There’s hardly a gamer out there who hasn’t heard of The Witcher series developed and published by CD Projekt Red. This franchise of extremely popular action-roleplaying games had humble beginnings and over time, it amassed a large following of fans and critics alike. The games themselves serve as sequels to the series of books written by Andrzej Sapkowski.
Even though most fans are familiar with The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, the game that was dubbed “one the greatest games of all time”, not all are familiar with two previous sequels and many spin-off games that were released in between. This is understandable since the third installment in the series was the most polished and received the most publicity. Having said all that, let’s revisit all games in the Witcher series and see in what order should they be played.
How many The Witcher games are there?
There are 3 games in the main The Witcher series, with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt having 2 extra DLCs. All three games are directly connected and the story follows the same protagonist Geralt of Rivia and a straight chronological timeline.
The Witcher main series games in order at a glance
The main series started with the release of The Witcher in 2007 and so far, and the last installment in the series is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, released in 2015. Shortly after the release of Wild Hunt, two DLCs followed. Hearts of Stone in 2015 and Blood and Wine in 2016.
- The Witcher (2007)
- The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings (2011)
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015)
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Hearts of Stone (2015)
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine (2016)
Are Witcher games connected and do you need to play them in order?
Even though all games in the Witcher series are connected, It’s not necessary to play them in release date order. In fact, most fans started with The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt and then decided to play the first two installments. However, having said all that, by skipping Assassins of Kings you’re going to miss out on the backstory of numerous characters that re-appear in the Witcher 3. For the best experience, story-wise, I recommend you play them in release date order. Even though the later installments do a very good job of explaining characters, world, mechanics, and lore, it would probably be best to start with Witcher 1.
The Witcher games in release date order
The Witcher (2007)
The Witcher released in 2007 had the worst combat, but the best atmosphere overall. What makes this game also different from the rest of the series is the fact that the game was developed in Aurora Engine. In the first Witcher, you will be taking control of Geralt for the first time and you will get to know the world of Witcher. If you by any chance read the books you should be aware that the first entry in the game series is a direct sequel to the book series, more specifically The Lady of the Lake.
Geralt wakes up in Kaer Morhen with amnesia. He is unable to recall who he is and what his purpose is. While Geralt is recovering and Triss Merigold searches for a way to restore his memory, Kaer Morhen is attacked and the mutagens needed to convert other humans into Witchers are stolen, this will mark the beginning of the end for The School of the Wolf.
Geralt tries to find out who is behind the attack and he decides to make his way to Vizima. Vizima is in the meantime torn in a conflict between two extremist factions with a scandalous and unstable King Foltest at the helm. An enhanced edition of the game was released in 2008. The edition brought numerous visual and immersion improvements to the game.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (2011)
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was marked by several things. For starters, it was the first game in the series developed on a custom-made in-house engine called REDengine. The combat was much more improved as well as the overall visuals of the game.
The Witcher 2 continue where the first installment left off. An attempt was made on King Foltest’s life, Geralt managed to fend off the assailants, but the second attack happened and this time the assassin managed to slay the king. This leads to Geralt being imprisoned for the murder of the king and his story is checked out by Vernon Roche, the head of the Temerian special forces.
Vernon is a good man and decides that Geralt is innocent. Geralt now has a completely new mission on his hands, he needs to clear his name and discover the perpetrator of the Foltest murder. He will be assisted by Roche and Triss. Throughout the game, Geralt is slowly regaining his memories and learning who he is (he still has amnesia remember!) this sets the stage for the next installment as he recalls more and more about Ciri, The Wild Hunt, and Yennefer of Vengerberg.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015)
So far (last) and the best entry in the series. The game begins with Geralt receiving a letter from Yennefer, it would seem that Ciri is in danger from the Wild Hunt and Geralt needs to save her. Geralt’s journey starts in the White Orchard, he is accompanied by Vesemir his father and mentor in all but blood. With the help of his loyal companions, Geralt will leave no stone unturned and his search will lead him all over the Continent from the haunted marshes of Velen to the northern shores of Skellige.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Hearts of Stone (2015)
This is one of the best DLCs ever made hands down. Hearts of Stone begins when Geralt receives a contract from Olgierd von Everec. He is to hunt a toad monster in the Oxenfurt sewers. On his way to slay the toad, he encounters Shani (medic from Witcher 1). Geralt slays the toad monster and in a surprising twist of events, he discovers the toad is actually a cursed Ofieri prince.
Geralt is now accused of murdering a member of Ofieri royalty and is on his way to be tried and executed when he is suddenly approached and saved by Gaunter O’Dimm. Gaunter O’Dimm is a mysterious figure that appears in the base game, in fact, he is one of the first NPCs you will talk to when you arrive at White Orchard.
Over the course of events, you will find out all about Olgierd von Everec’s tragic past and his dealing with malicious Gaunter O’Dimm.
The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (2016)
If Hearts of Stone has the best story, the winner of the most beautiful setting has to be Blood and Wine. This DLC is set after the events of the main story and it takes us to Toussaint, a vassal duchy under the Nilfgaardian Empire. Toussaint is seemingly a fairy-tale kingdom, but even in fairy tales there are horrific nightmarish creatures lurking after dark and Geralt is tasked with slaying one. There has been a string of murders all over Toussaint and everything suggests that a powerful vampire is behind them. With the help of Toussaint’s Duchess Anna Henrietta and an old acquaintance Regis, Geralt will try to put an end to the deadly danger lurking on Toussaint’s idyllic streets.
Will there be more Witcher games?
The future is looking good for the Witcher series as the series will be expanded by both new entries and remasters of the former games. In March of this year, the new entry into the series has been announced. Geralt’s story was officially wrapped up with Blood and Wine and the new entry will serve as a beginning of a completely new trilogy. The new installment of the Witcher series will be built on Unreal Engine 5, leaving behind REDengine 3 on which Wild Hunt was built upon.
We’ll have to wait a while until the new installment is finished, luckily for us, a remake of The Witcher was also announced. The first game in the series will receive Unreal Engine 5 treatment as well. A next-gen update for Witcher 3 has been released back in December of 2022. The update brought many graphics, quality of life, and overall improvements to the game.