This week The Witcher video game franchise celebrates its 10 year anniversary. Within this timeframe, the series has become a juggernaut within the gaming industry as well as an important step in fantasy storytelling.
The Witcher video game series takes inspiration from the epic fantasy novels and short stories of Andrei Sapkowski, but explores its own continuity.
Players play as Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter for hire whose own abilities often gives him more in common with the creatures he slays rather than the people who hire him to do so. Gerlat tows the line between both worlds, never really belonging to either and finding himself reviled on both sides despite the neccessity of his occupation.
While both The Witcher and The Witcher II are important for their own reasons, it is the third game in the series, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, which redifined what an open world RPG could be. Everything in the world is fully realized, from the fantastic story to the characters and cultures that populate the world and it’s all there for the player to interact with.
The world of The Witcher breaks traditional high fantasy stereotypes, allowing players to explore a fully realized world where Good and Evil are not clearly defined. The darkest parts of life can be seen at the turn of every corner, but you can just as eaily stumble upon the small moments of joy that keep people going. The game leaves players to make their own choices without the judgment of being labeled as “The Villain” or “The Hero”. Much like real-life, there is only Action and Consequence and leaves you to live with the results of your interactions with the world.
This weekend at Pax West, Danny O’Dwyer and his Youtube Channel, NoClip, hosted a special 2 hour long, 10 Year Anniversary Panel where he interviewed the senior staff at CD Projekt Red(the game developers behind The Witcher video game series) about the development of all three of the main entries into the series. If you are a fan of the series, the developers, or interested in seeing the behind the scenes stories of other creators, it is highly worth the watch.