More Prettiness Options Coming To The Witcher 3

Update: that big ‘600 fixes’ patch was actually the launch day update, RED have clarified. Also, patch 1.03 just came out with performance improvements and graphics settings tweaks. So, the ini-editing patch… soonish?

If you have a snarling panther of a PC, a rig which belches black smoke, a box with so much airflow it hovers two inches above your floor, good news: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt [official site] will add options to make it even prettier. A future patch will expose editing .ini files to turn up flora density, push out draw distances, fiddle with post-processing effects like sharpening, and more.

That’s what developers CD Projekt RED told Eurogamer. The ini-editing patch will arrive shortly after the next patch, which RED have just popped into certification. Expected to clear cert in a week or so, that patch will bring 600 changes, including improvements to graphics and graphics settings. And then, more prettiness!

RED and Eurogamer also got into the nitty-gritty of why the finished game looks different to how it appeared in early trailers, and the answers essentially boil down to: because the game wasn’t finished then. RED co-founder Marcin Iwinski explained:

“If you’re looking at the development process, we do a certain build for a tradeshow and you pack it, it works, it looks amazing. And you are extremely far away from completing the game. Then you put it in the open-world, regardless of the platform, and it’s like ‘oh shit, it doesn’t really work’. We’ve already showed it, now we have to make it work. And then we try to make it work on a huge scale. This is the nature of games development.”

Which is something to always bear in mind when looking at anything pre-release.

69 Comments

  1. Fry says:

    Thank heaven. The “hrrrrrrp DOWNGRADE drrrrrp” crowd can now run Witcher 3 in all its beautiful PC gaming glory… at 10fps.

    • fr3udes says:

      Lol

    • Zorlan says:

      I think that it’s important for everybody – herp derp crowd or not, need to realize that even though the game might be hard to run at the VERY HIGHEST SETTINGS today, it won’t be running at 10 fps in a few years. We’re looking at some great things to come in the future and if the assets (like the nice foliage from 2013) exist and could be turned on at the cost of performance, then great, I can turn that on whenever I want to. I paid for the game and it’s development since I pre-ordered and want to be able to take advantage of what was produced for it.

      I don’t mind having games in my library that I can play or re-play years later after release with the graphics cranked up to max, enjoying a smooth and great game another time. That’s why games with varying settings are remembered. Remember Crysis? Looked good, hard to run. The Witcher 3? Looks good, can look even better, is hard to run while looking pretty. In 2015. In 2020? Probably not.

      • tnzk says:

        You didn’t pay for the game and it’s development when you pre-ordered though. You, quite literally, pre-ordered the final product. In some sense of the word, you gambled on whether the final product would look prettier or less prettier than pre-release footage.

        That being said, I’m unsure if editing ini files is going to make it look like the 2013 trailer. The Witcher 3 was being rendered completely different back when they didn’t even have a proper game to put the engine on. There was some crazy lighting model(s) that they most definitely have replaced with more static stuff.

        • Unclepauly says:

          Exactly, no amount of ini editing is gonna change the fact they tossed the old engine when they found out just how weak the consoles were. The new engine was pared back to accommodate the consoles and unless they upgrade the engine and put out a patch to include the old assets those old graphics aren’t coming back. While I wish we got the graphical masterpiece they hinted at with the old trailers we did still get a good looking open world RPG that poos all over skyrim vanilla.

      • Deano2099 says:

        While I agree, the unfortunate reality is that if you release a game that doesn’t run smoothly on max settings on enthusiast-grade rigs, those enthusiasts will get very upset and start yelling about how your game is badly optimized, lazy and broken and they can’t get over 20fps on their system with everything maxed out, when it’s only marginally better looking than on console.

        I wish that wasn’t the case but it’s happened many times before.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          If it was like 2013 it wouldn’t be marginally better than the consoles, plus it would look ace with lower settings too, just like this version already does ( but not as much ).

          Some times it’s ok to complain about performance if what you see can’t justify the poor framerate, but when you’re presented with stuff like the old trailers it’s absolutely understandable with current hardware. Some people will keep complaining, and they did with Crysis too, but that would be the vocal minority and nothing could change the fact that you’d have a technical masterpiece on your hands, something that you can revisit upgrade after upgrade and still be awed.

          I know graphics are not everything, but they’re a part of the equation, and i surely would be encouraged with a new GPU to check back on some card-melters of old.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Nope, not yet, all this .ini tweaking means is that we can get some more of what’s already in there, but we absolutely can’t get anything that was removed.

      Still, better than a flying kick in the face i suppose.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Also, Zorlan above said everything that needed to be said. PCs aren’t fixed and, while i can’t claim to know why people play on PC, i can absolutely tell you that i do it for this very reason among others.

        • Spanky7432 says:

          HeHeHe…you so funny! We play on PCs so we can do and see what you will never see on consoles. Running full blast ultra baby; loving it! Ain’t no complaints here.

    • scannerbarkly says:

      I’m actually really happy to hear more options be patched in. I know what you said was a joke but I do actually know (and am part of) a group of people who are willing to damn near melt our GPU’s in the name of ridiculous screenshotting. lol

      • Zenicetus says:

        I know we’re all talking about graphics here, but for me, the big news in the just-updated Patch 1.03 is this:

        “Improves input responsiveness when using keyboard ”

        I haven’t re-entered WitcherWorld yet to try it, but I hope it helps. I’ve been trying to double-tap WASD for dodging instead of holding the Ctrl key, and it seems to misfire frequently, like the game engine never got the message.

        • Zenicetus says:

          Damn, reply fail… that was supposed to a new post at bottom.

        • aircool says:

          I’m the opposite, I want to stop dodging when double tapping as I keep doing it by accident :)

          • Zenicetus says:

            I can see where that would be a problem. There should be a setting Options for double-tap on or off.

    • Jediben says:

      Pff I’m on 1440p at ultra detail at a solid 60fps. This upgrade can’t come soon enough!

  2. Penguin_Factory says:

    My PC is about the same hardware-wise as a PS4, so I’m not going to be going near any of these. Good for those with the money to afford top-tier computers, I guess.

  3. Flangie says:

    Why would a pc ini patch need to go to certification….? Also, surely people have already been editing the ini file?

    • Asurmen says:

      It won’t. The next patch needs certification. The patch after that will be the .ini patch.

    • jerf says:

      It’s not the .ini patch that needs certification, it’s the one to be released before, with over 600 fixes to the game. They want to release it simultanously on all platforms for no-one to feel left out, which means that they need to go through MS and Sony certification process.

      Yes, .ini tweaks are already possible, but with the upcoming patch more options will become available for tweaking.

      • Premium User Badge

        Mungrul says:

        Wait, really? PC patches are being delayed so as not to upset console owners now?
        I read the same piece Alice read, and I thought it was referring specifically to the Xbone patch, but if they really are delaying the PC patch for such a stupid reason, I’m not pleased.
        My game’s barely playable due to all the crashes to desktop at the moment, as I understand is the case for a lot of other people out there, and we’ve got a bank holiday weekend coming up. I’m sure a lot of people were intending to get stuck right in, and if they discover their game’s not playable due to crashes and delayed patches, they ain’t gonna be pleased.

        • Deano2099 says:

          It’s not necessarily a delay. The time spent doing cert on consoles can be spent testing features specific to the PC build (mouse control, etc) – cert is a QA process, that process still needs to happen for the PC patch, it just happens internally.

          • Corodix says:

            I doubt that’s how it works, as any issues they end up finding in the PC version while certification is in process couldn’t be added to that patch because then they’d need to start certification all over again. So if they insist on releasing patches on all platforms at the same time, then such issues would simply be moved to the next patch, which would also requires certification. In the end it is thus an artificial and unnecessary delay in the PC patch release.

            From what I heard from the Warframe devs when I played that game, certification tends to take about 2 weeks even for a patch. So I really hope that they don’t hold back each PC patch two weeks…

          • Deano2099 says:

            “features specific to the PC build” was the important part of that post.

        • jerf says:

          Actually the PC patch is out right now, I was wrong:

          link to thewitcher.com

  4. Optimaximal says:

    …a rig which belches black smoke…

    err, not sure that’s a good thing!

  5. Bernardo says:

    Ok, this might sound more mad than it’s meant, and I realise that you guys are not as much to blame as other outlets, but I have to say I find it a bit disingenuous that many gaming websites and zines now go “well, you should have known that that kind of fantastic graphic was never a realistic option.” or “always bear in mind when looking at anything pre-release”. If you know that so well, why take part in the hype at all? You (and Kotaku, and IGN, and and and…) showed teasers, trailers, gameplays, with comments like:

    “The mission is called “Precious Cargo,” and by gosh what a reminder of how beautiful this game is going to be.”
    (link to rockpapershotgun.com)

    It’s not just on us, the stupid consumers who expected too much (And I’m actually really happy with the game and find it quite beautiful). It’s the job of journalists to examine company claims critically. On the website of a German magazine (Gamestar), they have a video where three journalists talk abotu the issue, and one goes: “Well, it was clear that the gameplay footage was made on a massive rig with like 4xSLI, on which three people shoveled ice”. Well, if you were so smart at the time, why the eff didn’t you say so?

    What we need are journalists who do the research, pester the developers, try to look behind the shiny PR curtain and know enough about the technical limitations and the development process to question these presentations and force the developers to be more open and clear about their games.

    Again, this is not on you, but you are still part of this and can’t act like you weren’t part of the hype.

    • tnzk says:

      While I do question the media’s silence while the rest of us shouted “downgrade!” from the rooftops, a couple of things:

      1) The Witcher 3 still looks absolutely amazing. It might not look exactly like the concept car shown at the Geneva Motor Show a couple of years ago, but it’s still a damn gorgeous production car.

      2) A journalist isn’t at the beck and call of game developers or even us readers. While it might make us feel good when they’re on our side and not the enemy’s (wherever and whoever it may be), It’s their job to keep completely impartial for the benefit of everyone involved.

      • Deano2099 says:

        I disagree – any site worth it’s salt will always strive to put the reader first, as that’s who they’re writing for. It might not work out that way in reality all the time but I’m fairly sure that’s what RPS would tell you too.

      • Bernardo says:

        To your point 1) As I say, I’m actually really happy with the game, and I find it super beautiful. I didn’t expect it to loo like the trailers, because of past experiences. I’m just bummed out by the way that media outlets now put all the responsibility to those who feel wronged, because the media were part of the hype and unqeustioningly promoted these visuals. And I can understand why people who followed the hype and hoped for the game to actually look like the videos feel deceived.

        To point 2) no. Journalism does not exist to benefit companies, states, politicians or anyone else in power. If that were so, nobody would need journalists. Journalisms impartiality means that the journalist informs the public to the greatest extent possible. Impartiality means not “Let each side have their say”, but “question the narratives on all sides of an issue and help people to develop an informed opinion.”

        • tnzk says:

          Bernado, as to point number two:

          So I’m not sure why we’re disagreeing. The point I wanted to bring up was that journalists shouldn’t be “on our side” as much as anyone else’s. Then we’d just be hearing what we want to hear. The reason I love RPS is because half the time I disagree with them, however within the realm of disagreement I may be turned around to see their point of view.

          I actually don’t want the current discourse about the Witcher 3 to be “we all saw a downgrade therefore CD Projekt RED is bad and we should all get a 50% discount right now and a free engine upgrade next year” and get journalists to relay that. If that happened, we might (in some hypothetical reality) be able to pressure CD Projekt RED into caving and overspending on giving what we want. And in our gluttonous shortsightedness, we may have crippled development of Cyberpunk 2077 in the long term. Or something like that.

          I’d like my journalists to remain impartial, both to the game developer, and to me.

          • Bernardo says:

            What I’m trying to say is: they should be on our side, “us” being the general public. That does not mean that they tell us what we want to hear. That means that journalists inform us about the background and the truth of what’s going on behind companies’ (bureaucrats’, politicians’,…) claims. I.e.: take the info the PR department puts out and critically examine it through context and other sources, in order to tell “us”, the public, what’s really going on.

          • Bernardo says:

            Oh, and I definitely don’t mean media should follow the loud cries of some disappointed people who can’t see beyond the small technical details and realise that they got an RPG chockfull of story, rounded characters, fucking beautiful world design and passionate love. That would just be populism. It’s right to tell people now that they are wrong and they are throwing out the baby with the bathwater if they condemn a whole fantastic game just because of some graphic “downgrade” (or whatever). It would also have been right to question CDPR’s ambition, even if they themselves believed that they would be able to uphold the graphic standard of the first demos in a much, much larger game world.

          • Bernardo says:

            *designed with passionate love.

            Sorry, that was a bit…ambiguously written…

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      The problem is, almost every sentence in a post about an unreleased game would need to tack on a “that’s the plan anyway” or “barring unforeseen consequences” or “unless they change their minds” or “if they can optimise it” or… every single feature is subject to change or removal. Posts would be 50% disclaimer explaining something that’s common sense.

      • Cinek says:

        As last week proved – it’s not a common sense. Sadly.

      • Bernardo says:

        I’m not talking about disclaimers. I’m talking about journalists trying to find other sources than the PR department to get information from, and using their experience and knowledge about gaming and tech to try to qualify studio statements.

        Again, I don’t want to lay this huge issue at your (RPS’s) feet, and it’s not only a problem in gaming media. I worked in a music magazine, and we had even bigger problems with unquestioningly spouting PR stuff. And similar things have happened with movie trailers – it’s not necessarily the look, but the story and atmosphere that gets misrepresented. (Like Godzilla showing up for only a few minutes).

        I understand the limitations, but I feel that some of the bigger outlets could maybe allocate some resources to more investigative reporting. And it just rubs me the wrong way to read so many “Well, did you REALLY expect it to look like that” comments from media. I’m old enough and have played enough games to be more cynical, but newer generations or new gamers don’t necessarily know that.

        • machineageproductions says:

          So really, what you want is for them to do eight times the work for the same pay?

          • EhexT says:

            You mean “their jobs” when you say “eight times the work”. It’s called research. That’s part of journalism. If that’s too much work they shouldn’t and can’t call themselves journalists.

          • Bernardo says:

            I have to add that I’m aware of the limitations. It’s rarely an issue of journalists not putting in the work. To do some deeper research, you need to have time and money. If a journalist has two or three weeks time to just do phone calls, cultivate sources, read some background literature and search for documents, they can do good work. But if time and money constraints force you to put out three articles per day, that’s going to suffer. RPS definitely doesn’t have the means to maintain such costly work, but others do.

            I know a lot of journalists who would like to do that, but can’t.

          • jrodman says:

            I’m not sure this is a very good example of what you’re speaking about.

            The level of visual lushness was scaled back at time of release. When would that have been known by outside parties? How would outside parties have found out that this was going to occur? What level of importance is really attached to the difference between very lush and extremely lush?

            This seems like an sort of implausible level of investigation to me. Within the company they often are changing course repeatedly or planning multiple courses based on various factors. They often themselves do not know.

            You could after-the-fact try to do some digging by asking the company about the discrepancies between the PR-provided image and the delivered reality. But that doesn’t seem to be what’s being requested here.

          • Bernardo says:

            Well, it seems that the level of visual lushness was scaled back way before release, and I think there could have been a more questioning stance in general, not just hyping. Especially since now I’ve read and heard so many game journalists shrug their shoulders and claim they knew all along.

    • jerf says:

      You’re wrong, sorry.

      “Precious Cargo” video is absolutely representative of the final game’s graphics. Actually, everything apart from two short 2-minute trailers from 2013 (“Sword of Destiny” and the VGX trailer) is very close to how the final version of the game actually looks.

      So, nothing was wrong with saying
      “The mission is called “Precious Cargo,” and by gosh what a reminder of how beautiful this game is going to be.”
      The game still looks like that.

      • Kreeth says:

        Yup – it looks exactly like that, except better because it doesn’t have the muddy Youtube compression on PC.

  6. RedViv says:

    It would seem the patch just went live on Steam.

    • Horg says:

      Whatever it did, it helped a bit. I’m running about 5 FPS faster and 5°C cooler on the GPU.

  7. Lachlan1 says:

    “which is always something to bear in mind etc etc”… why not have that POV with Peter Molyneux then? CDPR are pathological liars and RPS are enabling them

    • jerf says:

      Why are CDPR pathological liars? They showed 2 (two) short trailers in 2013 with higher graphics quality than they managed to achieve in the end. After that they spent whole 2014 and 2015 releasing a lot of gameplay footage, including several 30-minute videos, which are perfectly representative of the final game’s graphics quality. Everyone could check these out and make an informed decision on whether to keep the preorder. Where is the “pathological lying” in this?

  8. Thankmar says:

    I get what you say, but in the linked article sth. like “its beautiful albeit different beautiful than we’ve seen before” would have made some difference here. Assuming, the footage looks like the actual game.

  9. shoefish says:

    Just bring out the patch that let’s you rebind keys already.

  10. Zepp says:

    From PC Gamer interview about the “downgrade”:

    “Did the console versions restrict the PC version?

    “If the consoles are not involved there is no Witcher 3 as it is,” answers Marcin Iwinski, definitively. “We can lay it out that simply. We just cannot afford it, because consoles allow us to go higher in terms of the possible or achievable sales; have a higher budget for the game, and invest it all into developing this huge, gigantic world. “

    • inf says:

      Makes sense, W3 up to this point lacks the depth of previous installments, i liked it better when it was more linear with smaller maps and focused exciting content. In W3, once in Velen, you can grind away those POIs for days and get bored to death by nothing but faceroll mobs and lackluster combat.

      Oh, but you can sail on some boats, ride a horse, and watch trees and grass pop-in.

    • Premium User Badge

      Mungrul says:

      Not much of an answer though, is it?
      Why would the console versions hold back the PC one?
      Their mere existence doesn’t necessarily preclude the PC version getting prettier visuals. If anything, with a long view on development, surely it’s better to focus on the prettiest version of your game and its assets possible, then develop the low impact options to meet the performance requirements of less capable platforms. This allows you to more easily release an “HD” version for the next generation.

      However, what is really being said is this:
      We spent our money and limited our budget based on which platform(s) we thought would sell the most.

      Of course, they’re never going to say that out-right because that’s not how marketing and PR work these days.

      • Fry says:

        As CDPR have pointed out, without console sales the game wouldn’t exist.

        So, no. Consoles did not hold back the PC version.

  11. Holysheep says:

    “RED and Eurogamer also got into the nitty-gritty of why the finished game looks different to how it appeared in early trailers”

    (Uh, ahem, all these complains started BEFORE the PC release, and are therefore made my console peasants who suddenly realize that their game on console isn’t as beautiful as on PC)

  12. MiniMatt says:

    a box with so much airflow it hovers two inches above your floor

    It says something of my boredom threshold that I’ve spent the last twenty minutes roughly working out how many 120mm case fans would lift a 10kg PC – it’s ~133 of them by the way – but, and rather an important but, only if the fans are massless.

    A high speed 120mm case fan can only lift about half it’s own mass, so the more you add of them, the less able your PC is to hover. But…. if we used ducted model helicopter fans instead of case fans….

  13. Niko says:

    What about meowing kittens of a PC? Is there anybody here who plays Witcher 3 on something that’s not entirely new and super-powered?

  14. SuicideKing says:

    If you have a snarling panther of a PC, a rig which belches black smoke, a box with so much airflow it hovers two inches above your floor

    Alice you’re fast becoming my favourite “most entertaining” writer on RPS, simply because of the humour you manage to inject. :D

    • SuicideKing says:

      Yeah I managed to mess up the HTML. That second para is not a quote. EDIT BUTTON PLEASE.

  15. Buzko says:

    Am I the only one here who remembers the last two games this company made? You know, the ones that got patched, then patched again, then got massive, massive, MASSIVE graphical and content updates? All of those being free to existing owners?

    I happen to think that it looks pretty great now – just imagine what the Enhanced Edition is going to look like.

  16. aircool says:

    I hate to sound like a looped slice from a .WAV (I’m guessing stuck record is a tad archaic), but GIMME A STRAFE option.

    Also, does anyone know how to walk Geralt backwards? When I press back, he turns around and walks to the screen :(

    • Zenicetus says:

      In combat, use the Dodge key (default hold Ctrl + WASD, or double-tap WASD). That’s the closest you’ll get to strafing or moving directly backwards.

      Out of combat, I think we’re out of luck for sideways movement. As someone posted here (hilariously), moving Geralt is like driving a wheelchair around the scenery.

    • jonahcutter says:

      You can also choose who to lock on to (“z” key default) which pretty much makes you always face your target while moving around with WASD.

      I think they’ve tried to give his movement weight and momentum. It sort of works at times, but can also feel a bit clunky at others. I still find it an improvement over the earlier games.

  17. zat0ichi says:

    CDPR still haven’t talked about the 2014 35minute gameplay trailer. Its all about the 2013 one.
    The 2013 one was nice but even the most staunch PC racist could see that wasn’t going to happen.

    2014?
    That was the optimised downgrade we were expecting. Lighting and tessellation. Not just ramping up particles and grass.

    Still at least they are trying and i’m feeling like CDPR have bought be a nice bottle of wine after farting in bed.

  18. fp581 says:

    the graphics on the witcher 3 are so bad that a 2 years old game on the ps looks better… how sad is that? metal gear solid 5 looks way better in any aspect and runs like a champ on the consoles, the hair work on the final fantasy games are way ahead and they are default on in the game and its so easy to run it.

    that is why i am saying nvidia are ruining games.. they make them harder to optimize so and will suffer (and it dos not work vary good for them) it just makes tons of bugs and make the games look bad and run choppy as hell with tons of bugs for nvidia and amd.

    if they will just start helping games instead of ruining them games will go back to look better and better every year and with less bugs (like most of the new games out there today) and they might even run smooth on 60+ fps.

    in the past we did not see any problem with that on any game, they just worked. people made games for fun and less for profit, today they are all greedy companies that are being payed off to get “help” to make the game “better” with the devilish GameWorks.