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).
I also read that the full game and both dlc will be on the cartridge and will be playable without an update.
There was never any question that this was going to be a lesser version from a technical standpoint. I’m still shocked it’s happening at all!
Who cares I'll be playing this regardless as it's a complete game. Not only that if Nintendo ever did bring out a newer powerful Switch soon, it'll fix the resolution problems anyways.
I would always prefer them to scale back effects than drop the resolution too low. I prefer a simple but sharp game to a blurry mess with good lighting. So far this sounds like they've made sensible compromises and I'm looking forward to giving it a try.
For a game of this scale, the performance compromises necessary to run it, should not be surprising. I’d probably get this version, if I didn’t already have it for my Scorpio. If this game even runs smoothly, consider it a win.
To be fair, their games are not really efficiently put together from a coding perspective.
It's an incredible achievement regardless. So long as the action is fluid when the going gets tough, then you can't really ask for more on the Switch. A very welcome addition to the growing library!
Even with these concessions I wonder if people understand the implications that the Switch is getting this excellent title that can be taken on the go! I have this running on my PC at MAX, but I will still be buying this version will definitely finish it this time around hehe
It's a technical marvel the game runs on Switch.
It barely ran on a stock PS4.
What the hell is 540p?
Very welcome addition. How to find the time to play all these games ...
@mrmememan twenty to 6 in the afternoon I think
@mrmememan - a higher resolution than what Xenoblade Chronicles 2 runs at in portable mode.
That sounds great! Might buy it seeing as it is regarded to be a very strong game. That being said, we sadly have to miss out on the first 2 games. But who knows, they might still turn up on the e-shop someday.
They can bring the Witcher 3, a damn heavy game but they can't try GTA V, from the previous generation?? Just wondering..
Thank you everyone for people for making an absolutely dumb responses. Keep'm coming!
@mrmememan 540p is a resolution of 960 x 540
@Realness It will be smooth. I expect nothing less from CD Projekt Red since they are overseeing the quality of the port.
@rex_rex It can 100% be done but Rockstar doesn't care at this point I think.
Well, that sounds awful already (@$60?). Draw distance is a big deal in TW3
And no AA!!! I cant stand jaggies. Why I stop playing Xenoverse2 on Switch. They drive me crazy 😂😓
Sounds like a port well done.
@Jokerwolf I see.. but i think they might want to sell man.. I dunno.. i would be happy.. but im VERY happy with the witcher..
@Henmii playstation gamers missed out on the first 2 games too, and xbox gamers on the first one. Supposedly a remake of 1 and a remaster of 2 where in development for ps4 and xbone but they got cancelled.
This will look great on Switch.
I didn't know. I thought PS4 and XboxOne owners could get them all 3.
Man I can't stand fidelity snobs. if you use K and fps to rate your games...please go to Pushsquare and leave us in peace. Thanks.
@mrmememan The price for a night wit' yo momma!
@mikegamer It's annoying that people keep insisting that a revision is coming.
Works for me. Pretty much the only way I shall actually play the game anyway.
Looking forward to this.
Worry slightly longer term though for switch - when the new consoles come out in 15 months time the switch is going to look extremely underpowered - significantly more so than today. Ports I would suggest will be next to impossible
I didn't give a toss about resolution/FPS when I was playing NES, SNES, Gameboy, etc and still managed to have fun. This will be the same.
That's incredible. Better than Xenoblade 2 even, a first party game. I can barely even tell the difference between 540p and 720p on the handheld screen.
That's way better than I was expecting. Game will look immaculate on the handheld.
@mrmememan WE vita life boiz
@Magician It barely ran at 1080p on a PS4 5 years ago. It can run in 4k now.
540p? Dude. We're basically playing a PS2 version of the game then.
720 docked is fine by me. Just excited to have the opportunity to play it.
lol, you're trolling, right?
540p and 720p is a miracle.
Higher than both Doom and Xenoblade 2, both of which are less complex games.
Not to mention, Doom already looks incredible and any higher res would be 100% pointless on such a small screen.
If you thought higher was possible, I don't know what you're smoking.
And no, Witcher 3 doesn't run in 4K on a standard PS4, or on a Pro either so not sure where you got that. it's 2160p and even that is via checkerboarding so it's lower in reality.
How about the framerate?
Yikes! Unless you ONLY have a Switch or just need to play this game on the go, I'd stick with the XB1, PS4 or PC.
@gcunit, that was a horrible joke
@SleeplessKnight already played on PS4. Can't wait for switch version.
TW3 on the go is gonna be dope!!
@kobashi100 Planning on going on the road for a long time or what?
@PorllM I'm fully aware that a standard PS4 can't display 4k. But we're splitting hairs discussing checkerboarding. Checkerboarding on PS4pro and XBOX One X is near equivalent to 4k.
@BeefSanta absolutely not. I'd rather not have the game on Switch at all than have a significantly inferior version of the game for full price. I bought the complete edition for PS4 for $15. If they released the game for $30-$40, I would probably change my tune. But I'm sick of getting significantly inferior ports. I expect a visual downgrade, but not cutting the resolution in half.
@Magician no kidding... Game was a mess from a technical standpoint, much worse looking than Xenoblade X.
Witcher and DLC all on cart....
Sypro requires download lmao
It's at Novigrad, Crookbag Bog or in combat that we need to see it's true performance, the trailer seems to be the first area of the game which is far less demanding than the main areas of play. Still it's good to see it on Switch and certainly not a game I ever expected
@GrailUK amen!!! Go discuss sensible well thought out discussions like “Sony were right to skip e3” that place is the mid wisely of video game fans. All about the graphics and power forget game play and finish comments with “word up son” I now finish all my message on there with that!
They can put it all on the bigger cart sizes. Quit being so dang cheap devs!
@GrailUK no one is soley rating a game based on graphics. But I went to watch avengers in imax. I didn't go to shadytown and buy a bootleg copy on vhs. What's worse in this scenario the bootleg vhs copy cost significantly more.
@mrmememan it’s about half as clear as 1080p.
@darkswabber Link to source please?
@SleeplessKnight commute to and from work 5 days a week
While not interested in getting it for the switch (already have it on pc) and seeing the resolution I am not surprised. Though my big question is will they be able to maintain a solid 30fps (there is no way they can get it to run at 60fps) cause if not then that is not good.
@LegendOfStewart total opposite for me. Happy to pay $60 for an significantly inferior version of The Witcher 3
Portability is the key
I don't even want to buy this game again but I do find the reaction to this news hilarious.
Last week there was no way at all for this to happen. Absolutely not. Now that it's happening, new holes have to be found.
I think some people are pissed that this is happening, I'm just not sure why.
“Another interesting new tidbit is that the Witcher 3 will be the first Switch game to use a 32GB gamecard. All of the game’s content, including the Hearts of Stone and Blood & Wine expansion alongside DCLs will be included on the gamecard.“
As long as it's all there, playable and enjoyable, some more or less pixels or frames won't hold me back from finally trying this game I've heard so much about. And from what I've read, it WILL all be there, on the cartridge, no massive downloads. I just couldn't get myself to starting such a massive game on a TV screen. On a handheld, that's a whole other story.
It's on Switch, sacrifices had to be made, it's gonna be just fine. Now I just hope the game is actually good. Skyrim left me underwhelmed, and Dark Souls was the worst game I have played in like a decade.
@darkswabber Sick! Day 1 purchase!
@kobashi100 Fair enough, makes sense then.
Question: Will this be the first game ever released on a Nintendo console (outside of Japan anyways) with bare boobies? Spoiler Alert - there are bare knockers in The Witcher 3
There's a big difference between a PS2 game and a modern game engine running at a resolution that you find beneath your standards. It's a Switch port, dude... This is what we signed up for. I'm pumped this is even possible at all because I was never dropping several hundred more gold pieces on a new system just to play it.
@Indominus_B Those games are on my radar! My problem wasn't so much with the ports as with the base games themselves.
This is awesome and i am surprised it's getting done. Will be a first day for me.
Having said that, i do hope they come out with an upgrade to the Switch hardware at some stage because 540p is not considered HD, the bare minimum for HD is 720p. This is max SD which is fine for handheld but it's not a trend I'd like to continue with.
As long as the port is good and it plays as well as can be expected I will be buying this. Yes there will be drops in visual fidelity and some other areas but that’s no reason to write the game off already.
I’ve got high hopes for this and the idea if playing Witcher on the go is simply incredible.
@BeefSanta it might be what you signed up for, but not me. I didn't sign up for significantly inferior ports of 5+ year old games.
@rex_rex don't be fooled GTA IV is no slouch either if you take the pc version.
@LegendOfStewart Don't buy them then. You're also getting excellent modern exclusive Nintendo games with lovely graphics and fun gameplay.
@Indominus_B Digital Foundry has turned everyone into an expert these days... “zoom into a bit of foliage 400% and you can see the obvious signs of checkerboarding etc etc.”
It’s turned people who play games into the equivalent of hi-fi bores sorry I meant enthusiasts. The sort of people you don’t want to be stuck with at parties. It’s not about the fun it’s about that slight frame pacing issue in that cut scene two thirds of the way through.
@LegendOfStewart not sure why you bought a Switch then 🤷🏼♂️
@clvr For only slightly inferior ports and top quality exclusives.
@Blizzia Not disputing the quality of the exclusives. My only complaint on that end is the lack of quantity of exclusives the last year or so.
@gamer95 no, 2160 x 3840 is 4K
Not 1920 x 2160 which is what Witcher 3 natively renders at on PlayStation.
The clue is in the 4K which is short for 4,000 which is rounded up from 3,840.
@graysoncharles It won't be the first time :V
I saw many reviews saying playing on pS4 was not without hiccups so I’d be interested to see how this Switch version plays when it’s released. It looks like it’d be a cool game to play.
I really don't care about the specs as long as it plays good enough. I don't have time to play a huge game like Witcher 3 tethered to my living room television. Playing console games on a portable is exactly what makes the Switch great.
I'm almost entirely digital on my Switch these days, but the physical version has the entire game on a 32GB card and comes with goodies. I can't imagine NOT getting this physically.
$60 is a fair step up over the $14.99 I'd pay on PC, but it's worth it to have a fully portable version of the game.
Good chance of very compressed audio too. I actually didnt really enjoy this game on PS4, I started then sold it. I do find it odd that if the game interested anyone they would wait for this version to try it, though as a portable version for fans it does make sense to me. As a technical achievement it is interesting, certainly. I dont care much for the brand of a console though.
Seriously? How low is NintendoLife gonna steep?
The subheadline is so click-baity!
It mentions cross-save, only to say at the very end of the article that there will be no cross-save!
Well then why even mention a feature that is NOT in there?!
I reiterate: I hate it when people keep saying "It's amazing the Switch can run [insert game here]" the Switch is plenty powerful. Please stop saying it isn't.
I own the Witcher 3 on PS4, Xbox, and my PC. That game was rough on the OG Xbox one and PS4. These are significant compromises and if you have any other option you really should play it literally anywhere else. However I want to get this just to actually see what it looks like because it seems crazy.
@LegendOfStewart 540p on a 6 inch screen is fine
I NEED the portability nowadays and I've never got round to playing this before so im excited for it to come to switch. People are focussing on the 540p bit but that's specifically in portable. Xenoblade 2 drops lower than that and thats still playable (although it is noticeable when it drops as far as Xeno does). 540p on portable is fine and so long as frame rate is relatively stable this will be a great addition for switch.
These threads are entertaining.
At the end of the day you are/aren't playing it. If someone wants to play however, it's their time/life/money. Who cares?
I know people who still watch tv on a CRT.
My GOG installation of the game takes 35.9 GB of space, so they only managed to shave off 4 GB for the Switch version despite using vastly lower quality assets. ;p
I'll take a steady framerate over resolution any day.
I see this as good news but it makes me wonder how it would have performed if Panic Button did the port...
@Edu23XWiiU Gee, you think?
@Mallow Exactly! It shouldn't make THAT big of an impact on the enjoyment of a game. Most of my favorite games in my early years of gaming had pretty bad frame rates at times.
I don't care what anyone has to say that is pretty good for the Switch
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