Although The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for the Switch is not exactly the most cutting-edge title, it's still an impressive feat for the hybrid system. In fact, prior to its official reveal, there were many sceptics claiming it wasn't even possible.
Now that the game has been released on Nintendo's latest generation of hardware, Saber Interactive chief executive officer Matthew Karch has lifted the lid on what it was like to bring CD Projekt Red's epic open-world RPG across to the Switch.
The earlier results apparently weren't pretty:
When the initial port was done, the game was running at 10 frames per second, was taking 50% more memory than the Switch has, and the build size was 20GB larger than the biggest Switch cartridge
Obviously, the team was able to overcome these problems - fitting the entirety of the game onto a 32GB game card and gameplay targeting 30fps.
To get these results, the team had to find "creative optimizations" to maintain the frame rate while keeping the overall "look and feel" of the game intact.
For example, after cutting the number of NPCs by 30%, we started getting complaints that the levels, especially Novigrad and Toussaint, felt rather empty. We had to reintroduce most of those features back and find creative optimizations to get the frame rate up.
As more issues were encountered, such as how the engine calculated in-game shadows on Switch, Saber had to continue to rethink its approach. It led to it rewriting the algorithm for how the grass generated and rendered in the game world. The team also had to adjust other environmental details to ensure the Switch release looked similar to existing versions.
Thankfully, it was worth it in the long run, with the CEO admitting the team worked tirelessly for an entire year:
We worked tirelessly for a year to get the game running on Switch at 30 fps without losing the incredible visuals fans expect.
Meanwhile, WWE 2K19 wasn't shipped on a 32GB cart and still runs at 10-ish fps.
Recreate the WItcher 3 100% with Assembler, it will runs at 60fps on Switch with all PS4 graphical fidelity intact.
Ea and other big companies, take note.
This is dedication and professionalism that’ll pay off in the long run.
I applaud you, Saber, I’ve enjoyed Witcher for the first two hours of playtime, I will get back to it once I’ve finished FE Three Houses but I’m positive that I’ll love every bit of it on the go!
This just proves that with a little bit of time, almost anything can work will on Switch
The whole game fitting on the cartridge is what I appreciate most. Sick of third party games requiring 15-20 GB of extra space. Good job boys! Now how about a port of your game Inversion 😬some of favorite plot twists in that one....
Fantastic port, been playing it since launch and haven't put it down.
@Friendly Don’t forget to tell LameFreak to take notice.
And once again this is how it's done.
This is what a port is supposed to be.
This is a company driven by passion, dedication and professionalism. to deliver the best product they can.
While working within the confines of the hardware available.
Mess, for real. I played it before the first update and it worked fine. Gotta say Trolls are just fuming because Switch can play the BIG BOYS Games. Must hurt the bung hole for them. So what do they do but "DISH" the game to make themselves feel better. I gotta say that become more and more childish as I read the article.
And that's how it's not done.
A lazy sloppy port slapped on the NX, and then they wonder why it wont sell.
Do the trees shake that much in the original version ? At times it just looks ridiculous.
The rest is immensely beautiful.
@echoplex trees shake at 80fps. Another incredible feat.
I hope I get this for Christmas....
Now I’m just waiting for Rockstar to take note and give us GTA V.
Until then, please take our money Saber. You earned every penny of it with this masterpiece.
After playing DQ11, which felt a bit disappointing technically, I was amazed by the Witcher 3 port. It really does feel like the full version. While playing I haven't been missing a single thing in the visual department.
this game is awesome take notes ea and 2k this is how its done....Saber and panic button are wizards on bringing ongood ports to switch.
@SwitchForce I don't think anyone cares bro. The console wars are over.
@SwitchForce what article are you even reading? This is about the problems during development - obviously they got it working before release!
But, yeah, guess the firsthand developer account is just an upset troll only pretending the game needed to be optimized more for the Switch because...?
Great game, and great port! This is a proof that if you want, you can make it happen.
And everything is on the cartridge... What a marvel.
Side quests are perfectly told in this game. You struggle to continue the main story because most of the time you prefer doing the side quests before. I love it !!!
I can't help but feel that Nintendo have made the switch with only first party games in mind. The switch runs Nintendo games just fine, so it's the third party developer's problem if their game doesn't run on it. But still, investing a year into making this work on Switch when most of the target audience would have already played it.
@SwitchForce so you played it when it was still in development? You're the troll here and what on earth does "DISH" mean?
@personauser93 "LameFreak" - you really got them there, huh?
Just hope it’s selling well. I haven’t got it yet but I definitely will
@carlos82 it's what we put food on, silly.
@PhilKenSebben he's putting his games in them 😂
A triumph of optimisation and a triumph of hard work. Only played it in handheld but it’s incredible.
@SwitchForce what article did you read then? Can you link to it because it clearly wasn’t this one.
@Kineas Actually, Nintendo and Nvidia VERY MUCH designed the Switch WITH 3rd-parties in mind.
Triple-A multiplatform games only need optimization/downgrading because they initially target far more powerful hardware.
The fact that graphic-intensive games like Doom and The Witcher 3 can run competently with some optimization on a HANDHELD console that's LESS THAN HALF as powerful as the hardware these games were initially developed for, should tell you just how friendly the Switch is for 3rd-party development.
Dunno about that.
You seen how some people carry on ?
@Gwynbleidd After the enormous success of The Witcher 3, it really is a mystery why the first two games haven't been re-released in a collection...
OK LET'S GET DARK SOULS 3 THEN
@Fiskern Lol I must have got you too
I have been playing the game exclusively since it released. Well over a 100 hours now with no end in sight. I truly thank them for their hard work and dedication so I can enjoy this experience.
@Impaler-D Let's just wait and see how much optimization is needed for PS5 games to be playable on Switch then...
They did an incredible job with this port. It obviously makes sacrifices, but I was really surprised how good it looks in motion. You notice the sacrifices more on the tv, but in handheld mode the game really shines due to the smaller screen. I have had a handful of crashes though, so I hope there’s a patch or two to address that. Still, they did an amazing job and kudos to springing for the 32 GB card, it makes a huge difference.
I think that’s harsh. I’ve often criticised them for designing their systems while only thinking of their own games. But Switch is the first time they’ve stepped away from that. It’s pretty much off the shelf hardware that from Day 1 could run a variety of engines (UE4, Unity). It received praise from early on for how easy it was to work with. It’s a good progression for them in that sense and something I hope they remember in future.
I’ve put almost 150 hours into it so far, and I’m still blown away that I’m playing a game as big and expansive and beautiful as the Witcher III on a handheld console. Dang, I love the Switch.
@Kineas You have to bare in mind its a handheld that plays modern console games...
@Kineas Not happening, aside from indie games, less-demanding retro-style games and maybe some cross-gen games.
Why on Earth would you think next-gen AAA games will be optimized for a console that was created with optimizing current-gen titles in mind? Lmao
The Switch will still have plenty of 3rd-party games built from the ground-up for the console, that take advantage of the very developer-friendly hardware to great effect, regardless.
I am loving this game on Switch and it is clear to me that a lot of effort went into the port. Graphically inferior but how else could I romance Yennefer on the go?
@Impaler-D I was being sarcastic. Don't get me wrong, I love the switch. It's just I have no interest playing games that came out on other consoles at least a year prior, that if you were to pick up now are a fraction of the cost for the same game. I'll just stick with Switch exclusives thanks.
Good old NL comment section where everyone thinks their opinion out does everyone's else's
Probably a bit more than to play a ps5 game on a ps4.
N better have a switch2 ready but I'm afraid partnering with Nvidia will be shown to be a bad move.
Unless Nvidia has a much more powerful tegra out there which I don't think they do. Seems their focus is on massive gpu chips and whatever that car cpu they're doing.
I have no intention to play this game because I don't have time for it, plus it's coming to GamePass soon if I ever do, but I'm tempted to buy the Switch port just because I want to support the amazing work these people have done.
@NoTinderLife Yeah, just use 100% assembler. It will only take a 500 man strong team 15 years... There's a reason no-one uses pure assembly anymore - not since the C64.
I want to see more newer third party games on the Switch but we know once PS5 and Xbox Scarlet drop brand new third party games will not come to Switch because the gap between Switch and next gen will be to large to even get those games remotely running on Switch and looking good
Good game any way you slice it.
Hopefully they bring The Witcher 2 for the Switch also. Good game, and fills in some of the back story.
Problem is the install base of Switch/PS4/Xbox One is going to be 200 million+. It will be very hard to ignore that for the first few years when the next Xbox and Playstation start out with a pretty small install base.
You are also assuming that the Xbox and Playstation lines will be upgraded and this platform won't be upgraded at all. Because of diminishing returns, it is almost assured that the next handheld device will deliver a more comparable experience to home consoles than the Switch has.
I’m glad they worked so hard to get it right. The hard work shows, because I’m beyond impressed and love my copy.
@Spideron Are you familiar with 64K demos scene? https://files.scene.org
They have annual competitions in Northern Europe, sometimes it's even sponsored by Intel. They code in 100% assembler, producing extraordinary small file size app that display visuals that surpassed most current games. Most of them don't rely on GPU, just pure CPU using Assembler coding.
They are the last 'descendent' of the C64/Amiga communities who still code in Assembler.
@nab1 have no intention to play this game because I don't have time for it, plus it's coming to GamePass soon if I ever do, but I'm tempted to buy the Switch port just because I want to support the amazing work these people have done.
What if other industries enjoyed this kind of privilege?
I have no intention of ever eating a Big Mac with bacon on it but I am tempted to buy it just to support McDonalds.
I have no intention of ever driving a Ford Mustang but I am tempted to buy it just to support Ford.
I have no intention....eh...you get the point.
Next hardware Nintendo.. please use 8gb. Cos I got the feeling the next Switch might upgraded to 6gb.. it still won't be enough!
Nintendo needs to talk with google to bring Stadia on the switch. The only way yo keep up with Xbox scarlet and Ps5
@The-Chosen-one because obviously the Switch is a disaster with next to no games and rotting in the shelves.
“ I have no intention of ever eating a Big Mac with bacon on it but I am tempted to buy it just to support McDonalds”
@Crono1973 you mean the way some don’t have any I intention to eat 10 meals but will still pay for 9 additional people meals so they get to spread their love of X or Y restaurant?
@The-Chosen-one "Nintendo needs to talk with google to bring Stadia on the switch. The only way yo keep up with Xbox scarlet and Ps5"
Only a those whom have no realization stadia is dead on arrival would say something like this.
@carlos82 Only a Troll could love another Troll. Let's all come together and sing combiya shall we.
wow, we have lots of those thinking they talk for Nvidia developements. So whom are you and where cause last I read you didn't speak or talk for Nvidia developements. Nvidia are making laptop GPU - so to think they wouldn't have a Tegra Gen2 or newer is why your not in this industry. Only Trolls try to dimiss a Successful Switch because it now commands the market sales.
@Tharsman you mean the way some don’t have any I intention to eat 10 meals but will still pay for 9 additional people meals so they get to spread their love of X or Y restaurant?
What are you talking about?
@Crono1973, in your post you made it sound like only gamers will buy things they wont consume just to support what they consider great work. It happens everywhere. You specifically mentioned restaurants (well, McDonalds... not a great example but ok) and truth is people that have the money to spare do pay for meals they will never eat all the time, by treating others in order to support the restaurants they love.
@Tharsman Never heard of that but then I don't have money to spare.
@Crono1973 To be fair: same goes to games. Only people with money to spare do that. I didnt do that when I was younger and barely could pay my bills. I do it all the time now that I am 30+ into my career.
That said, even the car industry have people that buy cars that they will never drive. It is all about income levels. It's not rare for 1%ers to have a collection of cars they have never moved from their fancy underground garages. It is good such consumers exist, as they subsidize those industries for the rest of the consumer base.
@Tharsman I think it's far more common with the game industry.
The problems with all these ports from PC powerhouse isn't limited to Switch but xbox to ps but for some inexplicable reason this is only a Switch issue. Those other console can't nor match a Gaming Rig PC dedicate GPU SLI or CF that is a Fact and even then those have issues gaming at 4K. So don't tell me it's just a Switch issue only.
Tap here to load 65 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...