When CD Projekt announced The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I went out on a limb and offered Monster Hunter as a reference point. Seems the more natural comparisons may be to Bethesda's Fallout games and Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed 3. In brief: there's a Witchery version of the VATS system, Geralt can now climb stuff, and it's possible to royally mess up the in-game economy by cornering the market for wolf hides.
We know all that care of German publications PC Games and Gamestar, whose previews are available in broken-down, Google-translated form here. I've chopped out a few highlights.
- The world has 36 final states three possible epilogues (each one hour long)
- You can import your save game to determine which characters appear and how they act towards Geralt, but the backstory won't be affected.
- You can buy horses or tame a wild ones by using Axii, one of The Witcher's spells.
- Geralt can now jump and climb things.
- You can hunt wild animals for their fur, claws and so forth by tracking down colour-coded traces in the world itself.
- The main storyline is 50 hours long.
- Towns are more reactive - citizens will summon the guards if they catch you thieving, and will observe daily routines.
- There's a new combat mechanic that's comparable to VATS in Fallout 3, letting you target different parts of your quarry in slow motion.
- There are no more QTEs. Hurrah!
- Geralt can level up to 60.
- The console versions have their own, bespoke UIs.
- You gain experience points only by completing quests, but hunting will earn you money and crafting materials.
- There are two new minigames: axe-throwing and cards.
- The economy is affected by your actions. Trade away loads of one type of good in a particular area, and prices will fall.
- There's a day-night cycle, as before, plus a new weather system that partly determines which areas can be accessed and where/when monsters appear.
- You can set things on fire using the Ignii spell, now a jet of flame rather than a single blast, and toy with the environment in other, unspecified ways.
- You can ride around in boats.
- Geralt will get to explore the world's capital Novigrad, the Skellige Islands, and "the war-ravaged wasteland".