Even as we edge closer to the one year anniversary of the critically acclaimed The Witcher 3 the massively open world fantasy game just keeps going from strength to strength.
From winning Game of the Year and Best Role-Playing Game at The Game Awards 2015 to being a finalist for Game of the Year and numerous Excellence In... categories at this year's SXSW Gaming Awards, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has got a momentum going that isn't gonna slow down any time soon, and there's still more to come...
The already massive game got its first expansion in the form of last year's 10-hour(ish) long Hearts of Stone, which was met with almost the same level of critical acclaim as the game itself. The second expansion, Blood and Wine, is expected to land sometime in the first part of 2016.
So what can we expect to see from Blood and Wine? There's not been a whole lot of news about it as of yet but recently we've received some whisperings from the developers CD Projekt Red, who claim that Blood and Wine will be even "more refined than" the main game itself!
So Blood and Wine introduces a new setting, separate from the realms of Novigrad, Velen and the Skellige Isles. This new map area is called Toussaint and "rivals the size of those found in the base game", according to GameSpot.
According to CD Projekt Red marketing lead Michal Platkow-Gilewski, we can expect to see new quests, new monsters, new weapons to slay said monsters with, and lots of new places to visit and explore when Blood and Wine releases. Excellent.
20 Hour Gameplay
Unlike the first expansion Hearts of Stone, which offered players around 10 hours of brand new gameplay, Blood and Wine is expected to double that number; running to around 20 hours.
It's still pretty small potatoes when you compare it to the main game of course, which can run you anywhere between 25 - 200 hours just for the main quest (or more if you like taking the road less travelled).
After all one of the biggest selling points of The Witcher 3 was the incredible scope of the open-world and the density of things to see and do contained within, and Blood and Wine just gives us even more to enjoy.
CD Projekt Red are staying pretty quiet in terms of the story so far, though they did give an official statement to Gamespot:
"[Blood and Wine will] take Geralt to a land untainted by war, where an atmosphere of carefree indulgence and knightly ritual masks an ancient, bloody secret."
That actually sounds really very interesting, especially in contrast to the war torn lands we played through in the main game.
We got a little more information on this front from a Eurogamer.it interview with CD Projekt RED (translated via onlysp.com) where we learned that, not only is the story completely separate from The Wild Hunt, it's also more "complex". Which, honestly given what we've seen already, is a high bar set to beat.
Blood and Wine will also feature a "charismatic" new antagonist to face Geralt, as well as new weaponry, equipment, enemies and NPCs. It will also bring back some characters we encountered before in the main game (well, the ones we didn't kill anyway).
So we were initially told that Blood and Wine would be arriving sometime in early 2016. Specifically sometime between January and March. However the recent line from CD Projekt Red is that the DLC has been pushed back to the first half of 2016, so sometime between January and June. Boo.
A more specific release date is yet to be announced, so we'll just have to keep our ear to the ground on this one.
Finally, bear in mind that this will be Geralt's last big adventure, as The Witcher 3 is set to end his story with the studio focusing next on the exciting Cyberpunk 2077 and perhaps the possibility of The Witcher 4.
CD Projekt Red writer Jakub Szamałek described Wild Hunt as the conclusion to Geralt's story, so Blood and Wine will be the final chapter in his story.
Szamałek: "I think good stories must have an ending. You cannot extend them indefinitely, and we felt that Geralt has had such an amazing adventure, and his saga is already so long and complex that this seemed like a good point to think about an appropriate finale for the story."
I don't know about you guys, but I'm not sure if I'm ready for the adventure to end just yet.