Witcher 3 promises to be amazing, but will the game truly be better than Skyrim?
Without a doubt, one of the most highly anticipated games of 2015 is CD Projekt RED’s Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. This third installment of the Witcher series continues the adventures of its main protagonist and monster-hunter-for-hire, Geralt. If you’re a gamer who likes fantasy RPGs, you really have to take note: Witcher 3 will be explosive, not only building on the success of its predecessors, but incorporating a massive, open-world environment far larger than Skyrim to explore.
Witcher 3 Bigger Than Skyrim
Witcher 3 marks the first time that the series has opted for an open-world environment. In an interview given last week to Red Bull, level designer Miles Tost said:
We knew we had a really good RPG on our hands and a really dedicated fanbase to support that, but we still wanted more. That’s where the open world element kicked in – we always wanted to make a truly open world RPG but, for various reasons, we couldn’t fully accomplish that goal until now.
We want to combine the strong pull of closed-world RPGs story-wise, with a world where you can go anywhere and do anything you want. It makes the whole experience more lifelike.
The Witcher 3 dev team will in part make the experience more lifelike by creating a humongous open-world, 30 times the size of Witcher 2 and eclipsing the size Skyrim by at least 3.5 times. Based on real estate alone, Witcher 3 will be bigger than Skyrim.
Witcher 3 Better Than Skyrim?
Will the Witcher 3’s bigger, open-world translate into a better game than Skyrim? This obviously will be open to debate, with some pundits already claiming that Witcher 3 is a Skyrim killer. Even Witcher 3 game director Konrad Tomaszkiewicz claims that his game “will be [the] perfect RPG.”
But will it?
Don’t get me wrong, I believe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be an amazing game that will not only look gorgeous on next gen consoles, but will be a lot of fun to play. That being said, I don’t believe Witcher 3 will be better than Skyrim — despite its massive, open-world. Here’s why:
- Witcher 3 will lack the ability to create your own character. You’re locked into playing Geralt, a swordsman monster-hunter. Want to play a thief or mage? How about a female character or an Orc? You’re out of luck. Witcher 3 will not possess one of the most important elements that makes Skyrim so compelling and essential to role playing: a robust character creation system.
- In a like manner, in Witcher 3 you’re pigeon-holed into playing the writer’s story — not your own. The Witcher games are based on a book series by the same name, penned by fantasy writer Andrzej Sapkowski. What if you don’t want to play Sapkowski’s story, or what if you don’t even like it all that much (The Witcher series is a darker brand of fantasy that doesn’t appeal to everyone)? You may have an open-world to explore, but the storyline may be too restrictive for your tastes. With Skyrim, you have the ability to create and tell your unique story within the context of the Dragonborn’s destiny. With Skyrim you’re given tremendous creative freedom, and you become the storyteller.
The Witcher 3 and Skyrim are both fantasy games in the same genre, and undoubtedly comparisons will be made between the two. Skyrim was groundbreaking in its scope and has set a high mark for all fantasy RPGs to follow. Every rock group wants to be the “next Beatles,” and every scifi movie wants to be the “next Star Wars.” Based on sales numbers alone, I know Witcher 3 wants to be the “next Skyrim,” but when it comes down to it, I believe the lack of character creation and story ownership will ultimately hurt the game. Yes, Witcher 3 will be big, and yes it will be glorious. It just won’t be better than Skyrim.