The first big Witcher 2 patch is out, fixing bugs, improving stability, boosting performance – and stripping the DRM out of every edition of the game.
We don’t often make noise about game patches around here because, let’s face it, they’re as inevitable as the sunrise and they rarely do anything worthy of comment. A tweak here, a bug fix there, birds fly, fish swim, whoopdie-doo. But the 1.1 patch for the recently-released Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is a little more noteworthy because it not only tunes up the game, it also turns off the copy protection, less than two weeks after the game was released.
“Our approach to countering piracy is to incorporate superior value in the legal version. This means it has to be superior in every respect: less troublesome to use and install, with full support, and with access to additional content and services,” explained CD Projekt Red Development Director Adam Badowski. “So, we felt keeping the DRM would mainly hurt our legitimate users. This is completely in line with what we said before the release of The Witcher 2. We felt DRM was necessary to prevent the game being pirated and leaked before release. This purpose has been served, so we are pleased to let our users enjoy the full freedom of game usage they deserve.”
He said that pre-release testing showed only a small difference in performance between the DRM-free version released by GOG and other editions of the game, but that players began reporting much more serious performance gaps after the game launched. “This was another clear signal that we had to remove DRM as soon as possible,” Badowski said.
The patch improves frame rates by as much as 30 percent, “especially noticeable on DRMed and low spec systems,” improves stability, allows mouse-inverting and directional key remapping, and addresses various other issues. The first free DLC, the “Troll Trouble” quest, is also included in the update.
Badowski said the patch should address all major issues with the game, although that’s probably a little optimistic, but promised that CD Projekt will continue to review player feedback to resolve configuration-specific problem as they pop up. The Witcher 2 1.1 patch apparently won’t download through the launcher’s auto-patch system on games that are already in progress, so CD Projekt has instead posted it at thewitcher.com/patch. Newly-installed games will [or at least, should] download and install the patch automatically.