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What The Witcher 3 owes to classic RPG series Gothic

45-minute documentary examines how a 2001 cult classic influenced one of the best RPGs

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been soundly praised for its living, breathing world. A new documentary sheds some light on what the game owes to its predecessors, cult classic RPGs Gothic and Gothic 2.

The original Gothic was first released in 2001. It focused on a male protagonist inside a prison colony who battled orcs, but also explored the political machinations of a remote feudal society. The story picked up again the following year with the much more refined Gothic 2, which took place in a larger world on the island of Khorinis. Both games featured non-player characters with their own schedules, and many other subtle features that were an inspiration to the team at CD Projekt Red.

The 45-minute documentary, embedded above, is the work of History of Khorinis, a YouTube channel dedicated to the Gothic fandom. The video is in Polish, but features an excellent set of English subtitles. Fans of either The Witcher or Gothic should definitely check it out. An English dub is expected soon.

Incidentally, the same developers who created the Gothic series went on to make last year’s Elex, a complex open-world RPG that blended the science fiction, post-apocalyptic and medieval genres into a single, somewhat unwieldy experience. Elex was poorly received among both critics and fans of the open-world RPG genre, but even that game still has its fans. One critic admitted that it was “the biggest trashfire I’ve played all year, but I still love it.”

You can still find Gothic and Gothic 2 available for download. They’re available on Steam and

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