The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network The Importance of Characterization and Narrative in RPGs and Adventure Games https://www.gameskinny.com/xfy9r/the-importance-of-characterization-and-narrative-in-rpgs-and-adventure-games https://www.gameskinny.com/xfy9r/the-importance-of-characterization-and-narrative-in-rpgs-and-adventure-games Sat, 20 May 2017 14:00:01 -0400 Stephen Brown

CRPGs have been around for decades, with nearly all of them inspired by the likes of Dungeons and Dragons in some shape or form. The genre has also slowly merged with adventure games in recent years, allowing for new dynamics (and problems) to arise in their designs. However, with advancement in technology, video games, in general, have evolved into huge, intricate, and immersive experiences. Which has led for consumer expectations to rise.

Therefore, developers need to focus on creating complex and engaging storylines filled with memorable characters. That's what will keep the genre iterating -- and interesting.

Why Are Story And Characters So Important?

Story is what holds every RPG together, and it gives the player focus throughout his or her playtime. However, great storytelling isn't just about the main narrative, but also compelling mini story arcs and side quests narratives. When the player wants to explore and seek these out, they should be engaged by them and rewarded by them -- and not just with loot. Otherwise, these side quests become mundane, a chore to get through.

Likewise, characters are pivotal to any story -- the two cannot be separated. They work in tandem with great storytelling. They must have personality to be believable. They cannot be blank and emotionless A.I. If the characters are dull and unmemorable, then it will be difficult for the player to become invested in the game.

Although the story may boil down to saving the world, telling this in an interesting way -- with relatable characters -- makes the experience so much more engaging and worthwhile. 

Where RPGs and Adventure Games Get It Wrong And Right

The following RPGs aren't necessarily bad games, but they're also not necessarily great games, either. There are certain design and development decisions, specifically in the realms of narrative and quest design, that harm each game's overall experience. 

The Assassin's Creed Franchise

The Assassin's Creed series has had ups and downs, to say the least, Assassin's Creed 2 and Black Flag arguably the best games in the franchise. On the other hand, the series' side quests have never been great, relying too heavily on treasure hunts and endless fetch quests that offer little variety and no narrative payoff.

Comparatively, its main story has always been quite engaging and complex. This has been one of its strong suits (alongside fun and likable characters, like Ezio Auditore). Although the story in later entries isn't as strong as some of the early narratives in the franchise, it still contains its surprises, ones that keep the player engaged and coming back for more.

The Final Fantasy Series

The Final Fantasy series has always put a focus on its storylines and characters, which has allowed many entries to remain memorable and iconic years (and even decades) after their releases. Entries such as Final Fantasy VI, Final fantasy VII, Final Fantasy IX, and Final Fantasy X are regarded as the best in the long-running franchise. Even with dated graphics, the strong stories and relatable cast of characters allow them to stand the test of time.

Now, they are not without their faults -- one of them being the lack of side quests. Final Fantasy 15 corrected this to a degree by going open world and including countless side quests of varying quality. But its plot and characters were still a huge driving force behind the game, even through the late-game parts where the pacing of the narrative felt rushed. But in the end, it was still a successful narrative with an intriguing and well-written villain that sits among the best in the franchise.

The Elder Scrolls Series

Commonly referred to as the king of western RPGs, this franchise has always been one of the best at world building, providing players some of the most intricate pieces of lore in all of video games. Flawlessly incorporated into the gameplay, lore, story, and narrative-driven side quests have brought the series acclaim and provided originality. Skyrim may have better combat than Oblivion, but the quest design clearly took a hit, going with quantity over quality.

However, memorable and likable characters have never been present in the series, which does hold the games back from staying with the player long after they finish it. With the next game in the series, Bethesda will need to fix this long-running issue if they want to compete with the next example.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt:

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt improved every aspect and flaw from The Witcher 2. Its main story was epic and hooked players from the start. Nearly every character was detailed and layered, and each was easily likable and memorable as soon as you met them --  like The Bloody Baron, Geralt himself, Ciri, and Triss to name a few.

Many critics and fans alike consistently praise the side quests and for good reason. They all have a good, and often bizarre, story to tell. Players often seek out quests for narrative surprises, not loot. 

The level of detail, care, and passion that has gone into this game is unparalleled, far more than any other game out there. It has an impeccably written story and deep characters. Why? It's because every aspect of each has been created to such a high standard. The game's multiple endings allow for more than one playthrough, so you can experience many different choices over and over again. It is the closest gamers have ever come to a perfect game.

Final Thoughts

I hope that every developer learns the importance of story and characters in RPGs. It's needed alongside strong gameplay and quest design to truly make the game a masterpiece. Otherwise, the genre will pump out one uninspiring game after another -- many with little evolution.

Do you agree, or do you think I am completely crazy? Let me know in the comments. 

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The Witcher Franchise Hits BIG Sales Milestone - Potential Future? https://www.gameskinny.com/dl40r/the-witcher-franchise-hits-big-sales-milestone-potential-future https://www.gameskinny.com/dl40r/the-witcher-franchise-hits-big-sales-milestone-potential-future Tue, 04 Apr 2017 16:00:02 -0400 Stephen Brown

When The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt released back in May 2015, the critical reception it received was a monumental success. The reviews came in hot, recieving multiple strong, to perfect scores from the likes of Gamespot (10/10), IGN (9.3/10) and the Telegraph (5/5).

It received this acclaim for good reason.

Geralt, Vesimir, The Witcher

It boasted a massive, detailed, and visually stunning open world environment for the player to explore and fight across. But what set it apart from other open world games of the year was its focus on narrative. Featuring a diverse cast of strong and emotionally driven characters, that were present in a story of grand scale with varied and unique quest design and narrative, while also being driven by a gripping main storyline.

Back in June 2015, it was announced by CD Projekt RED Co-Founder Marcin Iwinski that the Witcher 3 shipped 4 million copies worldwide in its first 2 weeks. Then in March 2016, in a document detailing its business strategy, they confirmed that the entire Witcher series had sold 20 million copies worldwide. Adding to its success was that by the end of May 2016, both of its expansions; Hearts of Stone and Blood & Wine, were well received by fans and critics alike, even some calling the latter perhaps the best DLC ever made.

Blood and Wine

The universally praised main game, coupled with its two incredible expansions allowed the series to continue to sell well for another year. With its recent financial results revealed, it is now known that the Witcher series has sold a total of 25 million copies since the first game in the series was released. This is big news for the company going forward with its development of Cyberpunk 2077 as it shows trust and faith of the developer and its products. With this success, it possible that CD Projekt RED could have the incentive to revisit the brand in the future, albeit perhaps a spin-off as Geralt's story concluded with the ending of the Blood & Wine expansion. Either way, fans have the much anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 to look forward to in the future.

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Naughty Dog Takes Platinum in the 2016 PlayStation.Blog Game of the Year Award https://www.gameskinny.com/jicrb/naughty-dog-takes-platinum-in-the-2016-playstationblog-game-of-the-year-award https://www.gameskinny.com/jicrb/naughty-dog-takes-platinum-in-the-2016-playstationblog-game-of-the-year-award Thu, 12 Jan 2017 23:29:41 -0500 TL Bickler

Over half-million fans took part in Sony’s 2016 PlayStation.Blog Game of the Year Awards and we have the results! Out of fourteen categories voted on one game company soared above the rest: Naughty Dog. Naughty Dog snagged seven platinum awards -- including the game of the year and the studio of the year.

Naughty Dog’s Hero: Uncharted 4

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End claimed 40% of the total votes and stole most of the platinum awards. Uncharted came in on top for game of the year, best story, best performance with Nolan North taking platinum and Emily Rose taking silver, best soundtrack, and best visuals. But Uncharted didn’t stop there; they also won the gold for best post release game content. With six awards just with one game, it’s no wonder they took the platinum for studio of the year.

The Last of Us Part II

But Uncharted wasn’t Naughty Dog’s only star. The Last of us Part II brought home the platinum for most anticipated game of 2016. Since The Last of Us took platinum for Naughty Dog back in the 2013 PlayStation.Blog Game of The Year Awards, it’s not a real shock it won most anticipated game of 2016.

Here is a quick rundown of the other Platinum winners for the 2016 PlayStation.Blog Game of The Year Awards.

Best PS Vita Game

World of Final Fantasy

Best Independent Game

Firewatch

Best Use of PS4 Pro & Best Multiplayer

Battlefield 1

Best PlayStation VR Game

Batman Arkham VR

Best Post-Release Content

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

Most Innovative

The Last Guardian

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Witcher Developer CD PROJEKT RED Has a Bunch of Job Openings for 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/2w7ao/witcher-developer-cd-projekt-red-has-a-bunch-of-job-openings-for-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/2w7ao/witcher-developer-cd-projekt-red-has-a-bunch-of-job-openings-for-2017 Fri, 06 Jan 2017 01:02:18 -0500 Naomi N. Lugo

2017 is set to be a big year for CD PROJEKT RED, and they’re not shy about it. “If your New Year’s resolution is to work in the Game Industry, you’re in luck! We're recruiting!” they posted to social media on Dec. 4. Of course, this message was accompanied by a smiling Geralt, because he smiles all the time.

Anyway, they weren’t kidding with this proclamation. Their careers page is six pages long full of jobs. The listings range from working on Gwent: The Witcher Card Game, internally for the company, working with CD PROJEKT RED’s digital distribution platform GOG.com and of course on the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077.

This push to hire more people onto the team is hopefully a good sign for Cyberpunk 2077’s release date and the future of the dev overall. Dec. last year, CD PROJEKT RED received some major support from their native Poland in the form of a $7 million grant. Reportedly, the company received the largest portion of the funds.

The positions are mostly internationally located in Warsaw and Krakow in Poland or Shanghai, but there is one opening in Los Angeles for a lead illustrator. Working with a critically acclaimed company like CD PROJEKT RED, however, might be worth the move.

Are you excited for Cyberpunk 2077? Do you think it will come out in 2017? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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How Deep Is Your Love for the Witcher 3? https://www.gameskinny.com/6e91n/how-deep-is-your-love-for-the-witcher-3 https://www.gameskinny.com/6e91n/how-deep-is-your-love-for-the-witcher-3 Tue, 01 Nov 2016 10:00:02 -0400 Sand Snake

I have waited a long time to write a review for my all time favorite game The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. Not because it would be difficult, but because there was so much to say about this wonderful game. I wasn't sure, how to properly express how truly amazing this game is. For those of you have fallen in love with this amazing world and with Geralt of Rivia, this article is for you.

Geralt of Rivia AKA The White Wolf, is a skilled warrior and deadly Witcher, renowned throughout the lands for his skills with the blade against both man and monster. His recognizable mane of white hair is a side effect of the Mutagens flowing through his veins. These give him unnatural speed, reflexes, and eyesight that has yet to be matched by any foe he has ever faced. Geralt of Rivia is truly a one of kind hero, not because he is perfect in any sense of the word, but because he has flaws like any man from this cruel, dark world. Flaws that lead him down dark roads to shine a light into the dark recesses of the world.

But that is not the only reason we love him. We love playing him, because in a world full of darkness, where everything is not as it seems or should be, a place where evil is residing around every corner, in the hearts of monsters, humans, dwarves and elves. We see Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher neither a human or monster caught in the middle of it, and like a small candle blowing in the wind his blade could help destroy or save.

Your choices, your decisions, your actions will affect the world around you. Whether it be stopping humans from taking advantage of elven maidens, or killing self-righteous Scoia'tael who have been slaughtering innocent peasants to feed themselves. Your blade will decide the fate of thousands. That kind of power and control over the fates of so many, makes this game unbelievably addictive.

Added to it are the amazing voice actors that were cast for each role, and the extraordinary cinematic sequences throughout the game that have been consistently amazing and enthralling. Like the scene with the Ladies of the Wood, where we got to see the three witches for the first time and I gotta say, I did not see that coming at all. The way they looked, the way they acted and the way they talked was all so perfectly choreographed that it made me want to say, "what the fuck?"

Oh, and let's not forget the background music. The music in this game is insane! Whether its pumping you up for a fight or creating this creepy, dark mood. The music they used throughout the game has this quality, that just made you want to keep listening to it, even after you're finished playing the game. My favorite music has to be the one in the cloak and dagger quest, the music had me bopping my head up and down as I played. I also enjoyed listening to the Gwent music, which in my opinion is an awesome card game that should definitely be made into an full game -- oh wait, it is.

Then we have the quests! Let's not forget about the quests! The quests in this game are of the highest quality. There was none of that nonsense of go fetch me a sheep, or go kill as many bandits as you can, or go clear a place of monsters. Every single quest was well crafted and more than a few had direct consequences leading to the completion of each quest.

Most importantly each of the quests made sense. There were no ridiculous side quests that would be completely out of character for Geralt to complete. Every single quest was designed to help immerse yourself within this unique world.

I am not even halfway done yet, there is still so much I want to talk about, but I'll end it here as I feel these are the most important aspects of The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. But what did you love most about The Witcher 3?

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The Witcher 3 Complete Edition Coming This Month https://www.gameskinny.com/8avh1/the-witcher-3-complete-edition-coming-this-month https://www.gameskinny.com/8avh1/the-witcher-3-complete-edition-coming-this-month Thu, 11 Aug 2016 08:36:26 -0400 Angie Harvey

Game Director at CD Projekt Red, Konrad Tomaszkiewicz, has taken to the PlayStation Blog to announce that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition will arrive on PS4, Xbox One and PC on August 30.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition will have a price tag of only $49.99, which is an incredibly good deal for all the content you will receive. The complete edition will feature both expansion packs, Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine, along with all additional content that has been released since the game's launch on May 19 2015.

The Witcher 3 was the most awarded game in 2015, so if you are still yet to pick it up, this is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself into its 150 hour, action packed, open world adventure!

Full details on all the content that will be included in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition can be found here. While you’re waiting for the end of the month, check out the trailer for the Complete Edition below.

Will you be picking up The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition? Let us know in the comment section below!

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