Skip to main content

You watched the Witcher, and now you want to play it. Where should you start?

This Witcher game will be the perfect entry point for new fans

The Netflix series The Witcher is officially available to stream today, and adapts Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s book series with plenty of style and flair. It is not the first adaptation of his work, however, with the game developer CD Projekt Red having previously made a trilogy of video games based on the franchise. These are among the best role-playing games of all time, with deep and emotional storytelling, engaging questlines, and memorable characters.

If you have never played a Witcher game, where is the best place to start, and what console should you play it on? We’re here to help you make the choice.

Which game should you play?

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Killing Monsters Cinematic Trailer

If you are looking to play a Witcher game in preparation for The Witcher on Netflix – or after you’ve watched the first season – we recommend you play The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. The latest game in the series is one of the best role-playing games ever made, and you’ll recognize several of the characters in the game, including title character Geralt as well as Triss, Ciri, and Yennefer. Ciri has a very large role in this game, and she features heavily in the Neflix series, though the characters aren’t exactly as they appear or act in the games.

It might seem strange to start with the third game in the series, but CD Projekt Red’s games are not direct adaptations of the books. In fact, they take place after the books. The show should provide extra context for the characters who, in the game, will seem older and more experienced. Also, The Witcher 3 is the only Witcher game developed for the current console generation, so it looks far more appealing than its predecessors.

Where should you play it?

best ps4 games horizon zero dawn
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Witcher 3 is currently available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. All four versions are enjoyable, but there are differences.

If you have a capable gaming PC or the Xbox One X, that’s where you should play The Witcher 3. These devices will give you the best game performance and the highest-quality visuals.  You can also purchase versions of these games with all downloadable content already included regardless of which system you select, letting you play through additional stories and become more immersed in its unique fantasy world. Alternatively, The Witcher 3 is now part of Xbox Game Pass. Subscribers will be able to play The Witcher 3 at no additional charge.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 is also a great place to enjoy The Witcher 3. While there’s no equivalent to the Xbox Game Pass offer, the overall experience is extremely similar. If a PlayStation 4 is all you have (which is likely, given its popularity) then don’t hesitate to buy a copy of the game. The Witcher 3 Complete Edition, which includes all the DLC, is frequently available for $20.

If you only have a Nintendo Switch, you can certainly enjoy the entire game on the console without worrying about performance taking too much of a hit. It’s also the best way to play The Witcher 3 on a portable device. Graphics quality is far behind the PC, Xbox, and PS4 versions, however, and the Switch version’s more recent release date means a higher price. We recommend the other versions unless you think portable play is a must-have.

What about other Witcher games?

CD Projekt Red has two other Witcher games, of course; The Witcher and The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings. Those games are fine role-playing titles for their day, but they’re significantly older, released in 2009 and 2011 respectively. Their aging look and less refined gameplay makes them a tough introduction. Stick with The Witcher 3 and go back for them if you just can’t get enough of the franchise.

Editors' Recommendations

Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
Everything we know about The Witcher 4
A talisman depicting a dog with glowing red eyes lays in the snow.

The Witcher series may have begun as a series of novels, but there's little argument that it wasn't the games that took this niche Polish fantasy world to mainstream success. The first game was a rough but ambitious debut for developer CD Projekt Red, but it was with the sequels that they -- and the games -- became very impressive. The Witcher 3 in particular was a massive success, both in terms of sales and critical reception. The open-world game brought millions of players into the world of monsters, magic, politics, and a deep RPG story that many consider to be the top of the genre.

After the game's success, leading to multiple spinoff properties including a live-action Netflix show and the stand-alone Gwent card game, few doubted that the series would end there. While the team's first attempt at a new IP left much to be desired, CD Projekt Red looks to recapture the goodwill and success that put them on the map with another entry which, for now at least, is being considered The Witcher 4. There are just a few details to dig into at the moment, with not much more than an announcement that the project is being worked on, but here's everything we know so far about The Witcher 4.

Read more
A new The Witcher game is in development at CD Projekt Red
A talisman depicting a dog with glowing red eyes lays in the snow.

In a surprise post on the franchise's website, CD Projekt Red announced that it is currently developing a new game based on The Witcher, one that isn't a spinoff focusing on Gwent.

Read more
Cyberpunk 2077’s current gen update is out now
V looking very angry in Cyberpunk 2077.

In a lengthy stream detailing a suite of improvements coming to Cyberpunk 2077, developer CD Projekt Red announced that the game's current-gen update is available today.

Cyberpunk 2077 — Next-Gen Gameplay | PlayStation 5

Read more