Witcher 3 dev on downgrade accusations: ‘We didn’t see it as a problem’

The studio behind The Witcher 3 has responded to criticism over the game’s supposed graphical downgrade.

As highlighted in this NeoGaf thread, some players have accused the title of being falsely represented in past showings at events such as 2013’s VGX, claiming that the final release is inferior in terms of visual fidelity.

Speaking to Eurogamer to address the concerns, CD Projekt Red co-founder Marcin Iwinski said that the game builds produced for showcasing at events often differ from finished products, as optimisation and stability is taken into account.

We do a certain build for a tradeshow and you pack it, it works, it looks amazing,” he explained. 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."

"People are saying that 2013 was better but actually there’s plenty of things that improved since 2013," pointed out global communications manager Michal Platkow-Gilewski. "Size of the world, frames-per-second…"

Some observers have issued the oft-cited suggestion that the game, which is also available on PS4 and Xbox One, suffered visually in CDPR’s efforts to make the title run on all three platforms.

Iwinski accepted the claims, but explained that the consideration was driven by financial necessity.

"If the consoles are not involved there is no Witcher 3 as it is," he retorted. "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, we could probably get more, as there would be nothing else – like if we would develop only on Xbox One or PlayStation 4. But then we cannot afford such a game."

When pushed on why the studio had remaining seemingly quiet on the drop in quality, he added: "Frankly speaking, we didn’t see it as a problem.

"In a way, because of us not seeing it as a problem, and working hard on the game until the very end, that’s where we are today and that’s why we have to explain. I hope it shows our intentions, because we are not hiding anything. Considering our values, hiding is the last thing we ever want to do.”

CDPR has since confirmed that it has already patched the game with more than 600 graphical tweaks as part of a Day Oen patch, with the ability to edit .ini files to the PC edition set to be added in a later revision, allowing players to play with the visual settings themselves.

Iwinski stated: "We don’t agree there is a downgrade, but it’s our opinion, and gamers’ feelings can be different. If they made their purchasing decision based on the 2013 materials, I’m deeply sorry for that, and we are discussing how we can make it up to them because that’s not fair.”

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