Updated by Will Fulton on 7-28-2015: CD Projekt Red has explained how the The Witcher 3‘s recently announced new game plus mode will work, in forum posts from community manager Marcin Momot.
All enemies will be considerably stronger. Geralt’s experience and alchemy recipes all carry directly over, and he will start with a free Clearing Potion to reset his skills and try a different build. Anyone lower than level 30 will be bumped up to it at the start of the NG+.
Most, but not all, of Geralt’s items will carry over. Excluded are quest items, books and letters, Gwent cards, usable items (such as food), and trophies. That still leaves all of his money, equipment and crafting ingredients.
You may select any difficulty when you start NG+, and are eligible for the Death March achievement, which is awarded for playing the game from start to finish on the highest difficulty setting.
Original Story: The last of CD Projekt Red’s 16 free DLC additions to The Witcher 3 has been announced, and it’s sure to excite fans of the massive RPG: a new game plus mode.
NG+, the final FREE DLC, is on the way! Stay tuned. Won’t happen this week – we need a bit more time to finish it. pic.twitter.com/jheuPi94wc
— The Witcher (@witchergame) July 27, 2015
This will allow players to start over at the beginning of the game, but carrying over their skills and possibly equipment from the previous, completed run. The difficulty of the new game should be proportionally increased to match the strength of the players who have proven themselves capable of beating the game normally. The mode will not be ready on schedule this week, but should be added shortly. This should help tide die-hard fans over until the first of two announced expansions comes out later this year.
Related: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt review
The term “New Game Plus” (or “New Game+”) was coined in the 1995 Squaresoft RPG Chrono Trigger, but similar features can be found in earlier games like The Legend of Zelda and Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins. The mode is most commonly found in RPGs, where players have acquired a personalized set of skills and/or items that can be carried over into another lap of the game. Items tied to plot progression are generally taken, in order to prevent the story from being circumvented.
Geralt’s skill trees offer far more options than can be acquired in a single play-through of the game. When the developer confirmed that there is no level cap to limit how powerful Geralt can become, many players requested a new game plus mode to let them reset the clock and keep progressing.
The base game offered over 200 hours of scripted content. In the months since release, the developer has released a steady stream of small, free additions, including character skins, haircuts for Geralt, and whole new quests and monster contracts. The first of two announced expansions, Hearts of Stone, is scheduled for October with 10-plus hours of a new story set in and around Oxenfurt. In 2016, Blood and Wine will add a whole new region to the game for 20-plus hours of intrigue and adventuring.