DJ Arruda, ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
In a Summer Conference joint stream with GOG.com, CD Projekt Red made some big announcements regarding the hotly anticipated Witcher III: Wild Hunt, just a week before E3.
Confirming the release date for February 24th, 2015, the stream revealed the contents of the retail, collector’s, and digital editions of the game. The standard edition for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One comes with premiere content in and of itself— a copy of the soundtrack, a map of the game world, a compendium familiarizing players with the world of The Witcher, and stickers of Geralt’s signature wolf medallion, wrapped in a sleek protective sleeve (and a manual, of course).
The collector’s editions boast these items as well as a gorgeously crafted statue of Geralt fighting a griffon (a behind-the-scenes video reveals how it was made), a 200-page hardcover art book, a stunning steel book case, and a collector’s-grade replica of Geralt’s signature medallion. This beautiful collector’s item is truly worth the investment, encased in a box sporting a bloody version of the medallion, hinting at the conflicts to come, at a shiny 150 orens, er, dollars.
Along with all of the collector’s edition goodies, however, the digital edition boasts many treats of its own. Those who choose to buy the game on PC will receive digital versions of the items in the standard edition, as well as many bonuses, especially if purchased through GOG.com, where it will be DRM-free. Through a partnership with the website, CD Projekt Red is able to offer a discount for pre-ordering and a “loyalty discount” if the buyer owns one or both of the first two games in the series. In addition, players receive a digital copy of the first issue of Dark Horses’ Witcher: House of Glass series and a copy of RPG classic Neverwinter Nights and its three expansions. Wallpapers, videos, and other digital goods are also included.
But perhaps the biggest surprise is the announcement of another new Witcher, an adventure game for PC and Mac. Encompassing aspects of both card combat games like Magic and Hearthstone as well as strategy and other elements, the announcement will serve to entertain eager fans in the eight months until Wild Hunt releases. Players can sign up for a closed multiplayer-only beta version on the GOG website, and those who pre-order the game there automatically receive two invites to that beta.
The stream also announced news of GOG Galaxy, a game client offering cross-platform play with Steam while also boasting the DRM-free stance of the website. Dubbing itself the “optional client,” the platform is said to offer freedom of choice in all aspects, from updates and sharing achievements to friends and where one buys the games. Steam has held a pretty solid reign on the digital PC market, EA’s Origin another well-known competitor. This announcement seems to shake up the PC market, and CD Projekt Red, one of gaming’s most respectable studios, throwing in with GOG certainly makes the future interesting.
Overall, the stream delivered a lot of great information before E3, where it may have been lost or not had such an impact. The trailer should not be forgotten, either—entirely in game footage, we see montages of various witchers fighting monsters; hear Charles Dance (Game of Thrones‘ Tywin Lannister) voice Emperor Emhyr van Emreis; and view the gorgeous landscapes Geralt will be traveling as he evades wraiths and war alike. There are fair amounts of combat, magic, and traveling in this trailer, and an epic soundtrack accompanies the footage that portrays faces new and old.
This release will certainly be a great way to start off the new year, and it looks to be showing just what the new consoles are capable of while it pushes the PC ever further. Look for The Witcher III: Wild Hunt for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on February 24th, 2015, and the sooner releases of GOG Galaxy and The Witcher Adventure Game in the coming months.