“What’s the hype?”: The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine DLC

Hello, dear readers and welcome to another edition of “What’s the hype?”! This week I’m looking at the upcoming DLC for CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: Blood and Wine. I am SO excited for this DLC. The Hearts of Stone add-on was like the DLC of old, like Oblivion’s “The Shivering Isles” DLC pack. It has around 20 hours of gameplay with new items, side quests, romance options (that apparently don’t piss off Triss or Yen!) and a nice patch to make this brilliant game look even better.

“Blood and Wine” is due for release in the second quarter of 2016, i.e. between April and June. There is a rumour flying around that the game has an estimated release date of April 26th due to a listing found in a Polish magazine, but this has neither been confirmed nor denied by CD Projekt Red, similar to quite a lot of the rumours that are flying around for this game!

We know that it will feature a brand new map area: Toussaint. It is a land that has been predominantly untouched by war and will be an area of the map with mega enhanced graphics and design, making it stand out from the rest of the game. It’s design, language and ambience has been heavily influenced by French culture and feels like the missing piece of the complicated, political landscape that is The Witcher’s map. Despite its warm, positive and peaceful exterior, CD Projekt Red reminds us that nothing is as it seems: Toussaint holds some dark and mysterious secrets and individuals, so Geralt has to be particularly wary of this seemingly detached place; He’ll probably need to be wonderfully sarcastic, too, and sigh a lot at the many menial tasks he’ll be asked to complete.

Old faces are apparently set to appear at some point in the story, though it’s not clear if these are old faces from the previous two Witcher games – or even the books – or if it will be a reappearance of Ciri, Yennifer, etc. I have not completed The Witcher 2 and haven’t played the original game, but am working my way through the books, so am a bit unsure what to expect here and wonder if it will make sense or have any relevance for me. I am however looking forward to this due to the excellent re-introduction of Shani in the Hearts of Stone DLC, and feel that the team will be able to integrate older characters into this new story extremely well, as well as bring back “new” characters like Yen or Ciri.

Much like Bioware’s Mass Effect: Andromeda, Blood and Wine’s release date was pushed back from the first quarter of this year – i.e. NOW! – To the second quarter, as I’ve already stated. Whist I sometimes wish that publishers would stop giving out expectation dates that they obviously/probably won’t meet so as to avoid the disappointment of pushing back dates, I am glad that the team decide to push back its release in order to make the game perfect, which I have absolutely no doubts about. The Witcher 3 is by far my favourite game (alongside Mass Effect, of course) and I have totally thrown myself into its lore by buying all the books and the first two games.

On a slightly sadder note, Blood and Wine will be the last Witcher game to feature the trilogy’s protagonist, Geralt of Rivia. I feel I’ve missed out having discovered the world of The Witcher so late and missing out on what must have been a crazy hype for The Witcher 3. However, the first two games are still available for Xbox 360, so I can have my fill of them even if I am a little tardy to the party.

In terms of adventure and play lines, CD Projekt Red are ambitious in wanting to release a DLC with a reportedly better story line than the main game itself as well as including a specific threat to Geralt, as opposed to just a general set of enemies. The Senior Story Writer for the games, Jakub Szamalek, was quoted as saying that the team felt that they didn’t manage to create a charismatic main enemy for Geralt; whilst Eredin and the Wild Hunt were intimidating and mysterious, they were just a bunch of enemies who didn’t offer much in the way of personality or story. It will also come with an abundance of morally-grey choices, sarcastic comebacks and witty one-liners, as well as new gear, weapons and Gwent cards (YAS!).

The Witcher 3’s musical composer Marcin Przybylowicz, has stated that Blood and Wine will feature its own unique soundtrack, as he saw it as a new opportunity to compose new material. Alongside another of The Witcher’s composers, Mikolai Stroinski, Przybylowicz said they will be “…not using any pieces that were written before, because we get a completely new area, new characters and a new plot. They deserve to have their music written from scratch.”.

It will be coherent with the rest of The Witcher’s soundtrack, and will once again be featuring the Polish folk band Percival who gave The Wild Hunt soundtrack that something extra special. I often listed to The Wild Hunt soundtrack in the car or just as ambient music, so I’m really looking forward to hearing what will be produced for the game.

Apart from that, there are have been very few details released about the DLC. I am so excited about it that I check almost daily for updates. I am also looking forward to any special edition items that may be released with the game, such as the Gwent cards released with the Xbox One copy of the main game and then with the Hearts of Stone DLC. Let me tell you, playing Gwent in real life is so exciting and I’m always hankerin’ to play some Gwent.

So that’s that! Comment with games, movies etc you’re looking forward to, like and subscribe.

GN

 

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