It has been revealed that Witcher 3 runs at 720p in docked mode on Nintendo Switch, with the handheld resolution capped at 540p.
Compared to the 1080p output of the PlayStation 4 version, that's clearly lacking – but when you consider that the Switch is powered by a mobile chipset, it's amazing we're even getting the game at all.
The conversion work by Saber Interactive is shaping up to be pretty stunning, and our friends over at Digital Foundry (via our other good friends at Eurogamer) have been picking the footage apart since the official reveal yesterday.
Digital Foundry's Tom Morgan made the following observations:
Resolution-wise it's actually running much higher than I'd expected - and I can confirm CDPR's claim here. It does use a dynamic system to adjust for rendering load on-screen, and testing the footage and screens available, it shows a native 1280x720 at maximum, while other shots count in at around 896x504 lowest. The range may change in the final game - and we'll be back with more testing. But from a quick look here, most shots are coming in at 720p.
Morgan seems impressed with the footage shown so far, but acknowledges the cutbacks that have been made in order to get it running on weaker hardware. He also says that handheld mode might be more forgiving when it comes to hiding the visual concessions:
The only snag is that anti-aliasing quality is evidently low, which makes the stair-stepping stick out. Playing handheld certainly will be a better way to evaluate the Switch version's strengths, especially if it does sit permanently at 960x540 - where such a res will be harder to catch on the smaller screen.
As for those important changes, they're quite far-reaching, especially when you compare the Switch version to the game running on PS4:
Based on the footage so far, foliage and characters draw distances do take a hit on Switch as a result, and so the environment is less populated at range compared to PS4. Overall world detail is much closer to PC's lowest setting. Likewise, texture quality on hanging corpses is significantly pruned back, adapting for the lesser 4GB of RAM available to Switch. Finally, shadow resolution and the taxing SSAO setting are on the receiving end of a cut, giving Switch a lighter appearance. These are the two more demanding settings on PC, and so it makes sense to see a drop here.
Elsewhere, CD Projekt Red has also revealed that The Witcher 3 will gobble up 32GB of your Switch's internal storage space, so you might want to clear some room or invest in a new Micro SD card. Oh, and there's no cross-save support, either (unsurprisingly).