To my dearest CD Projekt Red,
My name is Hobbes Alexander, and I would like to speak on behalf of those who are pleased with how you choose to conduct business. Hours ago I finished my playthrough of your latest expansion pack to The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, and while I wanted to simply write a review to sing praises to you about it, I have instead chosen to express to you my delighted support of you, your company, and your projects. Commence, then, a love letter. Extolling of virtues lies ahead.
First, I would like to address my feelings about the game overall. The Witcher 3 is a lot of fun. It is a breathing, gritty fantasy world that feels as mundanely realistic to what a renaissance fair history class could feel like, while injecting surreal and fantastic takes on supernatural entities of a world perforated by magic, but not yet awash in it. The controls will forever be the bane of my existence within the bounds if the game. Nothing is outright bad; however, running feels like ice skating and aiming a crossbow is a bit more like peering through a telescope and politely but not too urgently asking the hero to fire. The menus are fiddly and feel like sifting through a box of mismatched LEGO pieces looking for the right one. I will admit, however, much of this was actually solved later with a patch, and for that I thank you.
No truly great romance starts out perfectly, however. Let us examine what truly brought us together. It was your ability to tell a story that kept my attention. In playing as the grumbly hero, Geralt, I was given the opportunity to choose his actions. Regardless of what I chose, Geralt carried himself in a way that felt true to his character. no matter the decision made. Unlike similar social interaction in games, like perhaps Mass Effect, where the choices are meant to be vastly different from each other in order for you to roleplay your very own Commander Shepard, here, you feel like you are acting within the bounds of this specific character. Because of this, I started to see that Geralt wasn’t just a gravely Dungeons and Dragons hero. In time, I was able to see how he has a sense of humor drier than an Australian Opal mine.
At it’s core, the story isn’t anything unheard of. Hero is fairly long in the tooth (as far as protagonists go). The basic plot device is simple; Geralt must find his adoptive daughter Ciri. This isn’t a basic damsel in distress story though, as Ciri is on the run herself and actually much more powerful than anyone she would come up against. Throughout the 70+ hours of main plot your choices will decide the fates of cities, loved ones, friends, kings, and Geralt himself as you work your way through one of the most layered and epic plots in an open world RPG. It’s a story that much like Game of Thrones, needs to be experienced rather than explained in a few short sentences.
The real interest for me in this game comes from it’s side quests. Yes, at their gooiest of centers that are just like lots of other titles. The old lady will ask you to go find her husband in the woods. Or maybe there’s been something eating the sheep. Sometimes these are straightforward; for instance, the sheep thief is indeed a large draconid, and if you poke enough holes in it, the bastard will die. Other times, the lost husband is missing because he’s a werewolf. Now he has given you a quest and while you solve mysteries to get to this point, you form an opinion on who is right and who is wrong before you Judge Dredd your way through people’s lives.
The game presents this story beautifully. It recognizes the power of silence and honest words over quippy one liners. The weather is gorgeous and the character models are animated quite well. When it needs to be happy it looks happy, and when it needs to be Grimm (Yes with two M’s), boy is it.
Shortly after release, you began to ship out free DLC packs that offered fun add-ons, such as alternate outfits for characters, and a few simple but fun missions. Other companies would likely charge a $5 admission for this, but not you. When you did charge us for your hard work, it was for the first expansion, Hearts of Stone; a smaller pack at a smaller price that I expressed to everyone was absolutely worth it. Like a good book, I found myself guessing and pondering for every single moment I played through it, and even afterward. I loved some of the turns it took and enjoyed many of the new characters. I even found myself sympathizing with our villain (which is the best kind of villain)
Then came Blood and Wine, the most recent expansion and the reason I dedicate this letter to you today. We now venture in an entirely new piece of land; in this case, a foppish fantasy version of old-timey Victorian-era France. It was simultaneously new and familiar. The thinly veiled vampire plot was played very well. You handled this without being too much Bram Stoker, and certainly being quite Witcher enough. For any reading this who are not sure they want to play this because vampires in today’s pop culture are overdone and boring, don’t you worry. These vampires are not broody effigies of sorrowful solitude; they are practically alien creatures from a world parallel to Geralt’s and are something more like emotional vulcans with super powers. It’s a fantastic way to write these characters. One of your new friends, a fellow named Regis, is now one of my favorite characters in gaming. Like Garrus from Mass Effect, he is a fully capable and quite deadly bro that I would love to see more of.
So many other companies would have taken this as a chance to take advantage of their customers. So many more developers would have nickel-and-dimed it’s player base for DLC that made the game playable where you added to what made it great. So many other companies would have charged us extra just for story that should have been in the release, horse armor or a simple tacked on mission animated with storyboards instead of an in game engine. I cant express my appreciation more for the fact that you seem to care for your customers. Its the damnedest thing.
Sadly, everything points to this being the end of the Witcher series for games, and I am fine with that. You allowed it to run it’s course, and didn’t drive it into the cliff side. Because of how your company has conducted business and handled its properties, or in this case, the properties of others, my hopes and support couldn’t be higher as I patiently away your next big project with Cyberpunk 2077. Continue to produce lovely work, admit mistakes and correct them through patches, and treat expansion packs and DLC as you have, and you will continue to build and maintain a loyal fanbase. I myself have taken the small stance to not see your paid content on other cheaper micro economy websites, and even chose to avoid the season pass just to make sure I supported you at my fullest.
With love and thanks, an appreciative customer,
That quest for Sir Reginald and the horse mission in B&W and were both hilarious.