While most of us know The Witcher from the bestselling video game trilogy, it actually
began as a bestselling Polish book series. The books are written by fantasy writer Andrzej
Sapkowski and has become vastly popular, especially within Poland. The Witcher would first be
adopted into a video game in 1996 by a small Polish video game developer known as Metropolis.
But the project was never completed as it turned out to be too ambitious and a few screenshots,
documents, and articles is all that remains. However before Metropolis started developing
this game there was no English translation of the Polish title of the books, so Metropolis
is actually responsible for coining the English title "The Witcher". In the early 2000s, the
Polish video game distribution company CD Projekt decided that they wanted to develop
a game of their own based on The Witcher book series. The author soon accepted the company's
proposal and development swiftly began. However, the company was in for a challenge as they
had no idea of how to actually make a video game. They started by forming the game development
devision CD Projekt RED and in 2002 they had produced a top-down-style game as a demonstration
to potential publishers. The demo was a complete failure so they were forced to start from
scratch. Two years went by and then at E3 2004 they had a new demo and this time the
game was a success. But it would still be another 3 years until its release in the fall
of 2007 because CD Project RED were still learning how to make a video game. Ideas began
to spiral out of control and even though they cut large portions of the game they still
ended up with over 100 hours of gameplay. In their own words "The game was a total mess,
and just at the very end it all came together.". Initially they had predicted that around 15
people would be required to create a game of this caliber but instead it took over 100
people, 5 years to make. The Witcher was finally released in October of 2007 and while not
being an enormous hit right away, it was far from a failure. So CD Projekt RED immediately
began development of a second installment. After overcoming some major setbacks with
development of a console version of the first Witcher game, as well as creating their own
in-house game engine, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was released in May of 2011. This
time, the game was a major hit and became a critical and commercial success all over
the world. From the very beginning though, the company planned on making a trilogy so after
the success of The Witcher 2, they began development of its sequel. And in may of 2015
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was released and has since become their most successful game by far.
Because of the success of The Witcher franchise a movie
adaptation is in the works, based on the novels, and will be released in 2017.
Please don't suck, please don't suck, please don't suck.
If the movie turns out to be successful a continuation is planned in the form of a
TV show. But all of this has actually happened before. In 2001 a Polish movie adaptation
was released with the international title "The Hexer".
It sucks, it sucks, it sucks.
And it was soon followed by a Polish TV show of the same name in 2002. Both received extremely
poor reviews and deviated quite a bit from the source material. For example, Vesemir's
role is replace by a character simply known as "Old Witcher" (or I guess "Old Hexer" in
this case) while Vesemir himself is presented as a druid.
The Witcher games are completely filled with easter eggs and references so here's at least
few of the more prominent and interesting. During the prologue in The Witcher 2, you
can find a dead body in a typical white Assassin's Creed outfit amongst some stacks of hay. It's
implied that the assassin died by failing to perform the classic leap of faith maneuver
and you can even see a platform at the top of the tower similar to those often used in
the Assassin's Creed games. When you approach the body you even receive a new ability, simply
called Assassin. In the Mines of Vergen in The Witcher 2, you can find a body that holds
a note. The note reveals that an ancient evil has been awakened and then ends with the line:
"Fly, you fools!".
This is a very clear reference to The Lord of the Rings, not only because
of the note's content, but it was written by a dwarf named Balin. Just like a dwarf
also named Balin left a book in the Mines of Moria in The Lord of the Rings. In the
first The Witcher game, the character Eskel mentions a gnome known as Alfred Nabel.
This is all in reference to Alfred Nobel who invented dynamite and later deeply regretted
doing so as he had not foreseen its use on battlefields as a means of killing. At the
small Isle of Kaer Almhult in The Witcher 3 you can find these sky cells. In one of
them lies the body of Tyrion Lannister from the TV show Game of Thrones. At a graveyard
in Lindenvale in The Wither 3 it's possible to spot a few statues. There's nothing strange
about that until you turn around and notice that the statues actually change positions
when you're not looking. This is a reference to Weeping Angles from the TV show Doctor Who
which behave in much the same way.
In The Witcher 2 there's a quest titled "Hung Over" in which Geralt wakes up with a tattoo
on his neck. To get the tattoo removed he has to complete a few objectives first. But
this is all optional so the player can actually choose to keep the tattoo if they want to.
Now, The Witcher games also have a rather interesting feature in that you can import
completed save files from previous installments. This means that, if you import a save file
from The Witcher 2 into The Witcher 3, the choices you made in The Witcher 2 will have
some minor effects on the story of The Witcher 3. So depending on your decision during this
quest in The Witcher 2, Geralt may still have the tattoo on his neck in The Witcher 3.
Ever since the release of the second game the series have gathered a huge fanbase across
the globe. But as the game developer is from Poland and the entire in-game universe was
inspired by European and Slavic mythology, the games have become an ever greater sensation
in Poland itself. For example, in 2011 when the US president made an official visit to
meet up with Poland's prime minister. The Polish prime minister offered a gift which
included, among other things, a copy of The Witcher 2: Assassin's of Kings.
The US president later made a comment regarding the gift saying it was a great example of Poland's
place in the global economy.
Also in 2011 the character Triss Merigold made an appearance on the front cover of Playboy
Magazine in Poland. The photos from the magazine, and the real life photo-shoot behind them,
were later included in The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition. And while it's difficult to tell at first, if you
look really really closely, you'll find some fantastic character development on the left nipple.
For the plot.
Many times when I make a video it can be quite difficult to find 10 facts I personally deem
to be interesting enough but not this time. These games, especially The Witcher 3, are
so full of minor details that will escape so many players. But as many of them are quite
minor I decided to compile the most interesting into one single section.
In the woods near Kaer Morhen, you'll find a grave with a sword in it.
Leo was a witcher who died at the beginning of the first The Witcher game.
When Geralt sheathes his swords, he uses his free hand to push the bottom of the scabbard away from
his body so as to make it easier to slide the sword in.
During the quest "A Princess in Distress" you'll encounter a bear and have to defeat it to progress.
But if you seek out and slay the bear prior to the quest, Geralt actually mentions this.
In a similar fashion, during the quest "Ladies of the Wood"
you're tasked with retrieving a bottle from a birds nest.
If this is accomplished beforehand Geralt is aware of this as well.
During the quest "King's Gambit" a woman is sentenced to death in a very specific way.
Once the quest is over her body can be found, exactly as described, on a remote island.
Not far from the city of Novigrad there's a place known as the "Seven Cats Inn".
If you take a look around you'll actually find seven cats. By timing it just right, you can
actually use the Aard Sign to deflect incoming arrows.
During the quest "Trial of Grasses" in The Witcher 3 there's a deleted sequence in which
Geralt has to cook a meal for Yennefer.
In much of the promotional material for The Witcher 3, Geralt is shown carrying a set
of uniquely-designed steel and silver swords. In fact, they've become quite the unique symbols
for the game at this point. But for some reason, these items are not accessible to the player
in the final game and were instead repurposed and used by other characters. For example,
the steel sword is used by some of guards from The Eternal Fire. But of course, on PC
there are mods which enables you to use the two swords if you really want to.
The Witcher 3 was originally intended to include a feature
which allowed Geralt to fight monsters on ice while ice skating.
It would've been a sort of extension to his already dance-like
fighting style but at a faster pace. The reason this feature was later abandoned was because
it had to be introduced very late in into the games story and introducing new game mechanics
at the very end just didn't work that well apparently. But I mean they fully redeemed
themselves by including this amazing SSX of Rivia minigame.
If you haven't read the books and maybe only played the latest Witcher game it can be quite
overwhelming to understand what's going on at times. The universe these games are based
upon is just incredibly expansive with many centuries of history behind them. The games
take place within two regions known a the Northern Kingdoms and the Nilfgaardian Empire,
which in turn exist on a continent simply known as The Continent. More than a millennium
before the events of the books and games, this place was inhabited by the Elder Races
which includes elves, dwarves, and gnomes. But suddenly a cataclysmic event known as
the The Conjunction of the Spheres caused parallel universes to collide and thus unnatural
creatures like ghouls, drowners, vampires, etc became stranded on The Continent. It was
also around this time that humans first began to appear and is known as The First Landing.
Many centuries and devastating wars later humankind would eventually conquer The Continent
and treat all non-humans as absolute garbage. The conflict between humans and non-humans
is a common theme throughout the games and books. However the numerous creatures from
other dimensions made it quite difficult and dangerous to inhabit this vast landscape.
So humans created witchers. A witcher is someone who has undergone ruthless experimentation,
training, and conditioning ever since childhood for the sole purpose of becoming an expert
at hunting and killing monsters. This result in them becoming sterile, gaining incredible
speed, strength, endurance, and reflexes. Having the ability to use magic in the form of signs,
immunity against diseases, accelerated healing, vastly increased lifespans, and cute little cat-eyes.
Witchers successfully eradicated most of the monsters across the Northern Kingdoms
and the Nilfgaardian Empire and everyone was happy. But now that most of the monsters were
gone there wasn't really a need for witchers anymore. This coupled with their super-human
abilities eventually transformed the once celebrated witchers into feared and resented
outcasts. Fast forward to the time of the books and games, witchers are now few and
far in between, with the most skilled and legendary being our protagonist Geralt of Rivia.
The love of his life is Yennefer of Vengerberg, a powerful sorceress, and together
they adopt and train a girl named Cirilla or Ciri. Ciri possess the rather unique ability
to travel between different dimensions. Five years before the events of the first game
Geralt and Yennefer actually dies but are soon revived and rescued by Ciri as she takes
them to an island known as the Isle of Avalon.
After Geralt and Yennefer has spent some time on the island to recover,
the Wild Hunt suddenly appear and kidnaps Yennefer.
The Wild Hunt is part of a powerful ancient elven race from another world who seek Ciri's ability to travel
between dimensions. Geralt chases after the Wild Hunt to rescue Yennefer and once he finally
finds her, the only way to save her life is to make a deal with The King of the Wild Hunt.
His soul for that of Yennefer's. Left with no other choice, Geralt goes with the Wild Hunt
and Yennefer is freed. Geralt spends some quality time with the Wild Hunt only to ambiguously
return five years later with a serious case of amnesia looking like he just left the grave.
This is when the first Witcher game kicks off. He's soon reunited
with another sorceress named Triss Merigold and because he can't remember anything, including
Yennefer, he falls in love with Triss. Geralt continues to struggle with remembering his
past until finally doing so at the end of second game.
With his restored memory he sets out to find Yennefer at the start of The Witcher 3.