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Robin Bea

9 Years Later, The RPG of the Decade Gets the Update of a Lifetime

— CDProjekt Red

The Witcher 3 will be celebrating its tenth anniversary next year, and when it does, it might feel like a very different game than it does now, thanks to one major recent update. Nine years and two days after launch, Polish developer CD Projekt Red released Redkit, an official modding tool that lets anyone craft content for The Witcher 3 using features based on CDPR’s own in-house engine. Within a day, players have already made some incredible creations, perfect for anyone ready to rediscover what made the hit RPG an instant classic.

CD Projekt Red first announced its plan to release Redkit back in November 2023, pinning it to an undecided 2024 launch date, saying it would allow modders to create new quests and edit existing ones. When Redkit finally arrived on May 21, CDPR shared a much more expansive vision of what the tool enables with a quick trailer showing how it can be used to create custom characters, environments, and even cutscenes.

Players have wasted no time putting the new tool through its paces. Within hours of Redkit’s launch, NexusMods user AngryCatster uploaded The Witcher 1 Maps, a straightforwardly named mod that adds several locations from the original Witcher game to The Witcher 3. The new maps center around the city of Vizima and while they’re a little buggy with some placeholder textures and how players fall through the ground occasionally — it’s quite an impressive feat coming so soon after the update.

The best part about the mod, though, is that it’s likely just a sign of things to come. While AngryCatster explains that the process of porting existing maps from other games into The Witcher 3 is complicated enough that it probably won't become common practice, Redkit is capable of much more than that.

The lack of an official modding tool certainly hasn’t stopped modders from putting their own spin on The Witcher 3, as evidenced by the thousands of mods for the game already available on sites like NexusMods. What Redkit adds is a whole lot of power, and a much more accessible entry point for newcomers to the modding scene. While it can sound extremely daunting to start tinkering around with your favorite games in the hope of putting your own fingerprints on them, official modding tools like Redkit make that process much easier. Developers know that mods keep players enjoying their games, so there's incentive to keep them up to date and make them at least somewhat easy to use. In that spirit, CD Projekt Red launched a series of tutorial videos along with Redkit to help make the transition to using it easier.

Official tools like Redkit are also what makes it feasible for modders to create extensive, DLC-sized updates for games. Bethesda is well known for its official support of mods in the Fallout and The Elder Scrolls series, and the result has been tremendously impressive player-created expansions for those games, like Skyrim’s Enderal and Fallout 4’s Fallout London. It may only be a matter of time before we see The Witcher 3 players take on projects of a similar size.

If you’re not a modder yourself, there’s still plenty of reason to be excited for the release of Redkit. There’s a good reason The Witcher 3 has a community motivated to create all-new quests for it all these years later. The game is a landmark RPG, representing the very best in open-world design and reactive narrative circa 2015. Its story is up there with the best RPGs have to offer, largely thanks to impactful storylines like The Bloody Baron.

Maybe most encouraging is the widely held belief that the best parts of The Witcher 3 don’t even come in the base game. The Blood and Wine expansion in particular is generally held up as the best storyline in The Witcher 3, arriving as DLC a year after the original game’s release. Modders may not have the benefit of an entire team of developers like CD Projekt Red, but with a new toolset based on the one used by the studio, they’re one step closer to bringing to life quests that are just as worth diving back into the game for.

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