The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt by CD Projekt Red is the current front-runner for 2015 Game Of The Year, and its first DLC expansion, Hearts of Stone, has met with widespread critical acclaim following its October 13 release. Hearts of Stone adds at least 10 hours of gameplay over the course of 23 quests.
Of course, in spite of its general success, Hearts of Stone was not without its faults; critic Mike Mahardy suggested that, while excellent, its pacing was broken at times and that it had some “negative moments.”
“In Hearts of Stone, we came up with the right ideas right from the start. We spent more time coming up with ideas from scratch; with ideas that felt right and natural. Nothing was added simply to make something else make sense.”
Moving forward, it’s a fair bet that the flaws of Hearts of Stone will be addressed in Blood and Wine, which is set to release sometime in the first half of 2016, according to Gamespot, the release window mentioned in passing in a press release for Hearts of Stone, which is a little later than originally expected.
The good news is that Blood and Wine is set to be the larger of The Witcher 3‘s two planned DLC expansions, clocking in at over 20 hours of additional gameplay, compared to Hearts of Stone‘s 10. It takes place in the new region of Toussaint: “… a land untainted by war, where an atmosphere of carefree indulgence and knightly ritual masks an ancient, bloody secret.”
Now Realty Today is reporting that some new details have emerged from Tomaszkiewicz at PAX Australia 2015; specifically, that players can expect to see new characters in Blood and Wine straight out of the novels by Andrezej Sapkowski, upon which the Witcher game franchise is based, especially given that The Witcher 3 and Blood and Wine are intended to be the final installment in the franchise; favorite characters from the books are likely to make an appearance. Most likely, sorceress Fringilla Vigo, main character Geralt’s former lover, and duchess Anna Henrietta, ruler of Toussaint.
Up until now, the Nilfgaard duchy of Toussaint (the French name for All Saint’s Day in the real world) has only featured in the Witcher novels. It is a land famous for its wines, thus Blood and Wine.
Few other details have been made available for Blood and Wine; Marcin Momot, Community Manager, stated that the new monsters for Blood and Wine are already set but declined to comment further, as they have not yet received official confirmation. It is also rumored that there will be new horse breeds available.
Meanwhile, according to GameSpot, CD Projekt Red continues to focus the bulk of its resources on its upcoming title, Cyberpunk 2077, a sci-fi RPG said to be “far, far bigger” than The Witcher 3. While he said that they aren’t planning to discuss the game almost at all before 2017, Tomaszkiewicz noted that, given the ambition of the project, most of the company are already involved in working on it at this point. This may have something to do with why the release window for The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine has been widened.
[Image via CD Projekt Red]