If you can believe it, today marks the third anniversary of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. While three years isn’t a whole lot of time in the grand scheme of things, for RPGs it really can be, especially considering the fact that the games community still can’t stop talking about this game. I’m as guilty of that as anyone, as I just spent all of God of War comparing the game to The Witcher III in terms of the parent-child relationship shown on screen.
And since the book series that inspired the games is getting a Netflix series helmed by showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, which will likely premiere in 2020, there are plenty of reasons to keep the game on your mind. After all, The Witcher III was the final game in the trilogy, and the most well known and well received.
CD Projekt Red have decided to recall the game’s anniversary with a brand-new bit of game art by Kooks000.
Today marks the third anniversary of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt release! On this occasion we’ve managed to gather the gang for celebrations.
Thanks to Count Beledal’s parestisomach we captured this magical moment. Join us and show the world your favourite shots from the game! pic.twitter.com/UNMZc7Lcoj
— The Witcher (@witchergame) May 19, 2018
Meanwhile, here at Bleeding Cool, we’ve decided to commemorate the anniversary by sharing some of our fondest memories of the game — the stories of how we heard about it, why we picked it up, and why we can’t let it go.
From Gavin Sheehan:
I didn’t play The Witcher 3 because I wasn’t all that interested in it at the time, so I watched a buddy do it. My experience is kicking back and having fun conversations over beers while watching the story, as he cleaned out ghosts from wells and hunted down demons in the countryside.
As for me, well. I was sold on The Witcher III once I was told it would involve over 200 hours of gameplay once both expansions hit. I’ve always been fond of lengthy open-world RPGs, so it was a really easy sell for the local GameStop. I marathoned the base game in a week, and was pretty much immediately in love.
Sure, aspects of the game were not to my liking — some choices seem to have less consequence than others, and the game certainly chooses sides when it comes to your four possible romantic options. However, the fact that the story was about Ciri rather than the player-controlled Geralt is the kind of intentional plot decision that I feel never got quite as much weight as it deserved. We’ve talked about it before, and will again, but no game since has made that same call. And yet, it’s such a profoundly satisfying one. So many games focus on the player character as being the most important, but that’s often left us with the least satisfying conclusions — either you save everything, or you’re forced to lose in a kind of developer deus ex machina.
Meanwhile, having the game’s conclusion depend entirely on the actions of an NPC (influenced by seemingly random moments of choice on our part) was so breathtakingly new that it seems like the perfect solution to the ultimate storytelling problem of video games.
While I am somewhat sad to let Geralt and his story go, I think extending the series would be a mistake. Sure, we could do with tie-in games from the point of different characters — playing as Yennefer or Triss would be fascinating — doing anything to alter the ending of The Witcher III would be a grave disservice to the game.