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The Witcher 3’s free upcoming next gen update is looking snazzy

We just got our first look at The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’s much-delayed free “next gen” update, by which they mean current gen, and which yep, looks like a looker. Vanilla Witcher 3 still looks gorgeous for a nearly seven year old game, but the upcoming update will add ray-tracing options, ultra+ settings and a suite of other visual and quality of life updates.

It’s not out ’til December 14th, but you can peek at it below while the devs natter in the background.

Skip ahead to 15:30 for the start of the stream, or 16:20 for the start of the footage.

I’ll cop to still not understanding what all these terms mean, but the graphics fella mentions that they’ve integrated FSR and DSS support, while adding dynamic resolution scaling and “some very nice SSR which used to just be for water, but is now for everything”. Elsewhere, the devs say “almost all our foliage assets have been reworked”, and there are “better textures for almost everything”. The new grass does indeed seem pretty lush.

I like the little changes they mention, too, like smoke coming from villagers houses. You can already do a lot of this with mods, and a lot of the changes and upgrades are indeed direct mod integrations. Still, wrapping it all up in one stable, developer-approved package is great for lazy sods like me.

You’ll be able to bask in it all with the new fleshed out photo mode, complete with all the contrast and exposure sliders you could ask for. There’s plenty more, including new camera modes, weather conditions and mini-map ui options. You’ll also be able to remove all the question marks cluttering up your map, which is a surprising thing to not be able to do up ’til now. Same goes for the cutscenes, which will now be pausable.

One last change that stood out to me – they’ve tweaked the control scheme on a pad, so instead of bringing up a radial menu for your Signs you can now hold a bumper to make them trigger when you press your other buttons. I found that radial faff too much to bother with, so hey, there’s a small change that could make a potentially outsized difference.

All this has reminded me I never got round to finishing the Blood and Wine DLC, which I may well do when The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt – Complete Edition update lands on December 14th.

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