While CD Projekt’s recently released The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been a critical and probably commercial hit, PC gamers have been up in arms over the game’s inferior graphical quality compared to E3 previews shown in 2013.
Today, after months of denying that The Witcher 3 was being graphically downgraded to accommodate the inferior hardware of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, CD Projekt came out to address these concerns.
Speaking to Eurogamer, co-founder Marcin Iwinski said:
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. 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.
Regarding allegations of a downgrade of the PC version to accommodate consoles, Iwinski pretty much confirmed them:
If the consoles are not involved there is no Witcher 3 as it is. 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.
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. The Witcher series is now officially afflicted with consolitis.
Iwinski, however, adds this one caveat to his damning admission:
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.
To that end, a “big patch with 600 changes- including improvements to graphics and graphical settings” will be making its way to the game. The PC-version will be getting its own exclusive patch that allows editing of its .ini files, which will allow settings like draw distance and sharpening to be pushed past in-game specifications.
Still, how much do you want to bet that an “Enhanced” version will be released a few years down the road with all the graphical improvements PC gamers really want?