At this point, The Witcher games are known for being absolutely massive. Each entry in the franchise easily surpasses the last, and players looking for a hugely immersive RPG have yet to be disappointed by the series.
Even better, this isn't just your standard humans-elves-dwarves fantasy, either: the world of The Witcher is a dark, grimy place, where hookers and thieves are just as common as bloodthirsty beasts.
The game manages to keep everything supernatural about its world grounded, and somehow manages to feel like a realistic fantasy.
From what we've seen, everything about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is aimed at making an already massive series even bigger.
The land itself, the creatures, the story - many games boast a living, breathing world, but few actually manage to come through. With just five minutes of new gameplay footage, The Witcher 3 proves that it already has:
In The Witcher 3, everything comes down to choice: will you work as a traditional Witcher, and hunt monsters for coin? Will you be a ruthless mercenary, and track down bounties with reckless abandon? Or, will you focus on the game's main story, and witness the conclusion to Geralt's three-game story arc? For once, it's actually up to the players to decide - so many games present the illusion of choice and consequence, but it looks like The Witcher 3 will actually give players the power to choose who they are and what they do.
That being said, it's not as if The Witcher 3 is a straight-up action game: the series is known for its stories, and Wild Hunt is taking things even further. Side-quests now have their own, miniaturized stories that feature actual consequence - these clearly aren't the 'Kill 10 Monsters' side-quests from other RPGs. The story missions, in comparison, look bigger than ever: the second game may have introduced huge set-piece moments to the franchise, but The Witcher 3 is looking to blow its predecessor out of the water.
Despite the 'new' generation starting two years ago, it still feels as if games have yet to take advantage of the increased hardware. Publishers tell gamers that 'it couldn't have been done on last-gen,' but so few games try to do anything new.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the exception to this rule. Gamers have seen open worlds before, but this is completely different. Open worlds are nothing new to gamers, but so many of them feel empty and artificial - The Witcher 3 is aiming to create a world that is truly alive - and from what fans have seen so far, it looks as if CD Projekt Red has succeeded.
So, has the new-gen already begun? Technically, yes - but The Witcher 3 could easily represent the true beginning of the latest generation of hardware. Thankfully, gamers don't have too much longer to wait - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is set for release on May 19.