If You’re Not Already, Now Would Be a Really Good Time To Get Excited About “The Witcher 3”

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Even though it sat awhile untouched in my Steam queue, “The Witcher 2” ended up being one of my favorite RPG’s of modern gaming. While this is due in large part to some world spanning story telling similar to “FF XII” in scope, but with the intimacy, pacing, and tight structure of a Bioware tale, even the controversially challenging gameplay grew on me, largely due to the fact that mastering it didn’t come easy.

Considering that challenge, it’s surprising that the game had the success it did across the mass market, but ultimately the level of craftsmanship put into the game made it undeniable, even to people that wouldn’t normally receive it so well.

Given that combination of quality and success, a sequel may have been inevitable, but ever since that announcement “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” has been anything but a given, and has been surprising all that lay eyes on it with its ambitious plans to completely re-shape a franchise that already re-invented itself once before with its runaway hit predecessor.

While it’s as true as ever that anything shy of the final product will be loose talk and hype, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to remain level headed when it comes to “Wild Hunt” as every promotional bit and feature plan released so far has shown a game that is going to be very, very special. That’s a trend that continues with the newest teaser called “Killing Monsters.”

Without spoiling anything from that must see video, the way it turns the trailer title on its ear and defies your expectations going into it with something incredible is a microcosm of what this series does so well. “Dead Island” may have proved that great teasers do not equal great games, but I dare you to watch that video and not tell me that despite any inclinations you may have toward pessimism regarding the entire concept of a pre-rendered teaser, that you are not seriously hyped up.

Add to that the recent announcement the great Charles Dance (Lord Tywin Lannister from “Game of Thrones”) will be playing a major role, and it’s becoming more and more clear what the first truly great game of the next generation may be.

  

Obsidian Announces Project Eternity

It hard not to think of Obsidian as the “little brother” of the video game world.

While made up of competent and experienced developers, the company itself often piggybacks off of the successes of big brother development companies like Bethesda and Bioware, with titles such as “KOTOR:II” (someone remind me to do something about how much I hate that game…), “Fallout: New Vegas,” “Dungeon Siege III,” and “Neverwinter Nights 2.” While they’ve proven they have the ability to take the ball and run with it, they’ve yet to come up with something impressive of their own doing.

Of course if there’s one advantage to riding on the shoulders of RPG giants, it’s that you gain a real great lay of the land.

Which is why it’s so exciting that the company has announced a new independent Kickstarter project under the name “Project Eternity.”  From what is known about the game, it looks to bring back the classic, western, isometric perspective RPG genre, complete with the traditional party based, paused combat system seen in some of the Bioware classics of yore. If you really want an idea of how much inspiration Obsidian is drawing for this title, you only have to look at their own description, which lays some serious hype on the game:

“‘Project Eternity’ will take the central hero, memorable companions and the epic exploration of ‘Baldur’s Gate,’ add in the fun, intense combat and dungeon diving of ‘Icewind Dale,’ and tie it all together with the emotional writing and mature thematic exploration of ‘Planescape: Torment.'”

If you’ve never played those games (shame on you) then let me assure you that is a tall task even for a group of aforementioned giant riders. It’s certainly an intriguing concept however, especially considering that the concepts presented in those games mentioned have influenced the RPG genre as much as any others, and this style of title hasn’t been done well in a long, long time. Throw in the fact that much of the Obsidian development team worked on some of those titles mentioned, and maybe you can understand why it’s time for classic RPG fans to start getting excited.

Obviously, when you’re trying to get people to throw money at something that you’d really like to do (which, by the way, quite a few people are already doing) there is an understandable tendency to exaggerate. That being said, though, I’m such a big fan of those style of games that I still want to see how close they can get to fulfilling their promise, and I’m willing to put aside my seething, blinding hatred of “KOTOR: II” to give Obsidian the chance to also prove themselves worthy as developers of independent properties.

Besides, this is the same company that’s managing to make a “South Park” video game look unbelievably incredible. So I wouldn’t dare tell them there isn’t anything they can’t do.

  

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