I am a long time Fallout fan, and lore nerd when it comes to the franchise. It all started with me playing Fallout 1 as a teenager, and my enjoyment of the franchise just evolved from there. Even when they announced the games that will be running for GOTY I knew Fallout could not win against Witcher 3. Not a single Fallout game could. Having said that I have put more time into playing Fallout 4 and loved it because I was invested in the series. But and this is the big one, Witcher 3 made me invested in a plotline that I didn’t care about and made me enjoy characters I had never heard of. When you are going up against the very last game to finally end a long running franchise like The Witcher during a GOTY award, you aren’t only fighting the game by itself but the entire franchise as a whole.
The Witcher is an emotional roller coaster of a story that kicks your emotions in the balls again and again. You watch the characters you grown to love over the last 2 games interacting with being murdered, torn apart, or broken by the cruel world they inhabit. In The Witcher, you will lose something you care about and at the end realize that Geralt was right in saying you shouldn’t grow attached to anything. Ever. Also people should take note: the Witcher 3 is how you write a videogame. No other game even comes close to achieving what CDPR did. Hell, I would say I liked it more than the books it was based on. On their historical context alone, they’re wonderful. On a gameplay level, The Witcher 3 is one of the best executed roleplaying experiences I have had the pleasure to play.
CDPR’s quest design is absolutely fantastic by the third game. You really do feel like a medieval fantasy detective trying to solve puzzles, taking in the world one step at a time, and dishing out justice by the hilt of your dual swords. It helps tremendously that they filter all the magic of the side quests into things that help you come to grips with the world and their characters, so that you can improvise your own take on the ambiguities that crop up. There is no morality, just shades of shit in a bleak, dark, world. Don’t get me wrong I have put over 100 hours into fallout and have enjoyed every second of it. But when you put it all into perspective, Fallout 4 did not stand a chance and for good reason.