We all know by now that CD Projekt RED's upcoming open-world RPG The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt looks rather good, but it's heartening to hear that, going by early reports, it'll be a lot of fun to play too.
Speaking to ClickOnline, lead gameplay designer Maciej Szcześnik gave a few examples of how combat is being improved in the final additon to The Witcher franchise. Perhaps most notably, Geralts magic signs are being given an overhaul.
"At the beginning, Geralt will be able to choose from five signs," Szcześnik said. "It doesn't end there, however - in The Witcher 3 we introduce new casting modes which effectively double the number of signs at the players disposal. These "alternative versions" will be unlocked through character development, but don't think of them as simply stronger versions of the same spells - they will offer different tactical uses.
"Let's take Aard as an example. The primary version of this sign will send a telekinetic thrust to stun or knock down foes. With time, players will be able to unlock a secondary version of the sign and by pressing and holding the button, they will send out a shockwave that knocks down all surrounding enemies (you can actually spot this in our gameplay trailer). Similar dual modes are available for every other sign."
Szcześnik also revealed that Geralt wouldn't be parting with his steel and silver swords any time soon, being established as a master swordsman in both the books and the two previous Witcher games. "It's a part of who he is," Szcześnik said. "I mean, for us, encouraging players to use polearms, shields or axes would create a dissonance akin to Batman running around with an AK-47 and shooting at his enemies." Blasphemy!
"Geralt will have two fighting styles to choose from - a fast one and a strong one, just like in The Witcher 2," Szcześnik went on. "On top of that, he will also perform special attacks chosen by the player during character development. Combine that with 96 separate attack animations and you end up with a deadly flurry of silver, steel and magic. QTEs are gone, but that doesn't mean fist fights have met the same fate. In a way, they constitute an important, immersive part of the night life in the game world.
Finally, Szcześnik revealed that Geralt's combat style will be more akin to games like Dark Souls and Batman: Arkham City, in that defense will play a much larger role than previous Witcher titles. "Geralt will have new parry moves, counters and dodges at his disposal. Combat itself has been slightly slowed down, and in turn has become more tactical. Defense will play a crucial role during fights. You'll now be able to block incoming attacks while moving - swing your sword, though, and you'll create an opening for your opponent. Combat will thus require more planning and thinking."
What do you make of these changes? Don't forget that it's possible your save files from The Witcher 2 may transfer over to the Xbox One. Would that make you more inclined to play?