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Everything you need to know about the [Gamescom] Witcher 3 gameplay demo

Dawg

Member
Note: this demo is probably exactly the same as last months press build, so a lot of the stuff might already be known. I'm just sharing what I noticed and saw during the gameplay demo.

Note 2: this text contains side quest spoilers, although it's not that important.


Ok, so the demo starts with an in-game cutscene about a village being raided by the Wild Hunt. People are being murderd and it's pretty graphical. You see Wild Hunt forces everywhere, but there's one guy who really stood out. Pretty sure it was the King of the Wild Hunt. Dude was wearing insanely badass villain armor with some kind of skeleton plate helmet. It's kinda hard to describe him perfectly, but he just looked really fearsome and villainous. This is the kind of guy you don't want to mess around with. One dude managed to escape the village though and right before the end of this cutscene, he found some kind of flying fortress ship which was located nearby the shore. Again, this ship looks very spooky and seems to capture the Wild Hunt feel really well. It was gigantic as well.

After this intro, we get to see Geralt sitting on his horse. We also get to see the first glimpse of the open world. It's huge for starters, but it also looks very alive compared to other rpg's of this scale. People were talking to eachother, strangers were passing by on their horses and people greeted Geralt when he passed them. In this demo, we're running to a nearby city located quite high on a mountain where the local Jarl is a friend of the witcher. He tells Geralt about the survivor of the Wild Hunt and that's when our quest begins.

Before we move on to that though, Geralt made use of some kind of elevator to move down because the Jarl's city was located pretty high on the mountain. Of course, this elevator ride was a perfect excuse for CD Projekt RED to show the scale of their world. You could see houses in the far horizon and some kind of viking ship was sailing down by the river. It was filled with oarsmen who were actually rowing the boat. Again, an example of how they make the world feel more alive. The demo player then proceeded to enter a small boat so we could sail ourselves (horses and boats are currently the only confirmed transport next to fast travel). It was cool to sail alongside the bigger oarsmen ship I mentioned earlier because the crew was singing songs and stuff. A bit further in the sea, you could also see a whale's tail (as shown in earlier screenshot threads) and a merchant ship. CDPR really wants you to believe this is an active world, so you'll meet all sorts of ships, including enemies (pirates?). They also mentioned a nearby shipwreck because you can explore that to find hidden loot and cetera. The game is filled with exploration stuff like that, and CDPR encourages you to explore it.

After the boat ride, they introduce us to one of many random events in the game. Bandits were threatening a nearby villager's house and you have the choice to attack them. When the demo player did that, we got our first glimpse of the actual combat system. As this is an hands-off presentations, I can't actually talk about the feeling of this system, but it looked more fluid than the TW2 version. I noticed Geralt was quicker and he could do combo's together with his spells (signs). He slashed an opponent, rolled backwards to throw a fireball at a second enemy and the finished off the final bandit. All of this happened very quick and I think it really looked good tbh. Then again, I liked the original TW2 combat system as well.

Anyway, when you killed all three of them, the villager will thank you and you have made an impact on the world. It wasn't clear what exactly would happen in the future sonce you saved this person, but he would have lost his house if you hadn't intervened and the devs said you will notice the impact of this choice when you return on a later date. This was only one example btw, the game is literally filled with things like that. There's also a chance completing a random event like this will unlock a side quest, although that wasn't the case with this particular event.

The final segment of the demo was shown at some kind of celtic village. You find the survivor of the Wild Hunt, but while you're talking to him, a local runs up to thr guy and tells him the wood monster murdered his brother. Everyone runs to the murder scene and you see this dead guy in a bunch of vines. This is when you meet the two factions of the village. One side of the village, the elders, tells you the wood monster is angry because the hunters don't go by the "old rules" anymore while the younger generation doesn't believe that. The latter promises Geralt a gold reward if he can track down the beast. Geralt does this by using his Witcher Senses (where you can see red marks in the forest). He finds out it's a Leshen and by using the in-game encyclopedia (which is kinda cool) you'll find out he likes to mark villagers (often accompanied by crows) and has totems you need to destroy.

You find out one of the villagers is marked by the beast and has to be put down. The leader of the younger generation of celtics tells you it's probably the elder(s) because he despises them and he shouts at his fellow tribe mates to murder the marked person. He then tells Geralt to find out who it is, but he's pretty sure it's the elder. Good ol' CDPR likes a twist though and it ends up being the cutie girlfriend of the younger generation leader. Since he puts the needs of his village above everything else though, he still agrees to do it (with a rather funny sad face though). When that's done, you explore the forest because you need to destroy the totems next. Wolves will protect them though, under the influence of the monster. I did notice how Geralt put them all down with ease. They did say the game would be more accesible, but maybe they're just playing on easy for the demo? I just has to think back to the forest area of TW2 with the huge difficulty spike, although that wasn't that much fun for everyone.

Still, after putting down all three totems with your fire spell (and hearing quite a few disturbing screams), you finally face the Leshen. It's a pretty cool boss fight with the Leshen often disappearing in a cloud of crows and wolves protecting him. Once again though, I kinda noticed the easy difficulty of the monster. Player hardly lost any hp (then again, he should be pretty skilled playing this demo erry day) and it didn't seem all that challenging. It was still early alpha though, so I wouldn't criticize them too much on that.

When you finally return to the village, you get your reward and you find out the younger generation murdered the elders out of spite anyway. No biggie for The Witcher. He still gets his gold. But afterwards, a cutscene plays which shows the village would only survive three more months because they would be raided then and the loss of their elder warriors made them weaker. A pretty nice twist.

And then the demo ends.

Extra (general) info:

- almost everything (especially sidequests and random events) you do will have some kind of impact on the (main) story and its world
- You will meet many many people and this will include helping hands, but they can't confirm a companion system might be included (can't talk about it)
- TW2 choices will POSSIBLY have an impact on the third game and this POSSIBLY means they MIGHT use an import save system (aka confirm nothing, but it seems kinda likely)
- PS4 version will probably have some kind of preset save (when asked if every version will have this, they said: IF this option will be there, they will)
- Currently, they can only confirm horses and boats as transportation (+ fast travel)
- Combat will probably still share a similar feel to TW2 system, but it's more responsive and there's more of an instant access to Geralt's moves
- NEXT GEN WOLF FUR is greatly depending on hardware so at the moment, it will depend on the console hardware being up to the task or not. They're still in early alpha works so a confirmation might still take a while
- The plans are there to release a gameplay trailer, because they don't want to hide it or something, but it's still set "for later"
- Still playing with the idea of minigames revamp/improvement because the open world gives them a lot more options. Still looking how these games will thrive well in that setting
- Real life wooden Dice Poker set never occured to them, but find it fun idea. It makes sense. Just not sure if people are interested in something so simple as a Witcher minigame.
- NPC's have living breathing community system. Agenda set up for everyone, how they will react to things (geralts actions, time, weather) so it makes sense to what's currently happening. People won't be playing dice in a blazing storm outside. So people will react to their schedule, but most primarly to events that have a bigger priority like world war and stuff.
 

LiquidMetal14

hide your water-based mammals
- PS4 version will probably have some kind of preset save (when asked if every version will have this, they said: IF this option will be there, they will)


What's this mean?
 

EatChildren

Currently polling second in Australia's federal election (first in the Gold Coast), this feral may one day be your Bogan King.
Yep, that's the E3 demo.
 

Dawg

Member
- PS4 version will probably have some kind of preset save (when asked if every version will have this, they said: IF this option will be there, they will)

What's this mean?

Preset save, like when you want to play Mass Effect 3 but haven't played any of the previous games. The game provides you with a preset save with preset choices from the previous games.

Yep, that's the E3 demo.

b-but my puzzle is different than yours
 

darkside31337

Tomodachi wa Mahou
- PS4 version will probably have some kind of preset save (when asked if every version will have this, they said: IF this option will be there, they will)


What's this mean?

My guess would be something along the lines of a quick prequel interactive comic/story type of thing like Mass Effect.
 
D

Deleted member 80556

Unconfirmed Member
- PS4 version will probably have some kind of preset save (when asked if every version will have this, they said: IF this option will be there, they will)

What's this mean?

It means that they won't let us choose the general stuff done in the previous games (which were quite important for me). Damn it.
 
My guess would be something along the lines of a quick prequel interactive comic/story type of thing like Mass Effect.

I kinda doubt they'd do a full interactive comic, considering the studio's size, but who knows. Based on "preset save" my guess is they just give you a file with all the choices already made for you, or at best you pick from one of three options for "good, neutral, or evil." Even though sides aren't really good or evil, but you get the idea.

Either way I'll be playing on PC so I really hope they take our choices from Witcher 2. I know Witcher 1's a lost cause :p
 

Daingurse

Member
Oh man so many days to wait...god...

I just don't think about, until I'm reminded . . .


The wait shall be brutal indeed, same with Cyberpunk 2077.
 

EatChildren

Currently polling second in Australia's federal election (first in the Gold Coast), this feral may one day be your Bogan King.
b-but my puzzle is different than yours

I didn't go to E3, and thus haven't seen the demo, only heard about it second hand. So you win.
 

Gumbie

Member
- PS4 version will probably have some kind of preset save (when asked if every version will have this, they said: IF this option will be there, they will)


What's this mean?

I really hope they let you have some way to make decisions from previous games. I played Witcher 2 on PC and was strongly considering going PS4 this time around for the vita remote play.
 

Dawg

Member
So you got to ask them about releasing gameplay footage dawg?

Yep, the answer to that is kinda explained in my first post. They couldn't give an exact date beyond "later" but they don't want to "hide" the gameplay much longer. It already looks good enough for us press, but the final graphics weren't 100% ready and the movement still stuttered quite a lot (hitching and small freezes and so).

TL;DR: they probably don't want to show the current graphics to regular people just yet. There's still some work to be done there and if they show the current graphics/world to regular joe, that person might think that's the final build or something.
 

loganclaws

Plane Escape Torment
Can you tell us anything else that you noticed? Just interesting tidbits that you can feed us, your personal opinion, etc...
 

Dawg

Member
Can you tell us anything else that you noticed? Just interesting tidbits that you can feed us, your personal opinion, etc...

Well, I noticed the graphics still need an upgrade. The graphics look worse than TW2 at this stage. I mean, it still looks nice, but not TW2 nice. The game was being played on a huge screen though with a projector so that could be an extra factor maybe. The foliage etc even reminded me of Skyrim.

Something I also forgot to mention was Geralt sitting at a campfire to rest. This was pretty spectacular. The weather was normal when he sat down, but while resting, the demo player could move around 360 degrees and you could see the clouds moving to night. It was amazing to experience this. Sunlight was being exchanged for rain and storms. And suddenly... The waves were getting wild. PR dude told us you shouldn't sail at this weather because it'll probably destroy you.

I really liked the new combat though. It felt so fast and Geralt was connecting his spells with his regular moves. I remember signs (spells) were slower in TW2 but in TW3, he was cutting down foes while throwing a fireball like it was nothing. It just seemed very fluid and responsive.
 
Yep, the answer to that is kinda explained in my first post. They couldn't give an exact date beyond "later" but they don't want to "hide" the gameplay much longer. It already looks good enough for us press, but the final graphics weren't 100% ready and the movement still stuttered quite a lot (hitching and small freezes and so).

TL;DR: they probably don't want to show the current graphics to regular people just yet. There's still some work to be done there and if they show the current graphics/world to regular joe, that person might think that's the final build or something.

Ah alright, sounds good! Thanks for that :)

Probably sometime before the end of the year then.
 

loganclaws

Plane Escape Torment
Well, I noticed the graphics still need an upgrade. The graphics look worse than TW2 at this stage. I mean, it still looks nice, but not TW2 nice. The game was being played on a huge screen though with a projector so that could be an extra factor maybe. The foliage etc even reminded me of Skyrim.

Something I also forgot to mention was Geralt sitting at a campfire to rest. This was pretty spectacular. The weather was normal when he sat down, but while resting, the demo player could move around 360 degrees and you could see the clouds moving to night. It was amazing to experience this. Sunlight was being exchanged for rain and storms. And suddenly... The waves were getting wild. PR dude told us you shouldn't sail at this weather because it'll probably destroy you.

I really liked the new combat though. It felt so fast and Geralt was connecting his spells with his regular moves. I remember signs (spells) were slower in TW2 but in TW3, he was cutting down foes while throwing a fireball like it was nothing. It just seemed very fluid and responsive.

Did the demo show Geralt jumping or climbing? I'm really interested in knowinghow that will work in the game, can the player climb any ledge similar to Gothic 2?
 

phaze

Member
Thanks for the detailed writeup.

The seemingly better combat warms my heart. Was there any rolling involved ?
 

Dawg

Member
Thanks for the detailed writeup.

The seemingly better combat warms my heart. Was there any rolling involved ?

Kinda, but it was used as a dodge move when the opponent launched a certain move. Didn't seem like roll roll roll roll roll roll hit enemy roll roll roll roll roll.
 

phaze

Member
Kinda, but it was used as a dodge move when the opponent launched a certain move. Didn't seem like roll roll roll roll roll roll hit enemy roll roll roll roll roll.

Thanks, that does sound like a substantial improvement. Can't wait to see it in motion.
 

Dawg

Member
Did the demo show Geralt jumping or climbing? I'm really interested in knowinghow that will work in the game, can the player climb any ledge similar to Gothic 2?

I'll have to disappoint you, I can't remember any climbing. Not sure about the jumping either, but at this point they're still adding and adjusting things, so nothing I saw was final.
 

Sentenza

Member
I'll have to disappoint you, I can't remember any climbing. Not sure about the jumping either, but at this point they're still adding and adjusting things, so nothing I saw was final.
Well, these features are already confirmed, so I don't think he was concerned about these things being in the game; more likely he was interested in how they looked. And I'm with him on this.

Too bad you didn't have any chance to see it in action.
 

Dawg

Member
Well, these features are already confirmed, so I don't think he was concerned about these things being in the game; more likely he was interested in how they looked. And I'm with him on this.

Too bad you didn't have any chance to see it in action.

Oh, I know. I just meant I didn't saw any of the climbing. Reason I said I wasn't sure about the jumping is because I remember them mentioning it, but I can't remember Geralt actually jumping.
 
"Might" use an import save system?! The hell? There's no way they're not letting us carry on with our saves from previous games.

Anyway, I can't wrap my head around how awesome this game will be, just thinking about it blows my damn mind.
 

PFD

Member
Can't believe I missed this thread. Thank you so much for all the info and the pics!

How long was the demo? Was it really 45 mins? And was it a PC or console build?
 

BigTnaples

Todd Howard's Secret GAF Account
- NEXT GEN WOLF FUR is greatly depending on hardware so at the moment, it will depend on the console hardware being up to the task or not. They're still in early alpha works so a confirmation might still take a while

This is what I came for.



They NEED to pull this off.
 
Real life wooden Dice Poker set never occured to them, but find it fun idea. It makes sense. Just not sure if people are interested in something so simple as a Witcher minigame.

Thanks for asking, Dawg. Funny that it never occurred to them, I would love to have one around to bust out occasionally when friends are round for drinks!
 
Strangely enough, I'm far more interested in the card game in the display case. Maybe it's due to already being familiar with the impressions, OP. Apologies! I will say though that the more I hear about it, the better.

I do have two questions:

  1. Did they demonstrate or mention the use of potions?
  2. Is anybody familiar with that card game? That doesn't look like the one I've seen floating around for a few years. Reminds me of Fantasy Flight Games.

Anyway, thanks for the impressions OP.
 
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