The Witcher 3 next-gen update reveals improved graphics and a long-overdue photo mode

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CD Projekt has dropped the first trailer for the next-gen update coming to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in December, finally giving us our first look at the big visual overhaul and other changes coming to the hit RPG.

The original Witcher 3 looked pretty spectacular to start with, especially if you were fortunate enough to play it on a 4K-capable PC. (I did, and believe me, it looked great.) 

At first glance, then, the next-gen update may not seem that dramatic as improvements go. But there's more going on than just a boost in resolution: CD Projekt has previously confirmed that the update will incorporate support for ray tracing, various performance enhancements, and support for AMD's FSR.

The update will also add a spot of new content inspired by the Netflix series, including—this may be the most important part—the infamous Nilfgaardian Ballsack Armor (opens in new tab).

Seriously, get a look at this stuff:

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Okay, maybe that's not the most important part. That honor more likely goes to the addition of a native photo mode, which was not previously available (in 2016 CD Projekt added support for Nvidia Ansel (opens in new tab), instead). It was an odd exclusion: The Witcher 3 is a game of striking visuals, especially at 4K, and especially when the game moves to Toussaint in the Blood and Wine expansion.

This is a quick-and-dirty screenshot I captured during my playthrough—imagine what someone with proper tools and a modicum of photographic talent could come up with.

(Image credit: CD Projekt)

The update will also make a host of other smaller improvements, like improvements to the map, integration of "community-made favorite" mods, changes to magic casting, and a number of quest fixes. Cross-progression is also being added, so you can play and advance your journey across any platform you like.

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The Witcher 3 next-gen update is set to go live on December 14, and will be free for all owners of the game. If you're not an owner of The Witcher 3, it's currently on sale for 80% off on both Steam (opens in new tab) and GOG (opens in new tab), and in case there's any doubt it comes highly recommended: Seven years later, it's still a mainstay of our best RPGs (opens in new tab) list. CD Projekt said a detailed list of all the changes coming in the update will be posted closer to release.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.