CD Projekt Red and GOG.com just wrapped up their 2014 Summer Conference, which featured a fair bit of information about The Witcher 3’s retail and digital editions, a new gameplay trailer from the game and news about GOG.com’s future plans.
Marcin Iwinski, co-founder of CD Projekt Red, handled introductory duties and didn’t waste much time in confirming a specific release date for The Witcher 3: 24 February 2015. It’ll be a simultaneous release on both console and PC, so no weird PC delays like we’ve seen with titles like Dark Souls and certain Ubisoft releases.
Speaking of Ubisoft, Iwinski moved on to show slides of the box art and made some pointed comments about baffling retail editions with multiple pre-order bonuses and different additional side-missions. At CD Projekt Red, they apparently find that kind of thing a bit crass and confusing, so with The Witcher 3 everybody gets the same game with the same internal content.
The only differences are in external physical bits and pieces. In the standard retail edition of The Witcher 3, you get a game map, Witcher universe compendium, soundtrack, stickers and manual.
If you want a little bit more in the way of physical touchy-feely things, you can opt for the collector’s edition which comes in a big box. That version has a fancy (and rather heavy looking) Geralt statuette of him wrestling a griffin, a hardcover 200 page art book, steelbook game cover and all of the standard edition goodies.
That’s not too difficult to keep track of, is it? There’s one more Witcher 3 version: the PC digital edition.
In that you get the game (helpful,) DRM-free if you purchase it through GOG.com, plus a digital 200 page artbook, bonus making of videos and a documentary. Oh, and a digital map of the realm.
If you pick it up through GOG.com they’ll throw in an extended soundtrack, a download code for the new Witcher comic from Dark Horse and some concept art. Plus Neverwinter Nights and its three expansions, because why not?
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Buying through GOG may also wind up cheaper. Iwinski added that if you own copies of The Witcher and/or The Witcher 2, even from another digital download site, you can confirm that with GOG to get an extra 5% pre-order loyalty discount per game. In regions where there’s a price difference for The Witcher 3, GOG will make up the difference in game credits.
For more about all of that, have a look at the GOG pre-order page which has a useful FAQ on it. As you’d probably guess, pre-orders are open for the game already.
But enough about getting people to spend money. Here’s the main event of the presentation, a new gameplay trailer from The Witcher 3 featuring hot Charles Dance action and confirmation that my PC will probably be weeping tears of cooling fluid at anything above medium settings.
That video was enough to get some scattered golf-clap applause from the otherwise impressively stoic audience in CD Projekt’s small presentation room. Iwinski says there will be more from The Witcher 3 at E3 this year, too.
After the trailer, Guillaume Rambourg of GOG.com joined the stage to talk about the site’s plans for their “Optional Client,” Galaxy.
Galaxy is, loosely speaking, GOG’s version of Steam except with the usual philosophy of flexibility and choice the company applies to everything. There will be no online activations for single player games. Being online with Galaxy is always optional, and everything you play through it can be played offline (unless you actually want to use a multiplayer mode or something, it’s not magic.)
Galaxy will have chat options for friends and will update your GOG.com catalogue for you. But if all of that sounds terrible and you don’t want another digital game client on your PC, that’s fine too. Manual patch updates for GOG games will still exist and you don’t have to use Galaxy at all. It’s optional.
Here’s another trailer, talking about it.
In addition, Galaxy will have cross-play functionality with certain games, meaning two people with a Steam version of a title and a Galaxy one respectively will be able to play together.
By way of testing this, GOG has announced that The Witcher Adventure Game (a digital board game set in the Witcher universe) will be coming to the PC. The multiplayer beta will launch soon, with cross-play capabilities on Galaxy. You can sign up for beta keys at the Galaxy page, and Rambourg said keys should start going out after E3.
A single player offline mode will exist in the game, but they’re testing multiplayer with the beta first. The Witcher Adventure Game won’t be free to play, but the price tag wasn’t announced during the conference.
It was said that anybody who pre-orders The Witcher 3 through GOG.com also gets a pair of beta keys for the Adventure Game.
That was pretty much it for the presentation, which closed out with this quite serious and po-faced “making of” video about The Witcher 3 statuette figurine thing.
If you missed the CD Projekt Red and GOG.com Summer Conference, you can watch it right here for yourself in full.