The Witcher 3 Next-Gen Has Been Delayed Indefinitely: A Personal Analysis

The Witcher 3 Next-Gen announcement came long time agoIn fact, its launch was scheduled for the second quarter of 2022, a date that, in the end, will not be met, since CD Projekt RED has confirmed an “indefinite” delay, that is, without a new possible launch date. It is bad news for fans of the franchise, among whom I include myself, although the worst thing is that uncertainty in which we have been left.

Our colleague David already gave us this information yesterday, and no, we do not know why the delay has occurred, and it is not clear whether the delay is in the short, medium or long term, although seeing the official announcement made by the Polish study I smell that things are going to take a long time. I leave you with the official CD Projekt RED commentary on The Witcher 3 Next-Gen so you can draw your own conclusions:

“We have decided to have our in-house development team do the remaining work on the next-gen version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. At the moment we are evaluating the scope of the work to be done and therefore we have to postpone the Q2 release until further notice.”

In short, even CD Projekt RED is not clear on how much time it will have to invest in finishing development on The Witcher 3 Next-Gen, and that is already a clear indication that things are not going to be resolved in a few months. I’m hesitant to give a date, but right now I think we probably won’t see The Witcher 3 Next-Gen until sometime in 2023.

What could be causing the indefinite delay of The Witcher 3 Next-Gen?

As we anticipated, we do not have an official comment from CD Projekt RED, but reading between the lines a lot can be deduced. The first is that the project has changed hands, and is now being carried out internally, which means that the Polish studio has decided to intervene to take care of finishing the development cycle. This can mean many things:

  • A simple change of hands for a matter of speed up a development that it was going too slow, which seems unlikely to me.
  • A necessary intervention because CD Projekt RED I wasn’t happy with the result which was showing The Witcher 3 Next-Gen.
  • A mix of both pointsor also an urgent need to polish and optimize the game in its current state to launch a better finished title and more in line with the expectations it has generated.

Regarding the improvements that The Witcher 3 Next-Gen will bring, we can expect the application of ray tracing, as well as a reduction in loading times thanks to a greater use of current SSD units. It has not been specified how The Witcher 3 Next-Gen will use ray tracing, but as I said at the time ideally it should be focused on lighting. This would be the most attractive option, and also the most demanding.

Despite the time that The Witcher 3 has, it remains a game with an excellent technical finish, and it is very demanding. To give you an idea, a GeForce RTX 2080 Super can move it in 4K and maximum quality with an average rate of 70 FPS. Needless to say, when applying ray tracing, performance will be greatly reduced. It might be a good time to integrate the main rescaling technologies of the moment and compensate for that loss of performance. Yes, I am referring to NVIDIA’s DLSS and AMD’s FSR.

This leads me to think, precisely, of another interesting possibility, and that is that The Witcher 3 Next-Gen may be looking great for the new generation. I am not speaking without reason, I remind you that both PS5 and Xbox Series X have already shown that ray tracing is great for them, and that titles like Dying Light 2 and Cyberpunk have brought them “to their knees”. The Witcher 3 Next-Gen with ray tracing may not work well on both consoles, which is why CD Projekt RED had to step in and delay the release.

In case anyone questions that argument, I remind you that The Witcher 3 has already suffered a major “downgrade” to adapt it to the capabilities of PS4 and Xbox One, and that this did not please PC gamers at all, who in the end found themselves with a title that was not up to par with the videos that CD Projekt RED had previously shown.

I remind you that The Witcher 3 Next-Gen will arrive as a completely free update for users who already have the original, although it will also be available as a stand-alone game, which means that those who do not have it will be able to buy it, and in a pack that will include all its expansions.

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