Hardcore gamer Henry Cavill played The Witcher on hardest difficulty

Henry Cavill shared how he spent the lockdown hiatus from filming: by re-playing The Witcher games on the hardest difficulties.


Henry Cavill sported his geek crown mighty high recently, by admitting he spent most of the lockdown away from filming by playing The Witcher games at their highest difficulty settings.

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Henry Cavill spent the lockdown break by re-playing The Witcher games at the hardest difficulty settings. (Images: Instagram/Henry Cavill and Netflix)

Cavill, the actor who has played Superman for the DC Extended Universe and is currently in the midst of promoting the new upcoming season for Netflix’s The Witcher, is an avid gamer. Even before he got the casting call to test for the role of Geralt, Cavill has been a big fan of both the Andrzej Sapkowski novels and the video games based on the lore of The Witcher. But apparently, a casual refresher isn’t enough for the King of Geeks, as his fans call him.

Check out the details below on what led to Henry Cavill choosing to go hardcore by re-playing The Witcher at the highest difficulty settings.

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Total Film Interview

Speaking to Total Film, Henry Cavill discussed his experience during the COVID-19 lockdown by playing The Witcher Games again, but on the hardest difficulty settings:

I decided to put it on the hardest difficulty possible to play, which I've done before, and it was really quite stressful! I forgot quite how stressful it was. These days I'm not rich in time and so I haven't unfortunately had too much of a chance to have a go with the games again.

The three main games based on the books by Andrzej Sapkowski were all developed and produced by CD Projekt Red as immersive and sprawling roleplaying games. The Polish gaming company has been one of the most preeminent in the industry today. Aside from the main The Witcher RPGs and its spinoffs, CD Projekt Red has also released Cyberpunk 2077 and owns the GOG DRM-free digital distribution platform.

The Witcher RPGs are considered recent classics, and are highly influential on the modern perception of what roleplaying games can be. All three The Witcher RPGs have multiple difficulty settings. The first game had a simple Hard mode with generally harder to kill enemies. The second game, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, had an Insane mode with a permadeath penalty if Geralt perishes (preventing the saved game to load if that should happen).

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Henry built his own gaming rig in 2020 and shared it on his Instagram, which went viral.

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt does not have the permadeath mode of the 2nd game, but in many ways is even more difficult. The Death March mode of this third game makes nearly every enemy, even at the earliest levels, able to kill Geralt in one or two hits. These enemies also have more vitality, thus taking longer to defeat and causing more repairs required on weapons. Add to that the experience rewards being about a quarter less than in easier modes and it can be a truly frustrating experience.

Cavill stating it is stressful is no understatement. But apparently, this is not the first time he has endured this punishing form of gameplay.

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Geek and gamer for life

Henry Cavill has made no secret that he has been a geek and gamer all his life. In an interview with GQ in 2019 as part of the premiere of the first season of The Witcher, Cavill gleefully admitted to playing hundreds of hours of Total War: Warhammer II.

Speaking about his life as a gamer, the actor stated:

At home, I get to sit playing games for ridiculous amounts of hours and escape there, because going outside has the opposite effect.

It was also during this interview that Cavill first mentioned about testing his patience and skills with the various difficulty settings of The Witcher games:

It’s all well and good when you’re trying not to stress out, but then I realised I wasn’t chilling out. I just ended up dying at the wrong points and thinking, I should not have left the roads. I don’t know why I left the roads. I couldn’t run away fast enough or my attention span dropped for a second or I answered a text and now I’m dead and that’s six or seven hours of gameplay that I’ve just messed up.

Clearly, Henry Cavill has gone through this scenario at least once before. But he’s still a hardcore gamer for trying to go through it again as a form of kicking back during the lockdown, instead of the usual vacation that one would often hear from other celebrities.

And it should come as no surprise. After all, Cavill famously broke the internet in 2020 by sharing a video of him manually assembling a new high-end PC gaming rig to meet his exacting standards, which spread through social media like wildfire.

What fans can expect from Geralt in The Witcher Season 2

While on the subject of The Witcher, the actor and the rest of the crew have finished filming the second season after the lockdown, though with updated safety protocols.

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According to Cavill, Geralt will be a bit more conversational in the second season of The Witcher.

Regarding the Netflix second season of The Witcher, Cavill expressed that there would be a noticeable difference to the portrayal of Geralt this time around:

This season, I really wanted to make sure that we represented the book’s Geralt more accurately, and that we saw him speak more. I pushed really, really hard for that. I wouldn’t say cheery. He’s still Geralt of Rivia, but he’s definitely coming across as more of an intellectual. It’s a hard life, monster hunting... I wouldn’t recommend it.

Based on this statement, Cavill seems to be aiming for adapting the inner monologue that Geralt often has in the books and the games, something that the first season of the Netflix Original series had little opportunity of doing.

The Witcher stars Henry Cavill  (Geralt of Rivia), Anya Chalotra (Yennefer), Freya Allan (Ciri), and Joey Batey (Jaskier). Season 1 and the animated tie-in, The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is currently streaming on Netflix. Season 2 of The Witcher arrives on the streaming service this December 17, 2021.

Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.