The Witcher 3's Wind Is Beautiful

Image: FeuerTin

There are a lot of things that keep me coming back to The Witcher 3, but few are as effective — or as quaint — as the game's wind.

Yes, the game looks gorgeous by traditional reckoning. The textures, the lighting, the animation, it's a good-looking video game by video game standards. But there are a lot of good-looking video games set in vast open worlds that I don't revisit all the time and just sit back, sigh deeply and let wash over me like The Witcher 3's, and that's because their worlds don't feel as alive as Geralt's.

Image: FeuerTin

Consider open world games, from Skyrim to GTA V. They're big, beautiful games, but once I complete their main storylines I rarely revisit them, because without a narrative impetus pushing me along their roads and over their mountains, the worlds feel flat and empty. Not of things to do (especially if you make videos on the internet) but in the sense that without something pushing me along I quickly find they have become lifeless Video Game Spaces, and not a little self-contained universe I could get lost in.

Now look at this shit. Look at this wind. Look at how it swirls around the player, moves the trees, sways the grass. There's an audio element to it, with all that whooshing, and it affects the game's lighting as well as the sun flickers and dances across the ground while trees move overhead.

There are 3D models and a floor here, like there are in any other game, but the wind in The Witcher 3 is filling the space between it all. It breathes life into a static place. It is, in many ways, the energy bringing the world of The Witcher 3 to life in a way no other video game has ever managed.

Of course, it's not for everyone.

There are even mods out there designed to turn it down! (Though it still looks amazing).

Even I'll admit that, as much as I enjoy it, the wind in The Witcher 3 can be a bit much at times. But like...come on. It's a world full of elves and monsters and magic. I think we're entitled to some excessive gusts if the art team thinks it makes the game look good.

So here we are, talking about how a video game's wind has kept me coming back to it long after its story had run dry. Wind! Of all the things. Some damn wind. You can't even see it. We're technically just admiring a bunch of trees and hair whooshing around.

Yet I love firing The Witcher 3 up once or twice a month and just riding around, enjoying the world. Long strolls along a beach, a quick ride through the mountain paths of Skellige, it's a video game where I know combat and challenge is there if I want it, but I usually just seek out moments of beauty and solitude with the sun slipping over the hills and the wind literally at Geralt's back.


    That wind mod, why can't we have it on PS4? The original wind was a bit over the top.

    Wind and other things like that are important in games like this. I feel like wind was lacking in Skyrim for example but it seemed to be quite nice in Oblivion.

    It seems like a small thing but it was one of the things that really immersed me in the world in Oblivion. Running to an Inn during a windy storm during the night was a great feeling.

    Okay gamers, I think we need to sit down and have a talk.

    There are far too many articles that are flagrant mental masturbation over Witcher 3. It was a good game, and has some great parts, but we've got to stop treating it as though it's the best, most amazing video game ever created and everything in it is amazing and it has absolutely zero flaws.

    It's an excellent game, but it's not without its issues... and when people begin talking about how amazing the artificial wind in the game is, I think we've crossed into problematic territory.

      Can you just let people enjoy a little detail without having to to be the "well actually!", guy.

      Don't see the point in getting all negative when gamers are point out what they like in a game.

      There's already too much politically correct crap around these days it's a nice change to just see a good old "I liked this", article.

        Surely 'a good old "I liked this" article' is more politically correct than constructive criticism?

        People like Witcher 3 and that's cool. Heck, I I think it's a great game too. But trying to find every little thing to go "wasn't this amazing, man Witcher 3 is totally the best game and everyone loves it because it's so great" is really wearing thin, especially since there's been quite a few articles like this in recent times on Kotaku.

        To be honest, I'd much rather see an article providing some good, accurate and on-point criticism of Witcher 3 to highlight what it got wrong and how it could be improved, rather than praising increasingly trivial aspects of its design.

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