One of the best games of the last decade is about to get even better, and for free to everyone who already owns it. CD Projekt Red finally revealed everything that will be included in The Witcher 3’s new-gen upgrade, and even showed off a bit of it in action with a new trailer. The long wait for the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S versions definitely seems worth it, and fans are already meticulously picking over granular improvements to shadows, reflections, and foliage.
During a livestream on Wednesday, CDPR developers went over what players can expect when the update drops on December 14 after a year of delays. One of the big changes for console owners will be the option to choose between performance and graphics modes, while PC players will have the option of a more zoomed-in camera view that adds a more cinematic feel to the game. Overall, the changes seem geared at making the critically-acclaimed open world RPG even more visually impressive and player friendly.
Here’s the trailer:
And here’s everything in the free upgrade:
- 60fps performance mode or 30fps with ray tracing (except on Series S)
- Haptic feedback on PS5
- Over-the-shoulder camera and photo mode on PC
- Cross-save between PS5, Series X/S, and PC
- Button shortcuts for Sign magic
- Map filter to remove flood of “?” symbols
- Option to have mini-map disappear while on horseback or during combat
- Bigger subtitle fonts
- Questline for acquiring gear inspired by Henry Cavill’s Geralt portrayal in the Netflix series (RIP)
- Optional Netflix-style costumes for Ciri, Yen, Tris, Dandelion, and Nilfgaardian soldiers (lol)
- Other, more granular graphics options, updates, and bug fixes
Fans have already begun poring over the above trailer that aired during the livestream for clues about what the enhanced version will look like. In addition to shinier surfaces when it rains and more stark contrasts between reflections and shadows, the world overall just looks a bit more crisp and detailed, and in some ways closer to The Witcher 3’s stunning E3 reveal which players marveled at back in 2013.
Players accused CDPR of downgrading the game when its finished 2015 version didn’t look exactly the same. While that’s to be expected at this point, The Witcher 3 is in the unusual position of getting even better looking over time thanks to the new console cycle, especially on PC where a new Ultra Plus settings option will push the seven-year-old game to the max.
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I’m not one of those sticklers combing through short clips and screenshots and counting the extra pixels in a puddle, but with The Witcher 3, I get it. Despite impressive games like Ghost of Tsushima, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Horizon Forbidden West, it still remains my personal standard bearer for world building, storytelling, and immersive exploration in an open-world RPG. I’ve already spent a hundred hours with the game across the base campaign and two excellent expansions, and I’m ready to spend a hundred more. I can already feel the wind howling.