The next-gen update for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt finally arrived on December 14, 2022 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S/X, and PC. The update averages 50GB in size and features numerous graphical and quality-of-life improvements, new content inspired by the Netflix show, and even introduces Mods for the console versions.
One of the biggest changes is of course the introduction of ray tracing, which drastically improves the game’s graphics, truly taking it to the next generation.
Console players, myself included, claim that the new update has dramatically improved the gaming experience. In Performance Mode, you can clearly spot the difference between the old and new versions, from camera rotation to herb gathering, while quality-of-life improvements enhanced the combat fluidity.
But the game does suffer from some stutters with ray tracing active, especially when riding with Roach through the extensive Witcher 3 map. Several Reddit users have reported this same problem.
Many users report more concerns with the Xbox version rather than PS5. But on the Sony console, some said they suffered one of the biggest nightmares an RPG player can go through, “Lost all of my saves, meaning hundreds of hours worth of playing.”
Next-Gen Update PC Issues
Still, the major issue lies in the PC version of the Next-Gen update of Witcher 3. There are so many bugs that the recommendation is to roll back or avoid updating while CD Projekt Red doesn’t handle them. In fact, they are already aware of these issues, as informed by a statement via Twitter.
The same day the update launched, people raged on the forums with complaints and disappointments. The official Witcher 3 channel on Reddit even has a Bug Thread to report the numerous crises plaguing this new PC version. Many are comparing it to the troubled release of Cyberpunk 2077, another major title from CD Projekt RED.
Some problems are related to game performance, “I’m struggling to even get a stable 30FPS on 1440p with a 3060ti,” said one user on Twitter. He added that if I turn off Ray Tracing, “If I turn RT off my FPS jumps to ~90. With it on it’s locked at a strangely consistent 32 FPS. Even when I can see the GPU is only running at 70%…. 32 fps.”
Others, to the interface and gameplay, “My toxicity level is maxed out but I have no potion active, I drank white honey and meditated but to no avail, I’m now slowly losing health.” Others confirm the bug, “Same problem, none of the alchemy perks are working and Euphoria is broken.”
Various players claim that playing in DX12 is impossible. They recommended using DX11 since this API version doesn’t include the next-gen update’s biggest improvements and, thus, not the biggest bugs as well. It’s not an ideal solution, but it improves performance considerably.
At the moment, we suggest avoiding installing the Witcher 3 next-gen update for PC. Besides the performance, gameplay, and visual problems, losing your saves is the worst possible situation since it’s practically irreversible for those who do not upload them to the cloud. We hope CD Projekt RED will tackle this issue promptly.
Next-Gen Update Patch Notes
In case you’re curious about all the changes we’re getting with the next-gen update, here are the official patch notes from CDPR:
PC and Next-Gen Exclusives
- Added ray traced global illumination and ambient occlusion.
- Additionally, PC players with compatible hardware have an additional option to turn on ray traced reflections and shadows.
- Added various mods and mod-inspired content to the game to improve visuals and overall game quality. We’ve included some community-made favorites in addition to our own modifications in areas such as environment and cutscene improvements, realistic pavements, and many decoration upgrades.
- Community-made and community-inspired mods include:
• The Witcher 3 HD Reworked Project by HalkHogan
• HD Monsters Reworked by Denroth
• Immersive Real-time Cutscenes by teiji25
• Nitpicker’s Patch by chuckcash
• World Map Fixes by Terg500
- Upscaled texture to 4K for various characters, including Geralt, Yennefer, Triss, Ciri, Eredin and more.
- All main characters, including Geralt, now cast high-resolution self-shadowing even outside cutscenes. Additionally, hair clipping through armor as well as some other armor-clipping issues have been fixed.
- Environmental improvements:
• Added a new weather type – “Gray Sky”
• Updated sky textures
• Vegetation and water improvements
• Various mesh improvements
• Improved some select VFX
• Updated global environmental lighting
- Added AMD FidelityFX™ Super Resolution (FSR) 2.1
- Added photo mode, allowing players to take stunning pictures within the world of The Witcher 3.
- Added the option to pause the game during cutscenes.
- Added an alternative camera option that’s closer to the player’s character and that reacts more dynamically to combat and movement. You can find this new setting in Options → Gameplay under Exploration, Combat, and Horseback Camera Distance.
- Added “ULTRA+” graphical settings on PC, which significantly increases the visual fidelity of the game. The graphical settings available on ULTRA+ affect:
• Number of background characters
• Shadow quality
• Grass density
• Texture quality
• Foliage visibility range
• Terrain quality
• Water quality
• Detail level
- Added DLSS 3 support. Available only on compatible hardware.
- Improved the overall quality of graphics on next-gen consoles. Including enhanced textures, improved fidelity, shadow quality, greater draw distances and crowd density.
- Ray Tracing Mode — provides ray-traced global illumination and ambient occlusion with dynamic resolution scaling targeting 30 FPS for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
- Performance Mode — ensures smoother gameplay targeting 60 FPS with dynamic resolution scaling for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
- The Xbox Series S version has no ray-tracing features. Quality Mode provides increased resolution and better image fidelity targeting 30 FPS, whereas Performance Mode targets 60 FPS and prioritizes smoother gameplay over visual quality.
- Implemented the use of adaptive triggers and haptic feedback on PS5 DualSense controllers.
- Added Activity Cards for PS5.
- Added a cross-progression feature between platforms. Your latest saves will be automatically uploaded to the cloud so you can easily pick up where you left off on other platforms. Cross-progression provides the latest save for every save type. This feature becomes available after you log into your account.
- By signing up to MY REWARDS in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, players can receive:
• Swords of the Nine-Tailed Vixen
• White Tiger of the West Armor
• Dol Blathanna Armor Set
• Roach Card
Detailed information on how to redeem the rewards will be available from Dec 14th, 1 AM CET at thewitcher.com/my-rewards.
- Added a new side quest, In The Eternal Fire’s Shadow, in Velen. Rewards are inspired by Neftlix’s The Witcher series.
- Added an alternative appearance for Dandelion inspired by Netflix’s The Witcher series. You can enable it in Options → Gameplay.
- Added an alternative Nilfgaardian Armor set inspired by Netflix’s The Witcher series. You can enable it in Options → Gameplay.
- Added Chinese and Korean voice-over. Availability on consoles varies by region.
- Various improvements and changes to Russian voice-over, including fixes for accelerated / slowed lines in the vast majority of scenes.
Quality of Life Changes
- Added a Quick Sign Casting option. It allows signs to be switched and cast without opening the radial menu. You can find it in Options → Gameplay.
- Added a new default map filter. The new filter hides some icons such as “?” and boat icons in order to reduce icon clutter on the map. These icons can be turned back on with the “All” map mode toggle.
- Adjusted the minimum height for fall damage, allowing the player to survive falls from higher heights.
- Herbs can now be instantly looted with a single interaction – without the additional loot window.
- Added options that dynamically hide the minimap and quest objectives when not in combat or using Witcher senses. You can find it in Options → Video → HUD Configuration → Hide minimap during Exploration and Hide objectives during Exploration.
- Added the option to slow walk when playing with a controller. You can now slow walk by lightly pushing the left stick forward.
- Added an alternative sprint mode option when playing with a controller. It’s activated by tapping the left stick. You can find it in Options → Control Settings.
- Added an option to make target-lock unnaffected by camera inversion. You can find it in Options → Control Settings.
- Improved the radial menu so bombs, bolts and pocket items can now be switched dynamically without opening the inventory.
- Added the option to scale the font size for subtitles, NPC chatter and dialogue choices. You can find it in Options → Video → HUD Configuration.
- Added various other small fixes, tweaks, and quality of life changes, including a few secrets to be discovered by players.
- Added the mod Full Combat Rebalance 3 by Flash_in_the_flesh which includes balance changes and various fixes to gameplay. We took a curated approach to this mod, with some elements further tweaked from what you’ll find in the mod by default, while other elements were omitted.
- Scavenger Hunt: Wolf School Gear – Fixed an issue where the chest at the Signal Tower couldn’t be opened.
- From Ofier’s Distant Shores – Fixed an issue where the diagram in the chest at the bandit’s hideout could be missing.
- Hard Times – Fixed an issue where Geralt couldn’t talk or give the letter to the blacksmith.
- Swift as the Western Winds – Fixed an issue where the quest could sometimes fail despite winning the horse race.
- Echoes of the Past – Fixed an issue where, after defeating the Foglets, the quest could get stuck and it wouldn’t be possible to talk to Yennefer.
- Wine Wars – Fixed an issue where the quest couldn’t be completed if the player destroyed one of the required monster nests during exploration.
- Fixed an issue where clearing the Ruined Inn Abandoned Site situated on the southern shore of Ard Skellig was not possible in certain scenarios.
- Fixed an issue where the Grandmaster Wolven Set wouldn’t require Mastercrafted items.
- Various small fixes to quests and cutscenes.
Murillo loves three things: RPG games, fantasy books, and Henry Cavill. So it doesn’t come as a surprise why he immersed himself in the Witcher universe. After bulldozing the novels and getting a platinum trophy in the Witcher 3, he eagerly awaits the next game installment to further expand the saga.