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Prerelease:The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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This page details prerelease information and/or media for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was announced on February 4th, 2013, and wasn't released until over 2 years later, following two delays. Unsurprisingly for such a titanic title, the project went through some growing pains as the developers endeavoured to balance their colossal creative ambitions with technical and temporal constraints.

Development Timeline

  • 2013
    • Feb. 4th - The Witcher 3 is officially announced via Game Informer, with plans for a 2014 release on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. [1]
    • Jun. 13th - Members of the press are invited to attend a private gameplay demo of The Witcher 3 at E3 2013. [2]
  • 2014
    • Mar. 11th - CDPR announces that the release date will be delayed from Autumn 2014 to Feb. 2015 for the purpose of fine-tuning and testing. [3]
    • Jun. 9th - The Witcher 3 gameplay is shown at E3 2014. [4]
    • Jun. 23rd - 40 MB of design documents are stolen from the Google Drive of a CD Projekt Red employee, offering a peek at the game mid-development. [5]
    • Autumn - First anticipated release date.
    • Dec. 8th - CDPR announces that the release date will be delayed from Feb. 2015 to May 19th, 2015. [6]
  • 2015
    • Feb. - Second anticipated release date.
    • Apr. 16th - CDPR announces that the game has been declared gold, indicating that it is ready for release. [7]
    • May 19th - The Witcher 3 is released on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
    • Oct. 13th - The Hearts of Stone DLC expansion is released on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
  • 2016
    • May 31st - The Blood and Wine DLC expansion is released on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.


Character Development

TW3-Geralt Model 1.jpg
Character Development
How the characters changed throughout development.

Removed Characters

Removed Characters
One of the previous game's most important characters didn't make the cut.


Equipment Development

Equipment Development
The conception and evolution of the equipment in the game.


Removed Contract Monsters

Removed Contract Monsters
Numerous contract monsters were removed from the game.

Removed Non-Contract Monsters

Removed Non-Contract Monsters
Some regular monsters from previous titles didn't make the cut.

Removed Vital Spot System

Vital Spot System
A large component of the combat system was discarded entirely.


Removed and Altered Locations

Removed and Altered Locations
Many locations were whittled down for the final game.

Location Concept Art

Location Concept Art
A look at some concept drawings of the locations in the game.


Removed and Altered Quests

TW3-default sticker texture.png
Removed and Altered Quests
The game's layout scheme saw its share of changes, with some missions deleted entirely.

Plot Changes


Because Geralt's story had already been told in The Witcher novels, the developers initially planned to allow players to forge their own destinies by basing the game on a new Witcher of their own invention, called Berengar, who appears in the original Witcher game. However, they later decided that Geralt's character was what made the books great, and decided that they could do more with him.

(Source: CD PROJEKT RED Presents: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Panel (PAX 2015))

White Orchard

  • At the time of the press demo shown at E3 2013, the burnt-out village that Geralt and Vesemir first encounter in White Orchard in the final game was in the midst of burning down upon Geralt's arrival. Even at that time, the developers indicated that they would probably change it so that the village was already burnt when first visited.


According to the document "W3 Flashbacks Finalboard Storybook"...

  • The Empress ending in which Emhyr passes on the Nilfgaardian throne to Ciri would have also seen her marry Morvran Voorhis. While Voorhis suggests that he would make a suitable husband for Ciri if she became empress in the final game, this doesn't come to pass during the course of the story.


According to the document "W3 Quest Asset List"...

  • The peasant celebration during the Bald Mountain quest would have featured an orgy and ritual suicides involving jumping from a cliff.


According to the document "W3 Quest Asset List"...

  • Síle de Tansarville would have survived being tortured and accompanied Margarita during the final portions of the game.
  • The Wild Hunt would have used their magic to freeze part of Novigrad's bay, creating a giant ice floe.
  • The fight between the Nilfgaardian ships, the Skellige fleet, and the Wild Hunt's flagship, Naglfar, would have occurred in Novigrad.
  • Rather than taking place in Skellige, the battle between Ciri and Caranthir would have involved Ciri skating around on this destructible floe, dodging the mage's spells as he tore apart the ice around her.
  • Likewise, the battle between Geralt and Caranthir would have happened here, including the portion where Caranthir teleports Geralt to the ocean depths.
  • Ciri would have escaped from Naglfar on a ship.
  • Aside from the names mentioned above, characters present for this sequence would have included Triss, Yennefer, Philippa Eilhart, Síle de Tansarville, Margarita Laux-Antille, Fringilla Vigo, Keira Metz, Radovid, Zoltan, Dandelion, Donar an Hindar, Crach an Craite, Hjalmar, Avallac'h and Eredin.


According to the document "W3 Quest Asset List"...

  • Cerys was to be present at the Nilfgaardian camp on Undvik.

According to the document "W3 Gameplay Backlog - old"...

  • There was to be a boss fight against Avallach.

Other Worlds

According to the document "W3 Quest Asset List"...

  • Geralt's otherworldly adventures with Avallac'h would have taken him through an abandoned, overgrown version of Novigrad with a Leshen, an insane asylum housed in the Kingfisher Inn building, the alleys of Rivia, and the underground of Oxenfurt University.

Gameplay Changes

Basic Mechanics

  • At the time of the press demo shown at E3 2013, Geralt was only able to meditate at campfires.

According to the document "W3 Gameplay Backlog - old"...

  • If Geralt was witnessed committing a crime, he would have been pursued by guards. When in-range, a dialogue would be prompted in which Geralt would have the option to pay a fine, fight, or flee. New guards would be able to spawn. If Geralt were killed, rather than receiving a Game Over, he would wake up beyond the city gates, losing all of his money, as well as the experience points he'd accumulated towards the next level. The guards would have attacked instigators of fights, protecting victims from their assailants. In the final game, Geralt does not have the option to pay up, and dying to angry guards results in a loss of his money, but not his experience.
  • Geralt's inventory would be accessible from a horse, boat, or inn, all of which would share item storage.

Battle Mechanics

According to the document "W3 Gameplay Backlog - old"...

  • A combat focus mode was being developed that would have allowed players to target and attack specific enemy body parts while in slow motion. This would have incorporated a special GUI, as well as both a quick target and a detailed target mode, each with unique UI. In addition, players would be able to identify visible vital spots on each entity, which would feature an attack cost and effect. It was even possible for items to be vital spots. However, the document indicated that the developers were having trouble with this gameplay mechanic, encountering problems with choosing the right animation for the blow, the direction of the attack, and the position of the vital spot, as well as possessing only a simple prototype of the two target modes.
  • It was possible for casting Axii to fail, but the developers were already planning to amend this.
  • Developers were planning to implement a dagger throwing attack, a two-sword attack, and a charge attack.
  • Geralt would have been able to use a torch in battle.

Exploration Mechanics

According to the document "W3 Gameplay Backlog - old"...

  • Geralt would have been able to ride a cart, in addition to a horse and a boat.
  • It would have been possible to kill your horse via fall damage. If you killed the horse by jumping into deep water, Geralt would immediately transition into his swimming animation.
  • Geralt would have been able to manipulate the boat's sail to speed up or slow down.
  • The sail would automatically have been taken in when Geralt disembarked.
  • Geralt would have been able to repair a damaged boat with the help of the boat builders at a dock.
  • It would have been possible for Geralt to toss a bomb off the boat in order to stir up fish and loot from the bottom.
  • A lantern would have hung on the boat, illuminating Geralt's way at night.
  • Instead of sailboats, rowboats would be located in lakes and rivers.

Playable Characters

According to the document "W3 Gameplay Backlog - old", in addition to Geralt and Ciri, it was intended to be possible to control the following characters, at least temporarily:

  • Popiel: (no combat, walk like Geralt, just model change)
  • Avallach: (no combat, walk like Geralt, just model change)
  • Elf (Wild Hunt): (no combat, walk like Geralt, just model change)
  • Rat: Player can play as a rat in one of the quests. He will be just running and will be able to hear some conversations.

Implementing these alternate characters would require the following tweaks:

  • Move the implementation of Geralt specific functions to PlayerWitcher from CPlayer
    • Bo mamy dużo shitu w Cplayerze. Poczyszczenie. [Because we have a lot of shit in Cplayer. Cleaning up.]
  • UI for replacers
    • Blokowanie paneli, usunięcie medalionu, radial menu, znaki. [Blocking panels, removing the medallion, radial menu, signs]


Removed Gwent Deck

A document named "GWINT - placeholder concepts", created on March 17th, 2014, references a deleted Skellige-themed Gwent deck that would have contained the following cards:

Polish Unofficial Translation
Card Name Description Card Name Description
Król Bran Zmarły król skellige King Bran The late king of Skellige
Crach an Craite Jarl klanu Craite, najsilniejszy klan na skellige, TW3 Crach an Craite The jarl of Clan Craite, strongest clan on Skellige (TW3)
Eist Tuirseach Zmarły jarl klanu Tuirseach Eist Tuirseach The deceased jarl of Clan Tuirseach
Myszowór Druid ze skellige, TW3 Mousesack A druid of Skellige (TW3)
Draig Bon-Dhu Słynny skald ze Skellige Draig Bon-Dhu A famed skald of Skellige
Lugos Szalony Jarl ze skellige, jego klan jest wyjątkowo brutalny, TW3 Madman Lugos A jarl of Skellige; leader of an exceptionally cruel clan (TW3)
Holger Czarna Ręka Jarl ze skellige, jego klan słynie z licznych oszustw i braku uczciwości, TW3 Holger Black Hand A jarl of Skellige; his clan is famous for its numerous frauds and lack of integrity (TW3)
Donar an Hindar Jarl ze skellige, jego klan żarliwie wierzy w Freyię, TW3 Donar an Hindar A jarl of Skellige; his clan passionately believes in Freyja (TW3)
Udalryk Jarl ze skellige, najbogatszy człowiek na skellige, TW3 Udalryk A jarl of Skellige; the richest man on the islands (TW3)
Hjalmar Syn Cracha an Craite, wojownik, TW3 Hjalmar Son of Crach an Craite, and a warrior (TW3)

The Skellige deck was later included in the Blood and Wine expansion. The in-universe backstory for its development and debut was featured in the sidequest "Gwent: To Everything Turn, Turn, Tournament!" In addition to the cards above, it also included the following named characters:

  • Cerys
  • Blueboy Lugos
  • Birna Bran
  • Svaringe

Removed Storybook Mode

To do:
Document this.

Removed Minigames

  • According to the document "W3 GUI Production List", dice and darts minigames were planned for inclusion alongside Gwent.

Removed Creatures

  • According to the document "W3 Gameplay Backlog - old", the developers intended to include white deer, unicorns, and swans in the game.

Removed Integration

  • According to the document "W3 GUI Production List", the developers were contriving to have social media, Kinect, and Smart Glass support for the game.