The Witcher 3 is already considered by many, this writer included, to be the best game of this console generation. Winner of numerous game of the year awards and effusive praise from both game critics and players alike, the Witcher 3 is one of the most acclaimed games, not only in this generation but in recent memory.
It will be hard for any game in the near future to match the accomplishments of The Witcher 3, either from a technical, story, or gameplay point of view. That being said, what may indeed best the Witcher in its lifetime is… more Witcher. Though developer CD Projekt Red have stated that “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” will be the last main game released (at least for the time being) in The Witcher series, their attention now turning to 2017’s Cyberpunk 2027, players still have one last adventure with Geralt of Rivia to look forward to.
With the impending release of “Blood and Wine” the second and final piece of DLC for the Witcher 3, CD Projekt Red have promised players an experience that they themselves believe may be “better” than the main game. In an interview with Eurogamer Italy the lead writer on the series, Jakub Szamalek, said, “we believe that we managed to achieve something even better than the main game.” While this may seem like the standard boasting of a proud developer, and at face value certainly sounds like the typical hype we hear from Developers in the gaming industry, CD Projekt Red’s track record, and the utter brilliance of the core “Witcher 3” experience should, at the very least, garner gamers attention.
According to the developer “Blood and Wine” will offer a brand new, complete story, apart from the main game’s story, and will in fact wrap up the story of the game’s protagonist Geralt of Rivia. Saying goodbye to such a memorable and deeply drawn character may be a bit hard for gamers to accept, but it is an exciting proposition to be able to strap on the dual swords of the White Wolf one last time and see just how his chapter in The Witcher universe draws to a close.
Set in a brand new, and from the looks of it, vibrant area of Toussiant, that the developer describes as “a land untainted by war, where an atmosphere of carefree indulgence and knightly ritual masks an ancient, bloody secret.” This expansion is set to offer players around 20 hours of new gameplay, reunite Geralt with some old familiar characters from the Witcher universe and see him face off against a new charismatic foe.
Creating a memorable villain was a big focus for CD Projekt Red with Blood and Wine, in the same interview with Eurogamer, Szamalek stated, “we worked to make unique and memorable opponent of this expansion.” While the titular Wild Hunt of the main game certainly had moments when they cast an oppressive and frightening shadow they often took a back seat to the goings on of the rest of the cast and the threat that they posed never quite felt as fully realized and ominous as us players had hoped. So it will be exciting to see Geralt face off against a new enemy that may not only be his equal in combat, but in cunning and charisma as well.
When considering the developer’s comments and the quality of the main game it’s possible to see how “Blood and Wine” could end up being the best experience in The Witcher gaming library the more dubious claim made at the top of this article, that Blood and Wine may be the best game of 2016, is harder to accept, at least at first.
The idea that a piece of DLC may best the bevy of high quality games being released in 2016, especially when that list includes Uncharted 4 and Quantum Break, is an easy one to scoff at. But with the number of barebones and problem riddled games being released lately it’s not hard to imagine that if “Blood and Wine” were released as a standalone game apart from The Witcher 3, with it’s 20 hours of promised gameplay, it’s brand new world to explore, monsters to fight and characters to interact with, it would be anticipated to be a top tier gaming experience.
While multiplayer only games have been the fad as of late and even with their lack of any semblance of story and their pared down content they are still drawing AAA tags and high volume sales, regardless of gamers complaints. Single Player only games have a harder time primarily due to the fact that they can’t offer the same volume of gameplay and community interaction as multiplayer games. But if the measure of good gaming is the amount of content offered by a title, The Witcher 3 stands on a level all it’s own. And if that game is any indication of the level of content and depth of the experience of “Blood and Wine”, players are in for a deeply rewarding and complex gaming experience.
But of course, “Blood and Wine” is in fact a piece of DLC and not a fully fledged new release and as tantalizing as the details we have received thus far are, the have been nothing if not brief.
Players will have to wait at least a couple of months longer for Blood and Wine to drop and judge for themselves if it, as the developers hopes, offers an even better experience than the core Witcher 3 game and rises to levels unseen by DLC thus far and challenges the bevy of new AAA games being released this year.