The Witcher 3: Total Play Time 200 hours?

The Witcher 3: Total Play Time 200 hours?
You think you're a speedrunner Geralt? Think again!!

Slay some monsters already, Geralt!

What's a realistic gametime estimate?

Even the fastest and most experienced speedtester took 25 hours to complete The Witcher 3, but is 25 hours a realistic game time estimate? 

The Witcher 3’s length of gameplay, and the game length of other rpg games like it is subject to lots of debate within the gaming community. We reveal some insights into how developer CD Projekt Red approaches estimating game time.

Studio communications manager for CD Projekt Red Fabian Mario Doehla stated recently that their playtester was privy to secret game information that allowed him to move through the game much faster than us mere mortals. The playtester was apparently able to cut scenes, skip through the dialogue and cut straight swathes through many of the game’s twisting and turning paths, secrets and tricks. This information cut down his playing time massively.

This official gameplay trailer was only a teaser...thank god we've got the real thing available now!

How long does it REALLY take?

So what would a more realistic game time be? Fans will find it hard to come to agreement on that one because the answer depends on how each player chooses to approach this exciting new role-playing game.  They could choose to immerse themselves deeply in the story, taking their time over in-game conversations between characters and delving into the many possible side-quests. 

Alternatively they could charge through it like a wounded bull, impatiently skipping all dialogue so Geralt can get busy slashing monsters to shreds in vicious battles.

CD Projekt Red is serious about estimating playthrough time.  "We basically want to add up to the replay value", Fabian Doehla recently told the Polygon website, "But at the same time, we're struggling to tell how much time you actually need to properly play through the game."

Feast your eyes on this lush cinematic launch vid and immerse yourself in the mind of Geralt of Rivia 

In-game freedom creates estimation uncertainty

Any complex role playing game with a character and plot arc as wide open as The Witcher 3 will have difficulty estimating game time.  Allowing players the freedom to pick and choose what they do opens up a wide range of game-play possibilities, but at the same time makes it difficult to present a play-time estimate.  CD Projekt Red also wants to keep some aspects of the game shrouded in mystery, adding to the challenge of quantifying playthrough time. 

As Doehla comments,  "You've got all these options, but we're not telling what they really do."  The plot of The Witcher 3 is like a branching path through the forest – the way you choose at the beginning of the journey will impact the subsequent choices open to you, and those in turn will shape your travels even more. 

Estimating The Witcher 3’s length and other complex games like it is a vexed question.  Information circulated close to game-release time just heats up the time-estimate debate, because it’s often a race to the bottom.  For example, when the PlayStation 4 game The Order:1886 was released, a video on YouTube quickly proclaimed that it was possible to complete it in around five hours.  

A recent YouTube video showed Bloodbourne being clocked in 44 minutes. Fair enough, these videos demonstrate the speeds possible, but would your average user WANT to complete the game so quickly? Ideally, a game needs a balance between the pleasure of using your skills to work fast, and the fun to be had getting into the richly drawn fantasy world. 

Ok, not everyone lives for high quality graphic art, or superbly realistic fighting moves, but within every game there will be some points that fans will enjoy revelling in, where you’re not moving as speedily as possible. A responsible game play time estimate should allow for that.

How do developers calculate average game time?

Given all the variables involved in a wide-ranging, multi-path game like The Witcher 3, how can CD Projekt Red possibly work out an average playtime?  Doehla spilled a few secrets recently when he explained that they use algorithms that account for the bias of “unusually experienced playtesters”.  In a recent interview Doehla stated that "we're trying to build an average and say, 'Well, you can actually spend 100-plus hours in the game, even if you're not a slow player, just by playing side-quests and getting lost in side-quests.'" This estimate of 100 hours allocates half of that time to the main storyline, and the other fifty percent spent concentrating on side content. 

Soon you’ll be able to answer the question of gametime yourself, if you haven’t already!  The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was released on May 19, 2015, and now fans can get the party started. As Doehla says, “at the beginning, people will probably be on a very similar path. But then on day two and day three, they'll take very different routes, and it'll be interesting to see when they figure out how huge the differences are."

Get The Witcher 3 and find out how long it takes you – we’re gathering feedback right now so let us know!

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MJuarbe's picture

MJuarbe 3 years 10 months ago

the game is really this long? i Hope i get my copy soon. then again i hope my PC doesnt blow up from the many hours im going to put into this game