Alrighty, Witcher fans it’s time to dust off your Gwent deck because we’re going on an epic adventure AGAIN! Geralt is set to return and reprise his role as the protagonist in the Next gen updated version of The Witcher III Wild Hunt.
The Developer CD Project Red is updating their masterpiece, The Witcher 3 to next-gen level gameplay and graphics. Graphics enhancements and quality-of-life gameplay improvements will revive this 7-year-old game for the new powerful console generation. From the visuals I saw, these improvements while quite noticeable when compared side by side to the performance and visual quality of the previous generation, can’t compare to the newer modern games of today still.
However, ever since the first time playing The Witcher 3, watching Geralt fight the Wild Hunt, and absorbing the visually dense world I have been hooked and It’s been one of my top favorite games. Even after completing the game, I still check in and play the game sometimes so these enhancements are welcome especially since the upgrade is FREE for those that bought any of the older versions! This update makes a lot of sense, while fans who’ve played the game on the PC have already seen some amazing visuals (which have been further enhanced), the game did not run all too well on the previous generation base model consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One. This game pushed their hardware to the very limit and I remember a lot of FPS dips at certain areas of the game.
Performance Mode VS Graphics Mode
The new update will hopefully get rid of these issues and the result should be a lot smoother experience playing the game, especially with the Performance mode of the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X. This should make the game run buttery smooth at 60 FPS stable unlike the PS4 and XBOX ONE versions of the game which were capped at 30 FPS and even dipped to low 20s in framerate.
On Graphics mode the game will be capped at 30FPS but with high visual fidelity (think Ultra or Ultra+ settings on PC) This mode enables Ray Tracing and the best quality textures as well as other finer improvements which will make the game a worthwhile repayable experience for returning players like myself as well new players who will get to enjoy this much more enhanced version of the game right off the bat.
Some of the other improvements are 4K high-res textures, higher-quality models, and redone higher-quality foilage. All of these will bring more vivid and realistic imagery to the game. It will utilize FSR 2.1 and DLSS 3.
Unlike when the game was initially released in 2015 riddled with bugs and glitches, this new update is a relief for new players who won’t have to experience trouble and frustration while playing the game for the first time.
Performance looked good in our testing, with only a handful of dips below 60fps evident in the footage provided, although by eye the Novigrad city Centre did appear to be dropping frames more heavily. This area was historically the most challenging part of the game in terms of performance – and the foundation of our Witcher GPU benchmarks on PC – so it will be fascinating to see how the new consoles and graphics cards handle the next-gen version.”Eurogamer
Has the Gameplay been Revamped?
It sure has! In addition to the visual upgrades, there is a boatload of other changes and quality-of-life enhancements, which would include:
- New weather conditions
- Higher detail self-shadows in gameplay
- A new camera
- A new method for casting signs
- Map filters
- Quicker herb looting
- Content related to the Witcher TV series.
It’s also important to note that the quality-of-life improvements (such as the new camera, which has a performance impact) and the TV content are also planned for the last-gen versions of the game on PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.
To complement the new graphics feature, the developers have added a Photo Mode in which players could take breathtaking snapshots of Geralt on his adventures or during his comedic shenanigans.
The Witcher 3 may be a suitable candidate to test GPU performance even in 2023, according to reports that the PC version gets a new graphics preset for several settings called Ultra Plus, which allows for even longer draw distances and richer vegetation. As a die-hard PC Gamer, this makes me giddy.
Free DLC, Mods, and more
The New free DLC is a scavenger hunt-type quest series set in the Devil’s Pit area in Velen, the area was previously inaccessible and this DLC will now open access to the area.
CDPR has confirmed that some not all mods will be supported by the new release and they acknowledged that 7 years is a long time to get used to your favorite mods while playing a game. CDPR has compiled a list of working mods that they’ve tested on the new build of the game. For mod developers, CDPR has announced post-release support to get all the community-driven content up and running on the new version of the game.
“Additionally, we are including several popular mods in the update (they’ll be available depending on the platform). We obtained permissions from their creators, reimbursed them, and they’ll be featured in the credits of the updated game. The mods were reworked and assets optimized as needed, and the game was adjusted to run with them. There was even a case when a dev got so engrossed in tinkering when including a mod that he ended up simply remaking that particular aspect of the game. So, in a way, the game comes with some mods already included.”
Awesome that CDPR is supporting the community!
This has to be the most extensive free upgrade to a video game in recent gaming. This is reportedly the last time CDPR will be using the Witcher engine and will utilize the powerful Unreal Engine 5 for developing future game releases. It makes me wonder what the future of the Witcher game series holds and how different it will be from this game and the previous entries (which have not aged as well as The Witcher 3)
I’m excited to tell fans that CD Project Red has set the update to be out by 14th December 2022. Are you as excited about this New-gen update of a modern-day classic game? Will you be jumping right in and fighting Griffin and monsters once again as the fearless Geralt of Rivia? Let me know in the comments.