Polish developer CD Projekt RED have announced the delay of their much anticipated role-playing game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The third game in the critically acclaimed The Witcher series, Wild Hunt was originally slated for a fall 2014 release date, but that date has now been pushed back to February 2015.
In an open letter, the studio expressed a heartfelt apology to fans eager to play Wild Hunt sometime this year, but rationalized their decision as one with the game’s, fans’, and shareholders’ best interests in mind. “We recently reexamined what we had achieved thus far, and faced a choice about the game’s final release date,” the letter reads, “The decision we made was difficult, thoroughly considered, and ultimately clear and obvious. We could have released the game towards the end of this year as we had initially planned. Yet we concluded that a few additional months will let us achieve the quality that will satisfy us, the quality gamers expect from us.”
The studio cites the technical and artistic ambitions of Wild Hunt, describing their goals to “expand creative boundaries, set new benchmarks, develop the genre as a whole,” and that ultimately because of those ambitions, “A project this vast and complex would inevitably require special care in its final stages, manual fine-tuning of many details, thorough testing time and again.”
The delaying of ambitious, triple-A titles such as Wild Hunt is not uncommon, as developers often push back release dates in order to conduct more bug testing and fine tuning. As such, reception to the news was greeted with understanding from many gamers. PC Gamer writer Phil Savage described the delay as “a slight disappointment then, but one that’s perhaps understandable given the scope and depth that the developers are aiming for.” Users on gaming news sites such as Gamespot expressed similar sentiment, with one user writing: “As much as this disappoints me…I know that only means it’ll be that much greater of a game. Much hype. CDPR knows what’s up. Can’t wait for this game!” and another simply stating: “I can wait.”
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was announced via Game Informer in February 2013 and is being developed for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The developers have stated their ambition to create an open game world 20% larger than the one in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, as well as 100 hours of gameplay and story content. Its predecessors, The Witcher and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, were critical and commercial successes, with both games selling in excess of 5 million copies and winning numerous gaming awards.