Games Inbox: What do you want from a new Witcher game?

The Friday Inbox tries to work out if the PS5 and Xbox Series X will be delayed, as one reader regrets replaying Sonic Forces.

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Strange magic
Does anyone know exactly why CD Projekt don’t want to make The Witcher 4? I know Geralt is getting a bit old by the time of the last DLC but he’s not dead in any of the endings, as far as I know. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t carry on. Do a prequel if you have to, I’m sure whatshisface Superman would be up for doing the voiceover/using his face.

But CD Projekt have got into the category of developer where I totally accept all their weirdness and just let them get on with it. From Software, Platinum, Nintendo, Valve… they all make weird decisions that seem crazy but they deliver the goods, so I just assume being odd is part of the magic.

To be honest if they’re not going to do The Witcher 4 I think I’d prefer them to make something brand new. Although I suppose they need they’re guaranteed hit if Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t turn out quite as successful as they hope. But a next gen The Witcher 4 that makes the third one look old fashioned by comparison? I would be so up for that and I’m kind of gutted it’s not happening.

Limited launch
With all these events getting cancelled left, right, and centre the big question for me is whether it’s affecting the release of the consoles themselves. They’ve already missed out on a lot of hype build-up already, assuming that they’re not going to be unveiled in the next month or two either.

But my understanding is that the worst of the coronavirus is now over in China and a lot of their industry is back at work, so since we never heard about a delay anyway maybe that means the consoles will be on time. Just maybe more scarce than they were going to be?

The question then is do Sony and Microsoft launch them with less hype and less stock than expected or wait until early next year to make a proper job of it? It really is hard to guess but I find the complete lack of news from Sony in particular hard to understand. I guess they’re all watching the news just like us and trying to work out what to do.

Early announcement
So if Warner were planning to announce all these games at E3 but that’s been cancelled, couldn’t they just carry on and do their show anyway? Assuming it was going to be one of those pre-show conferences that aren’t actually part of E3? Although I suppose you don’t want to turn up to a party as the only one there, and there wouldn’t be anyone in the audience or whatever.

It has to be a livestream then, but how long does that take to organise? Not that long I wouldn’t have thought, not so much that they couldn’t have it ready for June. We may even see the announcements before then.

Don’t care about Harry Potter, but I really want to see them get to grips with a new Batman game. Can’t believe how much they’ve let their foot off the gas with that one. The Arkham games were a big deal but now they’re all but forgotten. Whatever the new game is it needs to be really good to make all this wait worthwhile.

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Shadow Forces
They’re ‘giving away’ Shadow Of The Colossus on PSN at the moment, so I had absolutely no excuse to download it. None. They’re also giving away the decidedly less classic Sonic Forces. I downloaded that as I’m a sucker for a great character creator mode, which everybody and their two-tailed fox has said is pretty good.

Sadly, it comes with Sonic Forces and requires you to play through said game to unlock more of said character creator. Hey, it’s not as bad as Sonic 2006 or Shadow The Hedgehog, but it makes Sonic Heroes look like Rayman Legends. Or hell, even Sonic Mania!

The controls are just awful, it teases you with routes for exploration that don’t exist and that story. Woof. Makes me nostalgic for both Sonic Adventure games. Thankfully, much of the talking head dialogue can be skipped through. Which is the game’s sole virtue outside customisation: it goes by pretty quickly. Almost as if it knows you’re not going to be able to tolerate playing it for very long so each level feels as short as Green Hill Zone, Act 1… on the Master System. Thank the Chaos Emeralds for small mercies, huh?

Hmm, are the Chaos Emeralds the closest the Sonic mythos gets to gods? I dunno. What else was I going to use?

Proper sets
Ha ha ha! I don’t know what I expect from the that Lego Nintendo stuff but it certainly wasn’t that. I mean, it’s obviously aimed at kids, so there’s no point complaining (although I’m sure neckbeards of the Internet are going to anyway) but I do admire them not going for the obvious. Four years is a hell of a long time to be working on something though, that’s before the launch of the Switch so no wonder it wasn’t involved.

I’d imagine that probably means that if they do do Zelda and Metroid and whatever they’ll be similar sorts of interactive things. But I hope there’ll be some other ‘proper’ sets aimed at older fans. This would be my wishlist.

Super Mario: Princess Peach castle, Bowser’s airship, Donkey Kong’s hut, and Luigi’s Mansion
Zelda: Temple of Time and Korok Forest/Master Sword pedestal (there’s actually less to work with than you’d think with Zelda, at least in terms of things that turn up in every game)
Metroid: Samus’ ship and brick-built Ridley
Star Fox: Arwing, Great Fox, Landmaster, Blue-Marine, brick-built Andross
F-Zero: Blue Falcon and Falcon Flyer

I imagine they could also go wild with an Animal Crossing themed line, Fire Emblem (never played one myself), Kirby (urk), and Pokémon if that’s not a separate licence. Heck, just do everyone from Super Smash Bros. as a trophy at least!

I’m not sure they’ll actually do any of that to be honest, but if they did I’d be all over it. Especially a my little girl should be old enough to do proper Lego in a couple of years.

Everything but the fear
During a recent publisher sale, I finally grabbed a copy of the remastered BioShock trilogy. I’ve been thinking about getting it for quite a while, but what held me back is the fact that I truly loved the BioShock games when they first came out, and there’s always that thought that after such a long time they wouldn’t hold up against my memories of them. The first night after playing the original BioShock I actually dreamt of walking through an empty Rapture, marvelling at the fading art deco beauty, and that memory has stayed with me my entire gaming life, and still makes me smile today.

Having now almost completed the first remastered BioShock game, it happily hasn’t disappointed, and has turned into a trip down memory lane. The main thing that struck me is how small it is. I remember Rapture as being this massive place that took quite a bit of exploring, but the levels seem so small. It just goes to show how modern game levels have become massive with the more powerful hardware currently available. When compared to the unbroken land masses of something like Far Cry 5 or even older games like The Witcher 3, BioShock’s levels seem like just a few rooms held together with a corridor.

Another change in play I’ve noticed is that I used to cower in a dark corner every time a Big Daddy came by, hoping it would keep on walking. Now I actively seek them and their little darlings out, to kick some ass and get me some Adam. I miss the fear, it was so much part of the original experience!

Nevertheless, story and atmosphere are at 100% levels. I’m having fun, and that’s what it’s all about.
Spooky Dreamer (SpookyDreamBoo – gamertag)

Biennial renew
Not surprised Call Of Duty: Warzone is doing well, I’ve been playing it since Tuesday and it’s really good. The action is miles better than Fortnite and while it is all a bit grey and angsty I’m really enjoying it. I’m okay if it only lasts a year or two though as that means you get a brand new map and some new ideas like the gulag and whatever. I think it works out well.

Although I am kind of surprised Activision hasn’t tried to turn it into a sort of GTA Online affair, where it goes on forever and makes all its money from microtransactions. Glad they haven’t though.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

No pushover
After the initial trepidation of starting Nioh in January I’m proud to say I have completed the game. I was aware it was billed as a Souls clone. I would agree with this but maybe slightly less difficult.

Demon’s Souls is one of my favourite games and I love the impact From have had on the video game industry (an increase in challenging games).

I fancied a game set in feudal Japan, their history is fascinating.

I had a choice between Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice or Nioh but found I didn’t want the dourness of a From game, so settled for Nioh.

The game system is more exploitable and ultimately provides more ways to triumph, I suppose this makes it easier than any From game but it was no pushover.

I really enjoyed the arcade-like gameplay, almost like a fantasy beat ‘em up. Improving your character and gaining mastery over swords arts/ninjitsu and magic became really addictive. So much so that unlike any From game I feel compelled to play New Game+ (Way of the Strong).

The skill trees have been criticised and I admit they are quite labyrinthine but milking them for best advantage was one of the joys of the gameplay. Also defeating masters in the dojo to gain their knowledge
really added to that sense of slowly becoming a master yourself.

The game seems to drip feed new content and so far I’m impressed with the DLC. I had my moments where I considered quitting but after persevering with the vampire lady boss (Hino ENMA) I knew I had to complete the game. Maybe one shortfall was a lack of enemy types. Yet personally I’m happy with the amount and the DLC has provided some tough new adversaries.

I’m sure Nioh 2 will be every bit as good but right now there’s still more Nioh to rinse.

Would also like to say how much I’m enjoying Hunt: Showdown which would have gone under the radar if it wasn’t for the GC review. Ta. I’m no good but hunting solo may be even better than team play. Just harder to live to die another day.

Inbox also-rans
Just seen the good news that the PC Blade Runner game is going to be remastered for PC and consoles, as Night Dive, creators of the System Shock 1 Remake, have reversed engineered the code.
Andrew J.

I can definitely say I’ll miss E3. I always enjoy watching them all (even the late night Sony one) and now it’s all just going to be random spots in the year. Nowhere near as good.

This week’s Hot Topic
Last week was the 20th anniversary of the PlayStation 2’s first release, so for this weekend’s Inbox we want to hear your memories of Sony’s second console.

Did you own a PlayStation 2 at the time and if so what did you think of it? What games did you own and play, and which were your favourites? Have you played any of them recently and how do you think they hold up?

What do you think is the legacy of the PlayStation 2 and what should it be best remembered for? How would you rate it compared to other PlayStation consoles and do you think it deserves to be the best-selling format of all time?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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