The Witcher 3 Is Otherworldly

Alien to the medium, yet masters its every aspect.

Next month, will be the 5th year I’ve spent without my dad in the house. It has incidentally been the date when I graduated high school and was going to presumably map out an entire career path towards financial compensation. Alas, battling disability, my plans proved too unrealistic. I ended up settling for mom’s slim income, and bits of minimum-wage paying work until I hit a wall and realized if I were to go any further with any craft I deemed of any material worth, I’d have to cease whatever it is I’m doing and focus on what I took long to hone: writing.

The journey to populating my Medium has been marred with incredible strife, uncertainty, and equal outer disdain for my work as a writer who’d never been officially trained for the trade of penmanship. The key I’d thought for close to three years, is to just keep striking the iron until it was stiff enough. If I were to apply the skills I’d learned over the years, surely someone was going to notice me and take me up on writing professionally, right? It proved more complicated than that, and sadly, after two years of doing it, I started to sense the passion slipping away. I was not only short on providing for myself, but it was less of a justifiable endeavor to spend so much time writing and writing, when the financial return was evidently non-existent. I wanted to turn my craft into what could supplement the family’s income, but also, permit me to flap my wings away from the nest I’ve so grown attached to. There’s no place better than home, but as is equally the case, there’s no lonelier a place than home. I’d stay sleep-deprived, late at night, staring at the ceiling, wonder if all I’ve done in my fourteen years of study was worth sod all. Moreover, thoughts of suicide and emotional torment were not to quit my soul without a fight. Agony was the defining feature of years I spent since dropping out of university, and all it’d push me into is wondering whether staying would’ve been the best call after all.

I understood long that it was societal peer pressure, but it didn’t help me the slightest as to diagnose what the hell I felt was wrong with me — no sense of purpose, no resolve, absolutely no determination, and the lack of motivation for doing the simplest of tasks showed itself to be of utmost debilitation. I’d spend five hours crafting a piece, then editing it, putting it out, only to discover thereafter a mistake I checked at least a dozen times to make sure it wasn’t. Maintaining a presence to be emblematic is of unlikely proportions when you are the writer, editor, and publisher of your own deeds. “What if whomever I sent my application to, saw a typo I’d made and assumed it was a feature, rather than a bug?” was the message to keep repeating in my head, prompting me thus to reexamine the text I’d revised time and time again, only in some cases to completely rewrite and “perfect” what was once thought to be perfect. “Maybe this wasn’t worth it after all. I could just put the pen down and start flipping burgers at McDonald’s until I land an equally as uneventful desk reception job” was an anthem I’d sung the lungs out of as my eyes fail to close. Antidepressants and hallucinogens were mere tamers of a dormant beast, and when they’d recede their influence on me, I’d have moments of brief clarity where I just want to destroy everything at my disposal and start anew. All that my hands touched were to be rotten, and whatever attempt at purifying them was to be met with uttermost failure. I did not know what else I was going to do aside from what I already knew, and the waters of my mid-twenties started to become all the trickier to swim. A life of emotional comfort and loft turned into a regiment of constant worry, misunderstanding, doubt, upheave, and near-continuous change. If a trade I were to invest in proved too complicated, or unfruitful, the imminent conclusion that I could not shun from the halls of my consciousness is to abandon it altogether.

That lust for perfection, was as veritable of a drive as the handle I’d soon come to have over my trade. I want to keep writing, but I don’t want to bear a presence unwanted. Occupying a space rife with such competition and unspoken contempt can prove a steep mountain to climb. I learned with time though, that practice refines confidence, and that in turn contributes to faith — one I’d grew to have more and more of as time went on. In spite of all challenges — and thanks to them maybe — I was able to set my foot where my writing resonated, if only with a few. Knowing that it’d hit on that same emotional chord great pieces of art hit within me is enough a compensation as any — The Witcher 3 not only did leave a solid impression, but it’d bolstered a strengthened sense of belief in my writing capabilities I thought previously was only fit for a master of the trade to claim.

Spoilers ahead for the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Hearts of Stone, and Blood and Wine.

Geralt of Rivia is as humble a warrior as they come. His fate — as so he describes — led him to a life of beast slaying, and lady swooning. He’s toppled dragons, vampires, ghouls, water monsters, and the lot of what the Continent kept treasured within its keep. For each a new type of beast is unleashed, he adapts with incredible dexterity, no walking midget does ever scare him. Beasts most foul, shiver at the sound of his feet. At the break of dawn, one need not know what he’s up to. He could be enjoying a whiff of mandrake with his vampire friend Regis over mistakes of times past; he might be sharing the mutual amusement of a fiery passion with his sorceress companion Triss; and as is customary, it might be that he’s adding yet another trophy to a collection ever-so-expanding. The work of a witcher is never truly over.

When you’re so deeply entrenched into your craft, you almost start to wonder what your life would’ve been like without it. Sometimes as I pen these pieces, I can only think of a time when my most adored vice was propping up my chair, opening Microsoft Word, and just mashing away at the keyboard until something clicks. Geralt’s quest to conquer lands unlikely is as riveting as it is fatal. It’s the only thing since he passed the Trial of the Grasses that he knows to be undeniably true. What of a life without the constant worry of slaying the next beast, or being sent over a horde of assassins on a false charge of felony? Would settling in a farm with none but food and water to worry about been preferable? Geralt’s longest battle is with questions of that same vein. He yearns for something calmer, and less volatile than the life of a witcher, yet, he does wonder what losing such exotic physical faculties would entail for his future, and that of the world. At the end of the Wild Hunt, Geralt realizes not only that his role was detrimental for his own survival, but he’d literally saved the world from Armageddon. In a circumstance all too unforeseen, he poised himself to claim the status of a Holy Savior. He’s not only the ground-bound, magic-versed, quick on his feet, agile and dexterous specimen of a morally responsible mercenary — he also saved the entire world from becoming unlivable. He does not only have the Emperor Emhyr in his debt, but also the entire common folk who’d built up this image of him that he only kills for coin, not assuming of a compassionate soul, owe him their very survival. Geralt is a living embodiment of a dichotomy best illustrated in what people think he is, versus what his deeds attest to in verity. Despite his best attempts, he can’t convince people his lack of an ulterior motive — what has been known of witchers for centuries, could just as well been the work of legend and superstition; not any more founded than De la Croix’s claim that a Vampire could be killed with a garlic-oiled sword in broad daylight.

The Witcher 3 pits superstition against fact, in sometimes subtle, but other times, markedly obvious ways. Witchers are thought to be ruthless creatures whose only goal in gaining mutations is to slay every beast that may lay waste to a peasant’s slim fortune, but their history reveals itself more complex. It used to be in times past that witchers would take children of those who’d fail to repay them, and thus thrust them prematurely into a life of bodily scars and incessant bloodshed. Typically, in fiction, there’s the notion a hero must’ve chosen the path they led to conquer the ultimate evil, but the Witcher 3 constantly challenges that notion by proposing in its dialogue choices that Geralt might’ve not been cut for that life afterall. He may have enjoyed his days traveling parts unknown, but the pain and contempt he’s faced in return may not have been all that desirable a payoff. He didn’t choose his trade, it rather chose him. He’s constantly faced with the choice to back down and leave it all behind, but he continues despite all to push and push, until it would all come to a sudden stop. Geralt said in his own words that “no witcher ever dies in their own bed”. It seems as though he’s not only being prophetic, but he’s also foretelling his eventual demise. We may have caught glimpses of his life throughout three playable entries and a sum of DLC’s, but no one will ever truly know how his journey will end, or whether he’ll regret any of his past deeds. The moral implication might shift from player to player depending on their choices, but it falls down upon the same foundation — Geralt kills monsters, humans, and nonhumans all the same, to sate a thirst deep down he wouldn’t have otherwise had were he not a witcher. Being locked into a self-sufficient cycle of feeding the very thing one wishes to be set free from is a feeling I know all too well. Writing is something I love to do, but I can’t shake the occasional suspicion that I’m its hostage — not the one it owes to its very existence.

As I kept playing, I realized the only recourse to renounce this life of witchering would be to put down my controller and walk away — but I loved it so much, and didn’t want to stop. I kept trucking the road wherever the trail of mud leads, and I ended up before knowing it, with a giant beam of energy pointing towards the sky, and the fate of the world at the mercy of my hands. Was it destiny then, or was it my thirst for blood? I see a pack of bandits with health and stamina bars above, and my immediate reaction in moments alike, is to swing my sword as wildly as I can. “Am I any less monstrous than the beasts I’m tasked to kill?” I started to wonder, before it beset on me that I was to entertain the paradox without questioning it. It was to leave me wandering in its mist, peeking at the smallest moments of sobriety as guidance to reach into the older self I had, only to find out it was gone. Geralt of Rivia, is no longer the man he was when he first passed the Trial. His skin wore down, his emotional scars grew wider, and the more he’s to walk the darkest of paths, he realizes people started to know him more for what he does, rather than who he is. He’s but a tool to destruction and calamity to many, when he’s deep down a loving and compassionate soul with those who care to acknowledge.

On my way to cut down the umpteenth foe, I hear the sound of a lute swelling. It’s mother nature calling to my spirit, for it to come back home. I’m enveloped by the sun rays, graced by leaves and greenery. The heat of a distant star is slowly warming my skin. I speak to Avallac’h, and he then says our world is not unique — there are varieties of equal sanctity residing somewhere else in the cosmos. Were they to have their planet ripped apart by greed and selfishness? It seemed so after we’ve taken a trip to a planet straight out of a Star Wars movie. Resources are scarce, there’s barely any sign of a thriving community, and nature is just… dead. Entire ecosystems have fallen apart to its dominant species’ quest for unwithered control, and hence, they were left with nothing but rubble and ash.

I know none of what the Witcher 3 shows me is supposed to have existed, but I can’t help but wonder what would it have been like to live in its midst. Trees lush, lakes deep, and landscapes of wonder extend as far as the eye can see. If a life of peasantry was the cost, would I be willing to pay it? Would the simplicity of eras past been enough to satisfy my lust, or would it have been too inconvenient without my phone within a pocket’s reach? Maybe I don’t miss my computer all that much. Perhaps my mind would’ve been far better served when embraced by nature just as nomad as we once were. There’s a beauty to remain forever lost in what could’ve been. Our world, now to be ravaged by the ill intentions of current corrupt leadership, is arguably faring a lot worse than if the occasional threat of being gouged out by a vampire or dragged across the forest by a griffin, were on the list of our biggest worries. The world’s imminent demise couldn’t have possibly been a worse outcome.

Lest it be forgotten, The Witcher 3 isn’t only a tale about Geralt of Rivia, it’s also a tale about the downtrodden people of Velen, the oppressive bourgeoisie of Novigrad, the tribal conflicts of an unstable Skellige, and the hypocritical façade of virtue in Toussaint. Each area dons its own appearance and is home to issues unique to its own sociopolitical structure. The people in Velen are majority farmers and are therefore more concerned with what kills a season’s harvest than having a robe to cost an arm and a leg — their vices are less marked by material goods and they’re more appreciative of their nature’s surroundings, once devastated by war. Novigrad is a healthy mixture between metropolitan and nomadic life — it’s dirty, it’s rough around the edges; there are people, poor and rich, old and young; and the city is home to material pleasures rural folk aren’t accustomed to. Skellige’s fervor is of Vikings’, home to rivalries all too tribal, and a particularly selective and somewhat bullshit interpretation of “honor”, but the scenery is so relentless that it begs for all fighting to stop, for men to put down their axes, and just gaze upon the hazy lit clouds above heavens of flora so abundant. It’s gorgeous how personally tailored each environment is to their peoples and how utterly believable the transition between each and every one of them is — to rehash an old comparison, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey made a great point to create backstories around different islands and towns, but never bothered to update NPC behavior, or instigate factional tensions as to make the conflict between Spartans and Athenians more layered than it has the impression of giving. The Witcher 3 plays to its strength by realizing the full potential of each area, and it all comes beautifully under a mission design that feels rather inventive and refreshing — even mind-blowingly so considering this game has preceded many of its imitators by two years at the very least.

Detail is a common theme in this game — the mission design allows so many branching paths, for decisions to matter, and for multiple secondary quests to open up and further expand the existing path laid out by the main narrative. In games where that approach has been tried prior, there has been very little involvement in alternative paths aside from approach, or explicit choice. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided infamously handled this discrepancy by highly encouraging — if not coercing — the player to do a run without bloodshed, nor raised eyebrows — subsequently, the ending has been barred from all those but who spend the bulk of their playthrough reloading past the point of detection or error just to avoid risk. The result is somewhat of a dreary task that has taken 30 hours for me to effectively complete — while the Witcher 3, perhaps for presence of foresight, was able to not hide its better endings behind artificial difficulty, and was rather intent on making genuine player choice paramount. You’ll not get the best ending because you had to play the game a certain way, but you did it thanks to the systems being carefully crafted around freedom of exploration and narrative fulfillment. It’s rather the feeling I came away with after finishing the bulk of its side quests — they didn’t feel like punishment by choice, it was rather more like satisfactory participation.

My philosophy with gameplay systems has always been that the least I notice it, and the more it serves the narrative, the better it is. The Witcher 3 is no exception with an emphasis on tactical implementation of skills; mutagens fortified by said corresponding skills; and a blinding variety of weaponry, protective gear, and potions to make the game adapt to you, rather than you having to spend a dozen hours adapting to it. There’s also a row of spells, which are not spared utility throughout levels and missions alike. A slight criticism might be that it’s perhaps too Hack ’n’ Slash-y, but to be brutally frank, I haven’t encountered such an objection in my playthrough. It wasn’t so hard that I’d put my controller down out of frustration, and it wasn’t too easy that chaining combos was becoming an instinct, instead of a learned skill. The balance of difficulty, and reward was pretty evenly matched. What you gain by fighting well, you lose immediately once the level of enemies starts to catch up — one you’re at liberty to automatically raise should you choose to be suicidal.

The story is without a doubt the strongest part about this game though — the stark contrast between the beginning sections, and the latter ones is staggering. Often in video games, you don’t feel like the game has made much progress beyond providing you with an extra boost in stats and maybe a few new moves to spice up the gameplay, but what I’d gathered slowly as I reached the end was how fundamentally different the game is by the ending stages. It’s all about Geralt finding himself in a bind he had not signed up for. He took to fulfilling contracts across the war-torn region of the Northern Realms, but all he came away with at the end was the imminent death of all that is, at the mercy of a world-consuming inertia that is the “White Frost”.

Cold, however, is not adjective I deem of remote applicability in the case of the Witcher 3. Each and every member of the cast possesses of a charm unique to their own — Yennefer is a witch version of Cardi B with all the wit and none the vernacular; Triss’ a social justice advocate moonlighter of sorts, wherein she lays havoc upon Geralt’s lower bulge as much as she does with a match as irritable as her sense of humor; Keira Metz is the perfect stereotype of a city-girl, good with garments and a joy to chat with; Vesimir, Lambert, and Eskel are the shining beacon of reason illuminating a somber tunnel brimmed with temptations vilest; Regis, a former blood addict, and a vampire, offers advice as insightful as Vesimir’s musings have a tendency of being; the Duchess of Toussaint, Anna Henrietta, is an example in juggling responsibility, and heroics; and Ciri, the crowning jewel of all, is as equally of a compelling female-empowerment icon before we make her acquaintance as she is after. She’s the closest I felt to having a daughter short of playing The Last of Us, or making my own — which is a lot more expensive, and reeks of tedium as it does of doo-doo. But quips aside, if it is the case that games can often be broken, or made by their characters, the Witcher 3 only further reinforced what was damn-near perfect, and pushed it over the edge. If I couldn’t give a damn what anyone besides my character was doing, it would’ve been far drearier a slog to drag through.

Hearts of Stone, the first DLC, was even more innovative than the main game, and thrust the player in the shoes of a more playful Geralt, fighting a giant frog, entering a painting, and dancing piss-drunk at a wedding party, while they run the risk of pissing off an all-powerful demon who they can defeat by solving a riddle, or choose elsewise to surrender; all that whilst deconstructing the very directives guiding narrative in a video game by placing a god-like figure in the driver seat. Conversely so, Blood and Wine bets on a tried and true formula, reacquainting Geralt with old friends, pitting him against formidable foes, in the fantasized version of a medieval fictional French Duchy, adding more treasures to pillage, more bandit camps to raid, and a fortress conquest system that allows the player to propel themselves forward at least a dozen levels by the end, making the end-game loop much more appealing and less mechanical had it stuck for the Wild Hunt’s core quests and treasure hunts — all for the low-price of a season pass, or an individual purchase.

Ever since the GTA IV DLC’s, the case couldn’t have been made that any game has near came close, but the Witcher 3 takes its liberty in adding upon what has already made the game great, iterating on its systems, and making sure its fit and finish don’t feel comparatively borked to what may initially look like a more solid offering. The truth is the Witcher 3 can be enjoyed as a solo package, but its enjoyment factor is only ever multiplied by the acquisition of its two major story DLC’s. There’s not just great writing to cope, but the activities are ever so plentiful, and all the more engaging.

Mike Epps’ “I’m on Everything” skit is most exemplary of the gamut of intrigue and excitement running the narrative, primordial and auxiliary. I sought out to lift a curse off a research site, only for a sorceress friend — who I ended up sleeping with — to get her hands on the relevant notes and run towards King Radovid for redemption. I helped a band of a three dozen mages escape persecution from witch hunters in Novigrad City through the help of Triss and then only took to confessing my love for her so she may stay and help fiend off the Wild Hunt and foster a love never-ending in Kovir after it was all done. I discovered a Werewolf by a sacred garden in a remote island who I’d then come to find out was a man, and needed a curse gone so he may again assume human form — my path led me to discover it was the grudge of jealous man who’d condemned him to a life of pain and sorrow. Along with Yennefer, we blinked atop a ship wreckage in the snowy mountains of Skellige to demand a djinn lift a tug of perpetual love between the two — Yennefer only then and there, was able to fully contextualize that her love for Geralt wasn’t sorcery, it was genuine and real. I took on a giant frog, only to find out it was an Arab prince and was taken on a ship sailing for their land to then escape it with the help of a vindictive demon, embark on an adventure to realize three wishes for a man, and hope I either out-riddle him, or settle for a selfish reward — one of them involved entering a painting and recreating past memories of a tarnished love, to then be met with the decision to take a violet as a token of my task, and destroying whatever life remained in the distraught’s soul, or cut the part where she seldom held it, waiting for her love to return home. I dove inside a Fables book to recreate cynical retellings of tales most notorious, romanced a captive on the way out, then headed straight on to finish off a Vampire who’d appeared to be hellbent to turn every stone in Beauclair and bring forth demise on every two-legged sentient creature as part of his campaign for revenge on a deceitful lover. I got to sit with Ciri as the sun rose, after we took on the witches of the Crookback Bog and a general of the Wild Hunt army, to hash out the difficulties of life, reveling in the mutual chaos of it all. Lambert lamented his family’s past with an abusive dad, and being picked to pass the Trial of the Grasses against his own will; he’d maybe started to regret becoming a Witcher just like I did. We got also at a certain point to draw out a shape-shifter from a crowd after we made a theatrical play to denounce racism in marital affairs, wherein where two souls shall meet, they may be wed— what I’d just mentioned is merely the tip of the iceberg.

The keyword here is content and oh was there so much of it. It felt at moments like it wasn’t going to stop pouring. Whichever way I chose to approach it, there was always a sense of satisfaction after I’d concluded a quest line. It doesn’t quite exactly feel like a walk in the park and dare I say — it’s much more of an Odyssey than the Greek Mythology-inspired latest entry in Assassin’s Creed ever was. Even the smallest strands of narrative encompass a sense of scale where the majority of singular video games cannot possibly claim to compare. It’s as if the Witcher 3 isn’t only one big lustrous thread of goodness— it’s also a collection of many experimental, and interlocking pieces of interactive segments that would then gel together to form the semi-cohesive journey each player gets to experience individually. By the end, the only thing left to pick up was my dried up jaw on the floor. The unachievable, seemingly, had been achieved.

I became fulfilled by the end. And when it was all done, I felt empty. I’d commanded an adventure — none would believe what I had done by the end, but what was important for me as it concluded, was that it was all my own doing, with a team of developers from all disciplines of the trade being along for the ride. It was then that I realized it wasn’t just a game — it’s an entire team’s labor of love. The countless hours spent sniping bugs, the tireless work of animation artists in imbuing its skeleton of characters with life; the commendable task of sound engineers to make sure the mix was just perfect, throats soring from singing choirs most emotional; the sleepless nights writers spent perfecting their script; the people whose movement likeness we’re in control of from cutscene to cutscene; the Renaissance-adjacent concepts jotted down by an immensely talented team of artists; and the painful journey everyone from management, to those assigned a usefulness comparable to that of a barista — they were all just as equally important to making this grand event in gaming history happen.

It is why, I’m met with emotions of moral unease when reports of a crunch culture rose ashore. How was I to reconcile something so masterful with a behavior so fraught? I loved this game, truly, every single bit of it, but I don’t think it was worth hitting a deadline over. We’ve now been accustomed in an environment welcoming of constant information sharing to receive news of delayal as a negative — not only as a sign that things aren’t boding well for development, but as a negative indicator for investors and customers alike that the product wasn’t able to be delivered in due time. The industry is largest a culprit of it, and as much as we can’t isolate its direct impact on developers and its institutionalized subjugation to mental and physical torture as a byproduct of societal pressure and also capitalism, it’s just as folly to claim market demand isn’t as strong an incentive as it may so appear. The benefit of hindsight has allowed us to take a peek into a studio with the size and notoriety of a Telltale, a Visceral, a Bioware Montréal, or a Capcom Vancouver and see firsthand that taking part of a culture encouraging productivity at the expense of holiness moral and mental, will not indeed spare you the axe of cultural irrelevance, or sudden unemployment. Publishers’ bottom-line steers well clear of any moral consideration for developers’ livelihood, and it’s in their best interest to start organizing, and start unionizing where those benefits may lack, or are marked by a notable absence.

Rockstar had made headlines for reasons similar by proudly reporting work weeks north of a hundred hours. It’s absolutely maddening how what is alien in other lines of work, has been taken as gospel and the predominant rule of thumb. It has no rhyme or reason, and yet it persists. It is behavior perhaps not as extreme that CD Projekt RED has knowingly partook in, and encouraged within its ranks; but it remains nonetheless reprehensible.

I can’t say that I’m particularly surprised, since it seems to be the ruling trend that any big budget AAA title is marred by stories of crunch, but to await that holy prophet sent from the Godly graces of social progressivism whom its ordainment is to change the way we think about crunch culture can prove tricky, if not currently wishful.

I enjoyed the game with every bit of my being, and I’ll continue to laud it for years to come. It has heart, it brought joy to mine, and it aided me in having closure over what has been a turbulent time in my life. I’m unemployed, ready to scrub floors for the quickest bidder — but pacing through the muddy streets of Novigrad, the snowy mountains of Skillege, the sunny hills of Toussaint, and the depressingly poor swaths of Velen, it gave me a sense of purpose, if only momentary. The beauty of video games, is allowing us to live who we could never become, through who we truly are.

Coming to terms with the intersection of purpose, reality, and art, is the main driving motivator for me whenever I’m playing anything. If I’m allowed the relief to shoot folks’ brains out in a ploy to destroy Nazi dominance over an alt-history version of America, I’d gladly take it; but it wouldn’t bring me nearly the same fulfillment as the Witcher 3, or its oldest sibling in my consciousness; Fallout 3 did. I haven’t felt as much attachment to any characters in any other video game I’ve ever laid eyes on. The environment, the stories told — everything just came into this bloomful of an execution I couldn’t have possibly anticipated, even after reading stories of universal acclaim.

This, and God of War, taught me not to doubt the words of a majority, even when the urge to dissent is all too great to resist. It is henceforth, and through lengthy consideration, that I’d put the Witcher 3 as my current favorite game of all-time. I didn’t know it would come this generation, or even the next, but it did, and it’s an awesome feeling to have after playing what I’d consider to be good games, but none truly revolutionary as this one is. It is even more dreadful that I haven’t played sooner than I did — it is so maddeningly pristine, that not playing it would’ve been far more forgivable than sleeping on it this for this long.

It is all the more why issues of crunch, and community management imitating brands lesser, does so much to undersell what great a product this is. CD Projekt RED made an incredible story, concluded what I can only assume is a widely-beloved saga, but they keep getting the rug swept from right under their feet by people who do not fully realize the richness of their worlds in their implicit and explicit messaging. The paratext informs much of what the audience sees, and I’m worried that this near-endless hampering on “edgy” gamergate-adjacent behavior within their PR teams will only deter those most deserving of such an impeccable experience.

No one should be stripped the pleasure of playing something as immensely fun as the Witcher 3, and it is why you should treat yourself to the Game of the Year edition as soon as a sale is live. Play past the prologue, and you will not regret it. What I will not however guarantee, is if the moral implications of its development, or marketing, will sit right with you. I’m still trying to figure that out myself.

What I’ll leave you with, is a quote from Jason Schreier at the tail end of his lengthy coverage on the Rockstar controversy. It’s by no means definitive, but it sure does provide a lot of context for what is undoubtedly a far more complex situation than anyone can individually encompass.

Is it possible to make great art without unreasonable sacrifice? That’s a question that’s haunted the video game industry for decades, and it’s one that remains difficult if not impossible to definitively answer. […] Is crunch just, as CD Projekt Red CEO Marcin Iwiński once told me in an interview about his studio’s mega-hit The Witcher 3, a “necessary evil” in game development? These are questions that will be debated for years to come.

And indeed they will be.