Bathtub Geralt has been a beloved institution since Witcher 3 launched on PC back in 2015. Beginning life as a running joke on PC Gamer, it rapidly became a meme among fans of the series.
The original screenshot comes from an early cutscene that finds Geralt sprawling out in a bathtub, his arms and legs spread wide as he lounges comfortably in the water. Fans were charmed by the image of Medieval Batman resting in such a ridiculous pose, and it quickly proliferated around the internet. Even CD Projekt got in on the act with a statue of the scene produced in association with Dark Horse.
With Witcher 3 due out on Switch later this year, I asked if I could get a screengrab of the scene on Nintendo's machine, and CD Projekt obliged. So here's what the famous scene looks like on Nintendo Switch.
It's pretty good! Okay, it's one screenshot, and it doesn't offer a clear picture of what it looks like in motion. But it does highlight the fact that the cutscenes are generally one of the strongest elements of the port, even in handheld. The characters all look as sharp and detailed and ever, to the point that it's actually kind of hard to distinguish the Switch's in-engine cutscenes from the PS4 and Xbox One versions, which is good because the storytelling tends to be where Witcher 3 really shines.
The open world is where it suffers a bit, with the very sharp character models giving way to lower draw distance and muddier terrain. I didn't see any appreciable frame rate drops, but also didn't really reach 30fps, instead hovering around 25fps. As has been previously reported, it will run at 720p docked and 540p on handheld, and it will not require any download if you buy the physical version ("A complete version has to be complete," a CDPR representative told me). Load times likewise seem about on par with other versions.
Obviously it can't match the exceptional visuals found on, say, the Xbox One X. And truthfully, if you can play it on a more powerful console, I think you should. But that doesn't make this port any less impressive. When I first heard the rumor that Witcher 3 was getting ported to Switch, I thought the idea was crazy, not the least because it's one of the generation's biggest and most attractive games. But to the credit of CD Projekt Red and Saber Interactive, it seems no worse for wear from the transition.
As for who will actually play Witcher 3 on Switch, I expect it will be the audience of Nintendo fans who don't own the other consoles and are interested to see whether CD Projekt's RPG lives up to the hype. CD Projekt seems to agree. "It is to some extent a new audience. They don't own consoles outside of the Nintendo ecosystem," CD Projekt's representative told me.
Portability, of course, will be another factor. But as with other high-powered Switch games, Witcher 3 will be a major battery drain, likely only lasting about three and a half hours total. So if you're looking for it to keep you company on an international flight, you'll need to bring a power brick.
If you haven't played it, Witcher 3 remains one of the best RPGs of the generation. Nadia and I put it at number three on our Top 25 RPG Countdown for Axe of the Blood God, which is pretty damn good for a game that came out just four years ago. Part of the reason it's so good is the way that it deftly mixes war, romance, and high fantasy with scenes like the one above, which conveys an effortless sense of humor that can only come with confidence in one's abilities. With Witcher 3, CD Projekt Red is very confident indeed.
I don't know that I'll be playing Witcher 3 on Switch, but that's mostly because I already have 120 hours logged on the Xbox One X version, and I'll be damned if I'm going to spend another 30 hours getting my Mastercrafted Feline Armor back. Anyone else should certainly give this version a look. As far as I'm concerned, it's the best game of the generation. Witcher 3 on Switch will be out on October 15.