Two weeks ago today, an RPG-lovers dream was unleashed upon the world in the form of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. CD Projekt RED have created not only one of the best RPGs in recent memory, but a true modern masterpiece. I've not been engaged with an open world like this in a very long time - to the extent where I'm trying to see every inch of its enormous lands and exhausting countless conversations with even the smallest of side-characters.
It's a marvel. Naturally, it does so many things right that I can't help but want other RPGs to learn from its accomplishments. Sure its combat is fantastic, the conversations are well scripted and the overall story in every mission and side activity is engaging, but where it really excels is how its enormous map feels unequivocally alive.
Every town has a story, every building houses a tragedy and some of the events that you simply happen upon are some of the most rewarding in the entire game. Bethesda do a lot of things right, but their world needs to learn from The Witcher 3 for the release date of Elder Scrolls 6.
The Witcher 3 & its Open World Has A Lot to Teach the Location of Bethesda's Elder Scrolls 6 Before its Release Date
One of the greatest aspects about enormous RPGs, is how the tales that players tell of their adventures vary. Everyone I've met who's engaged with The Witcher 3 has come across something I struggle to believe CD Projekt RED made possible. I've killed characters others have saved, I've seen things that no one I've conversed with has found, and even though I find myself about 30 hours into The Witcher 3, I still feel like I've barely begun - and for once that's not overwhelming.
The reason that I'm going so heavily into these descriptions of The Witcher 3 is because I never really found this sort of immersion when it came to Bethesda's Skyrim. Oblivion and Morrowind I'm still really engaged with, but there's something missing in Skyrim. It's an incredible accomplishment for sure, but the story never really gripped me in the way that I'm experiencing with The Witcher 3. Skyrim had real problems with immersing you in its open world, to the extent where I just wanted to finish its campaign after a while - which is certainly not the highlight of the game!
Skyrim was a dark land and after some time with it its mood really disinterested me and its lands felt barren - with villages and cities too far between. What's extraordinary about The Witcher 3 - being far more an adult experience in comparison with the Elder Scrolls franchise - is its world feels much brighter and exceedingly pleasant to explore. There's always something going on and a new story to uncover.
Every character has a problem in The Witcher 3, and some peoples problems are truly depressing - you can feel it in the lands. Yet whether you explore the decadent beauty of northern Novigrad, the southern swamp infested lands of Crookback Bog or the snowy mountains of Skellige Isle, its always beautiful.
The Witcher 3's locations are extremely varied and its map is genuinely enormous. Yet you'll always run into someone, whether you happen upon a crime or a crime to be, or simply a merchant who needs a hand with his goat, the game ensures that this place feels alive and keeps you naturally engaged.
Elder Scrolls 6 will hopefully have a more engaging location akin to that of The Witcher 3. In fact I think that The Elder Scrolls Online, even though a far inferior game to Skyrim, has a more engaging location to explore. Bethesda have made one of the greatest RPG landscapes in gaming, there's no doubting that. Yet they haven't returned to an RPG since 2011, and with something like The Witcher 3 having recently received its release date, Skyrim feels old already (though its strange that Fallout 3 never loses its charms for me).
Fallout 4 is almost definitely their next project, but once they return for Elder Scrolls 6, I sincerely hope they can craft a land as beautiful, captivating and varied as CD Projekt RED's The WItcher 3: Wild Hunt.