Despite being almost three years old, The Witcher 3 is still one of the world’s most popular single-player RPGs. An enormous success within and beyond its primary target market, Polish studio CD Projekt Red’s epic masterpiece continues to enjoy universal acclaim that has been unrivalled by any other game since. Developers world-wide should be looking to Witcher 3 as an industry-leading example of what a video game should be.
Here are 5 reasons why.
#1. The Ability to Attract a Wide Range of Gamers
Though RPG is almost as old as the video game industry itself, games of this type usually only appeal to very specific niche audiences. Thanks to titles like Witcher 3, however, which have mastered the perfect balance between difficulty and the learning curve, the genre now attracts a far greater range of players than ever before.
The fact that Witcher 3 sold four million copies within a fortnight of release is a testament to just how popular the combination of open-world and choice-driven gameplay has become.
#2. The Importance of Player Choice
Of course, the entire RPG genre was built around giving players the choice and ability to shape their own stories. Yet there are still plenty of games – including those meant to be full- fledged RPGs – that can barely manage to implement an illusion of player choice.
One thing that Witcher 3 does very well is bring moral ambiguity and a wide range of possible consequences into the equation, rather than simply asking players to choose a ‘good guy’ or ‘bad guy’ path. This leads to a vastly more stylized and thought-provoking game and makes for more memorable characters.
#3. The Value of Engaging Minigames
As successful titles like Witcher 3 perfectly illustrate, the modern gamer wants – and expects – excellent replayability and a vast amount of content for their money.
But making a massive title with such expansive scope requires a certain degree of diversity in its content, to avoid forcing players into what feels like an endless grind.
That’s where minigames come in, and Witcher 3 has it down. Not only was the in-game minigame Gwent perfectly implemented; it was popular enough to spawn a standalone version!
#4. Single Player is Alive and Well
From the very start of online multiplayer, gamers have heard over and over about the impending demise of single-player gaming.
While there’s nothing wrong with being inspired by massively popular multiplayer titles like League of Legends or World of Warcraft, it’s important to remember that diversity is every bit as important in the video game industry as it is in any other. After all, a huge number of gamers prefer to play at their own pace without having to be part of an online community.
#5. How Replayability Enhances Player Retention
There’s no better way to improve player retention than by creating a game that people will come back to over months and years to come.
Not only does it take 200+ hours to complete Witcher 3 with all its side-quests and DLCs, it is also highly replayable due to the fact that every playthrough is uniquely affected by the player’s choices.
While it might seem that this concept only applies to RPGs, there are many other things Witcher 3 does to enhance replayability, such as its enormous size, an active modding community and content-packed DLCs.