The news comes from Germany and a round of previews based on an hour with the new open world role-playing game. German website World of Players mined a PC Games preview for the detail (relayed on NeoGAF).
In The Witcher 3, Geralt is more agile and can now jump and climb. There’s a new mechanic, which is similar to VATS from Fallout 3. You can aim at specific parts of monsters’ bodies in slow-mo.
Geralt can hunt wild animals for their furs and claws in The Witcher 3, and has a “sense” ability he can use to track colour-coded traces of beasts. Hunting provides materials for crafting, and will be a valuable way of making money. But killing monsters and animals outside of quests won’t reward you with XP. That only comes from completing quests.
Each settlement has its local economy. In some places you can buy something for a lesser price, or sell it for higher price.
The world being bigger means Geralt is able to use horses and boats to get around. He can tame horses using the Axii sign, or he can buy them. There will be also a fast-travel option to known locations.
The three areas of The Witcher 3, the wind-swept rugged archipelago of Skellige, the delta of the Pontar and port capital of Novigrad and the war-ravaged No Man’s Land, will be entirely accessible from the beginning and the new truly open-world nature of the game should guarantee no invisible barriers between regions, with the possibility of travelling between different areas during a single chapter; unlike the previous game, where every act took place in a single location. The only locations that will be loaded separately could be the interiors and the inner areas of the cities, like Elder Scrolls games do; and CD Projekt Red has publicly said it will take many lessons in open world architecture from that series.
The main story will occupy you for 50 hours, it’s said. Following and completing all the side-quests will push that time to 100 hours. There are a possible 36 states the world can end up in because of your actions, and there are three possible epilogues to finish your adventure with, each an hour long. You’ll be able to import your previous saved game, but it’s not going to change the backstory of the game. Still, it will affect your relationships with other characters. All the endings seen in the Witcher 2 will not be considered, the backstory and the state of the world will proceed as intended by the writers; of course it is likely to be one of those at the end of the previous game, it may not be the one you have in your save file but you may have seen it if you’ve played the game several times to see all the endings and different paths.
Geralt can reach level 60 in The Witcher 3 and character development will be more complex, with hundreds of customisation possibilities. Monsters won’t level with you, so you’d better be cautious with your first explorations. On the other hand, if you’re much more powerful than your enemies they may surrender to you rather than fight. This will probably work only with humans or sentient creatures.
This time civilians will be smarter, they’ll alert the guards if you steal their stuff. In the spare time and between quests you will be able to earn more coins with two new minigames: axe trowing and cards. We hope that the previous games will remain, although there will be no more quick time events in the entire game.
The Witcher 3 is due out on PC and PS4 and probably next Xbox in 2014. With a different UI between the PC and console version.