After a couple delays, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is lined up for release on May 19, and it promises to be the biggest and best installment in CD Projekt RED's series yet, not to mention the last one featuring the monster-slaying hero, Geralt. 

If you thought The Witcher 2 was enormous, Wild Hunt might be a bit much for you. It's something like 30 times bigger than its predecessor, and features a massive  and thoroughly detailed open world that you can travel around seamlessly, without ever seeing a loading screen. In addition, you won't have to spend time unlocking areas because the whole world is accessible from the start. 

Like the second game, The Witcher 3 features a multi-threaded storyline, and although it won't be quite as complex as the previous game, decisions you make will resonate through the rest of the story. CD Projekt RED says there's about 100 hours of gameplay this time around, with the main storyline taking up about half of that. Furthermore, the plot introduces a new playable character, Ciri, who we first saw in the original The Witcher. A completely different character to Geralt with her own set of abilities, Ciri's portion of the game will account for another 5-10 hours. 

With a whole new game engine, REDengine 3, CD Projekt RED pulled out all the stops to make this the most detailed and good-looking game in the series, with excellent extra touches, including the fact that Geralt's beard keeps growing throughout the game. And CD Projekt RED partnered with NVIDIA to use its GameWorks libraries to great effect. The Witcher 3 uses HairWorks, HBAO+ for realistic Ambient Occlusion shadowing and shading, plus PhysX Destruction and Clothing to ramp up the realism.  

It's probably worth taking a look at your GPU to figure out whether it'll be able to cope with The Witcher 3. The system requirements are hefty, but not prohibitive:

Minimum:

Intel CPU Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz

AMD CPU Phenom II X4 940

NVIDIA GPU GeForce GTX 660

AMD GPU Radeon HD 7870

RAM 6GB

OS 64-bit Windows 7 or 64-bit Windows 8 (8.1)

DirectX 11

HDD Space 40 GB 

Recommended:

Intel CPU Core i7 3770 3,4 GHz

AMD CPU AMD FX-8350 4 GHz

NVIDIA GPU GeForce GTX 770

AMD GPU Radeon R9 290

RAM 8GB

OS 64-bit Windows 7 or 64-bit Windows 8 (8.1)

DirectX 11

HDD Space 40 GB 

As you can see, apart from the minimum 6GB RAM, which might raise a few eyebrows, the big issue's the GPU. The minimum recommendation isn't quite a monster but it's far from entry level, and we suspect if you already own something around this level and you want to enjoy The Witcher 3 without any graphical compromises, you'll probably want to start thinking about a new GPU towards the more powerful end of the spectrum. It's also worth noting that as part of the NVIDIA deal, The Witcher 3 is being bundled with GeForce 900 series cards, so you can kill two birds with one stone. 

The final thing to bear in mind is the HDD requirement. Forty GB is quite a chunk of space, and while you should easily have room for it, a hard disk might be a little slow delivering all that game data. While The Witcher 3 boasts no loading screens, you can bet that you'll still have to sit around for a while at startup. With prices coming down all the time, you might want to consider a medium size SSD to host some of these enormous games that keep arriving; 250GB can be had for a reasonable price these days, and it'll cut those loading times down to virtually nothing.

If you want to dig deeper into the world of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, check out more details about Prima's official guides, packed with 498+ pages of expert strategy and comprehensive game coverage. More? Take a look at pages from the 530-page Collector's Edition guide and lore book, a making-of-the-guide infographic, or a sneak peek at a retailer-exclusive world map. Don't miss out, order yours today!