The Witcher 3 next-gen update announced

Ray tracing and other improvements coming in a free update scheduled for 2021

Geralt Bathtub
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Well isn’t this a pleasant surprise. CD Projekt Red has just announced that in addition to being hard at work on the hotly anticipated futuristic action-RPG Cyberpunk 2077, they’ve also got another project on the horizon. Their critically acclaimed fantasy RPG from 2015, The Witcher 3, is going to be receiving a new update.

Built to take advantage of new hardware capabilities of both the next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft, plus advancements in PC hardware since the game originally released, this new update for The Witcher 3 is going to offer a variety of improvements compared to the original release. Precise details on what exactly these new features will entail are yet to be announced, but we do know that there’s going to be support added for ray-tracing visual effects, improved load times, and that these improvements will apply to both the base game and both of the expansions. Here’s the full statement:

“Developed to take advantage of the most powerful gaming hardware, the next-gen edition of the game will feature a range of visual and technical improvements — including ray tracing and faster loading times — across the base game, both expansions, and all extra content.

The next generation edition of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will release as a standalone purchase for PC, Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, as well as a free update for everyone who already owns the game on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.”

It’s great news that this update is going to be entirely free for existing owners of the game. You won’t have to rebuy anything, and this update will be made available for free to all existing customers. For console owners, this means that a PS4 copy will grant you access to the PS5 version, or Xbox One version will grant you access to the Xbox Series X version, but for those of us on PC it’s just going to be a free update. This is a great move, that continues the legacy of The Witcher series doing similar in the past, where both The Witcher and The Witcher 2 received significant free upgrades in the form of an “Enhanced Edition” update. This is in stark contrast to, for example, Control, where day one purchasers, some of the developer’s most passionate fans, have been hung out to dry when it comes to an upgraded rerelease, simply told to buy the game again if they want access to basic technical improvements.

Not only is this a fantastic way to treat customers who have supported you with their hard-earned cash, but it’s also a fantastic advert for future CDPR games, where getting this kind of product support is bound to encourage players to pay up for Cyberpunk 2077 on day one, rather than waiting for any potential enhanced rerelease to avoid paying twice.

We don’t know the planned schedule for releasing this update, beyond the date of 2021, but we can’t wait to find out more about how this game is going to be upgraded, and what the visual and technical enhancements amount to. CD Project Red has a very strong reputation for treating its customers well, and this type of move shows that this reputation has been well earned.