The Witcher 1 Remake's new open world structure isn't an easy win

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,

The Witcher 1 Remake is coming to PlayStation for the first time and will arrive with a Wild Hunt aping open-world. However, the original RPG was released on PC in 2007 with a more hub-world-like approach — it won't be easy.

The Witcher Remake is finally coming to PlayStation from develop Fool's Theory and publisher CD Projekt. However, a major change from the original PC RPG converting the hub world to an open world like The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt.

The Witcher 1 Remake is going open worldThe Witcher 1 Remake is going open world

The Witcher 1 Remake's PS5 suitable open-world won't be an easy

With the The Witcher series on PS5 laid out and The Witcher 1 Remake helping bring some of the missing Witcher games to everyone, CD Projekt has expanded on what change will be made in a Q3 briefing. Page 5 notes that Canis Majoris — The Witcher 1 Remake — will be a "story-driven, single-player open-world RPG – a modern reimagining of 2007’s The Witcher."

While initially, this doesn't appear to reveal much, it's worth noting that this will significantly change how The Witcher is played. As Staff Writer Lee explains it, the open world will have serious consequences on the structure of the original game. The original Witcher 1 was split into seven parts — five chapters, a prologue, and an epilogue — but each one of these is attached to a single limited location. The city of Vizima and the outskirts of the city, for example, are your second Chapter location, whereas Chapter 4 is set between the Lakeside, Murky Waters, and Black Tern Island. While certain locations do crossover in certain chapters, the story is often very distinct from the previous instance of each location.

The Witcher 1 RemakeThe Witcher 1 Remake updating Geralt's face would be a good start.

These condensed spaces make the world of that 2007 Witcher more like a mini Dragon Age Inquisition more than The Witcher 3. Incidentally, this works well because it gives the original a sense of progress and focus more like traditional numbered levels. You don't really miss side quests or fun content, get overwhelmed by a quest log the size of your gaming backlog, or lose your place in the narrative. Every side quest or activity happens in the hub of the chapter, giving you a sense of everything being a part of the same narrative. It gives the game a sense of cohesion that some, like our boy Lee, would argue modern open-worlds struggle to maintain when their scope is absurdly big.

"If you’ve ever played The Witcher 3," Lee notes, "and were a little disappointed that a certain main story beat closed off certain side quests you were hoping to get to later, or checked out Elden Ring and felt robbed when an incidental event you stumbled into robbed you of one of the game’s better interactions, then you will most likely love how The Witcher 1 handles its quests." However, that will have to change in the newly announced remake.

The Witcher 1 RemakeThe Witcher 1 Remake has this art to go on — nice.

The original was built on a modified BioWare Aurora Engine that would eventually become the Red Engine. With Unreal Engine 5 capable of a lot more — fewer stilted animations and bigger scale being two major benefits — The Witcher Remake is going to be very different from the original indeed. We are just hoping it keeps the same pacing as the original, rather than going so big that it cripples Geralt's journey under the weight of extra content. As the politics expand Geralt's path from simple monster hunter to deeply complicated moral conundrums affecting the state, the new open world structure needs to maintain some of that old-school Witcher magic.

The Witcher 3 is, to be fair, one of our favourite games ever and appears on our best PS4 games list. It is remarkable but very different from the original — so here's hoping the reimagining captures the 2007 title rather than trying to stuff it into the Wild Hunt framework. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments, and see you there!
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation and Sony news. He writes about PS5 games like LEGO Horizon Adventures, Assassin’s Creed Shadows, Kingdom Come Deliverance II, Concord, and Death Stranding 2 using experience from years of PlayStation gaming. He also covers PS Plus news, as well as his favorite games — The Witcher 3, God of War, and The Last of Us — before an evening swim.
Hide ads
View discussion...
Hide ads