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Witcher 3 on Nintendo Switch is 540p handheld, 720p dynamic res docked

Here's Digital Foundry's take.

CD Projekt has confirmed the resolutions The Witcher 3 will run at on Nintendo Switch.

In a tweet, the developer said its expansive open-world game runs at 540p in handheld mode, and 720p, with dynamic resolution enabled, when docked on Switch.

I had a chat with Digital Foundry's Tom Morgan, who confirmed the resolutions mentioned in CD Projekt's tweet.

"It's one of the most daring Switch conversions to date, and so there's clearly a need for a lot of smart adjustments," Morgan said. "Resolution-wise it's actually running much higher than I'd expected - and I can confirm CDPR's claim here. It does use a dynamic system to adjust for rendering load on-screen, and testing the footage and screens available, it shows a native 1280x720 at maximum, while other shots count in at around 896x504 lowest. The range may change in the final game - and we'll be back with more testing. But from a quick look here, most shots are coming in at 720p.

"Given this is almost certainly docked play, it's no comparison to the native 1080p on PlayStation 4. Still, an impressive feat in itself given the complexity of the game, and Switch's lower power spec. The only snag is that anti-aliasing quality is evidently low, which makes the stair-stepping stick out. Playing handheld certainly will be a better way to evaluate the Switch version's strengths, especially if it does sit permanently at 960x540 - where such a res will be harder to catch on the smaller screen.

"As for settings, this is where changes are more obvious. Switch's 1GHZ clocked CPU has to deal with the game's asset streaming, physics, and AI - and so it could be a challenge holding a stable 30fps on what's essentially mobile technology. Based on the footage so far, foliage and characters draw distances do take a hit on Switch as a result, and so the environment is less populated at range compared to PS4.

"Overall world detail is much closer to PC's lowest setting. Likewise, texture quality on hanging corpses is significantly pruned back, adapting for the lesser 4GB of RAM available to Switch. Finally, shadow resolution and the taxing SSAO setting are on the receiving end of a cut, giving Switch a lighter appearance. These are the two more demanding settings on PC, and so it makes sense to see a drop here.

"We'll see how the final game turns out. These are logical changes, and it shows just what a technical exercise The Witcher 3 will be for Switch. All eyes are on the final game, and I can't wait to see how it turns out."

Watch on YouTube

The game is being ported to Nintendo Switch by World War Z developer Saber Interactive "in close cooperation" with CD Projekt Red. It's the first The Witcher game to appear on a Nintendo console.

The Switch version includes the base game, as well as every piece of additional content ever released, including both story expansions, Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine, as well as all 16 free DLCs.

As for storage, CD Projekt said the Switch version of The Witcher 3 is roughly 32GB, so if you're interested in picking it up, plan accordingly.

Don't expect cross-save support, however. If you're playing on Switch, you have to start from scratch.

Expect more analysis from Digital Foundry in video form soon.