CD Projekt Red has detailed the new features of the next-gen upgrade for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in a twitch stream Wednesday. They include a photo mode, cross-progression, a rapid spread control system for signs, a new camera, and a host of new UI options and quality of life improvements.
As previously announced, the update will bring ray-tracing to consoles (PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, in new native versions of the game) and PC. Other new graphics technologies include ambient occlusion, screen space reflections, dynamic resolution scaling and, on PC, support for FSR and DLSS scaling techniques which can improve the frame rate.
Consoles will get the now standard performance and quality modes; performance targets 60fps, while quality runs at 30fps and adds ray tracing. (The game will run at 30fps on Xbox Series S.) Even if you choose performance mode, the game will look significantly better than the previous PS4 and Xbox One version – closer to Ultra settings on PC. Meanwhile, power PC users are getting new Ultra Plus settings to let them really push their rigs.
Characters, monsters and the environment have all been improved, with reworked grass and foliage, more detailed models and higher resolution textures, and new details like the smoke from villages in the distance, new weather conditions or 3D modeled cobblestones in the capital city, Novigrad.
As well as adding the much-requested photo mode, developers CD Projekt Red – many of whom are members of the original The Witcher 3 team, retired Cyberpunk 2077 to work on the upgrade – added a new camera, closer to Geralt and on one side, similar to the view of recent God of War games. This can be toggled on or off independently for different states – explore on foot, on horseback, and in combat.
Players who prefer a magic-using version of signs will find a new control option called Quick Cast, which allows the player to hold down R2 and then access different signs or spells, directly with the face buttons rather than tapping them. select one by one from a radial menu.
Cross-progression, already implemented in Cyberpunk 2077works through GOG Galaxy Accounts and allows players to transfer their saves between all formats.
New Netflix-inspired armor sets The Witcher will be added to the game (including its last-gen versions), and these are introduced with a new quest, which CD Projekt Red has teased without revealing much about it. The quest will reward blueprints for the new armor, which will still need to be crafted.
A new default map filter removes question marks that litter the map, indicating points of interest such as bandit camps, powerful monsters, or treasure chests. It’s about bringing these mini-events closer to the original intent of having players organically discover them while playing the game, rather than compulsively hunting them all down. However, these, along with the icons showing where to find the boats, can be restored with a simple filter choice. You can also choose a new, clean UI mode that removes the minimap and out-of-combat quest objectives, while allowing them to be brought up quickly with the press of a button.
The devs worked on a long list of community requests, including a slow walk mode, the ability to move sprint with a click of the right stick, and fixes for notoriously broken quests (which should apply retroactively to your backup). Two big ones are subtitle scaling, allowing for larger font sizes and the ability to pause cutscenes. And finally, the game was fully voiced in Chinese for the first time.
Not bad for a free update. The next generation upgrade for The Witcher 3 releases December 14.