The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Call us bold, but we’re championing this ‘indie’ gem

You wouldn’t know it to glance at its expensive-looking rolling hills and stellar character models, but blockbuster RPG The Witcher 3 is actually an indie game. At least, it’s being made by a developer who still strongly identifies as an independent studio, despite enlisting Bandai Namco for publishing duties here in Europe. It’s less mad than it sounds.

You see, where so many triple-A studios have been absorbed by big publishers and settled in for a yearly release cadence of their biggest IP, CD Projekt RED has remained an outlier, maintaining full control of its creative endeavours, “in terms of not only the game, but our business and the way that we want to develop,” managing director Adam Badowski explains. “It’s not that easy to be independent these days. It seems to be much easier to take the contract from the big guy. But on a daily basis, we are responsible for all of our successes and our mistakes.” 

Into The Wild
It’s an encouraging stance. It means that if the studio decides to develop a brand new engine for its brand new title, that’s exactly what happens literally, in The Witcher 3’s case. It also means that if the team decides the game needs 12 more weeks of development, it gets it. A May release it is, then, slipping from February.

“Even though it’s an open-world game, it doesn’t have an MMO feeling to it,” says senior writer Jakub Szamalek. “We don’t have Fed-Ex quests where you just run from one place on the map to another to fetch something and then come back. We put a lot of attention to making this world as interesting and as immersive as it can be, even though it does take a lot of work.”

In the place of that Fed-Exing, Geralt has his work cut out for him as he attempts to keep the Wild Hunt, a band of malevolent spectres, from hunting down Ciri (above) and harnessing her Elder Blood for its magical properties. The Lara gene (sit down, Ms. Croft) enables those who possess it to travel between dimensions not the kind of ability you’d want to bestow on killer wraiths.

Announced as a playable character in last month’s, Ciri (pronounced Siri) has her own bespoke combat animations and special skills, fighting with a single sword to Geralt’s preferred two. She also won’t react well if you ask her to set an alarm.

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