In a series of interviews with Examiner.com, CD Projekt Red have revealed an intent to revamp the open-world genre with their latest game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
In an example, the games director Konrad Tomaszkiewicz tells Examiner to reflect on classic, more closed game environments and their manner of telling stories,"Their storytelling is usually quite good because fewer possibilities for gamers mean that developers can plan more and concentrate solely on the finite number of locations in the game."
With great consideration, Tomaszkiewicz musing is evidenced as being true, as seen even in genre giants such as Skyrim, where you roleplay as a dragon slayer, leader of a thief guild, and assassin's guild without one hint of the game world reconciling or acknowledging any of this beyond a few lines from random npcs.
It helps create a disconnect, and within this dissonance, open world games - particularly of the rpg genre - can struggle with repitition, and the occasional sparse content which births a struggle to make the game world believable.
"We want to take that quality and extend it to an open world - we want every inch of the world you’ll traverse to be interesting and believable. That’s our way of redefining [the open-world genre]," the Examiner interview continues. While this is a bold claim, CD Projekt have taken steps to remedy such a common issue with the genre. "There was a time when open world gameplay meant that you just had to travel from point A to point B with nothing to do in between. Nowadays, there’s like a second game between point A and B. If you want, you can forget that point B even exists."
Tall claim, and even an taller order; talk is cheap. Many a developer have offered and claimed such things in the past. Thankfully, CD Projekt tends to stick with their resolutions and promises and have gone on record to cite The Witcher 3 will boast a whopping 100 hours worth of content. Before one swallows such a delicious morsel of promise, it should be taken with a giant caveat. Past open-world rpgs have shown that the amount of content in an open-world rpg doesn't necessitate a high quality story if the game world is incapable of recognizing the ramifications of the players choices. However, given CD Projekts history and pedigree, I doubt this will be a problem and they appear - on every level - to know exactly what they're aiming for.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be available on PC, PS4, and the Xbox One in 2014.