The Witcher 2 was a radical upgrade from its predecessor, and introduced several narrative intricacies that other RPGs (*cough* Mass Effect 3 *cough*) could seriously learn from. A vast improvement in nearly every facet, The Witcher 2 brought a dark and mature narrative coupled with a unique combat system to give hardcore Western RPG fans a true classic. So, where can CD Projekt RED go now? With the game’s few flaws addressed in the Enhanced Edition that was released earlier this year on Xbox 360 and as a free download for PC, it’s hard to really imagine what the dev team could bring to the inevitable sequel. However, with a little thought, a few things do come to mind….
1.) Streamlined Combat, Alchemy, and Crafting Systems
While each of these systems was considerably in-depth and extraordinarily enjoyable to dig into, they were never really explained or designed to be intuitive for the average user. I’m a pretty hardcore gamer myself, and even I failed to see the point of alchemy on the game’s harder difficulty settings, even though it explicitly recommends that you learn how to do so. In addition, the other systems that made up the brunt of The Witcher 2′s combat and gameplay dynamics took a pretty decent amount of experimentation to understand, and CD Projekt RED could certainly make it a priority to better explain these mechanics in the future. But, as we all know, explanations are only half the battle, and ensuring that the user interface that acts as the gateway to these features is as streamlined as possible is critical to the success of The Witcher 3′s gameplay. On that note, CD Projekt RED needs to remember that streamlining does not equal simplification, and should actively avoid the pitfalls of appealing to the casual gamer by removing features.
2.) More Narrative-Influencing Decisions
My absolute favorite parts of The Witcher 2 often centered around the tough narrative decisions I was forced to make throughout the game. Choosing to defend Iorveth when Vernon Roche ambushes you, or opting to fight Letho, the kingslayer, or put aside your differences at the end of the game were all incredibly important and centric to the story. Considering the game only had 3 chapters, with each chapter playing distinctively differently based on your choices, it would be great to see a greater number of chapte with more choices and branching paths in the narrative to make every single playthrough remarkably unique. Obviously, this kind of work takes a lot of planning and time, but I’d be more than willing to wait for something like this!
3.) Implementation of Open-World Segments
The Witcher 2 was a prime example of a game that does linear story-telling in a non-linear fashion, but the environments in which you often fought were pretty straightforward. If there were a few areas in The Witcher 3 that allowed for some exploration and open world fighting, I would thoroughly enjoy them. I’m not talking about the level of open world action seen in titles like Skyrim, but sandbox areas such as some of the areas in Final Fantasy X would be incredible for a game of this scale and scope. Let me hunt for treasure, or seek out legendary monsters for a bit. Essentially, tap into the essence of a witcher’s lifestyle, and allow me to hunt down beasts to increase my reputation within the lands. Giving the player more agency over how they develop “their” Geralt would be an excellent addition to the franchise.
Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments!