christopher Coke / Chris has been a fan of MMOs since the mid-1990s when he cut his teeth on MUDs. These days he scours the internet for the latest and greatest multiplayer gaming experiences.