The Witcher 3 is getting a next-gen re-release later this year, and when it does, some of the “visual and technical improvements” it introduces might actually be thanks to the work of fans in the modding community.
Earlier this week Halk Hogan, the creator of the The Witcher 3 HD Reworked project (which swaps out many of the game’s original textures with much sharper ones), announced that he had been in talks with CD Projekt Red over the upcoming next-gen release, writing:
Hello my dear friends! It’s been a long time since the last video. I know I announced a new HDRP preview in early March but I was silent the whole time. Sorry for that. But in return, I have some good news, and the reasons why I was quiet and why I don’t have too much to show. I think the most important news is that I got an official message from CDPR about cooperation. While it’s not certain yet, it’s very likely that HDRP will be included in the official next generation update. I will inform you what’s next. As always, I would like to thank you for all your support and kind words. ❤️
I contacted CDPR to check up on this, who were able to confirm that, “In addition to our own development efforts on the upcoming next-gen version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5 and PC, we are also in talks with creators of various mods for the 2015 release of the game.”
Like Halk’s statement says, though, nothing is set in stone yet, CDPR adding, “As of this time, however, we do not have any binding agreements with any such party.”
I also asked CDPR if and how these modders would be compensated and credited if their work appeared in an official release, but they weren’t able to tell me that (likely because the deals haven’t even been done yet). If they can get those things together, though, and a bunch of fan-made mods for the PC version of the game do turn up in the next-gen release, that would be...kinda weird!
CDPR made over $300 million last year, so you’d think they’d be able to spare the money and resources to do this professionally, rather than cobbling together stuff made by fans, especially since The Witcher 3 isn’t some obscure re-release. (Though it should be noted that Saber Interactive, the same team behind The Witcher 3's Switch, PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions, have been contracted by CDPR to handle this release).
Then again, if the fans are credited and compensated properly, then it would be pretty cool for them and the modding scene at large, if they could kick back and know that potentially millions of people were enjoying an official version of The Witcher 3 that they had contributed to.