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The Witcher: Wild Hunt distills all the best practices of hard-boiled detective novels and translates them brilliantly into a game. To understand how and why this works so well, we have to look at the origins of detective novels, going all the way back to Edward Allen Poe first showing us how feats of logic (as opposed to feats of raw strength) could be engrossing. Characters like Sherlock Holmes and authors like Agatha Christie turned that revelation into a formula, but one that often revolved around the English upper class or quaint country life with stories led by a detective who seemed outside and above it all. American detective novels like those of Raymond Chandler, whose essay in the Art of Murder could practically be a design document for the Witcher 3, broke with that tradition: they expanded the stories to not only show lower class people but humanize them, allowing the reader to learn and empathize with their stories through a detective who moves smoothly between both upper and lower classes with disdain for neither. The recent war upheavals in the Witcher create a society much like that in the hard-boiled detective novels, where everything and everyone is in flux. Geralt fits perfectly into the mold of the gritty detective, a sarcastic, unflappable person who can both give and take a beating but whose honor throughout is both unquestionable and unheralded. The main storyline of the Witcher III is a thread we follow as players, but the real value of the game lies in the stories we find along the way: the human moments we discover because the game gives us so much to explore.
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Tagged under: Extra Credits (Award-Nominated Work),The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Video Game),Action Role-playing Game (Video Game Genre),Witcher 3,Witcher III,The Witcher,Action RPG,Game Narrative,Narrative Design,Mystery,Detective,Hard-boiled,Pulp Fiction,Private Eye,Raymond Chandler,Dashiell Hammett,Detective Noir,Puzzle Box,Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,Sherlock Holmes,Agatha Christie,Dorothy Sayers,Bloody Baron,Art Murder,Geralt,James Portnow,Daniel Floyd
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