The biggest changes shown at The Witcher 3 PS5 and Xbox Series X update reveal

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt next-gen update
(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

CD Projekt Red has finally popped the hood on The Witcher 3's PS5 and Xbox Series X update, which will also bring upgrades for the PC version, and today's showcase unveiled a laundry list of tantalizing features coming to the storied RPG. 

The free update launching December 14 packs a mix of graphical improvements, gameplay fixes, and quality of life additions, not to mention new features like a photo mode. One headliner for PS5 and Xbox Series X users is the choice between a 60 FPS performance mode and a 30 FPS quality mode with ray tracing (and slightly more standard 60 / 30 FPS modes for Series S).

Broader graphics enhancements include real-time global illumination plus ray tracing-backed ambient occlusion, baked-in FSR 2.0 to help with the frame rate lift, dynamic resolution scaling, as well as improved textures and effects for environmental assets like grass, stones, clouds, and new weather conditions. PC enthusiasts can look forward to "Ultra Plus" options, too, for even greater density and detail.

Some fans may be more excited to revisit The Witcher 3 with some highly requested options rather than prettier grass. The new update lets you scale subtitles, pause cutscenes, and disable question marks and other icons on the map for more organic, arguably Red Dead Redemption 2-style immersion and exploration. There are new options that let you bring the camera closer to Geralt in combat or while on horseback, with bespoke options for different states. This feature apparently started as an experiment at CDPR, and the devs loved it so much they added it in. 

There's even a fresh (optional) control scheme for using Signs on controller: instead of the old slow-motion radial menu, you can press the left trigger to pull up quick-press options. This setup started as a passion project for one designer and worked so well that it made it into the main game, and one CDPR dev even said he's never going back after using it. Speaking of controls, PS5 owners will get some unique DualSense haptic feedback, too. 

As CDPR previously announced, the update will bring some new quests and outfits based on Netflix's The Witcher. It will also fix a few broken quests in the base game, and the final patch notes for the update will apparently unveil "much more" which the devs are keeping close to their chest for now. Cross-save, cloud saves, and cross-progression have already been confirmed, for those wondering.  

"If you really love The Witcher and you know the game, this shouldn't now feel like a different game," says acting narrative director Philipp Weber. "This should be the game that you love, that you like to play. With ray tracing, it looks like the game in your dreams, how you remember it looks like. And when you compare it, the difference is really staggering. But the art style didn't suddenly change. It's still true to what it should be, and the same is true of the features." 

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Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.