We had an inkling that it was coming but E3 has confirmed it – The Witcher 3 is indeed heading for Switch in what must surely be one of the most challenging ports yet delivered for Nintendo’s hybrid console. The conversion is being handled by developer Saber Interactive, known for its work on the Halo and Halo 2 Anniversary Editions, working in concert with CD Projekt RED, while the mothership concentrates on delivering Cyberpunk 2077 for April next year. But just how well can a port of one of the current generation’s most challenging games work on the Switch’s Tegra X1 processor? Initial footage revealed this week is fascinating.
There’s clearly a need for a lot of smart adjustments in transitioning a game of this magnitude across to the Nintendo hybrid – beginning with the resolution. CDPR has been pretty up front about what we can expect. On Twitter, the studio says that the game operates at a dynamic 720p while docked and 540p while handheld. Analysis of the small amount of footage released to date shows a native 1280×720 at the top-end, dropping to 896×504 at the minimum. Remarkably though, from the small amount of footage seen so far, native 720p is a surprisingly common result from pixel counting tests.
In terms of how close the game’s visual make-up gets to the other consoles, I captured the PlayStation 4 version for some ballpark comparisons – but conclusions will necessarily be limited and preliminary here. We have just 30 seconds of in-engine gameplay to work with and a few high quality PNGs. Despite looking at docked play, needless to say it pales next to the PS4 game, rendering as it is at a native 1080p.