The Witcher 3's free next-gen update is out now, but some players report performance issues

The Witcher 3 next-gen update
(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Folks, lurking in your games library right now is the prettiest, shiniest Geralt you've ever seen, but you might want to let him sit for a while before you take a look. The Witcher 3's free next-gen update is out for everyone who owns the game, bringing with it graphical improvements, gameplay tweaks, and integration for a few of the game's most popular mods. But some players say they're running into freezes and framerate dips that mostly seem to revolve around the game's ray tracing and DX12 implementation.

Of the 2000 or so Steam reviews that The Witcher 3 has received in the last day, 418 of them have been negative. Most of the complaints mention performance issues, with reviewers asking why their beefy graphics cards seem to take such dramatic hits from the game's ray-tracing, even at 1080p. Some users on Reddit, meanwhile, report crashes and DX12 issues in addition to ray tracing woes.

It's still worth giving it a try if you've been looking forward to it. After all, the other 1600 Steam reviews the game has gotten today have been positive, and other Reddit users are having a grand old time with the update. Plus, it's not like the patch costs anything but bandwidth. Still, be prepared to turn off ray-tracing (or even roll back to an old patch) if you run into issues.

CD Projekt told me that it's "aware of the issues PC players have been reporting since last night's release of the update," and is "actively investigating all of the reports and will be providing an update on particular issues as soon as possible". The company also put out a tweet to the same effect.

If you've somehow managed to dodge any info about the patch since it was announced in the ancient days of September 2020, it's a free upgrade for all owners of The Witcher 3 that adds ray tracing, DLSS, higher-res textures, and various other graphical bells and whistles. It's also adding in armour from the Netflix series, some quality of life changes (you no longer have to open a loot menu to harvest herbs, for example), and integrates a few graphical and bugfix mods.

For those of us who don't run into trouble, it's a nice treat and a welcome return to one of the best RPGs of all time. For the rest, well, hopefully a patch is forthcoming, and quickly. I don't think I'll be able to enjoy Christmas if there are still people out there unable to enjoy a properly ray-traced tub Geralt.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.