Sex has always been a relatively prominent part of The Witcher videogames. The original release actually included a series of saucy in-game collectible cards that provided a record of Geralt's many and varied conquests during his world-saving adventures. And, unsurprisingly, he'll keep on keeping on in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which according to The Guardian contains 16 hours (!) of sex scene motion capture data—albeit not 16 hours of in-game sex (opens in new tab).
That sounds like an awful lot of sex scene motion capture data, and the game apparently even opens with the tail-end, so to speak, of a libidinous encounter between Geralt and Yennefer. But that moment, and all the others, are there for a reason that goes beyond mere titillation.
"We are establishing that your character was intimate with this woman recently in order to plant in your mind, that, at the very least, he must enjoy her company," Senior Game Designer Damien Monhier said. "Through sex we have shown that this is a person who Geralt would be compelled to chase after if she went missing."
Sex is the quickest way to establish a meaningful relationship between characters, Monhier explained, and to justify Geralt's pursuit of Yennefer. "We couldn't just tell you to go find someone you don't know or care about," he said. "It wouldn't work."
The infamous digital sex cards in The Witcher may have been a little tacky, but as The Guardian notes, the presence of sex as an unremarkable element of life in The Witcher's fantasy setting actually lends it a layer of believability lacking in other games: The characters come off as real people, behaving as they would in a world that's nasty, brutish, and with few avenues of escape from its overbearing unpleasantness. In a character-driven game series like The Witcher, that's important.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt comes out on May 19.