An Important Update About The Witcher 3’s Beard Physics

That's barely even a beard, Geralt. You'll have to try harder than that

Is a beard growing through the course of videogame physics? I’m not entirely sure: maybe it’s just beard biology? But I’m certain my life has been empty and pointless without the excuse to say ‘beard physics’ on a regular basis, so you can be damn sure I’m seizing the opportunity today.

The reason for this is that good old Geralt’s beard will become steadily longer as you play through the Witcher 3. “Not Gandalf long”, disappointingly, but “really long” is promised. I’m guessing somewhere between Owner Of Hipster Cereal Cafe Long and Brian Blessed Long myself.

But, your follicularly-obsessed mind surely howls in timeless anguish, how is this going to work if you install the Witcher 3’s free hair and beardstyle DLC? I’m glad you asked. I’m only glad because I have an answer. I’m not usually good with questions. The answer is this: well, it pretty much won’t. The default beard will grow as you journey on, but your own specially-selected beard will remain static, as CD Projekt RED decided they don’t want their players having to regularly re-apply the relevent style. Which sounds like a missed opportunity for a facial grooming minigame to me, quite frankly. I mean, do you want to roleplay as a burly bloke roaming through the wildnerness or don’t you?

Here’s the full quote from CDP, as given to Eurogamer (after NeoGAF dug up the initial info about a living beard): “The beard grows as time passes and when Geralt moves between locations. The beard has several “states” and these states determine its length – the longest is really long but it’s not Gandalf-long.”

Beard physics.

Important Beard News ends.


  1. LordCrash says:

    The initial story is coming from German magazine Gamestar. Then fans (like myself) translated content on the CDPR forums and Neogaf people just copied that stuff over…

    • AngoraFish says:

      You just described 90% of modern journalism, mainstream press included.

    • quidnunc says:

      the OP on neogaf should have said their source which would have avoided that. a few posts down the other poster says “courtesy of users on the Witcher 3 official forums”

    • JackWeed says:

      I speak German and frequently visit Gamestar, but the news here are just… a lot more fun to read :>

  2. Premium User Badge

    Der Zeitgeist says:

    I feel like this game could still grow on me.

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      Bearded late than never.

    • DanMan says:

      I’m worried that this could turn into another TressFX thing. With it enabled, performance became kind of hairy.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      I think this has moved this game into goatee territory.

      (I actually feel I have to apologise for that one)

    • Blackcompany says:

      Face it, modders will have great time with this.

    • Fenix says:

      Moustache you guys start a pun thread for every news story? After reading so many horrible puns I feel I need my soul patched.

      • Grizzly says:

        Come on now, there’s no need to respond with so much furry.

    • colossalstrikepackage says:

      I’m just glad that someone’s tackling this prickly subject.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      Well, just shave the date of when it’ll be released and we can all shear opinions then!

    • Jeremy says:

      I’ve always appreciated the razor wit of a good pun thread.

  3. WombatDeath says:

    Good, that was a deal-breaker for me. I find it hard to invest in a character that doesn’t have properly modelled follicular activity, though I also look forward to mods that accelerate the process and enable infinite beard.

    • Humppakummitus says:

      One of the many, many ways Deadly Premonition was ahead of its time. FBI even paid you for shaving.

    • PerspectiveDesigns says:

      What if there’s a sex appeal slider that makes your beard longer?

    • Romeric says:

      “Enable infinite beard.” I’m not sure why I found that so funny. What an age we live in!

  4. lasikbear says:

    This some Molyneux shit.

    • Xzi says:

      …Except it’s actually going to be in the game.

    • alms says:

      But can you plant an acorn in Geralt’s beard and see the tree grow?

    • Arren says:

      No, with Molyneux BEARD would be a mobile game in which you clicked each follicle to sprout hairs, then grew each strand one painstaking, handcrafted microtransaction at a time.

      First one to grow the beard to the ground would reveal and receive an earth-shattering, life-altering, totally legitimate gift.

      • melnificent says:

        That would be what he tells everyone. In reality it would turn up late with 90% of the beard missing and no real plans to do anything about it. Other than abandoning and moving onto the next idea… NOSEHAIR

  5. ResonanceCascade says:

    Powered by Nvidia™ Fuzz-X™.

  6. gunny1993 says:

    What i want to know is: Will DX12 improve beary physics, I want each beard hair to have several indivual vectors generated in real time.

    Till that happens, no next gen

  7. JeCa says:

    Given your interest in beard physics Alec, you might be happy to know there’s a semi-serious unit known as the beard second (the length a “typical” strand of beard hair grows in a second). Iirc our physics handbook defined it as ~8 nm, which should make it somewhat useful when talking about computer chips.

  8. skyturnedred says:

    Game of the Year, right there.

  9. kament says:

    Let me get this straight. So either nongandalf beard of his grows and you have no means to trim it, or you can trim it, but it doesn’t grow. Ookay.

    • Xzi says:

      Well you could always let the default beard grow until it gets too long for you and then switch to one of the predefined ones. That’s one way of “trimming” it.

  10. welverin says:

    There has been no greater innovation in the history of humanity.

  11. Sirius1 says:

    As much as it tickles me to hear about things like this, I have to wonder at the dev priorities with stuff like this. They’re actually blowing a portion (probably a not-insignificant one) of budget on *facial hair dynamics*. Surely there are better uses/more meaningfully impactful things for that budget?

    • iainl says:

      CDPR can spend their money on whatever they want. But when at least some people appear rather grumpy about how many release dates this thing’s missed, I do wonder about the benefit of telling everyone this is what’s taken the time.

    • gunny1993 says:

      Some programmers probably had some spare time where they weren’t being useful, you cant just go around saying “oh this is bad money” unless you have a comparative view of their finances and needs

    • AngoraFish says:

      You may as well ask whether it is worthwhile having birds fly off startled when a player walks past, or why should children be playing in a garden nearby you can’t even talk to, when they could have been another quest giver instead, or why do leaves on trees look like they are blowing in the wind, or really, why bother with any of the thousands of minor details that make a RPG world feel alive and populated.

      • Sirius1 says:

        Immersion is a wonderful thing, and I support doing things which help that. This… I’m afraid I fail to see that it helps that. It’s not like you’re watching your face to see if your beard grows (. Incidentally, why *not* have growing grass as well? It’s just as immersive!)

        Apart from that, are we to believe that he has taken a vow to not trim his beard over the course of the game? Or are hair grooming implements not invented yet? What exactly is the rationale behind this, other than “We think it’s pretty cool, and can do it, so we did”?

        • Deadly Sinner says:

          -It’s pointless to make growing grass, because the player won’t notice it. No one will stay in the same place long enough to see the grass actually grow, while they will have access to Geralt’s face throughout the entire game. Also, growing grass would take significantly more time than making some beard states that the game cycles through.

          -Geralt only trims his beard when you select a new style of beard, You are roleplaying as Geralt, so you get to decide whether he took a vow to trim his beard, or not. No rationale needed.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Oh no, they’re actually pretty serious about it, with a longer beard you get various gameplay differences, like increased/decreased charisma depending on which kind of NPC you are facing, but most importantly you pay the price of coolness with severely decreased fire resistance.

      Yes, the latter is absolutely a confirmed feature. ( not. )

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        On a more serious note, i really don’t see this feature costing them so much money, and it’s probably just an extension of hairworks that doesn’t necessarily require an Nvidia card, much like Physx in it’s most basic form ( read: no seriously complex fluid simulation and such ) powers many games even for AMD users, like Arma 3 as a random example.

        Eitherway, don’t quote me on the hairworks thing, i don’t know how they’re actually doing the beard thing, but i’m still sure it’s not a big dent in the budget.

    • TallerThanTyrion says:

      Actually, I believe this whole beard thing is what I call a “towel feature”.

      As we all know, an important feature of a towel is that if you carry one while hitchhiking through the galaxy, strags will assume you also posses other necessities like “toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit etc.,.” and will consider it as an oversight or accident if you happen to not have those items and lend you one.

      In the same way, people might assume that because the game simulates useless things like beard growth, it will also simulates other, possibly more important aspects of the world, which are either impossible to actually implement or really too expensive.

      In other words: Marketing.

      • alms says:

        “You see those Witchers from Rivia? They have growing beards. Growing. Beards.”

  12. Spacewalk says:

    Will all horses be replaced with Eliminators and will Geralt hand over his Witcher keychain before pointing any under-leveled party members on their way when they want to drive one?
    Will you be able to unlock a Sharp Dressed Man perk?
    Will Geralt’s sword have a sheepskin scabbard that can rotate a full circle?
    Will “Legs” play faintly in the background whenever Geralt talks to a female NPC and will “Gimme All Your Lovin'” and “I Need you Tonight” play when they screw?

    • Monggerel says:

      Who witches the witchmen, indeed.

      (it’s me. it was me all along)

  13. Tim James says:

    Is this now the best game ever, or just the second best? Miyazaki also has a beard. Coincidence? I think not.

  14. Robert Post's Child says:

    The technology exists – I have clear memories of trimming (and dying!) the hair on my Moogle’s nethers in Crystal Chronicles.

    • melnificent says:

      Spent far too long painting clothes on moggies in crystal chronicles. Such a shame they haven’t revisited that offshoot as it was the only final fantasy I enjoyed.

  15. Cinek says:

    “Which sounds like a missed opportunity for a facial grooming minigame to me, quite frankly.” – worry not. Modders will implement it sooner or later. :)