In bringing The Witcher 3 to Nintendo Switch late last year, the porting team at Saber Interactive already pulled off an impressive feat. This week, the developer went one step further with the port’s biggest patch yet, and the included quality-of-life changes just elevated its value—especially for the game’s fans on PC.
The Thursday patch was hinted at by Saber in late January in a tweet that has since been deleted, and after launching exclusively in Korea in the wee hours of the morning, it began rolling out across the globe through Thursday. While developer CD Projekt Red has yet to release a comprehensive list of patch notes about smaller bug fixes and tweaks, two of its biggest changes are front and center in the opening menus: cross-save support, and an overhauled “post-processing” list of toggles.
The former only works with the game’s PC version, but you’re in luck whether you’ve purchased the game via GOG or Steam. Choose either storefront, then enter your username and password in a Web interface to confirm that you want to connect your Switch copy with your PC version. Doing this allows you to either upload or download a single save file with either service, since both support cloud saves by default. CDPR’s official update includes two warnings for longtime PC players: the Switch version will only recognize save files whose names haven’t been manually edited, and any saves that contain metadata from modded versions of the game could affect Switch performance.
CDPR and Saber aren’t the first to deliver cloud-save support on a Switch port; the massive RPG Divinity: Original Sin 2 plays nicely with Steam’s cloud-save feature, while a few “live service” games such as Fortnite include global login support. But we’ve yet to see GOG integration on a Switch game, and as fans of its DRM-free sales model, we are delighted to see the inclusion. (As the official handlers of GOG, CDPR has a vested interest in getting it working, obviously.)
Meanwhile, the newly expanded post-processing menu does less to improve the game’s performance and more to give players options for how the resulting “mostly 30 frames-per-second” gameplay looks. The original October version emphasized blur, not sharpness, and the results made some of the game’s areas, particularly its nighttime romps and foliage-filled forests, hard to see clearly. Now, players can disable both the “blur” and “anti-aliasing” options and turn on a new “sharpness” filter; the latter comes in “low” and “high” varieties. The result is a decidedly “jaggier” game, with much more visible pixel stair-stepping, and it’s not necessarily recommended for docked play on an HDTV. But it’s a revelation in action on the portable screen, offering much more legibility in the game’s active battle scenes. Heck, the original game’s pristine art direction looks better in the form of pure, lower-resolution pixels than through an N64-era glaze of blur.
Should those options not be enough for your picky eyeballs, you can now also disable motion blur, bloom, light shafts, and depth-of-field blur. Those options are decidedly more about taste than general visual quality, and their toggles, at first glance, don’t have a noticeable effect on the game’s ability to (nearly) hold a steady 30fps refresh. The patch notes offer a vague promise of “multiple performance optimizations,” but it remains to be seen how effective those truly are—or whether changing this menu’s “foliage visibility range” improves performance at all.
For a more comprehensive look at how these options affect the scenery in various Witcher 3 regions, we’ve embedded a video comparison as captured by YouTube channel Direct-Feed Games.