Men, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is going to be amazing. Every screenshot and every video released by CD Projekt RED confirms this impression, and the couple delays didn’t change my mind about this. Wild Hunt will be the perfect ending and the best episode yet for Geralt of Rivia’s trilogy, and it will be the best looking, too.
That will happen for a series of reasons: first of all, it gets out in a moment of maximum power and stability of the Polish developer’s preferred machine (PC); it really seems that everything, from new GPUs to CPUs, that gets out is simply adding some polish to a formula which has been stable in the last few years. This explains why they wanted to take so much care of the game, why they thought they could make something better after the delays in just a few months.
Second of all, making a great investment means (most probably) receiving a huge return. The Witcher 3 will be the first episode of the trilogy to ship simultaneously on PC and consoles, the first out on a PlayStation platform, and the first on this new generation of console that – at this specific moment – can represent for both economic and technical reasons a good challenge to the master race. Now you can understand why CD Projekt RED has no interest at all in being caught off side with its new game.
Looking at this from another perspective, we have Microsoft and Xbox One. The console has faced some technical issues since being released (or I should say “rushed”) on the market and now it has yet to get rid of that annoying Resolution-gate. In fact, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will run at 900p, which could be more a PR problem rather than a technical one but we don’t know that for sure.
Perhaps Microsoft itself doesn’t know yet if there will be any substantial difference with PS4’s 1080p, but being a partner with CD Projekt RED – Xbox One will have an exclusive Collector’s Edition with some precious contents, like a real scale reproduction of the title’s card game – means that people don’t have to get the message that CD Projekt RED’s game is worse on its console. We’re getting near to the point of this article.
April 22’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt trailer showcased a mission called Precious Cargo. It was published by Microsoft on the official Xbox YouTube channel, including a huge “Xbox” brand on both the corners of it. These two elements would let you guess that the mission was being played and showcased while running on an Xbox One, right? Well, no, that’s wrong: Kotaku has done some math, wondering that it isn’t possible that Xbox One version of the game would have published on YouTube running at 1080p and 60fps.
Why? Simple: CD Projekt RED has always stated The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt would run at 30fps on both the console versions. That’s suspicious, and that’s why Kotaku went to the Polish software house to make some questions. CD Projekt RED didn’t make any mystery of the fact that, yes, the machine running that Precious Cargo mission showcased on Xbox-branded official Microsoft YouTube channel was a PC.
Now, where’s the problem? The point is that Microsoft here is promoting The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt specifically on Xbox One using the PC version, stating that those gameplay sequences will be available exactly like they are shown on its official YouTube channel for Xbox One users, which is not. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will definitely look better on PC, apart from the obvious the consideration that the PC release will display double the consoles’ frame-rate. Was it a mistake by Microsoft’s PR? Unlikely.
Publishing a video requires a lot of preparation in legal terms and agreements among all the parts involved, and it is highly improbable that something like that could have happened without executives being informed of this Xbox/PC difference issue. What’s curious, regarding CD Projekt RED and Microsoft’s relationship, is that there wasn’t any NDA in place about the nature of the video: the developer was absolutely free, it seems, to tell the truth to gaming outlet Kotaku.
Answer to this by Microsoft could be they’re branding the YouTube channel and not just the videos that are published on it. That would mean they are not directly saying that this video from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been play by an Xbox One, that this is a simple link made by someone who watched the video and did the math actually wrong.
At that point, another question would remained unanswered: why is Microsoft showcasing PC versions of games on his official YouTube channel? Is Xbox One not powerful enough to run a
good version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt? Communication is something like a boomerang, anything you (don’t) say can and will be used against you in court. Furthermore, this new video was published right on time to respond at PlayStation 4-branded Star Wars Battlefront’s official unveil: the mission has been failed or almost, because something like this only enforces Sony’s claim that games can be played at their best (at 1080p) only on PS4.
It would be interesting to see at this point a comment by Phil Spencer and the same gameplay video actually running on Xbox One in response. Maybe we would have some surprise about how really the Xbox One version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt looks like, or simply another magnificent video depicting a magnificent game.
If you haven’t yet, take a look at the video: it’s amazing. Share your opinion in the comments section below.