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Because the majority of a Witcher city is completely non-interactive window dressing, akin to those prop towns in westerns that are just a bunch of boards stood up and painted to look like buildings. Easy to make, and impressive to look at if you never bother to actually try interacting with it. Incredibly disappointing otherwise.
Because Skyrim's cities were bigger than The Witcher 2's 2-3 cities (can't remember how many?).
Because if you're comparing games compare Skyrim to Witcher 2, since they both came out in 2011. You're not making that comparison because you know it wouldn't work in your favor.
Because Skyrim's cities had to take into consideration the limitations of old-gen consoles that can't really handle big cities like The Witcher 3's.
Because Skyrim cities are far more interactive. You can enter every single building and talk to everyone. Every single NPC is programmed with a certain schedule and are not just randoms that do nothing.
Because games are supposed to improve and get even bigger 3-4 years later.