This week, CD Projekt Red released the long-awaited 1.07 patch for their acclaimed RPG, The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. While adding a much needed renovation to the game’s inventory system, the update introduced a big enough problem that console owners had to should think twice before rushing out to download it. At least until they, well, patch the patch. Plus, a meaty Diablo 3 update, Chris Roberts responds to Star Citizen drama, new Fallout 4 gameplay, and more!
The problem with 1.07 is that in congested areas -- or even just places with lots of trees and mist, let that one sink in -- the game can’t hold up under its own weight. The framerate drops to the mid-to-low 20s in Novigrad, Crookback Bog, and even during dialogue cutscenes. Mind you, this was a patch that promised to improve performance, not compromise it.
Now that the game has been out for two months, there is no sales pressure for them to rush something like this out the door. Instead, I think this is a matter of perception. There are improvements in 1.07 that answer big points of criticism that have followed the game since release. CD Projekt Red wanted that boulder off of their back as soon as possible.
The highlight of this patch, without question, was the improved inventory system. 1.07 included a number of much needed upgrades, from allowing users to sort their overflowing purses and pin items they would like to keep at the top of their list, to implementing global storage so you don’t accidentally sell the witcher gear you need for a future upgrade. It also brought a number of smaller changes, such as removing weight on crafting materials and making the “usable items” tab only include usable items.
If you go back through the reviews, or really do a shallow amount of digging on a fan forum, you’ll find that the inventory and lack of global storage are two of the most disappointing and highly criticized parts of the game, so let’s all take a moment to slow-clap CD Projekt Red for going above and beyond fixing this issue. This kind of post launch support is worth applauding because they really didn’t need to do anything. The game was already exceptional and a shoe-in for Game of the Year discussions, even with its foibles. Kudos to CDPR.
That said, the issue this patch fixed was so painfully obvious, and the patch so thoroughly better, that the original inventory just feels unfinished. It seems, almost, like The Witcher 3 was pushed into the wild after its February-to-May delay just to save another delay. And yet, this is exactly the kind of thing games should be delayed for! This patch, while clap worthy, is also cringe-worthy. A performance patch that lowers performance? Now we’re just left wishing the game had been delayed another month so such a stellar game wouldn’t be dogged by stories of the game choking on console hardware.
Which raises another issue. Why are consoles getting patched first? Is CD Projekt Red not a PC-first developer anymore? I don’t think so, but well, it feels how it feels. It also likely that consoles are simply less stable and require more support. I get that, but as a PC-first gamer, it’s disheartening to see their preferences shift, especially when it’s with features so important as alternative movement and inventory management.
I’m not trying to tear the game down. I love The Witcher. My point is this: core game systems should be finished by the time a game launches. Modern day developers take for granted that everyone has high-speed, no-cap internet access and that simply isn’t the case. Since it has launched, the game has received more than 16GB of patches, with 1.07 over 7GB by itself. This is now commonplace in the gaming industry. I believe in post-launch support, but day one (or day sixty) patches shouldn’t be the answer for core game systems that need more time in the oven.
Following up on last week’s Star Citizen drama, Chris Roberts has penned another “Letter from the Chairman.” In it, he boldly calls claims of feature creep “bullshit” -- despite those features creeping on in -- and reaffirms that Star Citizen matters “because it’s big” and “something everyone else is scared to try.” Makes you wonder how many of those Kickstarter backers are now among the scared…
Fallout 4 is big, guys. Wait, that’s not news! What is is that Bethesda has been recording voice over for two years, totalling more than 13000 lines of dialogue! How they managed to keep the game a secret is beyond me. You can also check out the uncut E3 trailer which features a good three minutes of new combat gameplay, including killing a badass deathclaw in even more badass power armor.
Dark Souls 3 is coming to Gamescom on August 5th. That undoubtedly means new gameplay details and the unveiling of director Hidetaka Miyazaki’s new book, Fifty Shades of Pain, inspired by his short story, Broken Controller Blues (Just Kidding, I’m Rich). Stay tuned for details from the show!
Diablo 3’s Patch 2.3, Ruins of Sescheron, is nearly ready to go! Blizzard recently previewed the update, focusing on the titular new zone, a ruined Barbarian city laid to waste by the demon, Baal. I keep thinking it’s time to go back to this game. What say you, readers, is it worth it?
Lords of the Fallen developer, Deck 13, has announced the title of their new game, The Surge. Due in 2017, the game will take place in a sci-fi dystopian future and will be a “hardcore RPG.” Lords of the Fallen 2 is being handled by partner studio, CI Games.
That’s all for this week. May your dings include skill points!