CD Projekt’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was released worldwide on 19 May, 2015. I bought it on release day, despite not playing the first two Witcher games. This meant that during the scene in Vizima where Geralt is interrogated over the events of the first two games, my eyes glossed over as the history of name after name of nobodies who held no significance to me were explained. Yes, sure, whatever, I guess I killed Letho; sure, I sided with Roche over Iorveth; sure, Silé de Something-or-other was exploded by a malfunctioning crystal: I don’t care*, just let me get back to ogling Yen. I had, however, read one of the collections of short stories, which I enjoyed. I also made an attempt at reading the novels, though I gave up on these after the first twenty pages. My half-attempt at researching the novels tells me that the original English translations of the novels were rushed and terrible but now there is a better translation. This matters little to me, because my rule still applies. For me, it is either learn Polish or content myself with never reading the books. I know which one I am going to do. In the five years since that release, the series has grown and grown in popularity. The base game and its expansions, Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine, find themselves amongst the highest acclaimed games in the history of the medium; the books are having a renaissance in popularity; and there is even now a Netflix adaptation, which has its critics but appears popular enough to have earned itself a second series.
But none of this is important to me. What is important is that, nearly a full five years after first playing the game, I unlocked the Card Collector achievement. Five long years. And all because over the course of many playthroughs over those five years I never once encountered the Person in Distress on the island east of Oreton, who turns out to be the merchant who is the only person you can get a particular card from.
I cannot tell you how ecstatic I was when I found him, played him and the achievement noise sounded followed by Card Collector appearing on the screen.
I’ll tell you what I did to celebrate: I saved the game, turned off the console, unplugged it and put it in the attic. I no longer have any need to play games because nothing else will ever top that.
Now I can finally become a productive person of society. I won’t, of course. But now there is nothing stopping me from doing it if I so wished to do it.
*Yes, I know: the answers determine whether or not certain characters and their related quests appear in the game and impact on other character’s relationship with Geralt. But I didn’t know this at the beginning when answering the questions — and neither did you, so save yourself the energy of typing out the comment.