The most surprising game at E3

SSCN4032There was no shortage of games at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles which ran from June 10 through June 13.  Microsoft and Sony both had new consoles to sell and Nintendo is busy trying to beef up its library before a new wave of competition hits.  Games like “Destiny,” “Ryse,” and “Dead Rising 3” will evolve their genres.  “The Evil Within” certainly pushes the limits of horror in video games too, but a game from a small Eastern European developer has the ability to change the level of expectations in both narrative and open world gaming.  In an upstairs conference room, CD Projeckt RED demoed their new game, “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.”

The finale to the Legend of Geralt of Rivia boasts a mature, non-linear story based on player decisions.  In the previous “Witcher” game, the developers were perfectly content to allow a third of the game to remain unplayed to allow players more freedom in the game.  The multi-region open world is 35 times larger than the playable area in “Witcher 2.” That alone is a remarkable feat.  Even more notable is that in the playthrough, decisions not only affected the story, but they reverberated throughout the game world.  If you kill a forest guardian, not only does it change the forest, but the cities that surround it and even politics that drive those groups.

The easiest comparison for “The Witcher 3” is of course the open world game, “Skyrim.”  In almost every way “The Witcher 3” surpasses it.  From dynamic combat to stunning graphics, this game sets the standard for open world RPGs.  Just announced for next gen consoles, “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” is expected on stores shelves in 2014.

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