‘Without the consoles, Witcher 3 wouldn’t exist.’
A lot has been made of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’s alleged downgrade in graphics- so much so that, sadly, most of the discourse surrounding the game now has become centered around what the graphics are not (what was promised), rather than what the game is.
Speaking to Eurogamer, CD Projekt RED finally had a candid chat about the game’s visuals, its technical ambition, and their stance on the so called downgrade once and for all.
Asked first whether the downgrade occurred because of CD Projekt RED having to accommodate the far weaker consoles, the developer was pretty blunt- “If the consoles are not involved there is no Witcher 3 as it is,” said the studio’s co-founder 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.
“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.”
That’s not all, however. They also discussed the graphics shift, confirming that they had been changed, but also stressing that that is the nature of the development process.
“If you’re looking at the development process,” they said, “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.
“Maybe it was our bad decision to change the rendering system,” they added, “because the rendering system after VGX was changed,” they said, before, however, stressing that there had been a lot of improvements since the 2013 build, too- size of the world, framerate, and so on.
“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. 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.
“It’s very important to stress: we are continuously working on the PC version, and we will be adding a lot of stuff, and there is more to come. We’ve proven it in the past that we support our games and we will be looking at the feedback and trying to make it better.”
Personally, the entire thing is ridiculously overblown to me- The Witcher 3 is still an amazing looking game, possibly the best looking game ever made, and it also achieves it on an absolutely staggering scale. That it is also one of the greatest RPGs ever released is just icing on the cake. The fact that people are hung up about the graphics looking a little worse is sad, and unfortunately, speaks volumes to me about where current gamers’ priorities lie.