The words “Open World” and “Skyrim” spoken in the same sentence for any non-Bethesda game is a big reason to be scared in most cases; I, for one, liked Skyrim, but only after it was heavily modded to be more like Morrowind. It was not only the best hiking simulator after a few mods, but also the best getting-lost-in-the-woods and hunting simulator. The Witcher 3 may now have Bethesda beat on that last note.
The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt is going to focus more on a Witcher’s primary freelance job: monster hunting. This probably means an expanded bestiary, along with a revamp in how the bestiary works. The combat is also being altered, again, but it’s unclear how it’s going to evolve from The Witcher 2. As long as they listen to their community, CDProjekt should be fine. The game adaptations have gained a reputation for being deep, story-driven, mature RPGs.
Yet, what CDProjekt stated in the interview with Game Informer is troubling. They’re looking at Skyrim and Dragon Age for inspiration. Whether or not this is simply how they do sidequests, on how open the world is, or if we’re going to have to deal with a poor man’s dating simulator as a side game is another thing. It does sound like they’re taking the right steps at least in approaching an open world game in regards to other fantasy RPGs though(which is good news for Cyberpunk 2020).
The other troubling information is that they’re looking to release the game on consoles and PC at the same time. The previous two games were highly optimized for PCs, look great, and had to be scaled down to work (a year after release) on consoles.
If you haven’t played either of the original games, both of them are on sale for 50% off on Good Old Games completely DRM free. I didn’t like the initial rock-paper-scissors combat of the first, but The Witcher 2’s politics and combat won me over.