A HUD Mod That Let Me Rediscover The Witcher 3

Illustration for article titled A HUD Mod That Let Me Rediscover The Witcher 3

I’ve played a lot of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Like, a LOT. My Steam counter just cracked 200 hours, and that’s not counting the first time I played the game on PS4. I figured I’d seen everything there was to see, but a mod I recently installed has proved me wrong.


That mod is Wasteland Ghost’s Friendly HUD, which makes a number of small but significant changes to The Witcher 3's on-screen display. When Luke posted about that expansive snowfall mod last month, I realized that I’d never really gotten into Witcher 3 modding. I’ve never thought the game had as lively a modding scene as something like, say, Skyrim. I started looking around for good Witcher 3 mods and found a few people recommending Friendly HUD. I installed it, and am loving it.

You can watch a demo here:

The mod makes a bunch of changes to the game; too many to list here. Most notably, it removes the game’s often intrusive HUD entirely, though it’s possible to toggle it on and off with a click of the left thumbstick. (It also adds a bunch of customizable keyboard shortcuts, but I play with a controller.)

Friendly HUD simplifies some of the prompts that turn up in the game world as well, removing the large button representations above interaction prompts. It also has a grab-bag of quality of life improvements, like the ability to access the main menu during cutscenes, a toggle that turns the cat potion off when you exit a cave, and a way to keep Geralt from automatically sheathing his sword after combat.

I like pausing the game in the middle of dialogue, since you can get some neat looking stills like this:

Illustration for article titled A HUD Mod That Let Me Rediscover The Witcher 3

The biggest change, however, is here:

Illustration for article titled A HUD Mod That Let Me Rediscover The Witcher 3

When you activate Geralt’s witcher senses, you will now see your quest objective superimposed onto the game world. It’s “stuck” to your objective and by default indicates distance and relative elevation. At first I found the text jarring (you can change it to be a simple dot or even make it appear within an Oblivion-style compass at the edge of the screen) but I quickly got used to it and found that it changed how I play and enjoy The Witcher 3.

I’m pretty strongly anti-minimap—I’ve written about it at length in the past. The short version is that I think minimaps in games are distracting, and draw your eyes away from what they should be looking at, namely the game itself. It’s like walking around a beautiful city with your nose buried in your phone’s map. Every so often you look up and realize how gorgeous your surroundings are, but if you want to actually get anywhere, you have to look at the map.


More and more games are coming up with good minimap substitutes, but The Witcher 3 has unfortunately always more or less required its map. By moving objective markers onto the world itself with this mod, I can finally get around with the map turned off.

I know my way around this game pretty well at this point (I should hope so, right?), but getting my eyes away from the corner of the screen lets me take in the sights in a new way, particularly as I’m riding around on horseback. If you’re a fellow Witcher 3 junkie, I highly recommend installing Friendly HUD and giving it a whirl.


I know there are some other good Witcher 3 mods out there—if you regularly mod this game, which other ones do you recommend?

Kotaku Editor-at-Large



I’ve got to thank you for your encouragement to go minimap-free in games. It started with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (I turned off almost all UI elements) and then I got to Watch Dogs 2, which I’ve played without a map from the get-go. The blue indicator line superimposed on the roadways is plenty information to get wherever I need to go, and I find myself learning the city way quicker than I ever learned to navigate Los Santos, for instance. I can’t wait to play another open world game without a map. Maybe I’ll start Witcher 3 over soon.