The free next-gen update for The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt (test) will be released on December 14, 2022. It is already known that in addition to Nvidia DLSS and AMD FSR 2, ray tracing will also be included. But now CD Projekt goes into more detail about the implementation and also provides information on detailed improvements and mod support.
The developer presented the big patch in a live stream two weeks ago, including higher-resolution textures, more detailed character models, numerous gameplay and camera adjustments, a new photo mode and fall damage that has been corrected downwards. The latter point sounds banal, but it is likely to be the most common cause of death for numerous players in the original and unmodified game from 2015 – Geralt took a lot of damage even at first glance from a low fall height. It is not surprising that a corresponding modification enjoyed great popularity as a result.
Integrated mods and modding support
And mods are the right keyword: As CD Projekt has now announced, some modifications will be implemented directly in the next-gen version. The corresponding modders have been asked for permission, have received compensation and should be mentioned in the credits of the rewrite.
The developer also checked a total of 62 other popular modifications that did not find their way into the patch for their compatibility with the next-gen update and recorded the results in a table (PDF). In addition, CD Projekt has announced that the associated mod editor Wolvenkit will be updated soon, so nothing stands in the way of mods for the next-gen version. In any case, the developer was prepared to provide help and advice to modders after the update.
Updating a game means that we change various files, so the mods that modify those exact files stop working. If we want to change things in the game or add stuff, it cannot be avoided, and our teams have to focus on making updates as good as possible, not minimizing change.
Still, in the case of TW3 it's been 6 years (or 4 if counting since 1.32) since the last PC update, and it's a long time to get used to one's favorite mods. And we want this transition to be as smooth as possible.
[…] we are including several popular mods in the update (they'll be available depending on the platform). We obtained permissions from their creators, reimbursed them, and they'll be featured in the credits of the updated game. The mods were reworked and assets optimized as needed, and the game adjusted to run with them. There was even a case when a dev got so enlarged in tinkering when including a mod that he ended up simply remaking that particular aspect of the game. So, in a way, the game comes with some mods already included.
Four raytracing modes and DLSS 3.0 on the PC
Another topic about which there are new details is ray tracing. So far, CD Projekt has always spoken of global lighting and environmental occlusion in this regard, but at least on the PC, the rays will also be used for reflections and shadows, as the developer now explains. GameStar juxtaposes the original version of The Witcher 3 and the PC remaster in a comparison video. Also on display are new water effects, higher-resolution shadows for character models, and adjusted vegetation.
Moreover, DLSS 3 (test) is specifically mentioned for the first time, to which so far only the GeForce RTX 4090 (test) and GeForce RTX 4080 (test) can fall back on. Other RTX graphics cards have DLSS Super Resolution or DLSS 2 or FSR 2.0 available. The latter option is also available for PC gamers with an AMD graphics card and for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. Digital Foundry provides a comparison of the two available modes on the consoles – it is “Quality” with ray tracing at 30 FPS or “Performance” at 60 FPS.