By now you've probably heard The Witcher 3 (opens in new tab) is massive, but it's difficult to put into words the game's sheer scale. Glancing at that gargantuan map dotted with question marks is incredibly overwhelming, especially if you're the kind of person who has to seek out and complete everything that pops up. It's easy to stare at your quest log (filled with several dozen requests from various villagers and royalty alike) and get paralyzed with indecision. With the two DLCs that are masterpieces in their own right, CD Projekt Red has willed into existence a new way to make its beautiful, overflowing world feel even more enveloping.
Now, I don't necessarily want to crap all over New Game+'s inclusion in The Witcher 3. It's a great way to extend the game's lifespan far beyond any logical stopping point. But for a game already as massive as The Witcher, New Game+ just feels excessive. Now, the adventure that feels like it'll never end literally never has to end - and that bugs the hell out of me.
Eyes bigger than your belly
Playing The Witcher 3 is like getting a massive birthday cake all to yourself. You take a fork and start to dig in, but slowly, you start fill up, and each additional bite becomes just a little more difficult to swallow - yet you can't stop eating, because it's just so damn good. You finally take your last bite, put your fork down next to the plate containing the leftover cake crumbs you couldn't finish, then CD Projekt Red rolls a conveyor belt up to your table and just starts pumping cakes out at you forever. That's what New Game+ is to a game like The Witcher 3: a neverending supply of cake when I'm already past the point where I should have stopped eating.
Exploring the best locations in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (opens in new tab)
I cannot even begin to imagine the Sisyphean-like prospects of spending another 100+ hours playing this game again. It's already far too big, and its various side quests and activities often felt essential, whether they're rewarding you with some gold, a shiny new sword, or some more lore to flesh out this already densely packed world. I was completing side quests that I was vastly overpowered for, not for the small chunk of change or the five experience points it would fork over as a consolation prize for my time - I was simply enjoying my time as this fantasyland's ronin, wandering from village to village, taking on jobs for some coin.
But after a certain point, diminishing returns kicked in, as two new question marks seemed to pop up on the map to replace each one I cleared. The Witcher 3's massive scope transformed from a blessing into a curse, one that I wanted to be done with as quickly as possible. I was really enjoying my time playing the game, investigating its gray shades of morality while putting off my quest to find Ciri for one more game of Gwent. Somewhere around hour 80, though, all I wanted was for the game to be over and done with, so my initially aimless wanderings became laser-focused, and I made a beeline for the ending.
Honestly, New Game+ is the last thing I want from The Witcher 3. I'm not the kind of person to play one game forever - it's why I don't typically shine to multiplayer games like Dota 2 - and after a while, playing The Witcher became an albatross around my neck, preventing me from digging into a massive backlog of games piling up as I slowly chipped away. I felt guilty for ignoring The Witcher when I wasn't playing it, but I also felt guilty for ignoring every other game out there while I was. So my only option was to cut the cord, so to speak, and wrap up the rest of the game as fast as possible. New Game+ only exacerbates those feelings for me, and I'm simply exhausted by the thought of ever replaying the game again. Sure, I'd get a hefty boost through the start thanks to being able to use my old gear, but I got everything I wanted from The Witcher 3 the first time I played it. I don't need another go.
Too much of a good thing?
It doesn't help that every single publisher out there is trying to feed me a different, yet equally large cake of their own. Dying Light, Batman, Assassin's Creed, Mad Max, Fallout 4, hell, even the typically linear Metal Gear series is going open-world, each game aiming to be the only video game I’ll ever need for the rest of time, padding their experiences out with as much content as possible. The Witcher 3 benefits from having content that rarely feels like a waste of time, but its New Game+ is just another attempt at stretching the experience out far longer than it could ever possibly need.
There's certainly value in these large, time-consuming games, especially for people who can only afford a couple games a year, and New Game+ will be a boon to those who want to live in this virtual fantasy world forever. But there's also value in curation, in knowing that it's possible to provide too much of a good thing. If you're like me and you want to play as many games as you can get your hands on, and you have an obsessive compulsion to see everything these games have to offer, you'll quickly find that something has to give. Unless we can find a way to slow down the Earth's rotation to make the days longer, that means letting go of ever completing The Witcher 3 to the fullest - and that most definitely means never touching its New Game+ mode.
So to CD Projekt Red, I say thanks, but no thanks. I appreciate the thought, and I'm sure people are going to love hitting the reset button while still bringing most of their hard work with them, but to preserve my own vision of Geralt's journey (and, let's be honest, my own sanity), I'm going to politely decline. And to the village whose cockatrice problem I promised to solve: sorry, but you're gonna have to find someone else to take care of it for you. I might swing back around when the expansions hit. Maybe. We'll see.
Want more Geralt? Of course you do! Check out our 10 best open-world games of all time (opens in new tab) or did you know that The Witcher is coming to Netflix, and CD Projekt Red is "looking forward to watching" (opens in new tab)