The Witcher is considered one of the greatest video game franchises ever created. Based on the books of Andrzej Sapkowski, the popular RPG series take place in a grim fantasy world that is both violent and realistic. The dark overworld has monsters roaming, inspired from the Slavic folklore as moral questions define the role-playing experience. In this article, I present all of the Witcher games, including spin-off titles, in chronological order. Enjoy!
1. The Witcher
Release Date: 26th October 2007
Platforms: PC, Mac OS X
The Witcher was the first game in the series, and despite not getting much mainstream attention, it pleased every RPG fan out there.
But what the Witcher did incredibly was to revolutionize the RPG combat system. Until then, most role-playing games were either full-fledged action-based, like the Gothic series, or turn-based that relied on dice rolls, like the Neverwinter Nights franchise. The Witcher, however, combined both approaches. This blend resulted in a unique combat system that nearly all players loved.
For instance, players could chain melee combos by clicking on enemies at the right time during the attack animation, like the quick-time events from the God of War series. The Witcher also featured multiple fighting styles, each of which had a distinctive animation set. Players had to choose which fighting style to adopt as they approached enemies. Further, players unlocked witcher signs throughout the game, which provided extra depth to the combat. And, taken directly out of the Elder Scrolls games, the Witcher implemented alchemy. Different potions meant different buffs or caused self-harm. Think of it like when a potion or spell went wrong in Harry Potter.
Where the Witcher stood out was the narrative, as well as the moral choices. Players often stuck in trying to decide which choice would be the lesser evil, as many options affected the storyline outcome hours later into the game. And despite its hard start as bugs and performance issues tormented it, The Witcher was the best RPG of 2007.
2. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Release Date: 17th May 2011
Platforms: Xbox 360, PC, Mac OS X, Linux
It took four years after the release of the original for a sequel to come out. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings received much praise for improving nearly every element upon its predecessor.
To do it, Assasins of Kings changed the combat system, implementing a flexible action-RPG approach. With dynamic swordplay and better effects from the witcher signs, The Witcher 2 combat system was fantastic. Further, potions weren’t as significant as before. Instead of lasting whole in-game hours like in the first game, buffs lasted only for a couple of minutes. As such, potions were needless to beat the adventure. Thankfully, the story still included impactful choices. Three chapters of the game have a different outcome based on a single decision that players had to make in the first chapter.
The ending may have felt a bit rushed, but it didn’t detract too much from this innovative RPG experience.
3. The Witcher Adventure Game
Release Date: 27th November 2014
Platforms: iOS, Android, Mac OS X, PC
The Witcher Adventure Game is a tabletop game designed for 2-4 players set in The Witcher universe. And based on its success, a digital version of it was created that was released primarily on mobile devices.
The game has received mixed reviews. But perhaps it’s worth checking it out if you see yourself as a hardcore Witcher fan.
4. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Release Date: 19th May 2015
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Named Game of the Year (GOTY), The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt took the RPG genre to a whole new level.
Even though the gameplay was similar to the previous entry, Wild Hunt streamlined and improved it in many exciting ways. And the witcher signs were reworked once again, the third time in the series, each in every game.
The vast open-world added unparalleled freedom without losing uniqueness to the non-linear areas explored in the previous two installments. On top of that, and from a technical standpoint, the Witcher 3 is simply amazing. The moral choices are still there, although, this time, they don’t affect the storyline outcome that much.
Wild Hunt has innumerable side quests that take up to 170 hours to complete. Couple that with the stunning overworld and one of the crispiest battle mechanics ever used in an RPG, and you have the best Witcher in the series and one of the greatest games ever produced.
Regrettably, the game still comes with some slight shortcomings, with the most prominent being the lack of interesting characters from the Witcher 2. That left some fans with a sour taste.
5. The Witcher Battle Arena
Release Date: 25th January 2015
Platforms: iOS, Android
The Witcher Battle Arena was to be the next hit in the MOBA genre. Only, it didn’t. It was free-to-play and relied heavily on micro-transactions to generate revenue but proved short-lived (perhaps due to said micro-transactions, just saying).
The game never took off, and consequently, its servers shut down by the end of 2015, the year it was released.
6. Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
Release Date: 23rd October 2018
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS, PC
The Gwent card game, introduced in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, ended up being very popular – so much so that it got released as an independent game.
It is a simplistic card-game, featuring casual and ranked play modes, as well as an arena mode where players build a deck from random cards. Now, if you play real-life card games, like Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic: The Gathering, or even Hearthstone, then this one might be for you!
7. Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales
Release Date: 23rd October 2018
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Originally envisioned as a single-player campaign for Gwent, Thronebreaker ended up released as a separate game. The good thing with it is that it features an actual story with dialogue choices and consequences. Players fight battles against the computer and also explore the world from an isometric perspective. Well, it’s a cute game, at the very least.
Thronebreaker is great. That is if you’re into cards and collectibles. If card-games are not your cup of tea, then you better pass it.
The Witcher franchise has written its own beloved story in the RPG genre. Even though Witcher 4 is confirmed, it’s nowhere close to a release. The reason for this is that CD Project Red is still fixing the endless bugs of Cyberpunk 2077. However, rest assured that there will be another Witcher game, despite the fact that Geralt is gone for good, as the developers confirmed. Hail, therefore, to the new protagonist, whoever may that one be.