Why open world might not be right for The Witcher 3

The new trailer for The Witcher 3 dropped this weekend, and our first thought was: daaaaamn, a reenactment of a Nordic village being massacred has never looked so pretty. Just gazing at the level of nuance present in the dusky prairie, the gothic city squares, the wan light behind the autumnal trees—it really shows off what the new generation of hardware can do. 

The Xbox One and PS4 seem primed to create convincing, beautiful, interconnected landscapes that are bigger than ever, meaning that more games are posed to become, as the trailer touts, “multi-region open worlds.” But is there a downside? 

The previous games in the Witcher franchise are regarded for their tightly-authored stories that could go in several directions, depending on your choices. But with the game bulging in real estate exponentially, you have to wonder if the writers can keep up with the expansion. One possibility we hope doesn’t happen is that the narrative could end up suffering from the sheer size of it, as the choices you make dwindle in significance in the open-ended vastness. We wonder how many franchises will become open-world games to push these systems, and how many will lose what they fundamentally are because of it.