Will The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt dethrone Skyrim and redefine the RPG genre? CD Projekt Red seems to think so, and at this point I might be starting to believe them. It is definitely an uphill battle, but they have a shot.
CD Projekt Red is one of the most respected developers in the world. Not only because they make fantastic games, but also because they have some of the most purely passionate employees in the industry. Although they may not have the pedigree and accolades of a Bethesda or BioWare, the dev house has many, many other characteristics that make it great. One in particular is ambition. When other developers play it safe, the Polish company seems to always be trying to push the envelope. This is extremely refreshing to gamers who are looking for something new.
The developer is also confident enough to give their uncensored opinions on competitors and the state of the RPG genre as a whole. During game director Konrad Tomaszkiewicz’ interview with Game Informer he mentioned:
“The lessons we learned from Skyrim is that you need to care about immersion in the game all the time. You can’t show that you’ve got some generic solutions or engineering stuff in the game. And Skyrim, it was generic; they don’t have very good characters. I tried to remember five characters from Skyrim and name them from my memory, and I can’t, because this storyline is very generic and exploring the world is cool but they missed it.”
Although these comments seem highly critical, the manner in which the game director was speaking made it more of a creative criticism than a “call-out” of the epic RPG. He was also using his words to remind himself and his employees of the delicate balance an RPG must contain in order for it to succeed. The Elder Scrolls V was a huge accomplishment on many levels, but after playing through the game, it was quite obvious that Bethesda emphasized scope as opposed to immersion. And Tomaszkiewicz was simply stating what was on most players minds.
But no matter what the context, these comments are 100% necessary. The gaming industry will only function correctly and grow at a healthy rate if developers are constantly pushing the envelope. Without competition, innovation will stagnate (cough, COD, cough).
CD Projekt Red understands this, and is unwilling to compromise. They have a strong independent spirit and excitement in their products, two aspects that could help the developer to create a new “golden age” of sorts within the RPG space.
Even though RPG’s are hugely popular with a certain demographic of gamers, it is still looked at as inaccessible to a large number of players. Fortunately, some of the work to bridge this divide has been done for them. As most other genres successfully implement RPG elements into their gameplay (like Borderlands), it proves that gamers enjoy the act of leveling up. So if CD Projekt Red can find common ground between casual and core RPG players by designing an immersive, open-world, they will have accomplished a hugely important feat.
Skyrim made everyone take note of how powerful an RPG world can be, but The Witcher 3 could be the title that combines a truly emotional and endearing experience with a massive, “do anything” setting. This could bring in an entirely new audience and make CD Projekt Red “king of RPG’s.”
From reading this, it is obvious I am a big fan of the dev house. Not because I like the games they have made, but more because they seem to be everything that is RIGHT with gaming. Their confidence, swagger, passion, creativity and willingness to state the facts is something that the game industry needs to take note of. Let just hope this translates into quality titles going forward.
What do you think of CD Projekt Red’s chances of dethroning Skyrim? Do you believe that The Witcher 3 has the chance to redefine the genre?