- Witcher's 3 Next-Gen Update overhauls every part of the game with the most significant upgrades coming to visuals, lighting and textures.
- The update doesn't compromise on the RPG mechanics and gameplay that made the original so good. In fact, it only subtly improves upon them.
- Witcher 3 Next-Gen Update is a free update that released almost a year ago and has seen even further enhancements since then across all platforms.
Getting the itch to replay The Witcher 3 again? Or you’ve only heard about it through the Netflix series and want to give it a go? Here’s something you should know before diving in; The Witcher 3 recently received a complete makeover in the form of a “next-gen update”. What’s is this next-gen update? Well, read on below!
Table of Contents
- What is The Witcher 3?
- The Next-Gen Update: What is it?
- When Does The Next-Gen Update Come Out?
- What Does The Next-Gen Update Change?
- Changes Made in Subsequent Patches
What is The Witcher 3?
While most of you may already know this, some (regrettably) don’t. The Witcher 3 is an open-world RPG game developed by CD Projekt Red, that was released back in 2015. It has been hailed by many as one of the greatest games of all time, and as such held the record for the recipient of largest amount of Game of The Year awards (250+ awards!). This record was later broken by The Last of Us Part II in 2020.
The Witcher 3 has been praised for its superior storytelling, fantastic open-world elements, beautiful world-design and mesmerizing soundtrack. The game has you take control of Geralt of Rivia, a witcher, who sets out to find his long-lost daughter, Ciri. However, he is not alone in this quest and is aided and hindered by both his allies and enemies, all while Ciri is pursued by the relentless Wild Hunt.
The Next-Gen Update: What is it?
The next-gen update of The Witcher 3 is designed to give the game a complete makeover so that its somewhat outdated graphics are upgraded for modern consoles like the Xbox Series X/S and the PlayStation 5 and newer, more powerful hardware on PCs. The update also features a great amount of new content, especially that of Netflix‘s live-action adaptation of the Witcher books, titled “The Witcher”.
The content being added ranges from bug fixes to new side quests, better gameplay mechanics, more efficient control scheme, a highly requested photo mode and much more. While one would expect such a thing to be paid, CD Projekt Red has generously decided to add all this content free of cost for everyone who owns the game on every platform, in the form of one big update called the “next-gen update”.
When Does The Next-Gen Update Come Out?
While the original update released on December 14th, 2022, for PC, Xbox and PlayStation consoles as version 4.0, the latest patch for the game (version 4.04) released on July 19th of this year, and finally brought the next-gen update for Switch consoles. Like any other large update, the next-gen update was followed up by several other updates to address any issues that may have arisen after the next-gen update.
What Does The Next-Gen Update Change?
The next-gen update is quite enormous and brings about some very radical changes. Read on below to learn what’s exactly changing.
Size of Next-Gen Update
As we’ve mentioned above, the next-gen update is quite enormous in terms of content and size. Hence, you’ll need to have a decent amount of storage available on your gaming hardware. These are the sizes you can expect for the next-gen update on each platform:
- PlayStation 4/5: 50.62 GB
- Xbox Series X/S or Xbox One: 53.66 GB
- Nintendo Switch: 9.8 GB
- PC: Around 47.6 GB on GOG Galaxy; nearly the same size on Steam
If you’ve bought the physical edition discs for the PS5 or Xbox Series X/S, they would install the game at version 4.0. You’ll need to upgrade it to the latest version and those patches should be around 30 GB.
One of the most significant features of the next-gen update is the graphics overhaul. Unfortunately, the graphical improvements offered in this update are not applicable for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One/One X. At any rate, we’ve listed the most notable changes below:
- Mods that enhance graphical and visual quality have been implemented across all platforms
- Added new weather (Gray Sky) and improved other environmental features
- Added AMD FidelityFX™ Super Resolution (FSR) 2.1
- 4K textures for Geralt, Ciri, Yennefer, Eredin and many other main characters
- Ray-tracing support has been added
- DLSS has been added
- Ultra+ graphics option has been added
- Improved graphics quality optimized for next-gen consoles.
- Ray-Tracing Mode for PS5 and Xbox Series X targets 30 FPS while offering ray-tracing with dynamic resolution scaling
- Performance Mode for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S targets 60 FPS with dynamic resolution scaling to offer more smoother gameplay
- Haptic feedback for PS5’s DualSense controller
- New controller walking mode available in Control Settings in the Options menu
The Xbox Series S does not have a Ray-Tracing mode; Quality Mode is available instead, which offers more improved graphics with dynamic resolution scaling at 30 FPS.
- Added cross-progression, allowing you to upload your saves on the cloud and access them on any platform. This feature is only available when you log in to your GOG Account and integrate it with your platform accounts.
- Sign-up to MY REWARDS to receive free gear: the Dol Blathanna Armor Set, Swords of the Nine-Tailed Vixen, White Tiger of the West Armor and the Roach Gwent card.
To celebrate the success of Netflix’s live-action adaptation of the Witcher books, CD Projekt Red has added the following stuff in the game:
- An alternate look for Dandelion, inspired by Jaskier (his real name) from the show.
- An alternate look for the Nilfgaardian soldiers inspired by the uniforms worn in the first season of the Netflix show
- Armor for Geralt inspired by the Nilfgaardian uniforms worn in the first season of the Netflix show can be obtained while exploring
- A new side-quest “In The Eternal Fire’s Shadow” is available in the Velen area
- The “Scavenger Hunt: Forgotten Wolven Gear” side-quest allows you to search for blueprints to craft Geralt’s gear shown in the first season of the Netflix show
- The “Scavenger Hunt: Grandmaster Forgotten Wolven Gear” side-quest allows you to search for blueprints to craft Geralt’s gear shown in the second season of the Netflix show
Below is a list of the most crucial changes to gameplay:
- Added a Quick Sign Casting feature in the Gameplay section of Options. This allows you cast signs by simply holding down the R2/RT trigger on your controller and pressing any one of the following; A, B, X, Y, LT or △, O, X, ◻, L2, depending on your controller. On keyboards, individual signs can be set to any key.
- Photo mode has been added at last, and you can now take pictures of your favorite spots freely
- Added new map filters to remove created by the seemingly endless question marks
- Balance changes based off the mod Full Combat Rebalance 3 by Flash_in_the_flesh. It has been tweaked by CD Projekt Red to meet their specifications.
- Reduced fall damage (finally)
- All herbs can now be looted by a single button press
- Players on controllers can now walk slowly by pushing the left stick slightly
- Added an alternate sprinting control that has you press down the left stick. You can configure it in the Control Settings section of Options.
- Added an option where locking on to a target does not affect camera inversion. You can configure it in the Control Settings section of Options.
- Added an alternative camera option that is accessible from the Gameplay section in Options menu
- Added the option to pause the game during cutscenes
- Added an option that automatically hides the mini-map and quest objectives when not in combat or using Witcher senses. You can configure these settings in HUD Configuration, which is accessible from the Video section from Options.
- The radial menu now allows you to switch bombs, crossbow bolts and pocket items without accessing the menu
- You can now scale the text size of subtitles, NPC dialogue and dialogue choices. You can configure these settings in HUD Configuration, which is accessible from the Video section from Options.
- A large amount of bug and glitch fixes, especially those encountered in quests and cutscenes
- Added Chinese and Korean voiceovers and improved the Russian voiceover
You can check out the full list of changes on The Witcher website’s official blog post.
Modding Changes (PC only)
CD Projekt Red was very considerate and appreciative of the work done by devoted fans for the game and decided to implement several mods in the game natively for all platforms, after taking permission from them. They’ve even added a list of mods that they’ve tested and found to be compatible with the next-gen update of the game. Although, the newer patches deem this list invalid, it’s still worth noting.
Furthermore, CD Projekt Red has gone all-out in their support for modders and released an official Witcher 3 modding tool, which is available on GitHub for free. Note that this tool aims to facilitate the process of creating a mod, not installing it.
Changes Made in Subsequent Patches
Currently, The Witcher 3’s latest version is Version 4.04, while the changes listed above are applicable for Version 4.00, except in the case of the Switch. The patches that followed the next-gen update, were mostly aimed at bug fixes and improving localization for other languages, but they did bring about some significant changes too:
- An option to calibrate HDR has been added for PC and next-gen consoles
- You can now switch potions and oils from the radial menu
- The puppet created by the Axii Puppet ability deals more damage and has more health
- A new Performance mode has been added for Ray-Tracing Global Illumination in Graphics, which is available under the Video section in Options (PC only).
- Optimizations for ray-tracing options (PC only)
- Optimizations for Ray-Tracing Mode on next-gen consoles
- Improved Screen-Space Reflections quality on next-gen consoles
- Improved CPU core utilization on DirectX 12 version (PC only)
- Added a Motion Blur slider in Graphics, which is available under the Video section in Options.
- Support for Intel XeSS technology
- An option to auto-apply oils in combat has been added. This can be configured in the Gameplay section of Options.
- Except potions and decoctions, Geralt can no longer drink or eat anything when underwater.
The Witcher 3, despite being 8 years old, has aged like fine wine, partly thanks to insane devotion shown by the modding community and the fans themselves, but mostly because of how truly fantastic the game is. It is definitely a benchmark for open-world RPGs and with the new next-gen update, it has truly become something monumental. We can’t wait for a complete Witcher 3 remake in 2077.
FAQs about The Witcher 3 Next-Gen Update
Yes. If you own any copy of the Witcher 3 on any platform, you will receive the next-gen update for free.
Yes, if you own only the base game without the Blood and Wine & Hearts of Stone expansions, you’ll still receive the update. However, this does not mean you’ll be able to download the expansion DLCs for free; you still need to buy them.
Yes, although they will not be able to experience the next-gen graphics offered by the update. However, all other content and changes will be available for them.
That depends on the mod creator. If they update the mod for the new version, you’ll be able to enjoy it. Unfortunately, if they don’t, you’ll need to say goodbye. However, we’re sure that you’ll enjoy the new update, regardless of whether your mod was compatible or not.