The latest gameplay trailer for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt gives us the most comprehensive look yet at CD Projekt Red’s upcoming roleplaying game, set to arrive on May 19 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.
This time around everyone’s favorite monster-hunting mutant, Geralt of Rivia, has been hired to track down his former protégé, Ciri, descendant of an ancient elven lineage and “a living weapon that can alter the fate of the world.” Does her white hair and tutelage at the feet of Geralt mean that Ciri is herself a witcher? We’ll have to find out.
Geralt’s hunt takes him to the Northern Realms, a continent-spanning region filled with lush wildernesses, bustling cities, and ancient dungeons. Over the course of the trailer, Geralt is shown riding a horse into bucolic valleys, leaping across mountain peaks, swimming underwater, and even sailing a small boat (near a whale!).
The region is also plagued by horrible monsters, but fortunately, killing monsters is pretty much Geralt’s raison d’être. Creating clearings will allow the locals to re-settle, creating new hubs of civilization for Geralt to take on quests and trade. While gear tended to remain relatively static in The Witcher 2, Wild Hunt promises hundreds of weapon and armor customization options to sate the loot-lust of RPG fans.
One of the Witcher series’ biggest selling points has always been its mature approach to fantasy, and this is in full display in the trailer. All of the familiar tropes of high fantasy are there — elves, dwarves, kings, quests, dragons — but grounded in a gritty sense of reality. The poor and downtrodden become displaced by the struggles of the powerful, non-human minorities are mistrusted, mistreated, and ghettoized, and violence all too often becomes the only meaningful currency. Think Game of Thrones, but with an Eastern European sensibility.
Sex has also always featured prominently in the series, and Wild Hunt appears no different. The first game featured a problematic mechanic of Geralt receiving titillating playing cards for each of his sexual conquests, which gave sex a seedy, “gotta catch ’em all!” feel. The developer heard that criticism and admirably dialed it back for the sequel, removing the uncomfortable mini-game while still maintaining a sex-positive attitude. Geralt is shown romancing a few women over the course of the trailer (two at a time, in one instance), but the highlight (perhaps of the entire trailer) is this WTF moment from the first 30 seconds. I, for one, am sold.