Over the last couple of days we've fielded a few enquiries on Twitter as to how far along we are with coverage of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Some of our readers are really keen to know what we think - thanks for that, by the way - and we've been busy working away behind-the-scenes formulating an opinion on it. We're taking our time as it's without a doubt the biggest RPG of the year so far and is likely to remain one of the biggest once the year is through.
This isn't our review - not just yet - but I wanted to update you all on our progress. It'd be amiss to not begin by saying what we've played of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is nothing short of excellent. It feels like a solidly-made and carefully crafted middle ground between the more hardcore, old-school RPG values that CD Projekt RED holds dear and more accessible and instantly gratifying gameplay in Western RPGs that in recent years has been championed by the likes of Bethesda and Bioware. It's a damn fine game - with caveats, of course - and we're looking forward to sharing our full and final review and verdict with you.
Knowing that's how we feel, the next question that comes to mind is likely what's taking so long as far as our official, scored verdict goes. The answer to that is a little bit complicated, and is probably best summed up as follows: The review situation for The Witcher 3 has been a bit of a mess.
The reviews you saw popping up on various outlets last week were all based off debug PlayStation 4 code - meaning it didn't run on regular PS4 hardware and was a version of the game that, in some manner or another, was non-final. We're told that it featured more or less everything that'd be added to the game in the 'day one patch', but nothing is ever 100% with debug code. Essentially, we wanted to test final code ahead of printing a review.
Despite the fact CD Projekt sent out a jubilant press release announcing the game had 'Gone Gold' - meaning content complete - over a month ago on April 16th, final copies of the game - either physical or download and for any format - lagged behind until late last week. As such, while we've got a decent chunk of experience with the game, the kind of final checks we like to do with final code and if possible across multiple platforms hasn't been possible until very recently.
We'd rather wait it out than slap a score on something we're not certain of the final or multi-platform performance of - and so we've waited. We're particularly keen to look at the PC version in more detail given that it is CD Projekt's historic platform and the lead for this title, and we're now doing that.
We'll have a full review and some video footage from the final PS4 disc coming in short order, and intend to stream the game over the coming days as well - but for now, we wanted to let you all know what's going on. Cheers for sticking with us.