We explore the huge game improvements that came with Witcher 3's free next-generation update for PS5 and Xbox Series S|X.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a classic title that has remained in the hearts and minds of every videogame enthusiast out there. Originating from its highly-acclaimed book series by Andrzej Sapkowski, CD Projekt Red's compelling stories set within a reimagined world of Slavic myth continue to hold the people's attention.
The tale of Geralt of Rivia has seen multiple next-gen ports, a DLC and its own Netflix series. Now owners of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on current-gen consoles and PC will finally get to experience the game in a whole new light. Literally.
On REDstreams, the official next-gen update was finally unveiled. On December 14, 2022, a big patch for the game will come completely free of charge for people who own the game on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X. This update will introduce new graphics mods, UI changes, and more. Here are the top ones we're excited about the most.
A Graphic Overhaul
Exciting visual enhancements are coming to the Continent. Assets within the game, most notably the foliage (aka the flowers, grass and trees you see almost everywhere) have been completely reworked. On top of that, integrated mods and 4K textures will grace the new Witcher 3 experience on December 14th.
While more upgrades are set to change the game's look to match next-gen standards, they're more than just a fresh coat of paint. What exactly do they bring to the table?
The next-gen Witcher 3 update overview revealed the following features for both consoles and PC:
- Ray Tracing - gives incredibly realistic lighting effects to the game, most notably during the daytime
- Global Illumination - puts emphasis on how reflected light looks on all 3D models
- Ambient Occlusion - a technique that allows shaded objects to blend better into their environment, adding to the atmosphere
- FSR 2 - acts to both boost framerate and enhance the look of the entire picture
- DLSS - standing for "Deep Learning Super Sampling", this tech uses machine learning to fill in the spaces between frames for an even smoother gameplay experience
- Dynamic Resolution Scaling - this lightens the load on your GPU for it to load in-game textures quicker
- Ultra+ Settings - even higher levels of detail that PC players can tinker around with
- Screen Space Reflection - an expensive technique that can display incredibly detailed reflections. This was noted to have only been used on water surfaces before, but "now it's for everything."
Gameplay Updates & Improvements
A Performance and Quality Mode is coming to console versions of The Witcher 3, as well as Haptic Feedback and Adaptive trigger settings.
Geralt will finally be able to Quick Cast his spells, which means no more pulling up that pace-killing radial menu. Speaking of the White Wolf, a new Netflix DLC Quest is coming to the game, although it's quite uncertain whether we'll be seeing Henry or Liam in it.
Cross Progression is also another welcome addition. Only time will tell if this addition to CD Projekt Red's magnum opus will prove as messy as it has with other big game titles.
Cloud Saves will also be implemented so that you never lose any of your progress while you're blazing a trail of blood and hard-won Gwent matches throughout Nilfgaard.
Quality of Life Changes
We're finally getting a map filter to hide those god-awful Question Marks. Less clutter will definitely make the experience of opening my next-gen map for the nth time that much more enjoyable.
They're also adding 3rd-person camera modes to adjust player view distance from Geralt whenever you're walking, fighting or just riding your trusty steed Roach.
With that, being able to adjust subtitle proportions and actually being able to pause the cinematics are just some of our favorite quality-of-life changes. More secrets were said to be revealed once the update drops, and many of us are just as excited as you are.
An Exciting Photo Mode
Capturing moments within CD's beautiful interpretation of The Witcher's Continent just got a whole lot better. With multiple capture settings, filters and more, you'll finally be able to take pretty pictures of the amazing vistas Witcher 3 and its DLC expansion has to offer. The devs have even hinted at a future competition, so if you have an eye for photography, you know which update to install.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt's next-gen patch releases on December 14, 2022, on PC, PS5, and Xbox series S|X.
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