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Do I Need to Play Witcher 1 and 2 Before 3?

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Written by Kelly Houstan

So, with CD Projekt RED’s first non-Witcher game, Cyberpunk 2077, that’s poised for one of the biggest, most hyped-up drops in a long time this November. The franchise that turned CD Projekt RED into the multi-billion dollar games developer is now is seeing a renewed surge of interest. Gamers who got derailed via Skyrim or their favorite sport the first time around. Or fans of the hit Netflix show curious in order to see what kind of game it takes to turn superman into a nerd. Just read this article to know all about Do I Need to Play Witcher 1 and 2 Before 3?. Let’s begin!

So, As, Henry Cavili is a nerd, it turns out. Just a really athletic one — are thinking about diving into the Witcher universe and seeing what all the rage is about. With The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt the standout standard-bearer of the franchise, also a lot of would rather jump right into the most modern installment of the RPG. That changed the world of gaming forever. However, are understandably worried about skipping the first two parts.

Do I Need to Play Witcher 1 and 2 Before 3?

We answer that very question down below, and also shed a little light on the unlikely origin story of one of the greatest RPGs ever made.

What is the Witcher?

The Witcher franchise spans a wide range of media than most realize actually. Not only is it a TV Show and a series of RPGs, however, also several hundreds of thousands of excellent polish prose. Indeed, Geralt of Rivia was first born on the pages of a really short story from almost 40 years ago as well.

How Geralt found his way to the PC and Console screen as well. That is burning the image of his white hair into the retinas of millions of gamers is a tale of two entities. One, a series of brilliant fantasy novels via Andrej Sapkowski, and two. A pair of Polish video game nerds along with a bunch of really unusable code and a brilliant idea.

Games Aren’t Like Movies And TV

Unlike movies and TV series, video game franchises tend to be much more accessible to new players. If you started a TV show such as Ozark in season 3, then you’re definitely going to be really confused and have a difficult time enjoying the experience. A video games series, on the other hand, is really different than movies and TV shows for a number of reasons.

The time between new installments in a video game series is also much longer than television and film series. Whereas seasons of a show are typically a year apart as well. The next chapter in a video game series can actually be 5, 10, or even 15 years later. Fanbases change in that amount of time right. New fans age into games and new players find games years after they originally came out via things such as Steam sales and Netflix tie-in shows.

Games also change a lot between installments as well. A trilogy of films spread out over many years such as the Dark Knight Trilogy may look a bit different. However, the experience of watching them doesn’t really change. The advancement of video game technology and also changes in player preference over time. It actually makes a huge impact on new games. Many times new games don’t look or play anything like the games that came before them.

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The Novels

Geralt of Rivia’s first appearance in the minds of a doting audience came pretty well before most of you reading this were probably born. It was 1986 and Polish author Andrej Sapkowski had just submitted his original short story as well. The Witcher to Polish science-fiction magazine, Fantastyka for a writing contest as well. The story followed Geralt and also his fight with a Striga that even found its way into the Netflix show. And surprisingly ended up in third place actually. However, the story lingered in the minds of the Fantastyka readership, and also Sapkowski continued to publish stories. Instantly expanding the universe of the now world-famous professional monster hunter.

As Sapkowski churned out more stories at a really high pace. The initial then burst of short stories culminated in a two-volume anthology, that is titled The Last Wish and The Sword of Destiny. That put the Witcher on the map for a wide readership in Poland and beyond too. These stories would lay the bedrock for the Witcher’s rich universe that Sapkowski would later build into a linear as well, five-part series. And a standalone novel that would become the Witcher Saga, starting along with The Blood of Elves. 

CD Projekt | play witcher

CD Projekt basically began as a video game distributor before they ever dipped their toes into the development waters. The company’s founders, Marcin Iwiński and Michał Kiciński, well, both had humble starts in the industry as high-school hawkers of cracked video games. Mostly than not skipping school in order to play them or sell them instead of study. The pair grew up in an era unlike ours, whenever Poland was still inside the sphere of influence of the USSR and western media. Also, even video games, were hard to come.

There was no Steam or Epic Store in order to download giant AAA titles from without ever leaving your house. There were only the open-air video game bazaars that actually began to creep up in the wake of Polish independence actually.

It was the early 90’s, right around the time the Witcher Saga books were also coming out. When the pair met up and then decided to try their hand at distribution. They formed CD Projekt (the predecessor to the CD Projekt RED that would one day be worth 2.3 billion dollars) along with a budget of $2000. Also, working out of their friend’s flat. It was around this time that they, unknowingly, were actually reading the books. That would soon play a part in changing their lives forever.


Along with their company finding success importing and distributing western games. They branched out into game localization, which creates packaging and manuals in Polish for western games that soon proved lucrative as well. CD Projekt only hit their stride, but, with a partnership along with Interplay Entertainment. That had them fully localizing the Baldur’s Gate games along with complete Polish voice acting. End-to-end translation, and eventually collaboration on the development of Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance as well.

However, then Interplay Entertainment hit a financial pothole, and the game was canceled. CD Projekt Red, the subsidiary Iwiński and also Kiciński created to hand development. That is owned the code, however, and found themselves along with the materials for an RPG and no IP in order to use for it. And then they also heard that the development rights for Sapkowski’s. The Witcher was up for grabs, and well… they say success occurs whenever luck meets opportunity.

The Witcher 1 was released in 2007, and the follow-up in 2011, and also the earth-shattering Wild Hunt.

Do You Have to Play Witcher 1 and 2?

No, you don’t really have to play Witcher 1 and 2 in order to enjoy The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Even without the backdrop of its prequels too, The Witcher 3 is a masterpiece of a game along with dynamic gameplay. An immersive open-world replete along with adventure, and distinct. Full of life characters that will draw you in, regardless of your previous familiarity along with the universe.

CD Projekt Red did a good job of walking the line between giving players enough backstory via dialogue and gameplay. Without even outright info-dumping to get new players up to speed. Along with the world and characters of the Witcher setting without even boring them. The game even also includes a datalog in order to reference in case you’re feeling lost. Or you want a quick recap of some aspect of the game’s history or a character’s lore.

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Hardcore gamers are more interested in gameplay than narrative will be the most comfortable skipping the first two parts in the series actually. The combat system in The Witcher 1 is a bit…  wonky if we compare it to the polished, dynamic combat in Wild Hunt. Instead of a more varied skill-based attack system, combat essentially boils down to a timing-focused point-and-click. That will be utterly confusing to most modern players as well.

However, the plots of 2 and 3 especially are interconnected, one can really follow along and get a handle on Geralt. Who he is, and also the world he finds himself in just. If you’re just looking for an incredible action RPG, then you can freely dive into the masterwork that is The Witcher 3 as well.

Why Not? | play witcher

Yes. You absolutely should play The Witcher 2 at the very least actually. Doing this will improve the experience significantly. However, the action-oriented, well-designed gameplay and immersive open-world make The Witcher 3 a really great game — its story, its characters, and its personality on top of that sound structure make it a god-given masterpiece. 

Besides, The Witcher 2 is itself an excellent game along with phenomenal replay value. It features a branching narrative in which an early decision opens up entirely different. And also altogether disparate pathways via the game. That makes it 100% worthwhile to pick it up and play again when you’re done.

The culminating events of the Witcher 2 also directly tie into the plot of Wild Hunt, and also playing via it will give a narrative context for the events of Wild Hunt. As well as introduce you to many important characters ahead of time. This gives a firmer background for Geralt’s interpersonal relationships that really make the narrative shine. And will also keep you from getting hung out to dry whenever someone references the past. Whenever, talking to NPCs such as Triss, Dandelion, Shani, or Zoltan.

Players can more safely just skip The Witcher 1 because, fortunately, the Witcher 2 opens along with Geralt having seemingly lost his memories. This alone makes a blind entrance into the second installment also in the series almost more interesting than otherwise. As players are left to rediscover the backstory alongside Geralt. In addition, some of the characters go out of their way in order to recount their past dealings along with our professional monster hunter.


Well, That is all from my side. If you want to know more about this “play witcher” article or have any queries. Then feel free to ask me anything in the comments section below.

Have a Good Day!

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Kelly Houstan

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