GOG.com & CD Projekt RED

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Last night CD Projekt RED and GOG.com took to Twitch to stream their summer conference, where Marcin Iwinski – co-founder and joint CEO of CD Projekt RED – divulged some awesome stuff, not only for those anticipating The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, but also for their dedicated and ever growing community at gog.com.

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After explaining the change of release date, reasons for the delay and confirmation of the new release date (24th February 2015), Iwinski launched into announcements by displaying the cover art and going over the plans for distribution of the game.  Announcing, what we already know to be, that the game will be coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC with no platform receiving special treatment.  Regardless of what you play it on, the standard edition will net some swanky loot, including – of course – the game, the manual, a compendium (to serve as a primer for the various goings on in The Witcher Universe), a stunningly detailed map, the original soundtrack and some stickers.  Suffice it to say, a lot more than we can typically expect from the standard retail release of a game.

Following this, they then pulled out the big guns by wheeling out the monstrous collectors edition.  If you’ll indulge me for just a moment, I never buy collectors editions (mainly for this reason), however, I am most assuredly planning on picking this one up!

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The collector’s edition contains:

  • The standard edition and all the entrails.
  • A giant 33x24x26 cm, 100% hand painted, polystone figure of Geralt of Rivia battling a Griffin.
  • An exclusive, collector grade Witcher medallion
  • A one of a kind SteelBook
  • A two-hundred page artbook, containing breathtaking art from the game
  • Huge outer and inner collector’s boxes for storing all your Witcher merchandise

Just like the standard edition, the collectors edition will be available for all platforms the game is coming to, and there will be one universal version, albeit in limited supply.

Lastly, the standard digital version is low on information so far, only unveiling what is available to those on PC.  Coming with the ability to pre-download and be entirely DRM-Free, digital buyers will also receive a digital version of the previously mentioned artbook in full, bonus making of videos and, of course, the map of the game’s world.

Exclusive, however, to GOG.com, the goodies do not end there.  GOG buyers will receive an extended soundtrack (pre-orderers will get the first four tracks now), a download code for a digital copy of the first issue of Dark Horse’s Witcher comic, concept artwork and avatars, custom made wallpapers and, amazingly enough, a digital copy of the award winning Dungeons & Dragons classic RPG Neverwinter Nights (complete with three expansion packs!).  Through appreciation of the GOG community, there’s also a pre-order and loyalty scheme granting buyers a discount based not only on purchasing the game before it’s released, but also increasing based on whether or not you have bought the previous two installments through their own service.

Information on the consoles digital editions will be revealed later in the year though, sadly, it is unlikely that they will be able to bundle in things like the Neverwinter Nights game for a variety of reasons that need not be spoken here.  Suffice it to say that the people involved in bringing this stuff to you have proven time and again to put customer satisfaction very high on their priorities, so don’t expect to come out of it with nothing at all, just keep your eyes peeled.

It’s safe to say that, with that in mind, any version of the game you wish to pick up is going to be a worthy purchase as far as blindly doing so ever has been.  Everybody comes out with more than they usually would and, based on my personal history with the series, the game is already more than enough.  If you wish to waste no further time, you can head over to buy.thewitcher.com to get the ball rolling.

Once the formality of what you’re going to be getting was out of the way, Iwinski then directed the attention of those present to the screen to show off the latest trailer for Wild Hunt, titled The Sword Of Destiny, which you can see below:

This trailer alone I could talk about for hours.  For fans of the series, be it books, games or both, this trailer is a pretty damn good one.  Not only do we get to see Charles Dance – who Game Of Thrones fans would recognise as Tywin Lannister – making an impressive performance in the role of Emhyr var Emreis, Emperor of Nilfgaard, in such a brief time, but also we get to finally see what Ciri, the Lioncub of Cintra and pretty much central focus of the story prior to the games, will look like now that she is finally being brought into them.  Just a few small details from an overall impressive looking trailer that does nothing if not get the fans excited for things to come.

With his memory, and the books events still hazy in areas, Geralt will be tasked with finding Ciri while she runs from The Wild Hunt, knowing that when he does little will help to maintain their safety as the trailer’s Wild Hunt representative says, she is the child of prophecy.  Everybody wants her, very few for non-nefarious reasoning.  It’s going to be extremely fun to find out how the White Wolf plans to take care of the many, many plot threads that have been so excellently crafted over the past seven years.

While that is the end of of the line for things specifically Witcher 3 related, GOG.com also had some great future plans to announce.  At this point, Marcin Iwinski gave the stage to GOG North America VP, Guillaime Rambourg, who turned viewers attention to the screens once more to showcase the new GOG Galaxy client.

A client like no others, Galaxy takes the agency of ownership, control and volition gamers have been systematically losing for the last decade and attempts to put it back in their hands with this optional piece of software that makes updates, communicating and connecting with friends easier, while not stripping them of their property due to a bad or entirely missing internet connection.  Naturally, playing online, showcasing achievements and acquiring content patches and updates are often going to take the importance of an internet connection out of your hands, but it’s nice to know that, as far as playing a single player game goes, you’re not locked out for not having one.

This, as well as everything the company has stood for since it’s inception in 2007, proves that the consumer will respond positively to not being treat like the thieves that are sadly amongst them.  As Gabe Newell famously once said:

Piracy is a result of bad service from game companies.

As a result, DRM has always been considered a joke over in the GOG offices.

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After Iwinski and Rambourg discussed the in’s and out’s of Galaxy in more detail than the video presentation could offer, the lead up to the culmination of the conference began.  Slamming down another announcement as the remaining grains of sand fell.  Powered by Galaxy, the popular Witcher Adventure Game board game is not only coming to iOS and Android, but also PC and Mac.  Closed beta sign ups have begun at www.gog.com/galaxy so go ahead and sign up there now, be warned that keys are said to be going out shortly after E3 or thereabouts.  Lastly, those who pre-order Witcher 3 through GOG will receive two codes for this closed beta.

That’s a lot to go on and for what I’ve missed you can go ahead and watch all said here, and more, for yourselves on their Twitch channel www.twitch.tv/gogcom, as well as have a watch of the GOG Q&A session with Marcin Iwinski, Piotr Karwowski and Trevor Longino.

I know I certainly have a lot to look forward to as both The Witcher and the efforts of CD Projekt RED and GOG have been responsible for some of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I’ve had in recent memory, but what did you think?  Go ahead and leave a comment or hit me up on one of the many social media links below.

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When Cevyn isn’t writing for Codec Moments, he can be found either obsessively feasting on the many facets of geek culture or writing bad, unpublished fiction novels.

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