DJ Arruda ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
In a surprising piece of news, CD Projekt Red announced that the long anticipated The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been pushed back into February 2015. With rumors circulating that the end of Geralt of Rivia’s trilogy could be arriving as early as this spring, the letter reveals that the company had planned to release the game in the last few months of 2014.
This would have put it in direct competition with the also eagerly anticipated third game in the Dragon Age series, Inquisition. Yet though it is surprising, this announcement seems to be for the best. Dragon Age: Inquisition itself received another year of development time after initial plans to release in Fall 2013, and Watch_Dogs, another anticipated launch title for the new generation of consoles, was pushed back until May 27th. These delays hurt the already slow start of new games for the next generation of consoles, yet in the end the developers seem to believe the games will be worth the wait.
In the open letter revealing this news on their website, CD Projekt Red explains that they want this third game to “expand creative boundaries, set new benchmarks, develop the genre as a whole.” Their ambitions seem worthy of waiting another year, as they plan to end on a high note that will define the genre with a vast open world and complete freedom of choice. The 11 year old studio stands among gaming’s best, as they always keep an open ear to their fans and work to make their games the best that they can be. This decision is testament to this high standard of quality, and the extra months of play testing and quality assurance will undoubtedly aid in making this game all it is built up to be. As there is much build-up in this final part of the trilogy, with the rich dark fantasy world based on Andrzej Sapkowski novels coming back to end the saga of the titular witcher Geralt as he faces war and wraiths alike.
The first two games featured rich combat and deep story choices along with engaging and diverse characters and locations. From what has been seen so far of Wild Hunt, the game already looks gorgeous and it seems to have refined many aspects of the previous games. Given this extra time, gamers can catch up on the first two games in anticipation, and with the hope that decisions made in the second game will carry over there is no reason not to try out this wonderful, immersive series. The letter goes on to say that “The decision we made was difficult, thoroughly considered, and ultimately clear and obvious” and though it may upset fans who have been waiting to see just what their new consoles can do, the developers send a clear message that this is the right choice to make. It is better to wait longer for a good game then be stuck with a bad game, and it seems like developers are becoming more aware of this idea.
Though still an amazing end to the trilogy, Mass Effect 3 could have been an even better game given another year of development, and BioWare seems to have taken this message to heart with the one year extension for Dragon Age: Inquisition. These games are mentioned as they are peers to the Witcher and these series define the Western RPG, among others. In looking at this trend in the industry it is clear that the game creators are taking advantage of the possibilities of this new console generation, and are not wanting to jump the guns too soon.
The company ends the letter by directly addressing both the gamers and shareholders. To the former they apologize, saying “we know many of you would have liked to play The Witcher 3 sooner, as soon as possible, even. We’re sorry to make you wait longer than you, or we, initially assumed you would.” Yet there should be nothing to apologize for if in the end the game provides the many hours of exploration promised and redefines the genre as one of the best. To the latter they accept responsibility and thank them for their understanding, saying “We firmly believe that quality – more than any other factor – determines a game’s success, and that the decision we have made is thus equally valid in business terms.”
That is an idea to get behind and ultimately speaks to the reasoning behind this shocking, but in the long run wise, choice. Does waiting a few more months from the expected release date really matter if the game blows you away? No. Is the wait going to be hard? Yes. But in the end the decisions are also out of the gamer’s hands and gaming is an industry like any other. This game carries with it the promise of solidifying CD Projekt Red as one of gaming’s greatest studios and making The Witcher series one to live up to. If Geralt needs a little more time to prepare to face the Wild Hunt, then let him. Wouldn’t want the wraiths or Nilfgaardians to get the upper hand…