Patch 4.02 Barely Did Enough for The Witcher 3 Next-Gen

Patch 4.02 did fix some specific quest bugs, but the crashes are still a major issue.

By Rayan, Posted 29 Mar 2023

The Witcher 3 Next-Gen has been one of the greatest works of CD Projekt RED, but the game has had plenty of issues since its release. The game was updated again last week through Patch 4.02 with another attempt to fix some of the problems the next-gen update introduced. There was very little to the patch notes, and unfortunately, there turned out to be more to the story as this patch brought along some new problems. Some major issues cause the game to crash every five minutes, and I'm not exaggerating the problems along with several others on both PC and console. And there are also multiple issues this patch was said to have fixed it actually didn't.

So I've detailed the issues to get them some attention. Because we've reached a point where any of these patches could easily be the last before CD Projekt fully moves on to another project from this series. And then these problems will just be part of the game forever if enough attention isn't brought to them now. Let's get straight to the three most significant issues starting with the crashing.

Witcher 3 Next-Gen, Patch 4.02, Bugs, Glitches, Fixes, Updates, NoobFeed

Two major and completely separate new problems are causing non-stop crashes—one that we’ve been experiencing and another that came after the patch update. After the update last week, the game crashes every 5 minutes on average. Sometimes I'd only get three minutes; other times, the game feels extra stable for 6 or 7 before freezing. I looked online, and half the comments mentioned these new crashes. It turned out to be a new problem with the game and could only be fixed by disabling the built-in frame generation setting on the PC. Without over-explaining, that setting can nearly double your frame rate. Unfortunately, if you have it on after the most recent update, Patch 4.02, the game will crash within about 10 minutes, guaranteed.

If you enter any cutscenes, it takes longer than if you are free roaming. This is also quite a problem. Because for many players, frame generation is what takes next-gen Witcher 3 into playable territory frame rate-wise, and for now, it's completely unusable. A tiny hotfix was released to reduce the number of crash-causing issues. This hotfix didn't claim to fix the problem entirely due to the size of the case, but when I went to check, and had a hideous crash within about 15 minutes. The hotfix wasn't enough to fix this.

The other crash-causing issue affects the alternate DX11 version of the next-gen Witcher 3. It is meant for older PCs, but many people have used it regardless of build. Because up until this latest patch, it's been more stable. Well, with the 4.02 update for many, this version is now completely unplayable, and I mean unplayable for many players. This problem affects only some, but many can't even load a save they try to. The game crashes during the loading screen for players whose PCS can't handle the other version, DX12; they are entirely out of luck until this is fixed. Even if they revert to the pre-next-gen version of Witcher 3, their current saves won't be usable. You're not able to load next-gen saves pre-patch 4.0.

Witcher 3 Next-Gen, Patch 4.02, Bugs, Glitches, Fixes, Updates, NoobFeed

Unfortunately, the crashes are just the beginning. This patch was meant to fix the flickering landscapes in Blood and Wine. This is something that has been very tough to ignore ever since. In the next-gen update, the distant surrounding in the expansion constantly pop in and out of existence which is very distracting. While this patch definitely improved that problem somewhat, it's still happening. The sky seems to act normally now, whereas it definitely didn't before, but everything else seems the same. If you look up into the distance, there is a solid chance you will see trees or a building flicking away. Honestly, the entire game is struggling with some version of that problem. Almost wherever you look, something will be flickering.

If you have ray tracing on, it's absolutely everywhere, albeit more subtle in some areas than others. No matter what you're focused on, you'll likely see shadows changing position, shifting angle, and appearing out of nowhere directly in front of you. It's irritating, and at first, I thought most of the flickers were caused by ray tracing, and some were not that. That makes it a non-issue, but I switched ray tracing off entirely to recheck the same areas, and I started getting other flickers like the entire Beauclair Palace was acting up once I checked the site without ray tracing.

I've also found multiple locations in Skellige where the ground disappears and reappears repeatedly. And outside the mine near Kaer Morhen, your surroundings completely vanish as you turn the camera. I've double-checked my hardware and all the requirement, and it's more than capable of running the game on its highest settings. So it's obvious that the game itself is causing these issues, and while some of them can be quickly fixed by sacrificing settings, that's not a real solution.

One of the other main bugs Patch 4.02 was supposed to have fixed is the blurry cutscenes, which have been quite the issue with the next-gen overhaul. You will enter a cutscene; some textures look normal, but others look strange. Now the patch notes singled out PS5, which is strange because it's an issue on all platforms. On PC, it's definitely less frequent, just something that pops up occasionally; when it does, you can't miss it. That said, everywhere these patch notes were posted, PS5 players voiced that issues have yet to improve even a little bit for them, and it's especially bad in Novigrad and Beauclair. This is obviously not a game-breaking problem, but if it still needs to be taken care of in the next couple of patches, it likely won't ever be.

There are also some lesser bugs that I've noticed. There's been the infrequent but annoying issue of the quest companion suddenly looking like burn victims. This happens during the Pellar quest with Siana and also with Siri during her solo missions. Also, throughout the game, all cobwebs shine bright purple or magenta for some reason. If you turn ray tracing off, this does go away, but you will find these everywhere with it on.

Witcher 3 Next-Gen, Patch 4.02, Bugs, Glitches, Fixes, Updates, NoobFeed

Another reported issue is that Geralt's swords randomly have this subtle blue glow that again goes away with ray tracing off. Those two specifically, or at least to the cobwebs, are issues that have been there for a while, and CD Projekt must know about them, but they have yet to be touched. Also, the random stutters are still there. At times they seem like they've been getting worse. I even checked on PS5; these stutters happen every time the game auto-saves. This was reported when the update was first released and has stayed the same with this patch or the previous one.

The Witcher 3 is one of my all-time favorite games; my review score proves that. There's no doubt that the game will be played by many in the coming days, especially those who have yet to try out the Wild Hunt - Complete Edition. Obviously, these issues in a game of this magnitude can't be fixed overnight, while CD Projekt should fix them for a better gameplay experience for future players. Patch 4.02 did fix some specific quest bugs that are great, but the crashes are a major issue along with the flickering. And while the other things aren't necessarily game-breaking, it would be sad to see them become part of the game forever.

Azfar Rayan (@AzfarRayan)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): CD Projekt RED
Developer(s): CD Projekt RED
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Action, Adventure, Open World, Fighting
Release Date: 2022-12-14

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