CD Projekt admits Witcher 3 downgrade

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The Witcher 3 looks pretty good. But as many, particularly those on the PC side of the fence, think it could have, and should have looked better. They say that the game’s been downgraded, and that the blasted consoles are to blame. They’re right on both counts. CD Projekt RED has admitted that yes, the games visuals have taken a knock, and yes, the consoles might be responsible for some of that – but there’s far more to it than that.

CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwinski told Eurogamer that the visual are indeed a step down, but it was an unavoidable thing, that left the team feeling a bit sad about it all.

“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,” Iwinski explained. “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.”

As for consoles holding things back? That’s true too, but only to a point. According to Iwinksi, it’s because of the console versions that the game even exists.

“If the consoles are not involved there is no Witcher 3 as it is,” he said. “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.

“Developing only for the PC: yes, probably we could get more [in terms of graphics] as there would be nothing else – they would be so focused, like if we would develop only on Xbox One or PlayStation 4. But then we cannot afford such a game.”

As for why they’ve been mum on the downgrade before release? Iwiniski says they didn’t even see it as an issue.

“…we didn’t see it as a problem,” he said. “In a way, because of us not seeing it as a problem, and working hard on the game until the very end, that’s where we are today and that’s why we have to explain. I hope it shows our intentions, because we are not hiding anything.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t have shown that [trailer], I don’t know, but we didn’t know that it wasn’t going to work, so it’s not a lie or a bad will – that’s why we didn’t comment actively. We don’t agree there is a downgrade but it’s our opinion, and gamers’ feeling can be different,” he said. “If they made their purchasing decision based on the 2013 materials, I’m deeply sorry for that, and we are discussing how we can make it up to them because that’s not fair.”

The game will still be fixed, patched up and optimised to look and run better on all three platforms. This whole downgrade argument is all rather sad, because in spite of it, the game is a marvel.

Instead, people should be focusing on how damned impossible it is to read the game’s teeny tiny text.

Last Updated: May 21, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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