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Witcher 3 dev CD Projekt Red talks about the graphical downgrade

by Eric Frederiksen | May 21, 2015May 21, 2015 6:00 am PST

While many of us are waist deep in the world of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, not everyone is thrilled about the game. Some gamers are steaming over what they see as a graphical downgrade from the game’s initial unveiling a couple years back. Eurogamer talked to CD Projekt Red executives Marcin Iwinski and Adam Badowski, as well as other members of the team, to discuss the downgrade. CDPR was, as we’ve become accustomed to from them, refreshingly honest.

Many gamers feel that the console versions of the game on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One held back the PC version from being as absolutely good as it could be. If this were a perfect world where money didn’t play a role in getting games made, they might be right.

“If the consoles are not involved, there is no Witcher 3 as it is,” said Iwinski. “We just cannot afford it, because consoles allow us to go higher in terms of possible or achievable sales, have a higher budget for the game, and invest it all into developing this huge, gigantic world.”

In short, the ideal version of the game many PC gamers have in their heads wouldn’t exist because PC game sales wouldn’t be high enough on their own to make it affordable.

Another element the developer ran up against is the curse of the vertical slice. A vertical slice is a tiny chunk of an in-development game, polished to “final product” levels. It’s the real, actual game running, but it’s a very small piece of it, and reality sometimes presents challenges to the ambitions set out by these vertical slices, as Ubisoft found out with Watch_Dogs and Ninja Theory recently talked about regarding their upcoming action game Hellblade.

Badowski confirmed that the footage we saw when Witcher 3 was unveiled (see below) was indeed captured, running PC footage. But in the time between the unveiling and now, the game saw a change to its rendering system. Additionally, the team had to make a choice between generic landscapes with high fidelity textures and lots of objects or hand-crafted unique environments. The team says that since that time, things like framerate and world size were improved on from the initial trailer.

The team never intended the initial trailer to be misleading, as they were creating what they thought was representative of the final product. It’s a frustrating reality of game development – developers are either excited to show or pushed into showing a piece of their game, they get it ready, and then reality happens later and it doesn’t match up with the initial vision.

Iwinski has a simple statement for those concerned about the downgrade: “You play it and you are not fine, really, that’s touching, and we’ll do our best to make it up. But if you didn’t play it and you’re trolling: think twice please.”

While the game doesn’t look quite like it does in the trailer, I can confirm it looks quite nice on a GTX 970. I haven’t once been disappointed by what I’ve seen, only impressed, and I can’t wait to talk about the game when we review it in the coming weeks.

Make sure to check out the source below for the full interview.

Eurogamer

Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...

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