The Witcher: Enhanced Edition Director's Cut - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jamie Wallace)

04witcher

Somehow, our lad Geralt’s video game adventures have turned ten years old this week. That’s ten years of slaying monsters as the silver fox with cat-eyes. Ten years of werewolves, dragons, unicorns, romances and politics, usually all at the same time. Ten years of articles debating how much sex in a video game constitutes too much.>

To celebrate the series’ tenth anniversary, you can pick up all the games in the franchise (as well as the various bits of DLC) with some hefty discounts this week. These offers are available at GOG if you like your games DRM-free, Humble if you’d like to kick a few pennies towards charity while you buy or Steam, if you like to keep things as simple as possible.

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The Witcher® 3: Wild Hunt

In many ways, CD Projekt Red, the development branch of Polish game company CD Projekt, sounds like a fantastic place to work: Successful and financially stable, but still very "indie" and pleasingly renegade. Not everyone thinks so, though. Head over to Glassdoor.co.uk, a website where people rate and review the companies they work for, and you'll see some rather harsh comments about the state of the place, including accusations that it's directionless, chaotic, and in one blunt summation, "bad." 

Not everyone who leaves a company is going to do so under happy circumstances, and disgruntled former employees are far more inclined to make noise about things than those who depart happy. Negative feedback is natural and inevitable, in other words, and generally passes without comment from the company in question. But this time, and "especially in light of the fact that we haven't communicated anything about Cyberpunk 2077 for a long time and saw some gamers getting worried about the project," CD Projekt elected to respond publicly. 

"In 2015, when we released The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, we were over 200 developers strong and that was the core crew of the studio. Since then, we've almost doubled the headcount and we're still hiring," co-founder Marcin Iwinski and studio head Adam Badowski wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. "Do people leave? Sure they do. We always wish them all the best and respect both their decision and the feedback they give us as the reason for their departure." 

Iwinski and Badowski acknowledged that the studio had bitten off more than it rightly should have been able to chew throughout the making of The Witcher series. "When we start down the road to creating something, we know the destination and we're sure of one thing: Even if something feels impossible, it doesn't mean it is," they wrote. "And, as it turns out, most often things are perfectly possible, they just require a lot of faith, commitment, and spirit." 

And also, you can reasonably infer from the statement, a lot of long hours and hard work. "This approach to making games is not for everyone. It often requires a conscious effort to 'reinvent the wheel'—even if you personally think it already works like a charm," they continued. "But you know what? We believe reinventing the wheel every friggin' time is what makes a better game. It's what creates innovation and makes it possible for us to say we've worked really hard on something, and we think it's worth your hard-earned cash." 

And also this:

As true as it is that unhappy employees are inevitable, it's also true that this can easily be seen in the same light as Alex St. John's crunch apologia from 2016: Simplistically, that if you really love games then you'll happily bleed to make them. Ultimately, I suspect that the reality of the situation lies somewhere between anonymous Glassdoor venting and the studio's "all is well" missive, and that despite its wild rebel trappings, CD Projekt Red is a lot like most other big studios out there. 

As for Cyberpunk 2077—the thing we really want to know about—it's "progressing as planned, but we are taking our time," Iwinski and Badowski wrote. "In this case, silence is the cost of making a great game." I have no idea what that's supposed to mean. 

CD Projekt Red's full statement is below. 

The Witcher® 3: Wild Hunt - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Fraser Brown)

snowboard

The Witcher 3 [official site] is the gift that just keeps on giving. In a recent making of documentary from Noclip, environment artist Len de Gracia talks about how Geralt s sliding mechanic was the source of a great deal of fun for the devs, to the point where they created a Witcher 3 snowboarding demo. Yes. It s amazing.

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The Witcher® 3: Wild Hunt

Retiring wasn’t easy. Eventually I had to put my swords in the display case. Folk expect an old man in Toussaint to care about wine, so that’s what I did. I asked the majordomo for help, and he handed me a ledger: Terroir. Well. I’ve been brewing potions and oils for this many years—making wine can’t be that hard. I just have to get on with it.

Year 1

The majordomo taught me the basics, but he was happy to leave me to learn on my own. The first harvest was a mess. Few grapes were worth using. According to the ledger, pretty much any grape can make wine. The resulting batch is… red. It’s wine. I’m pretty sure. 

After I bottle it, a few local drunks give it "FIVE PLOUGHING STARS," which I cautiously take as a compliment. I plant more vines with the extra money. The truth is, it’s an easier way to earn coin than punching an angry cyclops. Maybe retirement is going to be OK after all.

Year 3

Grapes are fickle: they need a little rain to get going, then they grow best with warm sun and cloudy days. Too much rain and the vines grow leafy and and starve the grapes, blocking the sun even when the weather is good. Not enough rain, and the leafless vines sit exposed to sun, getting scorched and turning too sweet.

This summer was dry and the grapes ripened too early. I thought about praying for rain, but I’ve never been on good terms with the gods. Long ago, I saw a Skellige druid perform a rain summoning ritual, but the majordomo said that kind of thing would upset the neighbors.

Having forest or lake plots next to vines grant yield bonuses and immunity from diseases

Rain finally came, and the green leaves gave the grapes enough shade to calm down. Slowly, the last of the grapes finally ripened, but the first hints of frost were only days away when I called the workers in for harvest. We made it, but it was a close thing.

Maybe it was beginner’s luck, or maybe it’s just easy to impress dockside drunks, but the local judges haven’t liked my wines from the last few years. They keep coming back with the same problem: the acidity is too low.

Year 4

Constant, dreary rain. Like being back in Velen, hip-deep in mud and foglets. The workers in the fields trimmed leaves in a downpour, but new leaves came back as fast as they could cut them. I thought about reaching for a sword and helping cut back the foliage, but Yen thought someone would end up losing a hand. She’s usually right.

It doesn’t really matter, since the rain never stopped. We trimmed leaves from early spring to late autumn, then let the small, bitter grapes die on the vine without harvesting a single one.

Year 7

Making wine is a process. The first step is to stomp the grapes into juice, which pulls out tannins, the stuff that makes red wine bitter and caustic—like Vesemir always was before breakfast. After crushing, we ferment juice and grape pulp, which trades the sweetness for alcohol. Then, some of the fermented pulp gets pressed to add more acidic juice to the wine.

The workers taste the wine throughout, looking for acid, sweetness, and tannins. Getting a good balance between these qualities takes trial and error. The majordomo, for all his good qualities, isn’t interested in keeping track of the combinations we try out. I started keeping a notebook at my desk, writing down combinations. This year’s batch will be Acid: 5; Sweetness: 3; Tannins: 4. I scratch out 5/3/4 in my notebook to remember for next year. Last year we tried 4/3/4. It was good, but again the locals thought the acid was too low.

In time, we’ll be able to afford better barrels that age wine to perfection and a big grinder that pulls more tannins out of the grapes. They seem like luxuries, but those things will help us hit recipes no matter what happens with the harvest. For now, we can only do what we can with the grapes the weather gives us. Sometimes it’s good wine, sometimes it’s bad, but booze will always sell.

No matter what happens, you can tinker with your wine enough to get pretty close to any recipe. Pretty close isn t always good enough for five stars, though.

Year 9

I got a note from the mayor that he’d like to visit the estate. The weather was perfect this year, so I thought we’d have wine worth showing off. Sales are fine and the weather has been good enough, but another powerful local friend would be worth the trouble—even if it meant an evening wearing tights. After the harvest, we invited the mayor to share a bottle. He loved it, and offered a hefty sack of coin as a "government grant," wink wink.

Year 12

War looms, but for once I’m not marching off to join in the mess. A stressed-out Nilfgaardian quartermaster visited the estate, asking us to donate wine to the army. Local wine distributors in Toussaint are picky—we have to be careful to send them really good wine and sell bad batches to the peasants—but the quartermaster insisted that any purple alcohol will do.

The quartermaster’s timing is good. Instead of letting this year’s overripe, sunburned grapes go to waste, we turn them into the most disgusting toilet water ever to be bottled in Toussaint. I send 3,000 bottles of the Corvo Bianco Moehoen Special 1287—named for the Nilfgaardians’ prick of a Field Marshal—to the Black Ones with my insincerest compliments.

Taking a risk on random missions is optional, but worth it.

Year 15

For years, our wines were bottled and sold year by year, with a few special cases set aside for a few years down the line. The workers just finished rolling in the new aging barrels—made of “white oak” from a far-off land, “America”—and now wine becomes a long game. Planning ahead and aging wines to be bottled five, ten, or thirty years in the future is strange for an old man who expected to die young by the sword. Most times, I made my choice and never looked back. Now, I worry. It’s a new thing.

I’ve spent all this time expanding the vineyard and perfecting one type of wine, but some nearby soil might be good for different types of grapes: merlot, chardonnay, pinot noir. I’ve only just started to fill in the bestiary for my new world.

Micromanaging the vineyard workers is still a pain in the ass, and the majordomo still isn’t interested in keeping track of important details, so my notebook has grown thick and dog-eared. Still, watching the years roll by over these lovely hills with a glass of wine in-hand—well, life could be worse. It pretty much always was.

Year 20

We won an award today. Finally nailed down the perfect recipe, and last year’s batch got happy reviews from the royal court. I set aside some for this year’s local wine awards, and the Corvo Bianco Red 1295 was named the best in all of Toussaint. People are offering absurd prices for the remaining bottles, so I’m releasing them a dozen at a time to help the 1295 grow into legend. Dandelion isn't the only one who can build a myth when he wants to.

Corvio Bianco now has its own tavern where I can sell wine directly, and a few years of good harvests have filled my pockets and spread our reputation. Not bad for an abandoned boy raised on the stone floor of Kaer Morhen. Not bad at all.

Written by Ian Birnbaum.

The Witcher® 3: Wild Hunt - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

witcher-3-grass-mod

As I’ve mentioned before, one of my absolute favourite things to do in videogames is to hang around in The Witcher 3 [official site]’s remarkable countryside, revelling in the gorgeous flora and marvelling at the none-more-atmospheric weather effects.

So news of a mod that specifically> makes The Witcher 3’s grass and grass alone even prettier makes me sit up and pay attention in a way that almost no other graphics tweak could. The greatest great outdoors, now even greater. (more…)

The Witcher® 3: Wild Hunt

It's sometimes hard to let things go, especially when the things in question are as fantastic as The Witcher. But all good things come to an end, including the saga of Geralt, and so it shouldn't be surprising that Doug Cockle, who gave voice to the character, said at EGX (via VG247) that he knows "nothing about The Witcher 4." But he did have some interesting thoughts to share about some of his experiences in the role. 

You may or may not be aware, but Geralt is famous for his prowess with the ladies—so much so that CD Projekt recorded 16 hours of sex-scene motion capture data. (He also inspired a sexy cosplay calendar.) And of course that means that Cockle not only has to sound tough and rugged when he's fighting monsters or confronting corrupt Nilfgaardians—he also has to lay it down (so to speak) during those tender moments of bumping uglies. 

"It’s a bit like being caught masturbating by your mom. But it’s kind of fun," he said. "It can be really challenging, you’re naturally embarrassed. You’re having to show whoever's in the booth that side of your personality." 

As for the future, Cockle said CD Projekt is "very much focusing on Cyberpunk [2077]," the futuristic RPG that the studio steadfastly refuses to talk about, and that he hopes to be involved in it somehow. 

"What I have discussed [with CD Projekt] is the idea of me being involved somehow," he said. "Whether that’s a major part or just an Easter egg. I hope so, I really enjoy working with them. But I haven’t had significant contact. We have jokingly talked about it." 

I think it's a good bet that it will happen. The Witcher trilogy wasn't just a surprise RPG hit, it's a series that, over the course of a decade, turned a small Polish developer nobody had ever heard of into a legitimate gaming juggernaut. As the memorable voice of its lead character, Cockle played a big part in making that happen, and I'll be honestly surprised if he doesn't turn up somewhere in its next big thing, even if it is only as a little bit of fan service.

We ran down everything we know (which isn't much, I have to say, but it's what we've got) about Cyberpunk 2077 right here.   

PC Gamer

Glitches, at least to some degree, are a tolerated part of gaming. We expect that, every once in awhile, something is bound to break. Sometimes these glitches are harmless bugs that make characters move weird or objects act unexpectedly. But sometimes you encounter a whole different kind of glitch that either ruins the game entirely or leaves you scratching your head as you try and figure out what the hell is going on.

Last week we asked our readers to share stories of their best encounters with glitches. Over 100 of you responded and we’ve taken our favorites and compiled them below. Some are sad, some are bizarre, and others are downright hilarious. 

Zalbaar the Magnificent 

A lot of glitches fall into basic tropes like character animations breaking or textures being swapped. But baedeker's story makes me laugh because of the sheer absurdity of it. It's like if someone made a crossover between Star Wars and Duncan Jones' Moon.

Commenter: baedeker

Back in 2003, I was playing Knights of the Old Republic, and I had gotten off the first planet Taris and was on Tatooine. Obviously going between planets I was entering the ship, Ebon Hawk, quite a few times. What I started to notice is Zaalbar had duplicated within the ship. Game worked fine so I found it funny and carried on, thinking the doppelganger would disappear once I re-entered the ship. I left the ship and re-entered after doing a few quests to see Zaalbar had replicated himself another two times. There were now four Zaalbars looking in the same direction standing next to each other. I re-entered the ship, and there were now eight, then 16. At this point Ebon Hawk's hull was filled with a the horde of Zaalbars. My game was running at 2 fps and made using the ship very painful. I think I gave up on the playthrough as I finished a few times before. Later down the line I found I had the Double Zaalbar Glitch which must of doubled the double glitch.

Super Civ 

Listen, I'm not much for min-maxing but when you build a civilization so powerful that you can discover new technology and knowledge just merely by thinking about it—like this is the Matrix or something—that's pretty crazy. This obviously wasn't a glitch due to some shoddy code, but because the developers never imagined someone would push the limits of the game this far.

Commenter: Jimmy

Back when I was playing Civilization 2, I ended up making one "super civilization." My production in some cities and total science research level went so high that it literally broke the production and technology counters. The game displayed that I would discover new technologies every "-1 turn" and some cities could also produce the most complex buildings in "-1 turn." At first, it didn't have any real effect because buildings and research were still actually completed in one turn. However, it ended up completely breaking the game because one turn would not end because I was endlessly discovering future technologies and the game kept spamming the technology tree for a new tech to research. At first I was like "LOL!!! Ok, let's crank this up and complete this game with a ridiculously high score." But I ended up realizing I would not complete the game if my turn would not end. Out of curiosity, I kept spamming new technology research just to see if it would end at some point, but got bored after 20-30 minutes and I just started a new game, making sure to never break that science research level again.

Your own worst enemy 

I don't even know what to say about this one.

Commenter: Darkrage.nl

Crusader Kings II: I had a character who was supporting his own assassination plot led by his son. After several failed attempts he finally succeeded by poisoning his own wine.

The Flying Dutchmen

We had a lot of submissions about the Assassin's Creed series which are, unsurprisingly, very buggy games. But this story comes with photos which, to me, only enhances the hilarity of a bunch of sailors hanging on for dear life as their ship ascends into low-orbit like a space shuttle.

Commenter: Awesome!

I played Assassin's Creed: Black Flag for the first time last year. I went into my ship's cabin and came back out onto the deck only to find my ship had acquired a taste for something greater than water.

Fashion faux pas 

I'm not a good judge of what is fashionable these days (or any day) but something tells me Zloth's bold reimagining of the mini skirt would set the fashion world on fire. His story about his first capital ship in X3: Terran Conflict is harrowing, however.

Commenter: Zloth

Well, there was the time (might have been while beta testing) in City of Heroes where texture for miniskirts got rotated 90 degrees. Wouldn't have been a problem except there were supposed to be slits on the sides.

Or X3: Terran Conflict where you would save and save and FINALLY earn enough money to buy your own capital ship, so you would go to a star base and purchase one of these huge ships. You would order it to go somewhere and watch as your massive investment would undock and slowly tip its nose downward, away from the station, in order to thrust away. Of course, that meant the tail of the ship went upward—right into the starbase. The shielding would drop like a rock, then the hit points, and then your pride and joy would turn into a star for a couple of seconds. Hope you saved your game. 

Murder mystery 

Bad enemy AI is sometimes frustrating and sometimes hilarious. This story in particular made me laugh out loud just because of how stupid it is.

Commenter: doplerradar

Assassin's Creed 3 DLC. It was so buggy. Enemies were complete idiots, occasionally they'd try to shoot me while on the other side of a wall, and a wolf got stuck in a hay bale once. One time they executed a woman by firing squad and the officer went up to the body and said "What happened here?"

The real monster 

The Witcher 3 is an incredible game but, holy hell, is it buggy sometimes. We've all heard stories of Roach's shenanigans and the weird squat-walking bug that makes NPCs strut around like the Minister of Silly Walks. But MrGlobbits video is particularly funny to me because—oh my god what is going on with his head!?

Commenter: MrGlobbits

One day while walking through Novigrad...

Wallhacks 

Hacking is a serious thing in most multiplayer shooters. But if I was in Martin's shoes, I'd happily do whatever I needed to in order to get away with bags full of money in Payday. Who knew that no-clipping was a viable strategy for bank robbery?

Commenter: Martin Cummerou

The very first time I played Payday: The Heist, I clipped through the map and ended up underneath it. I figured this would be the end of my short career as a robber, however, I found out (because I was bored) that I could shoot enemies from below the map, and they could not shoot back. So I proceeded to kill every single enemy that spawned while the rest of my team hid and got the loot. My team then thanked me by running away with the loot.

City of Ghosts 

Of all the glitch stories shared, Branovices is my favorite. It's the kind of bizarre thing that you can't help but laugh at. How a city with a population of zero ended up collapsing into civil unrest almost reads like satire.

Commenter: Branovices

I founded a new city in SimCity 2000 and started setting everything up, but no one was moving in. No matter what I built or how much I lowered taxes, the population was zero. Then it got weird. My nonexistent citizens started complaining about how bad the nonexistent traffic was. Eventually the situation became so intolerable to everyone (no one?) a riot broke out. 

To recap: A city with a population of zero had a riot over traffic congestion.

These were just a few of our favorite stories. Head over to the comment thread from last week in order to see the rest.

Commenters were edited for clarity and grammar.

The Witcher® 3: Wild Hunt

Spoilers follow for the final fight in The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine.

Is there a finer treat in prospect than firing up The Witcher 3 for a fresh runthrough of all its quests and expansions and vacuuming up every single Gwent card out there? To be in the Northern Realms again, and to climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow, ’til you find your dream? Sorry, suddenly started channelling Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music for a moment there. Anyway, I recently undertook the full-on Witcher 3 experience, which had been going swimmingly for many hours until I neared the finale of the Blood and Wine expansion at the Tesham Mutna Ruins. 

Nithral, Imlerith, Caranthir, Eredin in the base game, and even that bloody great big frog thing in Hearts of Stone—I killed them all, but Dettlaff, the final boss in Blood and Wine, is proving to be a monumental pain in the arse. I know bosses are meant to be hard, but it’s slowly dawning on me that just using Black Blood potions and putting Vampire Oil on Aerondight then hammering the LMB won’t cut it here. I get past the first phase easily enough but once my fanged foe sprouts wings, gets airborne and starts commanding his bat swarms, any semblance of strategy I’m applying to the fight is whisked away on a riptide of panic and dashed onto the rocks of desperate, abject failure.

I consult the internet where many suggest that, while it doesn’t provide full defence against Dettlaff’s attacks, Quen is the most useful sign in this fight. Quen? Who puts any points into Quen? I’ll tell you who—thoughtful players who have considered that there may be times when Geralt has to stand his ground and recover for a time in a fight, rather than wade in brandishing an inverted neon triangle or flinging fire, just as a chimpanzee will sometimes hurl its own poop at a perceived threat. Attack is the best form of defence… is obviously what I thought the 52 times I levelled up or had points to put into skills or Signs. And checking the stats, I’m not entirely surprised to find that I’ve put precisely, ahem, no points into Quen. 

I make dozens more attempts but I can’t seem to time the evasive roll required when Dettlaff sets the bats loose and I’ve somehow developed an uncanny knack of ending up at the exact point where his blood tendrils spawn. I’m mashing the keyboard to dodge and to mainline potions, and in making him cast Signs, Geralt is throwing more shapes than the Happy Mondays. My clicks sound like a cricket on heat as I try to cleave Dettlaff’s head open, and all the while I’m wishing that those incredibly talented sadists at CD Projekt Red could see the gibbering wreck of a man that they have created in a dark room in South London. 

As the bats sweep past Geralt for what seems like the hundredth time, he collapses to his knees and dies once more. Dettlaff, this blood-guzzling, prize prick of a Higher Vampire and his swooping noctillionine minions have killed me yet again. I finally concede that it’s time to load an earlier save and find a merchant who sells a Potion of Clearance that will enable me to reconfigure Geralt’s skills. This has turned into a matter not of who, where and why, but Quen.

Call of Duty®

I have never seen a more tragic comments section than the one from a few weeks back when we asked our readers to share their most tragic save file disasters. Over 200 of you shared stories of despair and woe as hard drives crashed, Uplay cloud saves glitched, or a simple misclick spelled doom for countless hours of gaming.

We've collected the saddest, most heartbreaking stories below so that you can wallow in their misery. And if you didn't get a chance to contribute your own story, do so in the comments.

The lost library 

This one hits hard because the emotional loss is so apparent. It's one thing to fall in love with your Morrowind character and your adventures together, but Bear's story of losing his entire library of collected books in Morrowind because of a virus really stings.

Commenter: Bear

My first Morrowind character. I had made an Argonian and enjoyed the wonders that the game had to offer, discovered mods a number of hours in, got myself a few decent ones, joined House Telvanni to appreciate the irony of being an Argonian and of Telvanni, and progressed very little on the main questline but became deeply infatuated with the world.

I kept telling myself, I'll do the main quest later, and something would come up. When the "something" was the Thieves Guild, I became captivated with in-game theft, and I claimed a home that was empty after I'd murdered the owner as my loot den.

I use the word loot loosely. I was only interested in one type of item to steal: books. I ventured back and forth across the continent stealing every book I could manage, piling stacks of books as high as I could manage in my den of ill-gotten goods, occasionally tossing other stolen things on the floor, but my pride were the hundreds of books stacked taller than my Argonian. The small room would take a good ten minutes to load because of the sheer amount of books. I'd take detours while exploring just to raid places looking for books. Even if I got one book, I was pleased to be able to add it to my collection.

This was the first time I'd pumped so many hours into any game, ever. It was probably 2003 or 2004, and I had a PC that was rough around the edges at best. It was passed to me by my father as a reject for his own uses, no doubt in hopes that I would get my 12 or 13-year-old behind off the family PC with minimal trouble, and it worked. Until my young self made an uneducated choice in my forays on the internet and I picked up a particularly nasty virus while trying to download some free graphics editing software. The PC wouldn't boot. My father refused to help me fix it (apparently he had regrets for giving me my own PC, because my internet usage increased rapidly) and I couldn't figure it out.

My father finally just reformatted the hard drive and when I went to restart Morrowind, my hundreds of hours and couple years of gameplay was lost. I'd just lost the one thing that helped let me escape the troubles of being a bullied, friendless kid so easily before.

Lost in space 

Not all of these stories have to do with losing a save file entirely. Some deal with the existential horror of being trapped in one location, never able to escape. Of course, that horror becomes a lot more tangible when there's a giant xenomorph rapping at your chamber door.

Commenter: Bob McCow

Alien: Isolation is a bit mean with the saving system. You have to find what looks like a retro telephone booth and dial a number, making sure that Mr. Alien is not about to skewer you with his tongue or show you his six freaky fingers. You can only go back two save points, so you have to be very careful.

After a month spent hiding in lockers and wetting myself, I'd progressed through the game painfully slowly. I was escaping from the nest and it looked like I was finally getting Amanda off Sevastapol for good. I only had to take a lift up to a safer level. Sadly, I dropped a gun while being chased by the Alien and it got wedged in the door in a very glitchy way. The glitch meant that although I could take the lift, the next level wouldn't load. I was stuck! I couldn't retrieve an early enough save file to avoid the glitching gun. I haven't had the courage to replay the entire game to get to that point, so I'll never know if Amanda made it.

She's left forever in that lift with the Alien banging on the door outside.

It's not you, it's Witcher 3 

Listen, people make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes can hurt us, but I'm not sure if I'd ever end a relationship over a lost game save. But I guess The Witcher 3 isn't your average game.

Commenter: Piantino

Some time ago, my ex girlfriend wanted to play The Witcher 3 and I shared it from my Steam library with her. One day she played it in my PC, and when I came to play I realized that the save files in The Witcher 3 are the same when you share from your Steam library, and she saved her game in the same slot as mine. I lost my lvl 55 Geralt, my witcher gear and swords—everything. My time in Ard Skellige looking for treasures didn't serve for anything. I broke up with her some time ago and I use this story to explain why she is now my ex hahahaha.

Happy birthday 

I'm sure parents are equally as responsible for deleted saves as failing hardware. But there's something especially tragic when it all happens because they were trying to do something nice for you.

Commenter: Robáird Mac An TSaoir

In the late nineties, my dad surprised me for my birthday with some PC upgrades: a new monitor, bigger hard drive, and new graphics card. Of course, he'd wiped my old hard drive. Ten years of save files, writing, gig upon gig of films and music, all gone.

Commenter Grom Hellscream sums up the tragedy perfectly:

"Happy birthday, son. I formatted your entire childhood."

Groundhog Day 

If you've ever saved immediately before your demise only to find that you're now stuck replaying your death over and over, you can sympathise with Berty Bennish's story.

Commenter: Berty Bennish

I was playing the first Call of Duty back when it first came out. I would regularly save my games but in this instance, my last save was a couple of levels before the incident. It was the daylight St. Mere-Eglise level. After destroying the tank that comes out of the wall I ran round the corner heading towards where you would get in the car. I killed a couple of guys and ran a bit further. Game decides to auto save right when a German soldier pops round the corner and blasts me in the head. Instant death.

Game loads.

Instant death.

Game loads.

Instant death.

and so on…

What's hilarious about this particular story is that another one of our commenters had nearly the exact same problem.

Commenter: ImpatientPedant

When I was playing Call of Duty, way back in the day, there was a tank section. I hadn't saved for the entirety of the (rather long) mission, and contrived to save at the exact moment a shell was fired in my direction, a shell which would wipe me out.

Every time I tried to reload, the shell would fire and I would die. Over and over. I was shattered.

If a psychologist interviews me years from now and asks me why my dreams often have intermittent flashes of light, this is 100 percent the reason. Poor old toddler me.

Sorry, Mom 

Parents have unwittingly destroyed thousands of hours of time invested into games, but Zach Fathaigh's story flips the script. I'm assuming his mother had a hard time looking at him for a few days after.

Commenter: Zach Fathaigh

1996's The Realm is a fun proto-MMO that my mom was obsessed with. You get four or five character slots, I can't remember which. My mom let me have one of those slots (thank you, Mom). My older brother asked me what the game was like and I wanted to show him how fun it was to start a new character. So I looked at the list and saw Mom's two really badass characters, my character, and a level 1 naked character. I deleted that one to make room for my brother's character.

The deleted character was a mule with hundreds of hours worth of loot. I forgot about this incident entirely until my mom reminded me of it over the weekend.

Sorry, Mom.

Double whammy

We've all had hardware fail. Picking up and starting a game from the ashes of an old save is awful. Having to do it twice? No thanks.

Commenter: Kyosho

Christmas of 1999, I get the one game I really wanted under the tree. That big, ugly (beautiful?) orange and purple box. Planescape: Torment. From Christmas day until just before New Years, I put about 25-ish hours into the game. I was really into it. Then my hard drive crashed. I was devastated. I had the computer fixed within a week, but it took me another month or two to work up the nerve to start the game over from scratch. I did it, though. Even made some slightly different choices. It was a bit tedious to read ALL that text again, but after a good 15 hours or so, I got back to where I'd been. Played another 20-ish hours and... BAM, another hard drive crash.

Here's a tip, kids: Don't skimp out on your power supply when building a PC. It killed two hard drives before I knew the cause. Anyway, to say it was soul crushing was an understatement. I haven't beaten Planescape: Torment to this day. I've tried going back to it, but I end up losing interest before I ever get back to where I was. Best RPG of all time? Maybe. It's too painful for me to be able to ever know.

Tower of Trials 

Speaking of hard drive failures, I can't stress enough how important it is to back up important projects. We had countless stories about people losing game saves, but entire games? Seriously, don't wind up like Matt.

Commenter: Matt Pruitt

I once made an entire game in RPG maker VX-ACE. It was called the Tower of Trials. It was short and utilized only the assets the game provided. It had some random elements, little story, and was intended for short-runs about 30-40 minutes long. I worked on it for two years, starting on my old laptop and eventually finishing it on my first PC. It was my own little project and only a few of my friends played it. Then I discovered why people told me not to buy cheap HDDs. My hard drive crapped out on me and two years of work was lost. My oldest version of the game was on my old laptop and only had three floors of the tower completed. Needless to say, my current rig is running on a Samsung SSD.

Harry Potter and the Computer Thief 

It's one thing to lose a save file, but to lose the ability to play a game altogether? Now that's tragic.

Commenter: dxdy

Back in elementary school, 2001 or so, I really liked Harry Potter. Neither me nor my parents could afford a PC or anything to play modern games (had an Atari 130 XE though), so I was very happy when someone left Philosopher's Stone installed at the school's computer lab.

I could only play video games for a limited time after classes, so I only made it to Herbology Class over the course of several months. The game felt amazing to me, probably because I was reading Harry Potter books around the same time.

Once I went to school as usual, but after arriving I noticed it was completely deserted. Normally, entire halls would be filled with sounds of children playing but there was not a single soul in sight. I went upstairs. After walking around for a minute, I was spotted by the principal's assistant who rushed me to the cafeteria.

When we arrived there, I saw that all students were crammed inside. I quickly learned from colleagues that the school was robbed overnight. Robbers broke the window and stole a boombox, whole bunch of chocolate bars from school's kiosk, and every single PC from the lab. I lost not only the save file I worked for what felt like eternity, I lost the ability to play my beloved game in the first place.

These were just a few of the great stories our commenters told us. For the rest, be sure to check out the comment thread from last week.

Some comments were edited for grammar and clarity.

Half-Life 2

Every year PC Gamer's editors and contributors vote on a list of the 100 best PC games to play right now, and every year our Top 100 list is contentious. A game is always too low, and another too high, and another unbelievably missing. Such is the inevitable fate of any List Of Things In A Certain Order.

But this year, we decided it would be fun to transform the heated comment threads under our list into a list of their own—the Readers' Top 100. Last week, I asked you to pick your top two games from our Top 100 list, and suggest two games to add. I then compiled the votes (1,445 of them), weighing the write-ins more highly than the picks from our list, given that it's much more likely that 50 people would chose the same game from a list of 100 than all write in the same game.

My totally unscientific method does cause a few problems, namely: how much more do you weigh the write-in votes? A multiplier of three produced the most interesting list in this case, though next year I may ditch that tactic all together and take write-ins only. The danger is that a write-in-only list might be more easily swayed by organized campaigns (though that certainly happened anyway), and for this first attempt, I wanted to include a baseline to build off of just in case the suggestions were too scattered, or too homogeneous.

It worked out pretty well despite the uneven, improvised methodology—but do think of it as a fun exercise and not a perfect representation of PC gamers' tastes. Caveats out of the way, check out the list below. (Games that aren't on our Top 100 list are in bold.)

The PC Gamer Readers' Top 100

  1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  2. Half-Life 2 
  3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 
  4. Dark Souls 
  5. Borderlands 2 
  6. Fallout: New Vegas 
  7. Mass Effect 2  
  8. Doom (2016) 
  9. BioShock 
  10. Doom 2 
  11. Fallout 2 
  12. Deus Ex 
  13. Portal 2 
  14. Life is Strange 
  15. Starcraft 
  16. Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn 
  17. Grand Theft Auto 5 
  18. League of Legends 
  19. Diablo 2 
  20. XCOM 2 
  21. Fallout 4 
  22. Dragon Age: Origins 
  23. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind 
  24. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds 
  25. Bioshock Infinite 
  26. Overwatch 
  27. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 
  28. World of Warcraft 
  29. Rimworld 
  30. Path of Exile 
  31. Planescape: Torment
  32. Fallout 
  33. Dishonored 2 
  34. Crysis 
  35. Stellaris 
  36. Crusader Kings 2 
  37. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain 
  38. Dishonored 
  39. Half-Life 
  40. Warcraft 3 
  41. Quake 
  42. Factorio 
  43. Prey 
  44. SOMA 
  45. Fallout 3
  46. TIE Fighter 
  47. Elite Dangerous 
  48. Rocket League 
  49. Civilization 5 
  50. Heroes of Might and Magic 3 
  51. Starcraft 2 
  52. Nier: Automata 
  53. Stalker: Call of Pripyat 
  54. Wolfenstein: The New Order 
  55. Minecraft 
  56. System Shock 2 
  57. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion 
  58. Psychonauts 
  59. Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition 
  60. Knights of the Old Republic 
  61. Age of Empires 2 
  62. Thief 2 
  63. Endless Legend 
  64. Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 
  65. Titanfall 2 
  66. Warframe 
  67. The Secret of Monkey Island  
  68. Kerbal Space Program 
  69. Europa Universalis IV 
  70. Hotline Miami  
  71. Payday 2 
  72. Battlefield 1 
  73. Dota 2 
  74. Total War: Warhammer 
  75. Mass Effect 3 
  76. Batman Arkham City 
  77. Rainbow Six Siege 
  78. FTL 
  79. Stardew Valley 
  80. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 
  81. The Talos Principle 
  82. Tyranny 
  83. Civilization 6 
  84. Undertale 
  85. Knights of the Old Republic 2 
  86. Team Fortress 2 
  87. The Witness 
  88. Thief Gold 
  89. Arma 3 
  90. Dying Light 
  91. Alien: Isolation 
  92. Hyper Light Drifter 
  93. Planet Coaster 
  94. Jagged Alliance 2 
  95. Call of Duty 2 
  96. Transistor
  97. Mass Effect 
  98. Freespace 2 
  99. 7 Days to Die 
  100. Ultima Online

For reference, the top 10 games on our list this year were: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Dark Souls, Dishonored 2, XCOM 2, Portal 2, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Mass Effect 2, Alien: Isolation, Doom (2016), and Spelunky. If you want a condensed sense of how our tastes differ from those surveyed, here are a few observations:

We like Spelunky a lot more than everyone else. It was in our top 10, but didn't even make it into the Readers' Top 100.

While Half-Life 2 has lost some stock in our minds, it hasn't in everyone's. It was 11th on our list, but 2nd on the Readers' list.

Everyone agrees that The Witcher 3 is great. It was first on both of our lists.

Skyrim is still chugging along. It was 26th on our list, but came in third in reader voting.

Borderlands 2 wasn't on our list, but came in 5th. Did Borderlands fans came out en masse, or are we just weird for not putting it on our list?

14th place is pretty impressive for Life is Strange. Rimworld ranked pretty high, too. Either these games are more popular than we realized, or the survey happened to be circulated among their biggest fans. Probably a mix of both.

League of Legends fans showed up to challenge our preference for Dota 2. It came in at 18, while Dota 2 was knocked down to 73. Justice?

If you'd like to compare the lists directly, I've put them side by side in a spreadsheet. Thank you to all 1,445 people who responded to the survey! Feel free to suggest new ways to compile this list in the comments, and I'll take them into consideration next year. My skill with Excel spreadsheet formulas is at least double what it was last week, a cursed power that will only have grown by next year.

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