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The Witcher 3’s final free DLC is a New Game Plus mode [update: NG+ explained]

The Witcher 3-Wild Hunt
Image used with permission by copyright holder
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.

— 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.

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.

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Will Fulton
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Will Fulton is a New York-based writer and theater-maker. In 2011 he co-founded mythic theater company AntiMatter Collective…
The Witcher reveal repeats Cyberpunk 2077’s biggest mistake
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On March 21, CD Projekt Red confirmed a new The Witcher game while revealing a new Unreal Engine 5 partnership with Epic Games. Shortly after that announcement, CD Projekt Red's Global PR Director Radek Grabowski had to clarify some crucial details about this new game and the Epic Games partnership in a tweet:
While this tweet clarifies the biggest misconceptions about CD Projekt Red's The Witcher announcement, it also highlights that the developer announced this game way too early and vaguely. CD Projekt Red is already losing control of some of the discourse around the game and risks repeating one of the biggest mistakes of Cyberpunk 2077's development and marketing: Overpromising.
Cyberpunk 2077's big mistake
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Cyberpunk 2077 Teaser Trailer
For eight years, an RPG that was supposed to change the genre forever was promised, but in the end, all we got was a fairly standard open-world RPG with a bevy of technical problems at release. The massive backlash happened because people were so excited for Cyberpunk 2077, partly because CD Projekt Red hyped up all of these ambitious features over eight years.
The reality is that game development is an arduous journey that doesn't always go according to plan. Designs change, features are cut, and sometimes the finished product just doesn't come together. CD Projekt Red probably never meant to lie to its fans, but priorities and development timelines shifted and what the developer ultimately delivered with Cyberpunk 2077 wasn't up to snuff.
As CD Projekt Red made the mistake of announcing Cyberpunk 2077 too early and overpromising, I thought the studio would what to share more details on its next game until it was close to release. That was not the case. 
Initial Confirmation
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Meanwhile, CD Projekt Red is still recovering from the backlash toward Cyberpunk 2077's rocky launch. Announcing a follow-up title to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt now not only restores a little bit of goodwill with fans and investors but will also attract some Unreal Engine-experienced developers who might be nervous to come to CD Projekt Red following Cyberpunk 2077. 2022 has been a year of anticlimatic and purposefully vague game announcements. CD Projekt Red's The Witcher announcement is simply the latest one to be part of this trend, but it's also one of the most worrying because this developer has made this mistake before.  
While CD Projekt Red felt pressured to confirm this game early, they need to be very careful if they don't want to repeat the mistakes of Cyberpunk 2077. The best course of action for CD Projekt Red to take now is to stay completely silent until it has a clear idea of what the finished game will entail. If that isn't the case, this could all be building to disappointment in the year 2030. 

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