It was a good night to be The Witcher 3.
From 2003 until 2013, Spike TV (you remember…the network that says it programs for men ages 18 to 49, and that’ll mean exposing as much skin as possible, movies where things blow up, and video games) produced the Video Game Awards, or VGA. In its last year, it morphed to VGX, just like Spike dropped the TV and simply named itself after a sharp stick in the ground. The show was canceled, but it lives on as The Game Awards, produced by the same man who was behind the show at Spike.
I said all of that to say this, The Game Awards for 2015 just happened on December 3rd and BOY, do they love them some Witcher 3. It took game of the year and role playing game of the year, and CD Projekt RED took home developer of the year. I won’t argue, of course, even though I said just last week that Fallout 4 had to be a candidate despite its late-in-the-year release. But I loved Witcher 3 also and gave it a very high rating here on Into Gaming. So I’m not disappointed to see it rack up awards.
The question is, where does Witcher 3 go from here? Selling six million copies in your first year is a darn good start, but do they just stop now and watch for the game to slowly wind down? As it turns out, they’re going back to the expansion well once again.
In October we saw Hearts of Stone launch, giving you a modest expansion of the game world and about ten hours of game play for $10, unless you wanted one of the fancy versions that came with its own Gwent decks. (Gwent, for the uninitiated, is a card game invented for the Witcher series and Witcher 3 allows you to play it in game. It’s a game-within-a-game, and there’s even a mod for Witcher 3 that turns all of your combat opportunities in the game itself into games of Gwent.)
No one felt cheated, though, because Hearts of Stone delivered a great new questline and some memorable new characters. Geralt, the hero in Witcher 3, was given the opportunity to become a warmer and more likable guy.
Now we’re seeing artwork for the second expansion, Blood and Wine. This expansion will open up a new, even larger area of the game world than the first one did. Toussaint is a little different from the world you’re playing in right now, it promises to be a land untouched by war, a carefree place where knights frolic…and, of course, a dark secret is hiding. Guess who has to figure out the dark secret? Three guesses, and the first two don’t count.
Yep, you. But it looks like a lot of fun. The artwork released by the developer on Twitter looks truly amazing, and they promise new gear drops and new challenges of all kinds. No firm release date or price, yet, but Witcher 3: Blood and Wine should definitely get on your watch list. Remember, as always, that you need the original game for these expansions to work.
On an entirely DIFFERENT note, my favorite maker of episodic story games, Telltale Games, has dropped notice that they’re releasing a Batman video game next year. If you haven’t encountered Telltale Games before, you’re in for a real treat if you liked those choose your adventure books as a kid. (To give Johnny a cookie, turn to page 3. To smack Johnny with the cookie jar, turn to page 5.)
If there is a criticism of Telltale Games, it’s that you will generally wind up in the same place at the end of your story adventure. But how you get there and the feeling you have interacting with the other characters in the game will change dramatically depending on how you choose to behave.
This is a form of storytelling that just seems tailor-made for the Dark Knight. I’m looking forward to seeing this one come out next year.
And that’s Into Gaming, I’m Mark Lautenschlager.