It’s currently Twinfinite’s Game of the Year week! All week long, our Editors and Writers will be nominating games from this year that stood out in 2015. Today, Senior Editor Ishmael Romero tells us why The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is worthy of being Twinfinite’s 2015 Game of the Year.
A Game of the Year (GOTY) is not a title that is taken lightly. It is a game that delivers a master class demonstration of not only its genre, but of how the medium can be used to deliver rich, rewarding experiences. 2015 happened to have more contenders than usual as every month brought something worth talking about along for the ride. But there was one particular game that released in May of this year with lofty goals that it managed to hit with amazing direction, visuals, and story. That game is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
The Witcher 3 is one of those games that doesn’t come around very often. It is an Action RPG, yes, a fairly common genre. But, not many games are able to pull off the execution that The Witcher 3 has. It is a demonstration of what happens when the player experience is just as important a part of development as the team behind a game’s vision. At first glance, you have nothing more than an open world adventure set in a realm of fantasy. One where magic is as common as sneezing, and where it isn’t too odd to lose a loved one to some roaming monstrosity. Even those walking around in the same skin as you (you may call them humans) are not averse to cutting you down without a moment’s hesitation. Death lurks around every corner, but just beyond it is an adventure ready to be discovered.
Wild Hunt is a game with a very deep story to tell. A story about love, loss, monsters, and humanity. We get to see Geralt, this mutant hunter of monsters, deal with the trials and tribulations that we must all face as he makes his way through the dangerous cities of the Northern Realms and helps to shape the fates of all those he comes across. The narrative, the vision of an adventure that the developers wanted you to experience, is laid out before you waiting to be explored and that’s where things get interesting. The Witcher 3 never forces your hand in going forward. Yes, there is someone you need to save and a kingdom you need to help, but you don’t have to at this very moment. The story that CD Projekt Red wants to tell you is not the only story to be heard.
Pick a direction, any direction, and go. You’ll no doubt stumble upon yet another story. The world is truly alive with people going about their business and monsters doing what they do best (killing said people). You can interfere or remain passive, the choice is up to you, but know that the world goes on and remembers what you do. You can be the world’s hero or focus on your own selfish ambitions, there is nothing stopping you, except maybe the challenge that plagues every single area in the world.
What may seem like a beautifully serene passage through a lustrous forest actually houses witches that are the essence of nightmares, Leshens, Werewolves, Drowners, or even worse. There is an air of mystery that lies everywhere and you can experience it at your leisure. The Witcher 3 isn’t about moving from boss to boss, from plot point to plot point, it’s about living in the world that has been created solely for you to explore your curiosities.