Skip to main content

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt hits Xbox Game Pass a day before Netflix debut

Netflix is gearing up to release its show The Witcher on December 20, but if you just can’t wait to dive into Geralt’s world and you don’t want to spend much money, you can start playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on Xbox Game Pass even earlier.

Available on December 19 as part of Xbox Game Pass, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been heralded as one of the best role-playing games of all time, with an enormous scale that can easily lead to you sinking hundreds of hours into side content while barely scratching the surface of the story. Even the most trivial quests have excellent writing backing them up, with great characters that feel like real people rather than targets you need to defeat in order to progress.

Related Videos

You don’t need to have played the previous two Witcher games in order to enjoy The Witcher 3 on Xbox Game Pass, though the extra background you’ll get on Geralt and his associates will certainly help. Even if you aren’t usually a fan of large-scale role-playing adventures, the work CD Projekt Red put in to make the game as immaculate as it is can’t be overlooked, and because it’s part of Xbox Game Pass, you have very little to lose by trying it out.

Xbox Game Pass - X019 - Announcing New Games

It’s also a great time to try out Xbox Game Pass, too, including the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate bundle that also features Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass for PC. During the holiday season, you can get your first three months for $1, and the subscription will give you a month of EA Access, three months of Discord Nitro, and six months of Spotify Premium. EA Access means you’ll get even more games to play for that same price, and since you can’t even get lunch at McDonald’s for $1 anymore, we suggest diving in.

The Witcher television series stars Henry Cavill as Geralt and is based on the books — the same source material as the video game trilogy, which takes place afterward. It has already been renewed for a second season, and features many of the same characters from the video games in prominent roles.

Editors' Recommendations

Xbox Game Pass adds Lego Star Wars and a former Switch console exclusive
Promotional art of Lego Star Wars The Skywalker Saga.

Xbox Game Pass is getting 11 new games in December, with some out on the platform starting today. The list includes The Game Awards nominated Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga and Eastward, which was previously a console exclusive on Nintendo Switch.

Microsoft's gaming service tends to add two batches of games every month, so this new batch makes up the first half of its December releases. Starting today, players can already download Eastward, The Walking Dead: The Final Season, and Totally Reliable Delivery Service.

Read more
Your 2021 Samsung TV may get Xbox Game Pass and more game apps next week
A tv shows the new Xbox Game Pass that comes to Samsung Gaming Hub soon.

Samsung is expanding its Gaming Hub by adding the cloud-based streaming app to some 2021 smart TV models starting next week. The service itself is getting more enticing, as the app will soon support 4K cloud game streaming at 60 frames per second (fps) on select games via Nvidia GeForce Now.

Samsung Gaming Hub launched this summer on the company's line of 2022 smart TVs. At launch, the service allowed TV owners to stream games on their TV through cloud services like Xbox Game Pass and Amazon Luna. With its latest update, Samsung has made it clear that the service is only growing as it looks to retroactively put it in front of even more smart TV users.

Read more
God of War Ragnarok shares a key strength with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Hafgufa flies away in God of War Ragnarok.

God of War Ragnarok’s main story is memorable, but some of the smaller moments are what have stuck with me most since completing it. I'm not just talking about its moments of quiet, but its optional Favors as well. These sidequests can be entirely ignored, but skipping them is a mistake as they contain some of the game’s best scenes. It's a trait that God of War Ragnarok shares with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, one of the best RPGs of the last decade.
In some large RPGs, sidequests can often boil down to boring fetch quests, or they simply may not have as much polish put into their writing. As a result, they can feel like content bloat that does more harm than good to the game’s pacing. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and God of War Ragnarok avoid this problem by elevating these sidequests, making the entire adventure feel more cohesive and ensuring that the small moments stick out as some of the best.
More than a side thing
Like God of War Ragnarok, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt features a lengthy main story full of memorable characters, set pieces, and boss fights. While those alone would have made it a strong RPG, it’s remembered as an all-time great because of how rich its world is, something that's reflected in its side content. There were quests like Ghosts of Past, which pays off the character arc of Witcher 2 character Letho, but it's entirely possible to finish the game without ever seeing it.

Others, like Return to Crookback Bog, turn what could just be some fun supernatural fights into a chilling tale about abuse and broken families. While The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’s main narrative is strong, these side moments are what make it a game that sticks with you years after release. I can already tell the same will be true of God of War Ragnarok, as some of my favorite missions in the game are entirely optional Favors.
An early game Favor called The Weight of Chains sees Kratos, Mimir, and Atreus freeing a giant Lyngbakr sea creature that Mimir imprisoned while working with Odin. They manage to break its chains, but find that it now struggles to move and do what it used to. This sidequest takes a series of somewhat standard combat encounters and puzzles and spins them into critical aspects of a memorable tale. The Weight of Chains reflects on how Kratos and Mimir’s reckless actions have had irreversible consequences, but they now have an opportunity to be better people in the future.
Another standout Favor called Secret of the Sands, where Kratos and Atreus free a trapped jellyfish-like creature called a Hafgufa, is also quite beautiful. The short story shows what Kratos will do to be able to spend more time with his son in the face of Ragnarok. However ordinary these sidequests may be from a gameplay standpoint, their narrative relevance and level of polish are on par with some of God of War Ragnarok’s main quests. This high effort even applies to some side missions that wholly exist with NPCs in the game’s overworld, ones that aren't even built around huge set pieces. For example, there’s The Lost Treasure quest.

Read more