Of all the great RPG series to emerge over the last generation of consoles, the last I expected to ever feature multiplayer is CD Projekt RED's The Witcher. Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls and Dark Souls all easily lend themselves to playing along with a friend or group of strangers, but how on Earth could one possibly translate the awesome power of Geralt into a casual game of sport?
Fans of the typically single player series perked their ears up at the notion of multiplayer in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt when CD Projekt manager Adam Badowski hinted at its inclusion. Rather than eagerly awaiting the possibility of playing it with friends, the typical choir of complaints about multiplayer detracting from a solid single player campaign began to pour in from forums around the Internet.
Marketing head Tracy Williams is out to set the record straight stating that multiplayer is a possibility in The Witcher 3, but it's hardly "set in stone."
"That's something Adam mentioned in the context of us always looking at the best ways to make the games we're currently working on. So multiplayer's certainly something we'll investigate, but it's not currently set in stone for Witcher."
Not to worry, though, as lead gameplay designer Maciej Szczesnik also stated that they would only attempt multiplayer if it were possible, and even agrees that mutiplayer can be "destructive" towards a single player campaign.
"It's tacked on [in other games], but that won't be the case here. If we decide to have any multiplayer elements, they'll be tailored to the game. It will be the best possible experience in the single-player experience first. Even social mechanics] have to be optional. With single-player, you just want to jump in and enjoy the story. Huge multiplayer features can be more destructive than helpful. We're not trying to have multiplayer just to have it."
Given the meticulous level of detail and care put into the first two Witcher games, I'd be inclined to believe these guys. The Witcher is a series with an established base of hardcore fans made by developers who obviously know what the audience wants. Given the slim market space for a game as unapproachable as The Witcher, you don't want to go making your entire fanbase angry.
I believe they'll do everything in their power to make sure any multiplayer element is up to snuff with expectations.
Both of CD Projekt RED's major titles, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Cyberpunk 2077, are slated for release on next generation technology and won't be available until next year at the earliest. That gives me plenty of time to learn how to play.